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 Post subject: The road to Presidency - Janadhipathi Mawatha
 Post Posted: Wed Nov 23, 2005 2:19 am 
The road to Presidency - Janadhipathi Mawatha

@ Standard Newspapers
By:Bandula Jayasekara

Janadhipathi Mawatha was one of the most interesting and lively roads in Colombo once. I went there for my first interview to a travel office at Akasa Kade or the Ceylinco building, once the tallest building in the land. It was a happening place with so many offices and guys and gal , chic and chiclets hanging around, flirting, dating , meeting and even day dreaming at the bus halts and those eating places. It was a place one could make friends. Ceylinco snacks were the best. But, I don’t know what happened to Lalith Kotalawela since those days. Guess he is the guy who pops out of the idiot box these days and from full page advertisements in the papers.

Sam the Man did light up the Akasa Kade in the nights then and I nearly jumped out from the Akasa Kade after a dance and still thank my friends for saving me and sending me home in a Volkswagen. All I wanted to do was to feel the difference after some booze and to find out if I could fly too. The Intercontinental was the place at the time and whole of Colombo was trying to be seen there and the hotel definitely was the place in town. I also had the honour of being carried away by my friends in full suit who put me to sleep in front of the hotel after another dance at the hotel. But, the saddest thing is the suit I borrowed was the only belonging to, a dear Tamil friend was left with after the 1983 riots. I remember Sirisena, man with the old Morris Minor who parked his car near the KLM office. A friendly old man who always wore a smile and a white short sleeve shirt and a white sarong. His rates were very reasonable and everyone looked for Sirisena.

There were so many offices from Mercantile Credit, Air Lanka, (oh! The Air Lankan girls at the time were like butterflies, swans and bees) American Express, Reuters, Swissair , Cargo boat dispatch, Hotels Corporation, KLM, the old Metropolitan hotel, Sooriya Records, George Stuarts. The old clock there use to go on strike occasionally and the time stood still and went on a timeless journey. My first office was situated right in front of the Presidents House. It was a free area and was no high security zone. We did not feel insecure and guess the President at the time didn’t feel insecure either. I would say Janadhipathi Mawatha was the best Mawatha in town at the time.

But, everything changed when Vellupillai Prabhakaran struck adding another chapter to his bloody hands. It killed many of our friends, injured them and some lost their eye sight. Life became different and Prabhakaran managed to change it within minutes with his gruesome ways. Many would have forgotten it. But, we shall not. It has taken years for this country and Janadhipathi Mawatha to come back to normal but, it would never be the same. It cannot be the same because Vellupillai chased those happy faces away. Because of him even the main post office had to be changed and people had to undergo so many difficulties.

However, by next week either Mahinda Rajapakse or Ranil Wickremasinghe will walk , oops sorry, drive along that road to the Janadhipathi Mawatha (Presidents house) how could they walk anyway? Only we are supposed to walk these roads though not to the Presidents house. I want to ask Mahinda and Ranil why are they so desperate to get there? To serve us? To serve them or serve others? Come, what may I ask you to make a difference to our lives, bring back that old Janadhipathi Mawatha, make Lalith K do what he knows best, manage Akasa Kade better and let us walk the streets of Sri Lanka freely be it A9 or Chatham Street, Mudalige Mawatha or the Janadhipathi Mawatha and let your road to Presidency be our road to freedom and peace and if you could let Velu rest in peace too.

Written By:Bandula Jayasekara

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