Colombo Confessions is all about having a laugh. I’ve had the misfortune of associating with a wide cross section of Colombo denizens. This column is a look at the lighter side of Lankans in the capital of Sri Lanka.
What do you call that man who boasts that he’s a fabulous engineer to all and sundry, but has to marry a belle from Colombo 7 to put a roof over his head? Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you “The Original Money Boy”. He typically brags about his Govigama caste, his extended family, his Catholic faith, and thinks the world owes him. There are plenty of lawyers, doctors, and engineers, and what are they but another number ready to serve the economy.
The poor Colombo 7 belle ends up in the kitchen kneading dough, and no doubt knocking her head on the almirah door. I, for one, am thrilled about women being emancipated and finding their rightful place in society by embracing their independence. While the patriarchy whimpers on its last legs, women are becoming a serious force to be reckoned with (much to the chagrin of the gold diggers from far and wide).
I apologise. We shouldn’t be too harsh on Amma’s Kiri Putha, who could possibly do no wrong. Instead, let’s focus on Kiri Putha’s Amma and Thaththa. Poor Amma is slaving away in the kitchen to cook milk rice for Putha while Thaththa is happily looking at the marriage proposals. Caste matters. Religion too. Location has to be Colombo 7. But what matters more is that all-important dowry. Thaththa shows Amma the prospective list he has curated, and Amma only has one question – can Duwa make milk rice?
What a familiar scenario, don’t you think? Putha doesn’t care much about Duwa – after all, that is what Amma and Thaththa are there for. They will find the right Duwa with a dowry the size of his XL sarong. Putha has better things to do, that, on a grand scale, matters so much more to the universe. There’s the Ada Bonda Set Wemuda gang who are looking for their next Somiya, and a chance to check out Instagram Reels; the content which he posts with his bros will send all the hot chicks reeling. Or, so he hopes, with the only result being that the Instagram algorithm has the sense to ignore him.
As Putha (like most entitled Lankan males) decides to knock a few more of his brain cells from the cricket ground straight to Neanderthal Land with a few arrack shots, there’s change in the air. Because Duwa elsewhere in Colombo 7 has decided enough is enough, has chosen to educate her brain cells, and avoid a life of servitude and milk rice.
It’s fantastic to live in an era where women are doing far more than cooking and rearing children. With an entrepreneurial spirit propelling them to innovate and create, they are solving a vast plethora of global problems. Companies are noticing and embracing a new workforce; one that is progressive, diverse, and inclusive.
As women around the world echo a sigh of relief and segue into a Beyoncé-inspired dance because Duwa had the common sense to not Put A Ring On It, the unspoilt man from the West would like to extend one piece of advice to Putha – learn how to make your own milk rice.
(Rohitha Perera is a writer, blogger, and content marketer from Colombo, Sri Lanka. He used to be an editor at a lifestyle magazine, and now works in the IT industry)