A cup of tea and a prophylactic toilet visit was all we needed when we stopped at the Cinnamon Tree cafe in Waskaduwa, Sri Lanka on our way to Galle. The tea was good the cafe, neat and clean but the view from our table was better. The morning sun was streaming through this window, the family dog sunning himself on the verandah of this house was oblivious to my excitement at seeing this house — a quiet domestic loveliness so often forgotten in our scarred island.
Verandahs were a vital part of every Sri Lankan house of yesteryear. Pre-TV days growing up in Panadura, the extended family gathered on the verandah at sundown and a variety of subjects from politics to religion was discussed. We kids played hide-and-seek but imbibed many facts as we played with one ear cocked on the interesting dialogues.
More news of this house and permission to photograph was given by Ms. Sayuriranga Gunasekera, who was running the cafe. The house was her father’s main family house but had passed on to the youngest son as is often the case in many Sri Lankan families.
She took me around to introduce me to the current owner — her Bappa ( father’s youngest brother). However, before I came close, the Bappa was quick to take the dog away fearing he might attack me. The wooden plank on the doorstep was the only jarring object — a sign of current times and was used to take into the house a motorbike which ( not visible) was parked inside.