A century old family photo on my 100th blog post


100th blog — is it significant? Not as significant as this 100 year old photo, but still a good time to bring it out. When I first saw this photo, I sat momentarily transfixed.  Here was a slice of history, frozen in a quiet gentleness, a significant moment in the lives of my ancestors, whose blood flows through my veins. I saw my grandmother, probably still in her twenties wearing the jewellery that my mother gifted to me.  I could see what excitement there would have been in this house of my great-grandfather S.K. Issack de Silva (circa 1860–1930) of Degoda, Ambalangoda  (seated next to my grandmother third from Left).

My paternal grandmother, Achchi, Pintohamy (Second from left) and grandfather, Seeya, K.H. Bastian de Silva standing behind her carrying Uncle Ritchie, in her father’s house in Ambalangoda. The photograph circa 1911 was taken when her brother Heron de Silva Kularatne (centre, back row) took oaths as a lawyer on his return from London. Standing next to him is his youngest brother Patrick de Silva Kularatne who also graduated from the University of London. His first job was as the Principal of Ananda College which he took up in 1918. He retired voluntarily in 1943. Later he shed his western clothes and went on to become one of Sri Lanka’s foremost educationists. Re-photogrpahed from a copy by Chulie de Silva

The same stream of life that runs through my veins

night and day runs through the world and dances

in rhythmic measures.

It is the same life that shoots in joy through the dust of

the earth in numberless blades of grass and breaks

into tumultuous waves of leaves and flowers.

It is the same life that is rocked in the ocean-cradle of

birth and of death, in ebb and in flow.

I feel my limbs are made glorious by the touch of this

world of life.  And my pride is from the life-throb of

ages dancing in my blood this moment.

Translated from Bengali by  Rabindranth Tagore.

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5 thoughts on “A century old family photo on my 100th blog post

  1. How fortunate you are to have a 100-year-old photo of family to view and lived in a community of relatives. No wonder you are “grounded.” So appreciate the poem by an optimistic, observing person. And I appreciate you to share both the photo and poem.

  2. Excellent. You need to do a post on Patrick Kularatne. You have blossomed my friend – like old vintage wine. I must applaud your ability to renew yourself repeatedly, snatch the creative moment and continue churning out beautiful cameos of life – be it in Rajarata or in rural East Bengal. May you have the gift of long life – and be the next Barbara Sansoni with a Barefoot type boutique dedicated to the arts and photography – if not in Colombo, perhaps in Sydney. You can do it 🙂 After a stint at Kris Magazine that is…

  3. Congratulations on your 100th blog post! Photographs always bring back sweet old memories and give us a moment to look back and see the time that we left behind! A moment to smile and sometimes cry!

    It’s good to see your old family photo, I wish we will get a photo like this in your 100th birthday!

    Thanks for the post and cheers!

  4. Hurrah for the 100th post! And it’s really great when you can see old family pics like that…. makes the roots kinda tangible, me thinks….

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