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Monday, August 10, 2015

Am I a "Para - Hambaya or a Parvenu or what?

I am posting Razaque's article (UNEDITED) as promised. I am so sorry, but as I have been extremely busy, I have not had time to read through it.


Am I a "PARA-HUMMBAYA" or a PARVENU or WHAT???.........
This is a conundrum that I have faced and now sorted out --I thinkt!! The reason for this posting is,---- following an 'incident' that occurred on the way to 'Cinnamon Lodge' to enjoy our Reunion in 2007. We all got into the busses that were laid on at 'Cinnamon Grand', to be transported to 'Cinnamon Lodge'. I weaved my way to the rear of the bus while my wife Farina, met up with a wife of one of our batch- mates from an earlier Reunion and our Kusuma whom she knew from earlier contacts---  this is what these Reunions are all about---making friends, catch up since the last event & reminisce!!. At the tail end of the bus, Ranjith Kurruppu & Lameer were chatting away & when they saw me coming towards them, Lameer said " Onna enawa ape PARA-HUMMBAYA". To this remark I retorted "ANEY BUNG.... PARA-THAMBIYO, mama PARA- HUMMBAYEK neve, mama PARA-JAVEK wath neve, mama NIYAMA JAVEK --It is RICH COMMING FROM YOU". We had a good old  hearty laugh and greeted with our Batch's hallmark -- hugs, laughs & being pleased to meet up again, & we continued catching up on what we were all up to since we met last. Here once again the purpose of Reunions at play and what it is all about!!!.. Long may it last.......

The above incident and two postings-- one by Our Lucky Abey's stint in Indonesia & the other by Our ND's 'antics' when on holiday in Penang, Malaysia prompted  me to investigate "MY ANCESTRY and question " AM I A PARAYA  OR OF NOBLE BIRTH OR JUST A PARVENU"???..........."MAMA KAWDA KIYAL DANNA WADA?? 
 I shall leave it you to be the jury, judge & executioner after I present my evidence!!!!!........

Firstly, my Dad's ancestor, Ismail Ahamat was sent to the then Ceylon by the Colonial British in the then Malaya, in 1810AD to run the Prison Services in the then Ceylon.He was Superintendent of Prison, in Ratnapura where he was a very close friend of Sir Nicholas Attygalle's ancestor.This came to light when in 1948 my Mum had a large ovarian
tumour (14 lbs!!!) removed by him and Sir Nichola  had  told my Dad that how he ate the likes of "Wattalappan" as a boy at my ancestor's home!!!  Now talking about Wattalappan (--- not "WATTALA-PAN!!), which was 'highacked' by the Moors in the then Ceylon and given that term which  I believe has a Tamil origin. In fact it is a Malay / Indonesian desert that we call SIRI-KAYA---  in Malay meaning a very rich desert made mainly for special celebratory occasions. I have corrupted the term 'wattalappan' even further and now I call it "WHAT-'LL-HAPPEN"!!!!  My Dad's ancestor originated from Penang, in the then Malaya, where Our ND (HANDY ND!!)  said he spent his holidays recently. This  brought back fond thoughts of my Dad's origin

Now, for Mums ancestry gets even better!!! Our Lucky Abey, I understand was in Indonesia during his professional career-path. My Mum's ancestor was sent to CEILAN as it was known then, by the colonial Dutch in 1742AD---- colonizing Indonesia then. My maternal ancestor Radan JAYAH was one of 15 Noblemen and their families, believed to be  members of the Royal Family /Sultan in Java, Indonesia, who were said to have been 'thorns' on the side of ruling Dutch!! Probably sent away in order to quell any uprising in Indonesia??.Up to their last days my Mum and family believed that they were of "ROYAL" heritage!! So, next time you guys meet me make sure to have the usual protocols in place --like "SIR or ROYAL HIGHNESS" will do fine!!!!!! I do play on this as well, and whenever introducing my wife, I do not fail to mention that 'I MARRIED A COMMONOR' ,to her obvious 'fury' - -- of course it is all in jest!!.It did certainly  raise eyebrows & horror when we were in NZ--- they have no sense of humor!!.  I am surprised that I am still happily married and she has put up with me for 43 years!!!. In fact, some of the folk were also sent away  to the other Dutch colonies -- Madagascar and South Africa-- the present day Cape Town --  Cape Malays (sound like a BREED OF COWS!!), in order to quell dissent in Indonesia. My Mum's family carry the 'Jayah' name and I am the 13th generation of this Clan in Sri Lanka!! My Granddad's brother, my Great Uncle, was  Dr.T.B.  Jayah, who was MP for Colombo Central  and a Minister in the first post-independent Cabinet under Prime Minister, Mr. D.S. Senanayake in 1948 and subsequently Ceylon's High Commissioner in Pakistan.

I shall summarize what other folk from both sides of my family were up to. Most of them were Professionals -Doctors, Lawyers, Engineers, Accountants and of course  in the forces-- Army, Navy, Police, Fire Service..etc. Also in the Plantations Industry , Mercantile service, Teaching, and Government Service, Politics and so on........ hardly any Businessmen to talk about,..... only those 'minding their own business' !!!!!!!............ I like to believe and feel proud that they  were responsible for Security, Education, Health, Saving folk from fires, Building and Engineering, and improving the Economy of our Beautiful Resplendent Island of Sri Lanka---- The land of my birth..

Now a little about my own family. My parents moved to Wattala just after their marriage as they wanted a 'quiet' life away from the 'rat race' of Colombo in the mid 1930's!! My siblings and I were born and brought up in Wattala while I was the only one to be born in an 'upstair -house' - the one in Wattala!! We were looked upon by our relatives as the "Village Folk"!! My parents -- bless them were very practical sent us to the local school --St Anthony's College. As such we were called the "village school children" and at family functions we were "wallflowers" while my cousins were the focus of attention as they were at Colombo Schools -- Royal, Wesley, St..Benedict's etc......despite my Dad being at Wesley College and having Captained the Cricket Team and also the Combined Schools Cricket Captain in 1925 My parents were very strict on us in real military style -- my Dad was an Officer with the Ceylon Garrison Artillery--- CGA, during WW2 (& my Father-in Law was an Officer in the Royal Signals Corp) .Little did they realise that 'tables will be turned' on them soon or later. We progressed in our education without any 'BannerS OR BUNTTINGS nor Drum beatings or Trumpets" !!  My eldest brother was doing his University Entrance exam hoping to do Medicine when tragedy struck us like a thunder bolt. My Dad at the age of 46 died suddenly following a massive heart attack -- which condition all we boys inherited & carried  round our necks! like the proverbial "mill-stone" I have now lost 3 of my brothers (2 older and one younger) and I have been very savagely mauled  in the recent years by this scourge & have lived to tell the tale...... for now!!! Next time not so "lucky".
My eldest brother had to seek employment to support my Mum & his siblings. It was fortuitous that My Dad, who was an Executive at Carson, Cumberbatch & Co. in the Shipping Dept. and also an Export (Outward) Freight Broker, had built a large comfortable(6 bed roomed) family home and also one 2-bed house & two 4 bed roomed houses to rent - of which one was latterly rented out to our Senior Batch's Alex Paul & his parents. This gave us the income supplement to exist. My Mum was even more strict now as she had to bring up 6 children, with my youngest brother being only 4-WEEKS old when my Dad passed away!!! My eldest brother joined an Accountancy firm and progressed on to be a Charted Accountant  in the UK. As for me it is history-- I have said a lot about me, in my earlier postings and shall not repeat myself. It is a case of "the Village Boys DONE GOOD"!!  None of my so called cousins could even step on to the pavement / sidewalk of a University, let alone step on to the steps of those great hallowed Institutions!!!
 I have outlined my ancestry and some of my early life. "NOW YOU KNOW WHO IAM" (-DHAN DANNAWA MAMA KAWDA KIYALA??? ") If the 'dice of fate' had fallen favourably in 1742AD, today I could have been a SUTAN (MALAY PHAROAH) in the Malay World ---- 'dream baby dream', --its good for the morale. At the same token my dear wife would have been a SULTANA---- "I HEARD YOU...... STOP IT... SHES IS NOT AN 'OLD GRAPE'"!!!! She is my dear FLOWER of my life, a TOWER OF STRENGHT and the POWER HOUSE in my children's lives. It is her musical talents -- Singing, Dancing, Drama and Musical Instrument playing genes that my children have acquired. Having said that,I believe that I have passed on MY genes of BRAINS AND BEAUTY to them !!! I must pass on something!!! 
So, Lameer & other batch mates, please take note that I am  not a PARAYA or a PARVENU nor a HAMMBAYA (Hammaba-karranna -- in Sinhala or plain Businessman) as I have shown in view of the evidence placed above. Certainly, a JAVA, maybe a NOBLE / ROYAL JAVA!!!. So the next time we meet make sure that the usual Protocols, Etiquette and Decorums are in place to greet us!!!!!.------( ???BIG HEADED Axxx HOLE!!!!)
I am sorry if this is a long Posting, but I hope you all have enjoyed my 'TONGUE IN CHEEK ' & sometimes downright CHEEKY comments ------ THAT'S MY STYLE..... cannot change NOW---- TOO OLD

Thank you  for your patients,

Razaque Ahamat..


  1. Your Loyal Higness Razaque, Thank you for that very entertaining and illuminating post which should convince even the most critical reader that you are not a Hambaya or Paraya or other derogatory named person. Sir, your Royal blood is acknowledged! Razaque, your unique style is just so funny to read! Please keep sending more. Just shows how us Sri Lankans should be just that, i.e., not get too hung up by our origins as we are all in reality a good "Thambung hodda". Being proud of one's ancestry is one thing but to use it to divide us is quite another.

    With reference to "What'll happen", this is my favourite Sri Lankan dessert by a mile, provided it is made from genuine Kitul hakuru and not the "seeni" adulterated ones which are so common. My aunt's husband GMD Hinni Appuhamy was the owner of LIon House at Bambalapitiya and she used to make what I recall, the best "What'll Happen". I used to go her house after school from St Thomas' Prep Kollupitiya till my cousin picked us up after work to take us home. I recall her home very vividly as this is where I first saw a bidet. I had no idea what it was and was fiddling with the taps and a stream of water hit my face and I joyfully closed my eyes and enjoyed the spray on my face! But,,,,, I digress.

    I am truly proud of your achivements as well as that of your parents. Your mother must have been a tower of strength to managed so well after so unfortunately losing her husband so early in life.

    My best wishes to you, your wife and talented children. I do hope we meet someday....

    Speedy (Mahendra) G

    1. Thanks Mahen,
      Firstly, about the 'thambunhoddha' term--we Sri Lankans are more of a "hath maluwa'. Come to think of it we Malays have a dish call 'kola-curry' which has several vegetables cooked together ,'kirata' in 'pol-kiri' -- like we cook potatoes!! -- the vegetables are' bathla'+ wattakkka +' vambattu' + 'nivithi' + 'parrippu' in proportion of your choice. Don't forget salt and 'kaha' It is delectably delicious with rice!!!
      You are absolutely right about! good quality 'Kithul Hakuru' for the "Siri-Kaya" alias 'What'll happen'. One thing that you will NEVER know, is the combination of spices that we use. It is a family secret that is passed down the Female line only, of the family as Daughters-in-Law are NOT trusted to keep the secret -- they must get it from their 'mummies'!!!
      It was interesting to hear about your 'encounter' with a Bidet!!!
      When we installed one in our Dundee home, the Plumber jokingly wanted to know what it was for??? I replied " We wash our Axxxs ,you know, unlike you folk!!!"
      As for my family, I am very grateful to my Dad for having provided for us -- to exist & my Mum for "Holding the FORT and Guiding" us through a very difficult period in our lives.
      I hope and pray that they are "happy together in ELYSIUM"

  2. Razaque
    You have said it all in your own inimitable style allowing the rest of us to make up our minds. At this stage of our lives we can put aside the ego we have carried with pride .It has hindered frank discussion just worrying what others may think of us. Well done for removing your shackles and baring your thoughts. As I write what comes to mind are the beautiful lyrics of the 50's song by Joni Mitchell:
    I've looked at life from both sides now
    From up and down and still somehow it's life's illusions that I recall
    I really don't know life at all

    Take care my friend

  3. well done Your Highness,Sultan of Penang.
    I enjoyed every word in your blog,continue writing and keep us entertaining

  4. Mahen. 'ENDY' & Sumathi,
    Thanks for your responses.
    Sumathi, its to hear from you.