The Last Doll (2012)


After Independence, Sri Lankans were so busy building an identity to stand apart from our colonized past, but what we did not think about is how much we lost in this process of nation-building, which took us from Ceylon to Sri Lanka. For sure, we lost the Burghers, a community that had such a vibrant presence in the olden days. I remember growing up living next to a Burgher family and there were many others living down the lane. Now, they are all gone. Most migrated to Australia in the early 1960s and 1970s and the rest left during the 1980s. With them, a part of Sri Lanka left too ... their food and their way of life slowly started erasing from our national memory. They were in many ways very cosmopolitan than the rest of us. “They have gone away, all of them, left me behind, Still write to me of lamprais, love cake and breudhers, Making merry in those distant antipodes…” (Jean Arasanayagam)