“If you reject the food, ignore the customs, fear the religion, and avoid the people, you might better stay home.”
― James A. Michener
Pettah. The most unloved part of the bustling commercial capital of Sri Lanka. It’s a beautiful chaotic mess. It’s bubbly faces of little kids. It’s keeping your feet on a two-inch payment to escape the porters. It’s hawkers selling flying lobsters of vibrant colours.
When we picked up our little camera and wandered around Pettah streets to get it under our skin, we met a porter who was a little camera-shy and needed a bit of help from the nextdoor vendor who told him to say ‘cheese’ for a photo. One guy ran past us saying not to post his face on weekday newspaper. We bought chocolates from a tiny shop selling middle-east yummies who sell it two times less than the market price.
Streets lined up with fresh veggies and tiny kades (shops) selling street food. A makeshift-table vendor selling tea to Pettah workers. Aunties shopping for sarees and shoes of different heels. Round and flat.
These are the people we saw; the people who buy, sell and live in Pettah.
And this is the Pettah we saw.