Sunday, August 2, 2015

The Sri Lnakan Style...

We don t have  a freezing winter or unbearable heat in the summer, but we do have heavy monsoon  for three to  four months during a year.The month April quiet hot ,but it does not mean we do sweating only in the April.We Sri  Lankan do get sweating more or less  through out the year.
For us having a bath is very relaxed daily experience.
As an architect my personal experience is, based on  per square feet Sri Lankan spending  highest for their bathroom.The  mesmerizing  bathroom catalogs have made most of clients so confused,and they are willing to spend more and more for an extravagant bathroom fittings. Most ocases the governments taxes  will make triple the original price,but forgetting the functions.
I have known some clients who wanted to fix Jacuzzi or elegant looking bathtub,but they  have used only handful occasions.

                                         A contemporary Sri Lankan Bathroom

Idea of attached  bathrooms  for middle income families came recently,past two decades Sri Lankans were very particular about their privacy,Actually it s not only the privacy ; security as well
Now everyone need  CCTV cameras on all sides of their boundary.
But Sri Lanka was not like this even twenty years ago,We had a culture which respected everyone privacy.But everyone helped each other.But did not interfere.
Before I come to Colombo for higher education  and now turned into working,I grew up in a small town but not too far from Colombo.It was about 50 km.
That time I  we were living in our  grand parents home.It was a house with nice Verandah,spacious living room and a dark dining room with a hip roof.

                                       A house with a front verandah.
But we never had a single room  with attached bathroom,Even  the bathroom was later added one by my father   considering the convenience of my grand mother.Ironically she did not like it.
She hates the idea of having a bath in a concealed space.My grandmother died even after my father at the age of 85.Till that she used  bathing well near paddy fields.
My mother who had a responsibility of taking care of her mother in law was not comfortable with idea of going alone.
As a kid I always went with grand mother to the well near paddy fields.
The  well was known as "Delgaha Pokuna" which means the pond near the Bread fruit tree.But I cant remember any bread fruit tree near the  well at that time.But my Grand mother did remember  the bread fruit tree very well.Even in  the hard drought season the Delgaha Pokuna never ran out of water.

The Delgaha Pokuna(the pond near the breadfruit tree) and the paddy fields.

But I remember the  Kubuk trees(Terminalia arjuna) which gave the nice cosy,shady  environment around that well.Inexplicably the water always very cool near a Kubuk tree.I have experienced many times.
But as an Architect I have suggested Kubuk tree planks on stair cases personally responsible for encouraging to cut them.Oh god I have sins forgive me....
                                      A Kubuk tree at Wilpattu national park.

But again such a good timber for a staircase,I don't see and substitute so far.

                                     A Kubuk tree stair case.

Nobody belongs that well,Everyday we passed the foot path about 500 M over someone else paddy fields or someone else back garden, There were no any fence or boundary well no one complains about trespassing their property.

The bathing well which is a rectangle shape and water always on the ground level or over flowing .It  is  not  a deep well,we just have to sit or bend and use a basket.Actually grand mother never let me to draw the water from the well.I was too small to handle that big galvanized  basket.I just on the floor and start counting.Hardly those days I can go beyond over 25. Actually that was my grandmother who thought me how to count up to 100.
Woman going for a bath  wearing the cloth.

As I told the difficult thing is not to draw the water from he well. Difficulty was to wear the long piece of clothe around the body and draw the water without falling the piece of cloth.,I haven' t seen even my mother in swimming suits. Bikinis or swimming suits did not wear  women in Sri  Lanka in this kind of village, what they do was wrapping a a piece of clothe around the body which covered  from cleavage to the knee,they never used any safety pins.I have very  unsuccessful stories  of  trying to wear this and draw water,most of Sri Lankan ladies were clever enough to handle both of it.

"Bathers" -painting by Ifthikar Cader.

Of course when get wet if we are  keen into details we can see most of voluptuous features of female body,But that time  no body seems to be interested on it.The other reason during  was the time women gather to have bath men were not in the vicinity.Men came in the evening,if not if ladies were having a bath men used to purposely avoid that time.
But there are  may be situations that bathing place was a some kind of meeting place to meet young people in the village.I was too small for that kind of observation,but i have seen in local tele dramas and movies. I don t think  is a bad idea at all.Seeing a you r beloved ones in a different way.
                                          This is a local tele-drama..

But within past time this has changed lot.There are no such village anymore.Even we came to Horana for our convenience.
But still I do visit my grand mother home though she is not there anymore,Delgaha Pokuna Still there,But the user and the environments has subjected to massive changes.
People does not allow walk through their back gardens,Even elderly women of the village do not feel safe to bath ,everybody is carrying mobiles phones and you will be in all social medias and get all terrifying comments.
Paddy fields  had used so much pesticides ,The water in the bathing well already has the smell of pesticides.
The younger generation of the village do not have any self disciplines.No body wanted  seeing  you r daughter or sister on a  web site with this costume,it s not like good old days.....
So without getting into unnecessary problems don' t  you think it is a good idea to have you r   own bathroom for safe side.

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