Salad Days at St Benedict's College

Wednesday, May 17, 2006


17 May 2006

A member of the "Team", The Platypus (aka MG), has delved into his memory bank and retrieved some recollections of 'Ja-Mudukkuwa' in response to the enquiry by 'bultoe' about the origins of the name. Here it is:-

'Ja - Mudukkuwa' was the narrow little lane that was 'no-mans land' and ran between the walls of the Good Shepherd Convent and the backs of the houses of the residents of that 'famous' part of Kotahena. It was called Ja-Mudukkuwa by local residents and others who frequented this part of Kotahena because in years past the people who lived in the houses that backed on to the strip of land were predominantly of Malay ancestry; and the Sinhalese word for Malay was 'Ja' .

The lane was 'infamous' as the rendezvous for young school going lovers of varying orientations and also the arena where 'scores' were settled by fisticuffs between warring schoolboys both individually and in 'gangs'.

The `Mudukkuwa' was also the `escape' or secret route that truant schoolboys, and perhaps schoolgirls, took when they `cut' classes to scaraper to the cinema, another rendezvous or other secret assignation. It was also a place where an unsuspecting person was likely to get 'mugged' and relieved of their trinkets and possessions if they wandered alone through that deadly strip of no-man's land.

I was present at the 'Mudukkuwa' when Renton Batcho (he of the "Ballad of Welikada Gaol" fame) spectacularly knocked the daylights of one of his opponents and also when one of the Melder boys fought a great fight against two or three 'thugs'.

The Melder and the Batcho clans lived off Wasala Road, that other unforgettable access way which wound a path from its intersection with Kotahena Street at the top to it's tail that linked up with Pansala Road and it's right fork that slid down to meet Blomendahl Road.
- The Platypus


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