The words ‘Bambalapitiya flats’, or ‘flatters’ for a Sri Lankan who was aged
between six and sixteen in the 1950s and 1960s and for their parents - where ever they are on this planet today - will conjure up a wellspring of emotions, memories and stories.
This experience is made ever so poignant because, nearly every family barring a
few from that era, have migrated to the far corners of the world.
‘The flats’ as it is affectionately referred to by this far flung diaspora,
brought together some 250 families, about 1,200 people, occupying 15 ‘blocks’ of flats, into a human experience that is etched into the DNA of every ‘flatter’.
Every religion, race, language, creed and colour mingled to form a crucible of
human interaction, where almost everyone knew each other by their first name.
Only the ‘flatters’ know the remarkable power of a community that is bonded
together in the celebration of life, in a cacophony of unspoilt fun and laughter. The first thing ‘flatters’ do when they meet, is to burst out into spontaneous laughter!
Cricket matches, badminton tournaments, film-shows, police and robbers, camps,
sea-baths, diving, spear-fishing, kite competitions, ‘rugger’, football – all this and more was the stage and we, an amazing close knit community, were the star players.
Following several landmark ‘flatters’ gatherings in Melbourne, Australia, the
bambalapitiyaflats.com web site, is an attempt to re-ignite the spirit of the flatters.
In so doing we affirm, no matter where we are, that we as Sinhalese, Tamils,
Muslims and Burghers, are but one people, fortunate to have been born on an Island of exquisite beauty and charm. May we and the next generation visit this site and capture the dreams of a Sri Lanka
of yesterday and a new Sri Lanka of tomorrow.