Brunch

Colombo Confessions: Colombo 7 and The New Rich

Colombo Confessions is all about having a laugh. I’ve had the misfortune of associating with a wide cross section of Colombo denizens. This column is a look at the lighter side of Lankans in the capital of Sri Lanka. 

 

Aunty, here’s a fact during the current decade, thanks to Sri Lanka’s borders opening up, and the lower middle class travelling abroad to find great-paying jobs, the quality factor for many have improved. But this is not all. Many aspiring individuals managed to start a business, earn millions, and (shock of all shocks) buy a Mercedes. Throwing fantastic parties at the best of Colombo’s hotels annually became a regular practice. Good for them. Yet, there’s a sense of discontent sneaking in the shadows, isn’t there, aunty?

With a cigarette or martini in hand, aunty dons sumptuous getups and doles out lacerating jabs. Who am I talking about, dear reader? Our Colombo 7 glitterati that’s who! Armed to the tip of their noses with botox, these classy viragos launch shrieks of envy – how dare anyone else buy a Mercedes! How dare they dine at Hilton! Who gave them permission to buy Gucci? Bloody godacious peasants!

Many a socialite from this location slips on an eloquent British accent and plays period dress up. Aunty, even the evil Brits have moved on to become more inclusive and generous. But you are stuck in an era that has made you cloyingly entitled with the concept of hard work escaping your skewed reality. But, dear reader, what can we expect from a high society debutante from the 1950s whose family revelled in the classism of an era that they are trying so hard to hold on to?

Black Label is the drink of choice, while aunty makes a grievous assumption that no one else can (or should) afford a drink of such fine calibre. Newsflash aunty! The bourgeoisie have moved onto single malts and Gold Label. People actually earn money now, aunty dearest; and, they can bloody well afford all the luxuries they desire. Colombo 7 you may be, but the economy runs on money and favours those who spend. How else is a country to flourish? But this axiom is something you missed when Daddy dearest wanted you to learn home science and the art of crocheting as opposed to economics and biology. There’s nothing high society about wanting to see everyone at a lesser stage economically. 

Aunty, you know in your heart of hearts how despicable it is that you cherish being a mascot of yesteryear while looking down on those individuals who are trying to put food on the table by driving an Uber or a PickMe. Forgive them for missing the lottery of being born with a silver spoon. I could go on and on, but I tire and desire to drown my own elitist sorrows in a mug of Harischandra coffee with a shot of Hennessy brandy.
Next week, let’s talk about your daughter and her marriage, aunty. It’s not her fault, your see. It’s actually yours and your desire to live through her. Actually, I hope to capture the conceited nature of your high-class society’s obsession with marriage, which usually ends with tears and tantrums from both sides.

Aunty, until then, sip on that chamomile tea, jump into bed with a hot water bottle to keep you warm, and consider the reality of life, which is in a state of constant change.

 

(The writer is a blogger and content marketer from Colombo, Sri Lanka. He used to be an editor at a lifestyle magazine, and now works in the IT industry)