A Child’s Journey Through Time

St. Anthony’s College, Wattala:

Denzil Jayasinghe
2 min readFeb 15, 2024

The year was 1960, and I was just a little nipper starting out at St. Anthony’s College in Wattala. My grandma, Kadayamma, used to take me to school every day. She was my rock, always there for me, making sure I was safe and sound.

Back then, things were different. We didn’t have fancy school buses or air-conditioned cars. No, our ride to school was a bit more…rustic. We’d hop on a Bakki Karatthe, a kind of buggy cart with seats at the back, driven by a bull. The rider would sit in front, gently prodding the bull to go faster. It was an adventure, that’s for sure. But as Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) got more modern, we switched to public buses.

The bus ride was a four-stage saga. First, we’d walk from our house on Mudiyansegewatta Road to the seventh-mile post at Dalugama. Kadayamma would hold my hand tight, teaching me the important lesson of walking on the right side of the road (a habit that’s stuck with me all these years!). Then, we’d hop on bus 138 to Mahara, the fare a mere three cents for a child. At Mahara, we’d change to bus 261, which took us to Wattala. It was like a daily pilgrimage, with all the other mothers and grandmothers making the same journey with their little ones. Finally, we’d get off at Hunupitiya Junction, near the fertiliser factory, and walk the rest of the way to school along Averiwatta Road.

Kadayamma’s dedication was incredible. She’d stay at school the whole day, waiting for me to finish class. During breaks, we’d share our lunch packets, simple meals wrapped in love in a banana leaf. It wasn’t just about the food, though; it was about the connection, the quiet moments shared between a grandma and her grandchild.

Those early days at St. Anthony’s College were filled with innocence, adventure, and a whole lot of love. And it all started with the sacrifices of a kind-hearted woman named Kadayamma, who walked alongside me every step of the way.

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Denzil Jayasinghe

Lifelong learner, tech enthusiast, photographer, occasional artist, servant leader, avid reader, storyteller and more recently a budding writer