Distance from Delhi: 3,384 km
Time difference: None
Following up on our humble success with the Padosi Post series we kicked off with Kathmandu, let’s turn the lens from the mountains straight down into the sea and a teardrop-shaped island.
Much like our own South Indian backyard, Sri Lanka’s millennials have been doing exceptionally well as tech entrepreneurs. They’ve carved their own niche amongst the diaspora elsewhere, but at ground level there is a realisation of being post-war children and artistic subcultures that try to make amends. Here’s a cool page to get you started on what’s happening at the surface.
1. Arty Musings
We’re not even entirely sure where Kala Pola fits in; it takes inspiration from the open-air fairs of Europe but has a lot more going on artistically. Imagine over 300 artists and sculptors congregated in one fair ground.
Another event that does the Sri Lankan capital proud is the Colombo Art Biennale, which is a perfect time to discover the city through curated walks and the who’s who of the youngest Sri Lankan artists.
2. Musically Yours: Festival To Festival
Colombo has always liked its rock. Long before EDM arrived in the nightclubs, the city’s very first rock music festival was held in the 1970s. Some of the country’s best hard rock bands were formed in Colombo and the legacy still continues.
Festivals to watch out for include the annual heavy metal festival Maelstrom organised by the alternative Awn Radio, the Colombo Jazz Festival at Galle Face Hotel, and the Galle Music Festival is another that has wider appeal, and such a stellar line-up of diverse local musicians that you might even want to make a trip specially for it.
3. Literature: Spoken Out Loud
The city has a book fair worth reckoning; thousands show up at the annual Colombo International Book Fair. But what’s even more interesting is the spoken word scene.
Although relatively new, it has definitely picked up since a group called Colombo Poets started organising poetry slams. Poetry P’lau is another group that has regular meetups, and many of the poets who get up on stage have more restlessness and political awareness in their verse than your average millennial with a smartphone. These are the kind of grassroots level events that reveal more than the fancier Galle Literary Festival.
4. Getting Funny
You can’t take the jokes out. Nishant Ahmed, a 26-year-old copywriter who visited Colombo recently, came back impressed: “Sri Lankans are a hilarious lot. I remember getting sloshed at Rugby Club in Colombo Gymkhana and two of my Delhi friends tried getting aggressive with some locals. Instead of rightfully putting them back in place, those Colombo boys totally took the piss out of their Indian guests. And they did it so smartly we all hugged and parted ways in the night.”
Comedy is slowly but steadily beginning to go live across the city’s various coffee shops, and we look forward to some cool podcasts from these rising stars on the their side of the sea.