25 December 2009

24th Dec 2009

1615hrs : Some one else’s wishes
The lovers in the corner are cuddling and whispering. The lad has a shopping bag in rainbow stripes and “Paul Smith” stamped across it.

1645hrs : You better be nice
The pregnant lady in the front of the queue is getting edgy. 20 Mins in the line, in the cold and hazy evening and not a single taxi. An Italian in a leather coat asks her, at which end the queue starts .

She points , but the face tells another thing.

1715hrs: It’s not for the money
The old Chinese musician is playing Christmas tunes on the harmonica . There is a few two dollar coins in his hat. A worn out Bowler hat. A mother with her two boys pass him , she is humming the tune. The elder boy, blonde hair . blue eyes , keeps on looking back.

Did I hear somewhere that Jesus had blue eyes?

1745hrs : Brother John
In the jam packed tram , two brothers sit on the floor, reading “A Christmas carol” .

The elder boy seem to always give his brother a couple minutes more to finish reading the page , before he turns to the next.

1800hrs : To enter the house of our lord
A lady in knee high boots and leather pants, is trying to get the church gate opened , to drive her shiny black Mercedes in to the orchard.

1815hrs: Tuning up
Inside the old church , the church organist is practicing the notes .

She is a bit rusty . Her fingers and sneaker clad feet don’t seem to be following the music sheet as it ought to.
Yet there is something recognizable about the tunes climbing up the church walls.

She turns to us and wishes “A Merry Christmas”.

1900hrs : Home before midnight
On our return , D and I start playing a game on the phone. We are trying to unlock the red block .

In the opposite seat two sisters and their brother are playing charade . Cleary the boy is not very good at this game.

Their father looks on with a smile on his face . He has some flowers wrapped in a newspaper .

Every 31th Dec , I take my camera and go out in to the city. Click at what I see .And then try to weave a story , a haiku from what I 've got.

This time I tried it on 24th . But my camera failed me ...So had to do with my memory and words.

19 December 2009

Shot glasses & Coloured water

6 More days

Cheap plastic balls . Shiny .
Made in china
Recycled whatever - I'd rather not think.
Against plastic green .
Makes a good mimic.

What about pine smell , I hear you ask.
We've got it ...
Air freshener , almost the real thing .
Fragrance of real Alp pine , it says on the label

The gifts are hidden .
The red sprouts of the holidays
Christmas growing in the corner ,
lurking...Growing ...Waiting .
Not going to be snow
it is going to be a cold week
I heard

I guess it does not matter
Cause Christmas in your heart
At least supposed be

I am working the Christmas eve too. Well sometimes that is better that way . Makes you cherish the moments .

BTW . Do not forget our children whom we pledged, told our selves , now the mayhem is over it is going to be a brighter day. Who must be stroking the toys they got last year and asking Santa for their Fathers to come back .

17 December 2009


A friend asked for pseudo name for his blog identity.

He is a bit of a DIY guy , simply put , he enjoys drilling with his new electric drill. Plus he is a bit of a Casanova as well , who has his share of escapades involving ladies. And he is from the hill country , where the tea gardens cover the slopes like a green blanket.

The name that was suggested ….”Hilman” ,
embodying all his personality & character.

Thought I’ll share this with you…

13 December 2009

Borrowed Inspiration

Three cups of tea is all it takes
The first cup we share as strangers .
By the second cup we are friends
The third cup we share as family.
Three cups of tea is all that it takes.

Inspired by a lovely collection of photos by Alfeia labeled "Liquid Knowledge" and a prose from a back cover of a book, the name which I have forgotten.

28 November 2009

Amado mio

Featured in the film Gilda this song is preety old .

Came across this version by Pink Martini, and the tune has been stuck in my head for a whole week now.

Amado mio
Love me forever
And let forever begin tonight

Amado mio
When we're together
I'm in a dream world
Of sweet delight

Many times I've whispered
Amado mio
It was just a phrase
That I heard in plays
I was acting a part

But now when I whisper
Amado mio
Can't you tell I care
By the feeling there
'Cause it comes from my heart

Many times I've whispered
Amado mio
It was just a phrase
That I heard in plays
I was acting a part

But now when I whisper
Amado mio
Can't you tell I care
By the feeling there
'Cause it comes from my hear

Now click Play and sit back

An angel lost

Sometimes when you walk in the lanes you find the darnest of things .

A guardian angel that is what I think , she is. Bit overdressed , no doubt . But it was a Staurday night anyway . And I heard Disco is raising it's head again anyway.

I guess everybody needs an angel . Even city folks.


The Unclock

The laughter ceased, while he put up a solemn face. The crowd realized that this was no joke. He was dead serious.

His eyes shone in the radiance of the oil lamps, on this chilly autumn night. He was a watch maker. A very good one at that .The watchmaker commissioned to build the clock to be put up at the new railway station . The year was 1919 , the war has just ended. And here he was standing , facing men in long coats and ladies in hats. For the laughter to die away . Before . Before he could speak.

To explain the reason for hilarity and the reasons for it’s casualty , let me go back a couple moments and explain how it happened.

The laughter arose because of a particular anomaly of the machine of gears and coils , it self . While the coils unwound and released time, unlike anything the people has ever seen the hands were marking the elapse anti clockwise. ( Which made this an anti clock , I guess.)

First they thought it was a mistake and were amused by the this pradicament . This triggered the murmur and leading to a roar of laughter. They could not believe he has made this crucial error and now how his 15 minutes of due fame is going to be drowned in shame.

But then he spoke

“I built it that way” he said . “I want the time to go back , for the wounds of the war to be disappeared . Wives to have the husbands they lost. And Children to have their fathers come home “ He paused .

He was listening to his heart beating. The crowd listen to it too.

“I want the days to go back and undo the cruelties; I want my son to come back”

Suddenly the clouds of absurdity parted and it all began to make sense .

So now you know how it happened .

Those of you , who has watched the movie of Mr Benjamine Button , knows this scene .

But I am trying to draw your attention to the notion.

We have lived in fear for 30 years , buried our sons and wept at funerals after bomb blasts .

While looking at the things happening in the Serendib during last fortnight , I can not help but to wonder in my politically naïve mind, whether we too are going back to the point where it all began ?

You tell me.

21 November 2009

Pink Martini .....Stirred.

8. Am. Pink martini doing wonders, through the headphones.

It is warm inside the tube. Contrast to the chill of the morning.

The guy next to you becoming a bit restless . Struggling. And seems to be set to set a world record as the most annoying passenger. Now he is talking to himself . You think of ways to rid him of his life. 101 ways to be exact.

Back to martini . Hang on little tomato she sings. Your lips curl up. You smile. This is not the way Mr Bond likes it.

Stirred. Smooth.

Now she whispers in French. You are happy and blushing . You can hear the grass growing.

I know.

During the trumpet interlude you close your eyes and picture her slowly moving to the tune. Her satin dress sketching her silhouette . Sharp lines fade in to smooth fluid pastel smudges. (Almost)… thoughts. She calls “Hey Eugene”. Eugene? Who the hell..

“Pinesa En mi” , Think about me ,she says .

You smile again. I understand . I am you.

14 November 2009

In the shade of the Siyambala trees

Standing separately, yet out of one’s view , coupled at the top. Like secret lovers holding hands away from prying eyes. There were two Siyambala trees in our school backyard.

The more mature branches holding each other with a devoted grip while the newer sprouts can only manage a gentle feel. Like the lovers’ finger tips touching each other tenderly.

Apologies , I am digressing.

At a time when Chaminda was still a fashionable name.( And there were couple them in any given class) , we played in the shade, climbed the trees and hid in leafy branches. Threw branches, bricks , pieces of broken furniture at the Siyambala fruit. (If you can call it a fruit.). Siva picked up the fallen from my throw and I have runaway with drop from his throw.

We shared our lives & dreams, listened to some one’s hypothesis about women, collectively counseled another on what should be his next stride towards approaching the girl that he fancy, scrutinized yesterday’s match (be it with the willow bat or the oval ball), shared one lunch packet and filled our bellies from the tap. All in the shade of the Siyambala duo. These memories run through my fibers like the roots.

What is it that makes us bound to these time lines . What makes these experiences leave that distinct aftertaste in our minds ?

I beg to differ from the clichéd notion of good times and good memories.

I wonder , whether it is because life seemed like a one big exploit at that time. Or is it that we remember how off beam we were on many things. Or is it like somebody just avowed , there is actually a time warp amid those trees and once you get caught , you travel back and forth through the line (or waves or whatever it is as per your belief) of time , yet you can never come free.

Reading this , if you know them trees , if you have sung " we would learn of books and men and learn to play the games", before me or after. Would love to hear of your Siyambala tree memories too.

To Blah or Not to blah

No more than six months since the whole nation went on spree of feeding kiribath to soldiers. Now as a nation we are trying to bury their general., one way or the other .

May be as every bride is pretty, every baby is adorable, every hero should be dead too. May be that is what we are really good at , burying our heroes and then glorifying them afterwards.

Couple days back a young lady scribbled , politics to her has been a bunch of drunken men trying to solve all the problems over plate of devil chicken and a few rounds, but they never get a chance because their better halves will always disturb them to leave the party. That infact is actually the predicament . For most of us politics is a “bite” to go well with Mr Walker’s brew, Or Mr Mendis’s brew . Where as politics should be a part of and concern of us all.

Then somebody else wrote killing is wrong .Well yes , if you trying to shoot me , that’s wrong. But about a suicide bomber being shot before he explodes and kills many. Where does that fall in …Lines get blurred don’t they.

War is wrong, well yes . But Wars have been there from the beginning , and don’t forget that most wars were fought to spread an ideology or a religion which one group thought to be the gospel and worth spreading.

This is where , I go back to practicing what De bono says and pause for a response

06 November 2009

Komalee misses the check-points

Komalee used to hang around with the men in uniforms. They seemed to be sympathetic towards her. They shared their lunch packet (Army issue) and she slept in their tent. But most of the time she sat with them at the checkpoint and longed . Longed without , knowing exactly what they were longing for.

Before you get any wrong ideas, let me tell you that Komalee was a bitch . I mean it in the real sense . A female dog. She was dirty brown and white , with heartbreaking dog eyes . You know the kind , a typical street dog. A pure bred valsashen. Her hip joint was dislocated during litter . This made her walk slow and in a peculiar manner , which seemed to resemble a girls stride with a Kalaya (a clay container to carry water) on the hip. A lonesome soldier missing his sweetheart back in his village would have pinned the name Komalee. And the named stayed on.

There was a routine to life at the check point, she remembers . At day break a young man in faded green uniform with his T56 hung on his back used to take a hold of a eckel broom and sweep the leaves and yellow blooms the Asala tree has shredded and collected it to a pile . She liked to watch the lined designs he drew on the sand . And how they disappeared underneath the heavy boot prints during the day.

She watched them , when they unfold the Chithra Katha papers from their pockets and read . How they discretely wiped the welling tears from the their eyes , after reading the perfect round lettered words off the torn out exercise book pages .Letters from home.

She noticed how they attempt to lower their voices and sound solemn when they checked the identity cards of the girls in white school uniforms . At other times how helpless they appear , when they concentrate on the ID card given to them through half lowered dark shutters of a big car. How they seem misplaced, just before they set up straight and say “ Tank you sir”.

There were regular visitors to the checkpoint too. There was the Bread man , Paan uncle , who used to sell buns , bread and other stuff from a box tied behind his bicycle. He came at dusk and gave Kimbula Banis free. Most days somebody would throw a half of Kimbula at Komalee too. Which she would chew to sunset.

Martin uncle , came for his mid day chat . He would ask “kohomada yudde, Api dinanawa neda ?’ (How is the war going, are we winning? ). And never waited for the response. Nayana , in her midlife, was a domestic aide from a nearby mansion. Who’s childhood dream was to marry a man in a uniform. Youth long gone , yet the dream residing in a dark nook of her mind , unrealized . Making her act a bit flirty and make her blush , every time she passes checkpoint.

All that , is a faded reminiscence today .

All that began to change after that day that lot of fire crackers were lit. Somebody stuck a lion flag on Takarang sheet roof and people brought Kiribath and Kavum to the checkpoint.
Martin, Nayana , Nayana’s master & mistress all came .

They said it wasn’t possible without the soldiers and the whole country was thankful to them . This made Komalee feel the pride , for she was part of the platoon. “Now that everything is settled , we would look after you, we won’t forget you” they said . Komalee, like the men in green , believed it , yet wondered whether men of war are remembered, when war is no more.

Then everything began to change . The checkpoint was dissembled . The soldiers marched as usual to their camp and never came back. No more Kimbula buns or SLA issue lunch packets. Peace was having it’s run.

The check points , war and the terror mentality was a part Sri Lankan life for years , if not generations. I can only imagine what it was in war-torn Wanni and forgotten border villages , but I can not forget what it was like in my little world. Where one get conditioned to the uncertainty and the military become part of your life. Where qualm justified intolerance and narrow mindness. And as time goes by we forgot how to accept diversity, accommodate and basically make peace . I opine that there was whole socio structure based on the existence of war , it seeped in to basic fibers of our values & habits . And now that war is no more, it leaves a gap. We as individuals, groups and a country will have to find a way to fill that gap and alter it to a constructive force.

As for Komalee , she just sits on the road looking at a forgotten green plastic gunny bag filled with sand.

02 November 2009

Goldpeace green and simpler days

Don’t get me wrong. I am not an old pelican. Though I sometimes feel like one .

Ofcourse residing hairline , compensated by the numbers in my cholesterol level will reveal exactly where I am on the timeline. Let’s say “Not as young as I used to be “.

In another lifetime, when my pocket money of two rupees was spent on a plastic soldier or a sticker of “Bruised Lee” from the guy who sold them in the morning at the school gate. And Mango Achcharu from the Achchige Kade or the bright colored ice cream from the drab colored ice cream cart. I have memories of a much simpler life.

(Yet these were not the good old times, I was told . Good old times was when a month’s provisions could be bought for 1 rupee and 2 rupees were not a single coin .). Good old times were when every thing was perfect . Wise owls say there was such a time .

These were the eighties and we were in the middle of it.

The pope was shot, Michael Jackson reined high , And pop stars sang “we are the world”, four Mutant Turtles and a rat became famous over night, Iraq and Iran made war and then peace, The prince with a big nose married miss Spencer . But whatever that was happening out in the world was all in drab shade of grey to us, especially through the 12 inch black and white TV screen.. Yes there was tiger trouble , that was in Jaffna . Life in Gampaha , Maharagama , Nugegoda , Piliyandala was as usual. The Morris Minors were still the cabs and bullock carts filled with Cadjans were parked in the heart of Nugegoda town.

In the pre teens that we were , ofcourse we knew about war . That is what we played with our plastic soldiers ,( made in hong kong). That was after we finished the Pare cricket match with the rubber ball .

A Sunday at Gallpeace (Gallface green) was always a pleasant trip. The 40mins bus ride felt lot longer and the green it self felt as if it covered a good part of the western coast . Cut Pineapple were sold from basins, Kadale & Rata Kadju in paper cones .Men who had their Sarongs raised to their knees sold Issowade from cardboard boxes and Alarics ice cream van sold Icy choks. Young couples would lean on the old cannons and watch the sunset . This was before check points , Nana’s and coca cola stands.

Children from Anuradhapura, Dikwella & Batticloa , would end their educational trips to Colombo at the Gallpeace (sic). Dark figures in white school uniforms would dot the beach at dusk, washing the metro dust off their feet while an hawk eyed teacher would stay guard with her sari raised a couple of inches to avoid the playful waves . They would smile and exchange addresses and promise to write letters and some end up pen friends for life.

Such were the days. Simpler days , simpler rules.

Why this flashback is because , somebody reminded me of Pineapple and Kadale in a paper cone ,today.

I wonder whether we could go back to those times , now that we could focuss on reconciliation.

But then again for reconciliation , 1977, 1983 , 10 years ago , yesterday would have been perfect too.

26 October 2009


Jaded .
Needing to uncoil

I swung open the door

To see

dimness inside

taste the lazy air

juke box playing

James Dean’s voice

up the walls, it crawls

to the ceiling

Ordered a drink

saw her wink

(oh my

Should I?)

I talked
She smiled
we drank

I sobbed
she watched

seemed concerned

(gazed right in to my eyes)

I spilt the remaining in the glass

Oh @%$#

(pardon my French)

she talked
I lied

She lied
the bartender smiled

We danced

the music died

(Time, spoils it every time)

Au revoir

have a nice


Feel chilly shadows


M’mm , what a nice …………


17 October 2009

Planning to relax

It was an interesting read.10 things to be done within this year or so . You know the kind of things that get included in these lists . Take a train ride , Watch a good movie etc . Now I guess the idea here is to relax , take life lightly and , enjoy the trod . But when you start planning to relax . Planning to relax? .


That takes the whole wind off the balloon doesn’t it. Anyways, as they say , if I were to ride the flow, Here goes my list

1 Sit down , with my better half and just listen to jazz – just listen
2 Read a good Sinhala book (Thinking of Ata Massa)
3 Start working out , not for reducing weight or looking better but to enjoy .
4 Cook something, and get Jiggy with it.
5 Start redoing the forgotten manuscript , cross the T’s and dot the I’s
6 Read a good self help book (thinking of developing a beautiful mind)
7 Do that much planned , yet many times postponed hike

14 October 2009

Good life

Been pondering much this week about what I perceive as a good life . Am I living one or what is it that I am missing.?

What in general will consist of a good life ?

It is a cliché’ that even at your worst moment you are living somebody else’s dream. This post is not about that. It is about how a simple change in viewing angle makes you realize you are living your dreams. So here goes . Three tales that I stumbled upon , during last week.

They do not rush it, in Venice:

He gets in early yet not too early.0930 is considered early in this city of Islands. He catches breakfast on his way to market, where the fishermen have lined up their early morning catch . (Get in early and get the good stuff). From Sardines for the Sarde in Saor to the Scallop for the Tagliatte and Prawns for the AntiPasta. (That should do for the days menu) . Pre planning the menu this way takes away the stress at the Rialto fish market and allows you to enjoy the breakfast, he has realized. Afterwards till a little before noon he will stroll the labyrinth of narrow lanes. Rushing is for the tourists who having paid half their savings on a package tour , have to sprint from one old church to another.

He will eavesdrops on the fruit vendor’s critics of the aspiring Irish painter’s latest work (the young man has decided to live in an old building in Venice , painting people . Trying his best to trace the shadows drawn by the light creeping through the old stone window.) " you follow the sun too much" the vendor is saying.

Today being Tuesday . The first day of the week , after the two and half day weekend, there’s much to be done at the restaurant he runs. The place is a simple set up . Simple dishes. (Perfected through generations , when you have something good , stick with it. again for generations. ) . Unlimited wino from an unknown vineyard. ( No labels, straight from the jug). Eat as your heart yearns and pay as you can afford. If it could work anywhere in the world , it is here .

It would be some time before he could take a break for a spot of lunch. He has to clean the fish , and let the onions succumb naturally in the simmering pot, first.

Lunch would be at the usual place , pasta and wino with the usual crowd. May be an odd tourist would join in. One of those arty types . They are interesting. And it would be a slow affair for sure.

What the German lady in the funny hat said, suddenly crosses his mind

" diz , vun would conzider a gut life"

Living a dream in NY:

Mark lives in NY and consider his life to be opportune. He is living his and many other’s dream . He spends his day in the pent houses of poshest of addresses in town and the most exclusive hotel suites in the company of young damsels from some south american country. Whilst he indulge in his pleasures on the soft lamb skin sofas and the king sized beds , he can not help but to pause, to enjoy the view from the large bay windows of the city below.

Mark is unemployed . What he has done is just questioning the natural order and going for what is important. Rather than go through the earn – collect- buy- enjoy cycle, he has decided to go for the last step. He just targets the cleaning maids who gets in to the hotel suites and apartments to clean while the highflying executives and businessmen and women, are out there earning their worth. He gets close to them, close enough for them to sneak this well dressed gentleman in to the luxury suites they are cleaning for a pause in their daily grind and to hop to a different beat.

Mark our man , without a penny in his hand, spends most of his time in a luxury bachelor pad ,for which someone out there pays a fortune , just so he/ she can turn in for the night.

At least for now mark’s plan is working.

Life’s a beach.

Reaching for the stars , One dosai at a time

There is a familiar sight in an unfamiliar location, I hear .

A dossai cart in Manhattan.

Thiru came to US from Sri Lanka after winning the green card lottery . And after few other jobs, today he sells Dossai’s , yes my friends, in Washington park.

He get’s up at 05 a .m makes the batter , loads the cart on to his chevy and drives to the spot where he sells Dossai & “Watah for dollah” the whole day. Day after day he does it.

There is a sparkle in his eyes and pride in his tone when he talks about his daughter, who started freshman year at Columbia University this month.

"Hard work – It pays off," he says.

Now for the closing.
I invite you to put these in to your own knowledge , belief & moral framework and muse over …

What makes a good life?

I hear somebody saying it is achieving your dreams , but then dreams evolve and you move on from one dream to the other , yearning for the ones ahead .

Is it only a change of perception …

What say you,? Would love to know

10 October 2009

Grey is the colour

It flows from your eyes
The sad grey

In to the streets
Of the polis
peering through my marrow
through my veins

is not a shade natural
Like scarlet , azure or flame
found not
in blooms
Nor in the sky
nor in sea

Only found in cities
where luminosity of fluorescent flicker
blend in to make


the colour
of my baby's gaze

Like the reality
neither Black nor white

PS: With thanks to the middle aged drummer who inspired with his concept of grey .

Thursday night out

A night where shadow walks faster than you.
Old friends new lives . and new wives.
Sharing new stories and the old stories . with Pinot Noir to wash it all down .
How some things are all but changed , other not at all.
You know what I mean

20 September 2009

Such an angel

I used to wander
where you lived
May be in the heavens
only the Gods knew
Iused to wander
how you slept
curled up or otherwise
My imaginationwas
wild and free
you moved in with me.

PS: This is supposed to be a guardian angel. Care for it , look after it and believe in her and she will protect you ..the tiny piece of paper says . Hmm...

Lavinia sunset

In the milieu of rust

Beyond the hulk

Of the pirate ship

Of an nameless captain

I avow

you could see

Her silhouette

that brought a soldier to his knees

in shades magenta & mysteriourple

dance like a bare flame in

gentle breeze

on a monsoon night

to poignant gypsy tunes


On damp sand

Where boys strip their wet clothes

and walk like giants

'fore plunging in to the sea

And let their predicaments sink to the

gloomy depths

I swear

there are foot prints , larger

Of a man of war

Long bygone




12 September 2009


In a blue iota
In dark dark cosmos
Beyond the rings of Saturn
Beyond the rummaging dust storms of the red mars
With all my loved ones and the hated
among 6 billion souls
Within this azure speck
I live With my gigantic troubles

11 September 2009

Love is................

Sticking to the same routine every morning
Kiss on cheek , “god bless you”,
“have a nice day"
“I will”
Like a prayer…..

She smiling, when I say I need a goodnight kiss, lest I would not fall asleep tonight. And having the doubt whether she still believes me.

Saying a silent prayer in a language that neither of us understand, so that she would not have nightmares.

06 September 2009

Waiting for Starfish

Camera ready .

Lenses cleaned.

Backdrop decided and ready.

Lighting arranged.

Looked in the usual places, for weeks .

Mui wo where the dry fish , hang in their pungent smell

Alley called Tung choi, where gold fish

Glass fish with their veins filled with Indian ink

Held confined in plastic bags

Yet it seems star fish are

Out of season.

22 August 2009

Sun and the moon are twins

Two separate adaptations from two different sources . First is a song by Paolo Nutini , from his album "Sunny side up". The song is called "Coming up easy" .Second one being a lovely , subtle yet edgy book by Jeanne Twaites, It's a sunny day on the moon . These two have first stayed in my mind , as an after taste a short story leaves and a haunting tune . Then they have stayed in my drawer as a Skelton script for a post on a neatly folded piece of paper.


Sunday morning, got the hazy, hazy janes

I turn to you and inhale you where you lay

Take a wander and wait for the long long day

We watch the sun coming up easy

While rain came tumbling down

And it washed the our bodies clean

That we would seem to rise off of the cold ground

It's a shame the way it seems to go


"You are dying"

The doctor tells me .

"are you sure? Because I don't feel any pain" that is all I can manage

"That is good" He tells me. He is smiling .

"Enough about that , let's talk about something else" he tells me


And I can almost feel the elephant moving in about the room .

"you know at times like this , it is better to tie up one's affairs, that's what my aunt did"

"you know , my aunt is dying" he breaks the silence.

His aunt. ?




01 August 2009

The Geographer- where the two streets meet


The old Jonker street and the stretch of new pubs , clubs and water holes meet each other at the Geographer. Table and stools lined up the streets . Hefty Germans, French mademoiselles , and tiny Chinese girls all perched up the tall stools . Frankly, felt the character of the building and the vibrant jonker of the street was the main attraction .