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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2374

Lanka’s legendary doorman

By S.H.Moulana -Riyadh

I wrote the above captioned article in reference to a feature article published in the Saudi daily, ‘Saudi Gazette’, of 10 February 2010, which was also reproduced in ‘The Island’ on 1 March 2010.

It was about one who was serving one of Sri Lanka’s oldest hotels, in Colombo, Galle Face Hotel. It brought forth for me an unforgettable childhood memory.

Kuttan has mentioned in his interview then about serving the late Jawahar Lal Nehru, the first prime-minister of independent India and his daughter, the late Indira Gandhi, when he was a waiter on Nehru’s visit to Sri Lanka. I very well remember attending this function in my school uniform with one of my late uncles.

Although I didn’t have a clue about Kuttan then, I was fortunate enough to be seated close to that great personality, Nehru. Young Indira, his daughter, was his private secretary then and was seated next to him. This was the first and the last visit of Nehru to Sri Lanka.

The feature article said that Kuttan has celebrated his 90th birthday in January 2010 (I wish that he is still living and working) and he has not thought of any retirement yet. Let him be a role model for all those who want to keep fit and show commitment towards their jobs.

I also thanked, in my article, the management of Galle Face Hotel for appreciating his loyalty and keeping him in the service that Kuttan sincerely loves. We wish to see him scoring a century and more. I learnt that Kuttan migrated to Ceylon when he was just 20 years of age by ‘kalla thoni’ as it was known then and chopped firewood for a firewood seller, for a meager daily wage.

He ventured to make it to the capital, Colombo, when he turned 22. Gall Face Hotel, the premier hotel then, grabbed this hard working young man without any hesitation and worked in various positions until he became the senior doorman.

When I posted the clipping of my article in response to the feature published in Saudi Gazette to the Vice President of the Leisure Division & General Manager, of Galle Face Hotel, Chandra Mohotti, I received the following response – dated 5 March 2010 - from him;

‘Please accept my sincere thanks for the kind sentiments in your letter dated 22nd February 2010 concerning the 90th Birthday of Mr. Chattu Kuttan. I have forwarded your letter to Mr. C.Kuttan and he is looking forward to meeting you on your next visit to Sri Lanka.’

My apologies to Kuttan and his boss for not making it when I was in Sri Lanka last, since I was having a very busy schedule back home. I wish that Kuttan is still in the service so that I will not miss him this time, at any cost! May God bless him good health and long life!

- Asian Tribune -

 Chattu Kuttan -  legendary doorman
diconary view
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