Pettah along with the rest of the city is under metamorphosis – it has come a long, long way from its archaic market style (especially the rather urbane Main Street), but if you look carefully, you'll still see remnants of its old days, when the shops were smaller and the sign boards were painted by hand.
Most of Pettah looks like this now, like a whole bunch of flashy mall stores cramped into a small space.
But suddenly smack in the middle of all of it, you get relics that have refused to go away – peeling brick walls, old roof tiles and brightly coloured windows. How much of these will remain once urban planning is through with Colombo?
We walked around looking for a few shops that are yet to change, and managed to photograph a few sign boards from a bygone Pettah before mass printing became so popular and shop owners invested in a bucket of paint and a very skilled hand instead.
Even the lettering on the railway station and cargo trucks in Pettah are from a time before print. There's an undeniable charm to this old style of print – good old nostalgia perhaps? Or maybe it's just the novelty of hand-craft, a simple reminder of a pre-machine old world, in a Colombo that is slowly moving into a new era of mass production and slick urbanity.