Siriyalatha wanted Silibiris to deposit the gift from the Englishman in Bank of Ceylon. Silibiris had other ideas. He bought his very own bicycle, a brand new Roadmaster which made him the envy of his gang. He went up a notch or two in the eyes of the village lasses.
Silibiris could not refuse Chandare’s demands. Chandare commandeered the Roadmaster as and when he pleased. That didn’t bother Silibiris too much as Chandare went out of their village into Bulankulam or even further to bring beedi and the latest vice, a pot of Raa hidden in a straw bag hanging precariously on the bicycle handle bar.
Kaluwa brought a string or fish caught from the weva and made a fish fry. The boys had graduated from smoking beedi to drinking Raa hiding in the bushes by the weva. The pot of Raa was shared by many boys so it was enough for them to get drunk. However, they had to get rid of the tell-tale sign of the smell. Tillake stole his grandmother s beetles and the rest of aduma kuduma for the boys to chew on before going home.
Their collective income from selling wild fruits or fish from the weva was soon enough to buy more than one pot of Raa and have them delivered by the Tamil speaking Kochchiya to a pre-arranged spot in the jungle. The boys began to drink more than their young bodies could handle. Before too long most of them got drunk to a point they could not go home and slept the night fallen on the ground here and there.
The parents were alarmed when the boys did not come home. The villagers looked for tem all over the village without success. Podda who did not like the taste of Raa had however gone home. He was too scared to tell his father that he knew where the boys were. He kept his mouth shut while the parents were worried sick. The villagers did find the boys eventually and carried them home.
Silibiris was given a sound beating by Haramanis and grounded. The Roadmaster was chained to a post in the veranda for weeks. Kochchiya was threatened by Ambarawa Villagers never to set foot in their village. Silibiris was not allowed out of the house unless to go to school or to the temple. He was bored. He practised his Engris on the animals with greater vigour.
This turned out to be a blessing in disguise. The Englishmen sent their friends to visit Ambarawa and the surrounding area. They came looking for Silibiris to guide them around. He somehow managed to communicate with the Englishmen. They were very kind to him and taught him more English along the way. Silibiris’ English Vocabulary grew rapidly as a result.
Silibiris became an accidental tourist guide at the age of 14. He preferred the tour guiding to attending school. Siriyalatha could not convince him to attend school instead of gallivanting with the foreigners. Haramanis thought what the heck, the boy is getting plenty of tips so why not.
Silibiris even outsourced some of the tourists to Chandare and the gang especially if the foreigners were keen to go into the jungle. Chandare and the boys became adept at using sign language to somehow communicate instructions.
Silibiris nearly failed all grade 8 subjects except English and Buddhism. The principal took the boys liking to learn English to account and pushed him through Grade 8 with a stern warning to Silibiris that he must pull up his socks and study hard for GCE O/L or he would be kicked out of school.