iSurprise Atheeq Ifthikar

CEO of Ceylon Soul, experience creator and photographer

Who I am today has a lot to do with the Fort. It has moulded me in every way, it has been my university. It’s where I’ve learnt everything.
— Atheeq Ifthikar

Fort philosophies

Who I am today has a lot to do with the Fort. It has moulded me in every way: the languages I speak, the philosophies I have in my head, those I have met. The philosophy of the place includes oneness, unity, togetherness, sharing and caring. The Fort is rich in every way. You have safety and really good food. The meal that reminds me most of the Fort is ghee rice, breadfruit curry, fried beef and salad. My introduction to chutney came from one of my aunties who lived in Leyn Baan street. She makes phenomenal chutney from dates, mangoes and limes.

Sharing the Fort’s soul

For about ten years, I have given walking tours of the Fort. I have met film stars, criminal lawyers, royalty, business people, broad and narrow-minded people, those of different sexualities and statuses. I don’t know all the precise details about every building but I know about the community. What we have in common is humanity and a way of life. I value this place so much and really treasure it. I could be doing other things but I stick to being here. I am living in paradise. Everything I have started in my life has taken off from here including my interest in travel and photography.

Time to talk

By mingling with other people and also living in Colombo and Singapore I have learnt a lot, but this is where I have learnt the most. Just observing how people interact is interesting. If you see someone you know, you always stop and say hi. A route which would normally take 30 seconds, takes 5 minutes in the Fort because people always stop to speak to you. That is so different to just ignoring or tooting your horn. Here nobody will just pass by without stopping.

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