I was born in London, but my ancestry is Sri Lankan. My mother’s parents came from a village called Uduvil in the northern Jaffna Peninsula. My father’s parents were from Urapola, a village a third of the way between the capital Colombo and the hill capital of Mahanuwara. The British called Mahanuwara “Kandy”, taken from the Singhala word for mountains – kande – and I lived there as a child, attending Trinity College, a boy’s school established by the Anglican Church in 1872. Unfortunately I was not taught any Tamil and very little Singhala as a child – just enough to pass my O’levels studying Singhala as a second language.