[APPRECIATIONS - (20-08-2018)] | Daily News


[APPRECIATIONS - (20-08-2018)]

Yasa Nanayakkara

Pillar of strength

It is with profound grief that I pen this appreciation on my beloved wife who was a pillar of strength to me. I fell in love with her when we were classmates and our bond continued unabated until we tied the nuptial knot on June 26, 1961.

She was a trained teacher. Immediately after our marriage, she was transferred to Royal College, Colombo, with effect from July 1, 1961. She continued therein and retired in 1991. I was a Management Assistant in the Education Department Head Office at Slave Island back then.

She was keen on tantalising my taste buds with her unsurpassed culinary prowess. I was also thrilled to bits with her mellifluous tete-a-tete.

Yasa was well-known for her generosity, warmth, graciousness, hospitality and wonderful smile. She was particularly mindful of the downtrodden and went all out to help them. It could be said that her left hand did not know what her right hand gave.

I have two children: a son and a daughter. Both of them are Australian citizens. Our son Gaya arrived when she was bedridden. He was chanting pirith when she breathed her last on July 25. My daughter arrived the same day and the funeral took place the following day. There was not a single moment when there were no visitors who came to pay their last respects to her. Her obituary notice appeared in the Daily News and the Lankadeepa on July 26, 2018.

I had the joy and privilege of being married to Yasa for almost 58 years. She was born on October 10, 1933. Together, we shared life's pleasures. Although my words cannot express how much I miss her everyday, I thought of sharing my life with everyone.

She was an adorable mother to her two children. I was very particular about a small family, which I could afford with my earnings. I have five grandchildren living in Australia. The eldest grandson, whom she loved very much, came down to pay his last respects as she was a doting grandmother. Yasa was devoted to her family and was the linchpin and rock of the family.

It was her greatest pleasure to contact her dear friends in Colombo. There were several of them. Nayana who was a dear and near friend, used to telephone her regarding bana preachings telecasted on Peo TV. Some of her friends and pupils arrived in Matara from Colombo, to pay their last respects to her.

My sweet darling Yasa, the indelible impressions that you have left in my heart are as vivid as ever. I pray that you be my partner in the long trek of sansara.

May you attain the Supreme Bliss of Nibbana as you have gathered sufficient merit.

Nanda Nanayakkara


Chandra Lal de Alwis

Personification of discipline

Without even the slightest trace of exaggeration, it could be said that Chandra Lal de Alwis was a symbol of loyalty and unswerving steadiness.

At our alma mater Mahinda College in Galle, he established a shining reputation as an exemplary student and sustained practitioner of ultra-mural activities. There was hardly any distinction he did not bag during his years at Mahinda.

He was a junior and a senior Cadet, as well as a member of the English debating team.

He was once the Head Prefect as well. Many Old Boys of Mahinda, contemporary to Lal’s years, fondly recall the friendship he extended to his college mates.

During Cadetting events, Chandra Lal de Alwis would go out of his way to ensure the safety of his fellow Cadets.

As a resident scholar, he was perpetually alert to the proper maintenance of the hostel premises. All this made him the personification of discipline and loyalty. One could even consider him a 'true Mahindian', embodying all the values the college stood for.

Bidding adieu to the academic world of Mahinda College, he stepped into the hum and buzz of the work-a-day world of Trade and Commerce. Among his outstanding achievements, the following should receive special reference: Chemanex PLC Managing Director, Senkadagala Finance Chairman, Japan-Sri Lanka Technical and Cultural Association President, China-Sri Lanka Business Association President, Chamber of Commerce President, as well as President of both the Japan-Sri Lanka and China-Sri Lanka Friendship Societies.

There too, displaying his loyalty and steadiness, Chandra Lal de Alwis, scaled the high peaks of business and industrial success.

Whatever the heights he achieved in the fields of Business, Trade, Commerce and Industry, both in Sri Lanka and abroad, he never forgot his alma mater.

Chandra Lal ushered in a fresh era for the Mahinda College Old Boys’ Association Colombo branch, when he took its helm as President in 2003. Focussed on training students and teachers alike, he launched a programme at the Sasakawa Institute. He guided the Mahinda College Old Boys’ Association Colombo branch for a decade.

He introduced the series of E. A. Wijesuriya Memorial Orations, as well as the 'Mahinda Nite' celebrations. Chandra Lal's loyalty to Mahinda College remains a guiding light to all those who uphold the traditions and values of the school.

Chandra Lal de Alwis’ unparalleled services to humanity rendered while honouring cultural and religious values, had been recognised both here and abroad. The Government of Japan once presented him with the ‘The order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Rosette’ medal.

Chandra Lal de Alwis took leave of life while setting an unswerving example of loyalty, and most of us who followed him will find him a difficult act to follow.

May he attain the Supreme Bliss of Nibbana!

Punya de Silva

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