19th August 2001
Sports| Mirror Magazine
It was the early morning of August 8. As I read the obituary notice of Wimala Abeyratne I was plunged into a state of great grief.She had been very close to my wife and myself. We held her in high esteem, regard and affection, though our meetings were scarce owing to my busy surgical scheduale.
It was about 45 years ago that I met her for the first time, a very young lady of 35 years, consulting me for a surgical problem. I was taken aback and surprisingly moved to see my beloved sister Leena's mirror image facing me. The shape of face, her hair, forehead and complexion and the glistening white teeth, characteristic of my sister. Leena was the third in the family.
She was loved by everyone and the three of us grew up together as a group whose childhood was happy in spite of our family being very poor at that time.
Bare footed the three of us would trudge from Bambalapitiya to Dickman's Road Sinhalese school. Hence my sister, elder brother and I especially were much attached to our sister Leena: and here facing me now was the mirror image of my sister.
As we followed Wimala's and Leena's lives, certain similarities came into sharp relief, more and more surprisingly similar. Both were married early in life, both had four children each - married to professional men of high esteem and both became widows in early life with both husbands meeting with sudden unexpected deaths without any prior illness, or ill-health. Both widows had kept themselves busy looking after their children. Leena died at the age of 79+ and Mrs. Abeyratne now at the age of 80. I cannot help feeling that both must have been uniovular twins in a previous birth. What other explanation is there for this remarkable similarity?
Mrs Abeyratne carried herself with remarkable charm and grace, looked after the children, her husband's work and all social obligations. Her later years were somewhat shadowed by painful osteoarthritis of both knees that confined her to a wheelchair - yet she continued not to neglect her obligations.
Carried to the van, then to the lift, she came to see my wife Ruby who was acutely ill at Nawaloka Hospital. Ruby and I were greatly surprised at her remarkable sense of duty, in spite of acute pain. It touched and etched an unforgettable emotion in our hearts - who else would come in that painful state? Time cannot dilute or erase easily her memory from those who knew her. The enormous gathering at her cremation did not surprise anyone.
May she attain the Supreme Bliss of Nibbana.
Dr. P.R. Anthonis
'Pila' has left us and I wonder whether we will ever see the likes of him again. He was my class-mate at Trinity College, Kandy. We grew up together and finally vied for the scrum half's position in the Trinity Rugger XV.
A week before the Royal match, the Trinity team was displayed on the Notice Board.... and to my greatest surprise I had been chosen to play. But sad to say, two days later, I injured myself during practice and was 'out'. The coach Philip Buultjens tried out 'Pila' for the Royal match and what a success he was. He was the 'find' of the season.
'Pila' became one of the finest scrum halves produced by Sri Lanka. He won his Rugger Lion in 1944 and went on to represent Havelocks in 1949/51. Fred Aldous and 'Pila' were one of the finest halves' combination I have seen.
'Pila' captained Kandy Sports Club in 1954. He was a planter at that time and strange to say his boss played under him.
'Pila' excelled on the 'blind side' and I must say that all the king's horses and all the king's men could never prevent him from scoring off a five-yard scrum.
Our thoughts are with his wife, Padmini, and children in this time of sorrow.
Piyadasa Wijesinghe, teacher, member of Parliament for Kurunegala from 1970-1977, Attorney-at-Law, historian, archaeologist and author, exchanged the active existence of this world, for the unknown beyond, on June 1 1997.
As a teacher and politician, Mr. Wijesinghe stood for all that was purest and noblest. He was a model of patience, maintaining his cool in stressful situations, adopting a conciliatory approach even towards his detractors. When he sensed injustice, he fought tooth and nail to establish the truth. He showed the face of courage at all times.
A bilingual writer -Sinhala/English - he was a source of strength and encouragement to others who wished to master the writing craft.
When he ceased to be an MP in 1977, he did not retreat into silence or become inactive. In the role of a city father, he discharged his duties to help the people of Kurunegala.
When he was an MP he was instrumental in providing pipeborne drinking water to the people of Kurunegala.
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