Friday, September 5, 2003. Five years have gone by and it seems like yesterday – so vivid is the memory of that fateful day when my dearest father departed from us forever.
He developed a heart condition, but took it in his stride. He continued with his normal daily routine, just as he had done all his life.
He had a caring and sharing attitude towards the people around him. He always stood firmly for what was right. He believed in justice. He was well read and well informed on any subject. He had a philosophical way of thinking and analysing any problem.
He had a strong sense of responsibility towards the ancestral business, which spanned three generations. The firm Martinus C. Perera & Son (Pvt) Ltd is one of the very few old firms still surviving in the heart of Union Place, Colombo 2. The family business spans more than a century. With calmness, patience and wisdom my father steered the business single-handed through its darkest period, following the demise of his brother, Claude Leslie Perera.
His courteousness and bright smile won the hearts of his friends and customers. He had a gift for reaching out to his employees and understanding their problems. He would listen with heart and mind and give the right advice at the right time. He was greatly loved and respected by his employees.
He had a sympathetic and generous nature, and was helpful to those in need. He derived a lot of joy and satisfaction from helping to develop the Gangodawila Rehabilitation Home for Mentally Handicapped Children, of which he was the vice-president.
He gave my brother and myself the best of everything. Ours was a home filled with love, laughter and happiness. He would show his appreciation of whatever dishes my mother made for us. He would go all out to entertain any visitor who dropped by.
My parents were active members of the Lions Club of Maharagama. As a couple, they were a joy to behold when they got on the dance floor, swirling to the beat of the waltz, which they were expert at.
My father was more than just a father-in-law to my husband, who admired, loved and respected him for his wealth of knowledge. My father doted on his two grandsons, and they in turn loved him dearly. He was very proud of their achievements at school.
Dad, you were a dutiful brother and a source of strength to your older sister and your late brother, a loving and caring husband, a wonderful father and father-in-law and, last but not least, a loving grandfather, the best anyone could have.
So much water has flowed under the bridge over the past five years – yet your memory will stay embedded in our hearts for ever, and your words of wisdom will be engraved in our minds.
May you attain the Supreme Bliss of Nibbana.
Nilika Panagoda (nee Perera)