Plus - Appreciations

Podi Aiyya was a good Samaritan to all

H. Anil Peiris

H. Anil Peiris passed away on January 18, 2012. My dearest Podi Aiyya, H. Anil Peiris, respected surveyor for more than three score years, is no more.

He is survived by Shirani, his devoted wife, who gave of her best during their life together, and especially in his last three years; his three sons Channa, Dilum and Dinesh, who fulfilled their father’s dreams for them; their spouses and his five grandchildren, who showered him with their love and admiration and made him happy to the end.

His brothers and sisters, relatives, friends, and all those who were blessed by his golden touch, will remember him for the benevolent person he was. He was there for them all, a Good Samaritan at all times.

His name is etched in the minds of countless colleagues, friends, and all those who enjoyed his excellent services as a Surveyor. He was a man of integrity and pragmatism, and a diligent worker who sought near perfection in whatever he did. These qualities, knowingly or unknowingly, he has imparted to his three sons. They are living examples of Anil Peiris.

His work in government service took him to all corners of the island. He loved to talk about his experiences in the distant jungle areas. He kept us entertained for hours with his stories. He loved people, and loved to have people around him and entertain them in the beautiful houses he and Shirani maintained throughout.

In Shirani he had a devoted wife and a competent person who could help him in his work as a licensed surveyor. As his youngest sister, I received the most of my brother’s attention. Back in 1953, when I sat for my SSC Examination, I was worried about my Arithmetic paper. I sent him a copy of the test paper with my answers. The paper came back by return post, saying I would get a credit pass.

At school, he was known for his good head for mathematics. In later years, when his Maths teacher, Mrs. Thambimuththu, came to our convent to teach, she would tell me, “Vimala, no excuses for you, your brother H. A. Peiris would work out the most difficult sums for me on the blackboard.” His gift for Maths served him well in his chosen career.

While reading the Dhamma, I came to the section dealing with “life after death.” Those who accrued merit in this world, it said, will reap their rewards when they come back to this world again, and they will continue to accrue more and more merit and condition themselves to attain the ultimate goal of a true Buddhist, that of Nirvana.

May our beloved brother gather the fruits of his labour when he comes back to the human world to complete his sojourn here, where I fervently hope to be with him until together we attain the Bliss of Nirvana.

Flowers bloom and fade away, Leaving their fragrance in the air. The flower that you were, dearest Podi Aiyya, has faded away, leaving its fragrance with us forever.

Vimala Peiris, (Your Devoted Noni)

Abey’s passion for medicine qualified him for both Western medicine and homoeopathy

Dr. Somasiri Abeykone

The news of the passing away of a friend of more than six decades induces profound sorrow. The grief is tempered with reflections on the departed and aspects of his life, and softened by thoughts of shared experiences. So it was when I heard about the death of S. Abeykone, my contemporary at Richmond College.

Abey was a product of Richmond in the heyday of the excellent E. R. de Silva-Shelton Weerasinghe combination of Principal and Vice-Principal. The former taught him Mathematics and the latter English. Of course, their influence extended beyond the classroom and classroom subjects. They set the tone of the school. The atmosphere was impregnated with their culture and values. Abey had an abiding affection for both men to the very end. In one of his last telephone calls, he mentioned seeing Mr. Weerasinghe in a dream and felt that he himself was in heaven.

Abey studied in the Science medium and had an obsession for Medicine. In spite of his commitment, he could not get a place in the only medical college at the time. His interest in medical studies was so great that he even tried Ayurveda. Ultimately, his efforts were rewarded when he gained a place at a medical school in Calcutta. This was facilitated by the good offices of the Metropolitan Bishop, the Rev. Lakdasa de Mel. While in India, Abey completed a full university course in Homoeopathy and became one of the few Sri Lankans to be fully qualified in both branches of medicine.

Abey established a good practice in the city of Calcutta, despite the intense competition. On his return to Ceylon, he ran into the obstacles of local medical bureaucracy. He was even driven to taking the Medical Council to court to establish his right to practise.

He later joined the health service and served at several hospitals, gaining a reputation for patient care and strong administration. He retired as DMO Embilipitiya. He made Embilipitiya his home and continued to serve the people of the area.

Abey was a disciplined person, at peace with himself and the world. His wife, who was with him in both India and Sri Lanka, and his two children sustained him, especially when his health started to decline. He faced his illnesses with courage and patience.

May Abey’s family draw inspiration from his life in order to face the years ahead without his guiding hand.
May Abey attain the Bliss of Nibbana.

H. P. Wijewardena

He showed us the way but with humility

H.L. de Silva

Although I am now referred to as the last junior of Mr. H.L. de Silva, this in fact is not so because the actual last junior was Anoma Abeywardena. She migrated to the US about 15 years ago soon after her marriage.

The next last junior joined Mr. .de Silva’s Chambers about three years after I did. He is the inimitable Elmore Perera . The entire Hulftsdorp knows that he is forced to be absent from the activities of the fraternity for the time being.

I am the next last junior and thus the last junior available. One year after Mr. de Silva’s demise a request was made of me through Mr. Amarasiri Panditharatne to do a short write up and it appeared in a law journal put out by the Bar of a Colombo suburb. Without any form of elaboration whatsoever I will just enumerate the four focal things dealt with therein.

Firstly , Mr. de Silva always said that brevity is the essence of all good drafting. Secondly , not to run after money. Thirdly, that character is far more important than personality, though personality also must be given its due place.

The fourth thing was not an express exhortation by Mr. de Silva himself but something that could be gathered or assimilated from his behaviour, conduct and demeanour. That was humility. Humility was in fact, a remarkable trait of Mr. de Silva.

However, there were a lot of people in Hulftsdorp who thought that Mr. de Silva was arrogant , that he was aloof, that he never smiled with people. This, to some extent, may have appeared to be so. But as one that closely associated him I know that this was in fact not so. He was preoccupied with matters practically all the time.

He had a fantastic mind and that fantastic mind was running constantly. So that is how he was preoccupied all the time. This is what a lot of people mistook as being arrogant, as being aloof and as being unfriendly.

I will refer to only one more thing. Towards the very end of his career Mr. de Silva appeared in two famous cases. Some people thought that those were two controversial cases and that normally he would not have appeared in that type of case or for that type of client. But being a true son of the soil and being truly patriotic he did appear in those two cases despite the possible controversy.

However in some quarters he began to be referred to as an ultra nationalist or an extremist or a racist. Some politicians and a few in our own fraternity also projected him to be so but I must very emphatically state, and in a way put the record straight, that Mr. de Silva was never an ultranationalist, extremist or racist.

Although we grieve over Mr. de Silva’s demise and loss, we must at the same time celebrate the rich , beneficial and exemplary life he lived, enriching the lives of dozens and dozens and dozens. Janaka Silva, Prabodha Ratnewardena, my own self, Elmore Perera and Anoma Abeywardne are only a few of them.

Mr. H.L. de Silva was my leader. He leads well. He leads all the way. He leads me, even today.

ARIA (An adaptation from a short speech that was prepared but not made)

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