The house is not a home now without you Piyaseeli Rajapaksha It is now almost 10 months since you departed from our midst on that peaceful early morning of  July 1, last year. You were alright that evening except for a mild stomach discomfort. I am still thinking of the activities of the previous day. [...]




The house is not a home now without you

Piyaseeli Rajapaksha

It is now almost 10 months since you departed from our midst on that peaceful early morning of  July 1, last year. You were alright that evening except for a mild stomach discomfort.

I am still thinking of the activities of the previous day. We got up together around 5.a.m. and you went to the kitchen and started preparing tea. I, as usual, opened the windows of the sitting room and put on the TV to listen to the chanting of Pirith. While I was listening to Pirith you came with the bed tea as usual. This is how we started the day.

We had planned heavy work for the day. Our home garden which is fairly large was overgrown with shrubs and weeds due to the rainy weather. Our former domestic aide, Weerasekara now a small-time businessman and his hospitable wife Sriyani came with a few men to accomplish this task. Sriyani prepared the breakfast and lunch for all of us. You were having an interesting chat with Sriyani while she was working.

The garden work was over by about 4.30 p.m. and the men went back leaving Sriyani at our place.

While we were having a chat you suggested we consult our popular doctor Suresh Dissanayake. Dr. Suresh was not there and one of his assistants advised that the fluid in your stomach had to be extracted and could be done at the Negombo Nawaloka Hospital. We got an appointment to admit you at 8 a.m. the following day. Thereafter we returned home and had early dinner and went to bed early as everyone was somewhat tired.

I went into a deep slumber immediately and when I awoke around midnight I instinctively felt that you were impatiently waiting for me to wake. You asked me to chant “Pirith” which we usually had been doing before going to bed. I chanted all the three sutras, Maha Mangala, Ratana and Karaneeya mettha sutta by memory. No sooner I finished this  recitation I fell asleep again. When I awoke again around 4 a.m. I noticed something unusual in your breathing. You were making a tic, tic noise with your breathing. I did not realize that you were breathing your last. I was calling our neighbour Amare to come with his van to take you to Nawaloka as I hesitated to drive my car at crucial times.

I should have invoked to influence and consolidate your “Cuticitta” on some kusalakarma which you had performed during your lifetime. The Pali word “Cuticitta” is the last consciousness of the dying person’s present life. This Cuticitta is the one that is directly associated with the rebirth. Cuticitta links the present life to subsequent birth by ‘Patisandhivinnanaya’. Patisandhivinnanaya is the rebirth consciousness. The cessation of consciousness and evolution of rebirth consciousness takes place almost instantaneously and simultaneously according to Abhidhamma.

“According to Buddhist doctrine , the sex of a person is determined at the moment of conception and is conditioned by Kamma and not by any accidental combination of sperms and ovum- cells. I strongly believe that by now you are already born as a male baby to some fortunate parents somewhere. Only a Buddha with his ultra – superior vision could declare where the dead person is born and as what.

My beloved wife, for a few years you have been telling me constantly that you wanted to pass away before me stating that you did not know what should be done in the event that I happened to die first. I never responded to this query. Unexpectedly you departed from us all of a sudden. Life is so miserable without your company. Having got married in 1965, we lived together for 53 long years. I can’t stop thinking about you especially when I am at home. The house is not a home now without you. But I know and I have heard that repentance is a useless exercise according to Buddhism.

My beloved Piyaseeli you have been a good daughter to your parents, good sister to your brothers and sisters, a good person to your relatives and neighbours and a very good wife to me. I hope you will be a good human being to all living beings in the universe.

C.A.A. Gunarathna

This gentle being will surely be missed by all

Eustace Bryan Pereira

A Royalist by school and by nature, Eustace Bryan Pereira, cricketer, rugby, and tennis player to the end, left his earthly sojourn on April 3, 2019 aged 78 years, peacefully and in keeping with his genteel character without fuss or bother to those around him. In short, as the Roman philosopher of yore, Seneca the younger, wrote “De Brevitate Vitae (English:on the shortness of life) Bryan too,  did not escape the eternal law. A man of few words, Bryan was best described in Shakespeare’s play HenryV that “men of few words are the best men.”

The writer was fortunate to play for the Royal College first XI cricket team alongside both Bryan and his elder brother Lorenz. Both the siblings had the proud distinction of playing in the Royal-Thomian cricket team and for the Bradby Rugger match. To Bryan’s eternal credit when he was the captain of the Tennis team, Royal College, for the first time, won the Senior (de Saram) and Junior (Lang) Shields. This is not all. Bryan was awarded the first XI batting prizes on two successive years – 1960 and 1961. Naturally he was selected for the Combined Schools Cricket team and toured India under the captaincy of Mitra Wettimuny. On leaving schools he played in the P. Saravanamuttu Trophy tournament for the elite club Nondescripts.

Bryan was the middle son of the legendary founder of the Faculty of Engineering, Professor E.O.E. Pereira and Mavis, the youngest being Alan. Both Lorenz and Alan are domiciled Down Under. Bryan married Charminstar, daughter of Dr. & Mrs V.C. de Silva. They have one daughter Shalini and both she and her husband Rohan de Silva were Sri Lanka’s No.1 ranked Tennis players at one time. Obviously the genes played its part. Rohan has been the Manager of the Sri Lanka Davis Cup team while Shalini is a respected tennis coach. Needless to say their son Akash was the apple of Bryan’s eyes.

Bryan was a hard-working and popular planter in the tea country for over 20 years, and the tennis racquet was not far from his hand, with him winning many Up Country tennis tournaments.

On his retirement in 1995, after trying his hand at various, though frustrating occupations, he decided to retreat to the restful abode of  Shalini and Rohan at Rajagiriya. Of course, tennis was his main means of sustenance. Each evening he would leave to the Sri Lanka Tennis Association (SLTA) courts with a racquet in one hand and the inevitable cigarette in the other. This was not only to play a game or two but also to meet his friends with whom he shared mutual feelings of camaraderie. His innumerable friends at the SLTA will surely miss this gentle being.

As Horatio, at the death of his best friend Hamlet, said: “Now cracks a noble heart – Good night, sweet prince, may the angels sing you to sleep.”

The Bard had the likes of Bryan in his mind when he wrote these immortal lines.

Mahinda Wijesinghe

She dedicated her life to serving others

Fidelia de Silva

Fidelia de Silva was the eldest in our family of eleven, born to Felix David Lionel de Alwis and Hilda de Alwis on April 10, 1921.

She was the formidable spirit in our family. She schooled at Methodist College, Colombo and passed the senior matriculation with hopes of being qualified as an academic, however as in the social climate of that era our father had other plans for her. And she complied with his requests without question.

I recall with nostalgia the period that she was engaged to the late Capt. Joseph Jaywardena. His visits to our house were frequent and the sound of music and laughter would fill every corner of our house, down Walukarama Road.

When she married Joseph, I was the page boy,

Their life together had just begun. However what should have been a full and happy life together was not to be, as her husband fell ill within a short period of three months. He was misdiagnosed and died due to a medical misadventure.

She was with child at this period and her beautiful daughter Hemanthi was born on December 20. It was at this juncture she moved to live with my brother Denzil, who was a planter at that time, but he too passed away due to typhoid.

My sister decided to move back to our ancestral home in Galle in the village of Kalahe on Rockhill Estate. Hemakanthi schooled at Southlands College, Galle excelling in her studies. However at the tender age of 12 years Hemakanthi was diagnosed with blood cancer and she passed away within a short period of time.

My sister Fidelia was devastated by her continued loss of kith and kin. In her misery, she immersed herself in voluntary work with the YWCA of Colombo surviving on her widowed pensioner’s salary. It was at this period that she encountered her future mother-in-law, who approached her with a proposal to meet her son. The stars were aligned and they eventually married and she became Mrs. Douglas de Silva. They were a happy couple, who were subsequently blessed with two sons Dilhan and Harin.

Her past had taught her many lessons and she understood the blessings that God had given her and she dedicated her life to serve the Lord. She engaged in social service with the YWCA at Rotunda Gardens and it was the beginning of a lifelong journey that developed her passion to help the poor and the needy. Her effort to develop the institute she served was achieved through her untiring efforts and work with donor nations like the Netherlands. It was during her tenure of office that she created opportunities for hostellers, guests and a very active restaurant which catered even to the public.

Fidelia was to me and the rest of the family a teacher, adviser and guide along with our sister Viola and our late brother Chandra. She not only played the role of a teacher in our family, she was also a teacher at Richmond College.

The tsunami in 2004, touched a nerve with my sister, as the most affected town was our hometown – Galle. She then took it upon herself to work for the needs of the children who had been rendered orphans. She built two homes from the donations received  from Sri Lanka and abroad.

After the death of her husband she continued to live at Bagatalle Road, in a house provided by her late husband Duggie with the best of facilities provided under the supervision of her sons Dilhan and Harindra.

With her health deteriorating she was moved to an apartment at Nawaloka Hospital which was well equipped to accommodate elderly persons.

We visited her regularly and she was fortunate in having regular communion given to her by the Methodist priests.

Sister, all your siblings, children, extended family, cousins, relations and faithful friends will never fail to remember your Christian ways and the exemplary life you led.

Nihal de Alwis




Share This Post


Advertising Rates

Please contact the advertising office on 011 - 2479521 for the advertising rates.