Srian Perera
He belonged to a vanishing breed of men
It is with profound grief that I pen this appreciation as a tribute to the memory of our dear brother Srian who passed away following a massive heart attack in the U.K. in March.

The cruel hand of death struck him so hard and swiftly that his family, relatives, friends and associates who heard of his untimely demise were stunned, and all who knew him were plunged into a state of shock and mystery. He was in such robust health and so full of life that many used to say that there never was a dull moment when Srian was around, as he kept people in fits of laughter with his keen sense of humour and witty remarks. It is therefore difficult to imagine that Srian is no more. He has left us at a time when we need his presence and services ever more.

Srian hailed from a family which pioneered an industry that was associated with the manufacture of jams, sauces and cordials in the country. He was the elder of the twins in a family of five boys and our parents named their products 'S & J Twins', after the twins in the family, Srian and Janaka(now Sri Lanka's High Commissioner in Australia).

Srian with his brothers entered the hallowed portals of that premier Catholic educational institution, St. Joseph's College, Colombo, and soon made a name for himself as an outstanding sportsman. As a schoolboy his name was synonymous with that wonderful sport - athletics.

His ascent to fame as a schoolboy athlete, began in earnest in 1960 at the Inter-House Sports Meet. Srian won his first triple crown at this meet by winning the sprint double 100 yds. and the 220 yds. under15, with record timings and also won the Long Jump event. Srian, Janaka and I represented Marque House and won the Under 16 4x110 yds. and the 4x440 yds. relays for our House with records. Three brothers representing a four member relay team was some thing unique at the time. In the following year - 1961, which was one of his best years, Srian established two public school records in his pet events, the sprints which have remained intact ever since. He continued his scintillating runs for a few more years, very often clinching sprint doubles and breaking records in the process. He was without a shadow of doubt one of the finest sprinters produced by St. Joseph's and capped his colourful athletic career by captaining both Junior and Senior teams. Srian played a major role in College winning the Relay Carnival from its very inception for 7 consecutive years, sweeping the board at the Colombo North Group Meet, year in year out and annexing the coveted Tarbet Cup and Jeafferson Trophy for relays at the Public Schools Meet at regular intervals.

He also captioned the Junior Teams of his House Marque (under 12 & 14) in cricket, and this brief stint held him in good stead when he played for his club in England and made immense contributions as a prolific run-getter.

Srian being a keen sportsman, quite naturally opted for an outdoor life and took to planting. Whilst I ventured out on tea and rubber estates in the low grown areas, he specialized in tea in the hill country.

He trotted the planting globe from hills of Uva to the cooler climes in our prime tea region N'Eliya and quickly climbed the ladder of success in his profession too. He got through all examinations conducted by the Ceylon Institute of Planting easily, and maintained very high standards of work on estates. He neither shirked his responsibilities nor did he take the path of least resistance when he had to face a problem. He was always forthright in his views, frank and outspoken, with malice to none and was reputed for his sturdy independence.

He established a healthy dialogue with his colleagues in planting and became the Branch Chairman of the Ceylon Planters' Society in Nuwara Eliya. He was also the President of a prestigious Planters' Club in the central hills. He was appointed as a Superintendent of Police in the Volunteer Force and was the Manager of the Sri Lanka State Plantation Corporation Athletic team. These activities and offices he held clearly indicate the type of active life he led.

In 1978/79, he proceeded on furlough to England and resigned from planting, to seek greener pastures with the welfare of his young family foremost in his mind, which eventually proved to be one of the wisest decisions in his life.

In his personal life, his immediate family meant everything to him. Srian married Thilaka, a science graduate of the Peradeniya University, who is the eldest daughter of the late Senator Y.R. Piyasena and Mrs. Soma Piyasena. Their dedicated endeavours paved the way for their children to become what they are today.

The very fact that Chinthani is a professionally qualified accountant, Sashini a doctor of medicine and the only son Yenusha still in his fire of youth, a graduate and a consultant, will bear ample testimony to what I write.

He was so attached to his brothers that he considered them as a God given gift to him so much so that if he ever sensed a scenario that would have destabilised them, he took it as a missile hurled at him and promptly took concrete steps to rally round his brothers in a firm expression of support because to him family unity was paramount.

Srian was well known for his hospitality too, and those who had the privilege of being entertained by this wonderful host, either in his sprawling estate bungalows or in their beautiful home at Bracknell always maintained that Srian was one of the most hospitable men on earth.

Srian was generous to a fault and in assisting people in their hour of need, he resorted to acts of benevolence rarely seen, displaying humanity at its best for he belonged to a vanishing breed of great men who genuinely cherished human values. Memories of him will linger on and his near and dear ones will always be left to face that immeasurably lonely void of loss and despair as he has now entered the abode of peace.

Goodbye and farewell dear Srian, "To live in the hearts of men is not to die".


His lessons will remain in our hearts
B. Ariyapala
B. Ariyapala's first death anniversary fell on July 16. Memories rush in about this unforgettable and exceptional character as a school teacher, husband, father and wonderful member of society.

As a teacher, he performed his duties without any complaints. As a principal, he fulfilled his mission humbly, modestly and with impartiality. Teachers who worked with him at Horowpothana Madhya Maha Vidyalaya, Kebithigollawa Madhya Maha Vidyalaya, Anuradhapura Deepani Maha Vidyalaya and several other schools, would recall the humility of this dedicated man.

The message of his sudden death was a reminder to me that life is indeed very short, and that all of us should be prepared to leave this world at any moment.

Rarely do we meet and associate with people like him, who have genuinely developed human qualities such as compassion, simplicity, patience and generosity.

He led an exemplary life in keeping with the Buddha Dhamma. He silently practised Buddhist teachings. He did not earn wealth but earned people. He taught us not to criticise, but to recognise reality and truth. Though he left us, his sterling advice and lessons will remain in our hearts.

As we mark his first death anniversary by performing religious activities, his memories and lessons will always guide us and make our lives better.

I am personally indebted to him for encouraging me to face all the trials and tribulations of life with an unwavering mind and for giving me the strength to become what I am today.

May he be free from all obstacles and challenges!

After a short sojourn in Samsara, may he attain the bliss of Nibbana!
Bhikku Ho

Don John Vidanapathirana
A simple, helpful person
My grandfather Don John Samarawikrama Vidanapathirana was a popular 'kalu vedamaththaya' in his village. He passed away in July 1995.

He was a very simple and helpful person. An honourable man, he won the love of people around him. Above all, he was a devoted Buddhist who gave almsgivings monthly to the Galboda temple.

May your journey through Sansara be short and may you attain the supreme bliss of Nirvana!
Nimilakumari Munasinghe

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