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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
farewell dear Srian, "To live in the hearts of men is not to
lessons will remain in our hearts
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.
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
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!
A simple, helpful person
My grandfather Don John Samarawikrama Vidanapathirana was
a popular 'kalu vedamaththaya' in his village. He passed away in
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