Ariyadasa-- that name
will stay for ever in RCGC halls
K.L.Ariyadasa, started his humble career as a
ball picker and caddie at the Royal Colombo Golf Club. It was a
fairy tale beginning for “Ari”, who hails from a less
affluent family from Rajagiriya. He fought a battle of survival
to eke out a living.
|Ariyadasa served the RCGC for 40 years
As a lad, he started as a house boy in 1960. His
honesty, integrity and loyalty to his superiors paid dividends in
the end. Ariyadasa served the RCGC for 40 years. . He retired from
the RCGC as tournament Coordinator. He won the hearts of the members
for his humility.
Of course the RCGC overlooks the Cemetery. It
is a constant reminder to the rich or poor of the ultimate end.
Ariyadasa was interviewed by The Sunday Times
on a sultry morning at the clubhouse in the company of Chula de
Silva, General Manager, RCGC.
When asked how he came up in life and who assisted,
he replied; “I came up the hard way, maintained my dignity
and honesty at all levels and life was never a bed of roses,”
The then Club Captain was Dr. Fauce Fernando.
He was one of the pioneers of the RCGC renaissance. The amiable
Dr.Fernando did an excellent job to further uplift the RCGC image
at that time.
“The late Dr. Fernando, had a heart burning
with love and even personally looked into the needs of the minor
employees. I was one of the beneficiaries. In 1970, I was promoted
to a waiter. Besides Dr. Fernando the past Captains, Presidents,
contributed immensely,” said Ariyadasa.
“The late. Pin Fernando was a legend in
golf. He had no peer during my time. His wife Pam was one of the
corner stones in the women’s section. Be it as a golfer or
promoter of golf among the poor Caddies. There were many others
too. Be it ladies/men. They assisted the down trodden to go places
in life,” added Ariyadasa.Continuing he said; “During
the past the Caddies had to face barriers. Even to enter the clubhouse.
But I am happy. Times have changed. The RCGC gates are open to all.
The Caddies have done proud for Sri Lanka golf. They are treated
on par. But I have not forgotten my past. Nor from where I started
my life, or the ones who helped me. The Caddies at present are given
all the facilities to play golf. Even to become champions. One of
them is K.H. Nandasena.”
“Finally I am grateful to Chula de Silva.
He was mainly responsible in looking into my personal welfare after
retirement and to lead a contended life until my last breath. I
am also thankful to the Captain (RCGC) and the general management
in organising this felicitation for me today,” said Ariyadasa