Plus - Appreciation

Remembering Seeya on his birth centenary

G. P. J. Silva

There are Granddads, Grandpas, Grandfathers and Seeyas all over the world; but our dearest Seeya was unique. Born on March 7, 1910, Seeya would have been 100 years today if he had lived. He passed away after a brief illness just 40 days short of completing four score years and ten.

Seeya was married to Piyaseeli Archchi, and they celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary on November 5, 1998. Piyaseeli Archchi, who celebrated her 80th birthday on April 26, 1999, predeceased Seeya on May 24, 1999.

We consider ourselves very fortunate to have had Seeya’s influence, at least during our early years. What he taught us moulded our character and mindsets with regard to attitudes and values.

Seeya taught us many important things: to go to bed early and wake up early in the morning; to not waste food; to be methodical and organised, to be well mannered; to be punctual and to manage our time well, to respect our elders, and so on. He was especially emphatic when he told us to be thrifty.

He believed in “saving for a rainy day”. He had to enter the Durdans Hospital for surgery, and he told the two of us – first cousins - as he was getting into the car to leave home for the last time: “Akka should look after Nangi, and Akka and Nangi should behave while I am away.” Who thought Seeya would not come home?

We heard that Seeya was always full of courage, determination and enthusiasm. His motto was: “I can, and I will”. He feared no one. He stood for what was right, and always emerged victorious. He taught us that if you are in the right, you need fear no one. His message was: “Stand up for your rights”.

Seeya was a caring and devoted father to our two fathers – the brothers Kumar and Ruwan. While all three families lived together as an extended family, Seeya was especially attached to the two of us. He would not let us have a single fall when we were first learning to walk, as toddlers. Because both our fathers were very busy with their bank and hotel jobs, Seeya would take us in his car, accompanied by our mothers, to nursery school and back.

He was known in the family as Jeeva Seeya, Jeeva Baappa/Maama, Jeeva Aiya, and so on, and as Jeeva or Jeeves among his friends. They would come to him for advice and help. In the same way, he was always welcome in their homes.

Seeya believed in Vedic astrology, and when relations visited, he would predict their future according to planetary transits.

Seeya was a role model in the way he looked after parents and parents-in-law, his mother Mirisse Archchi and Piyaseeli Archchi’s mother, who both lived in his home. He gave his extended families the best care and attention.

Thanks to regular medication, Mirisse Archchi lived to celebrate her 100th birthday, on November 29, 1989. Seeya was also very humane and practised loving kindness, “Ahimsa”, with all living beings. We heard that he helped nurse back to health a sick Buddhist monk at the Sri Dharmakeerthy Aramaya (Polwatte Temple). Seeya and Dr. Lakshman Weerasena worked together, and the monk, who had been physically disabled for several years, was able to get back on his feet once again.

Seeya’s loving kindness extended to animals, birds and insects. With the assistance of the veterinary surgeon Dr. Chinniah, he restored the sight of a stray kitten born blind.

Seeya loved motor cars. Tinkering with them was one of his pastimes. Seeya obtained his driving licence in 1939, and sat in the driving seat for 60 years. He owned motor cars of many makes and models. He gave up driving the day after Piyaseeli Archchi passed away. In the last seven months of his life, our two fathers would drive him wherever he wanted to go. Seeya would sit in the front seat.

“Two little cousins growing up in your arms
Learning ABC and Nursery Songs;
What you taught with care we value so much,
And we shall live up to them, no matter what.
The life you led was Simply the Best,
With courageous feelings in your chest;
If there’s a will, there’s always a way –
How true these words you used to say.

Thinking back, we really must say
We miss you a lot on your birthday today;
In our lives you played a special part,
Your memory we will treasure and keep deep in our heart.

Ten years have passed without you;
But the good times we keep recalling;
You may be “gone”, but we will always be together,
Your Spirit will live with each of us forever.

We wish you contentment in every way;
May the Blessings of the Triple Gem be with you, we pray;
To reach the ultimate goal of Nirvana Bliss
You are sure to find the way, without a miss.
Beloved Seeya, we miss you very much;

Today, on your 100th birth anniversary, we wish you contentment and happiness wherever you are;

May you practise Dana, Seela, Bhavana and reach Nirvana.

Your loving and only grandchildren,

Gayani and Ruwangi Punchihewa

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