To a loving and caring daughter SHALINI SUSANNA JOSEPH May 3 marked 10 years since our only daughter Shalini Susanna was called to rest by our dear Lord. Her sudden demise after a brief illness was something that we could not comprehend. It plunged us all into shock and sadness. Even after ten long years, [...]

The Sundaytimes Sri Lanka



To a loving and caring daughter


May 3 marked 10 years since our only daughter Shalini Susanna was called to rest by our dear Lord. Her sudden demise after a brief illness was something that we could not comprehend. It plunged us all into shock and sadness. Even after ten long years, we still cannot accept that she has gone.

Looking back at Shalini’s life, one can compare it to a beautiful rose that blossoms; emanates its fragrance, makes everyone who comes in contact with it happy and within a short period withers away. Like the rose Shalini was not only beautiful, but emanated the fragrance of goodness and kindness. She spread happiness and joy to everyone around her, especially to little children, and departed so suddenly at the tender age of 29 years, plunging everyone who knew her into great sorrow.

During her short stay in this world, one of her greatest ambitions, which brought her joy, was to help others, especially the poor. A friend of Shalini, who was with her will recall how she stopped her car, while on her way to work, on seeing a man fallen on the road with epileptic fits. Shalini with the help of her friend soon put this man in her car and took him to hospital. Small kind deeds like this of Shalini were numerous during her lifetime.

One of her ambitions in life was to one day be her own employer. To earn and give us, her parents, a comfortable life was her goal. This determination and hard work soon bore fruit. About two years before her demise, she was successfully running her own advertising firm. Her friendly attitude and good public relation skills soon saw her small business prospering.

In April that year, a month before her demise, she was able to buy her own car. She had planned to move to a better and spacious building coincidently on May 3, that fateful day. But fate was such none of this happened. It is sad to recall that she had the pleasure of driving her new car only for about a week.

Your only brother, Shalan joins us today to thank you darling for all what you did for us in your own special and inimitable way. May you have eternal peace.

Dada and Mama

Although you are gone, you’ll always be there for me

Rohana Silva

“I never got a chance to choose the man to be my Dad. But I sure thank my lucky stars for the taste my mother had”- Unknown.
I can’t even imagine how to begin an appreciation of a man who is not just my father- but my best friend, my hero and idol.

Rohana Silva was no ordinary man, no ordinary husband and most of all no ordinary father. I remember as a child I used to say that when I grow up I want to marry my father. As absurd as it sounds now, I think what I meant back then was, that I cannot imagine ever loving any man the way I loved my dad. And to this day that remains true.

My father was a pillar of strength not just in my life but in my sisters and my mother’s too. There is no possible way that I can put into words the love he gave us all. I wouldn’t do him justice if I try to put in to words the unconditional love, the calm and cool advice, the assurance that he is right there to catch us if any of us did fall and most of all the uncanny ability to make our house a loving home- a home of happiness, joy and love.

I guess the saying that God plucks the best fruits first is true. And I also guess there is some truth in the world famous quote which says everything happens for a reason. But I don’t think it’s ever likely that I will see a reason as to why God decided that he needed my dad more than I do right now. The only possible explanation that I can come up with for the past one year is that dad was always an angel and God decided that it was time for him to return up to where he belongs.

I had always heard that life wasn’t easy. But for 22 years I had everything I ever wanted and I was loved and cared for. I didn’t know a rough side to life. I didn’t know what loneliness meant. I didn’t know what hurting really meant. And my father was my hero. Because he made sure I felt I was loved. He made sure I knew that he would never give up on me no matter what I did. That I could always turn to him. He would listen to anything I had to say and would never judge me. And most of all, no matter what I did or said, he had forgiveness in his heart. Not a moment went by that I felt I was alone because no matter what happened, I knew he would always- always stand by me. Needless to say, my world stopped turning the minute his heart stopped beating.

Now I know what it means to be lonely. And I know what it’s like to hurt. But miracles do happen. Even as I write this my father is standing right beside me. Now I have my own guardian angel. Even though there is many a night where I cry myself to sleep, I sense his presence near me and I see his flash of light letting me know that nothing has changed. And nothing ever will.

My dad is remembered by everyone who knew and associated with him as a handsome man who never aged and had an enormous heart which was always ready to forgive, to trust and give second chances. There are many lessons that I learnt through his life and most of them were not even intentionally taught to me. Just watching him go through life the way he did, being loved by all he knew, being calm and cool in situations that would turn an ordinary man into turmoil and above all- his priorities in life and how he would always put our family first has taught me far more than any lesson he intended to teach me.

I still long and ache to see that calm smile, to hear that laugh that I love, to see those light brown eyes light up every morning when I bid him good morning and to just hold his hand and feel like a little princess again.

If I can grow up to be half the person he was, then I know I have had a successful life. To me, he will always be the centre of my world. He will always be the one man I can turn to for anything from a broken shower, broken plug point to a broken heart. And I’m proud to be the daughter of Rohana Silva.

I love you Dada.

Daughter – Nilupul Silva

He played his role to the best


It was with shock and great sadness that we learnt about the passing away of our dear friend Gamini Perera on February 14 this year.
For us, he was the very epitome of politeness, efficiency and dedication as our association with Gamini was mainly in connection with the annual Inter-School Shakespeare Drama Competition organised by the Rotary Club of Colombo North and the YMCA of Colombo. We have been involved in organising this competition from its inception 39 years ago and Gamini was with us all those years.

The planning that goes into a competition of this nature is complex to say the least, as the details involved have to be worked out with great care and precision. This became even more intense especially in recent years when the number of participants increased considerably. The one angle of the organising we never had to worry about at all was the task of stage manager – we just put Gamini’s name against this and forgot about it – knowing full well that he would do a perfect job.

Gamini began his working career as a Maths teacher at Sri Sumangala, Panadura and then moved on to being a clerical officer in the Kachcheris at Kalutara, Colombo and Madakalapuwa. After this he joined the Inland Revenue Department in 1953 retiring in 1991 when he held the post of Prosecution Officer.

His passion for the arts led him to play active roles in radio, television, stage and also film productions. He was the ‘voice’ for many radio dramas over Radio Ceylon. Gamini played minor as well as major roles in television and stage dramas and also served as director/producer in both Sinhala and some English dramas as well. He participated in films and played the main role in ‘Sanda Nega Eddi’. So it was easy to see from where Gamini had the knowledge and experience in stage-craft and was able to do such a splendid job at the Shakespeare Drama Competition for so many years.

Besides being capable beyond words, Gamini was a soft-spoken, pleasant gentleman who was not only totally dedicated to his work but was more than a hundred percent reliable (something very rare today)– he would always be at the theatre at least an hour before starting time and would check everything on stage to see that things were in perfect order before the plays commenced.With regard to the Shakespeare plays he was conscious of timing the extracts and would even check the props in case the stage was overcrowded. At the end of the programme the organisers would present the helpers with some small token of appreciation and Gamini would tell us that he enjoyed the role of stage manager and it was not at all necessary to give him anything in return. We would have to press him to accept this token of thanks and ultimately he did, but with the greatest reluctance.

Gamini’s passing leaves a great void in the lives of all of us who were involved in organising this competition. We always enjoyed meeting him every year to catch up with the happenings in his life and when we completed our programme after the hectic days spent at the theatre – what with several days of semi- finals and two evenings of finals – we parted and always told Gamini that we looked forward to meeting him the following year!

Sadly this would not be possible for us now but although his physical presence will not be with us at the plays we know his spirit is with us while the show goes on.

In parting we quote from Hamlet, words which would have been very familiar to Gamini

“Good night, sweet Prince, And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest!”

Sriyantha and Anthea Senaratna

A gentle giant in the accounting world


Having joined Ford, Rhodes, forerunner to KPMG to serve articles in January 1966, with a distinguished cadre including S.Velupillai-Chief Partner, N.G.P. Panditharatne, A. Karunalingam, W.G. Boteju and N.M. Lakdawella , G.C.B. Wijesinghe was the “blue- eyed” man of the Chief Partner and was our Staff Partner, chosen for his professionalism, demeanor and critical ability to command respect of all.
The qualified assistants at that time were mostly London CA’s like S. Ramanathan, Jimmy Billimoria, M. Mansoor besides our Ford Rhodes Sydney Fernando etc.

Being the son of E.C.B. Wijesinghe of “Well Mudaliyar” fame from Kynsey Terrace, G.C.B. represented Royal College under Lalith Hewavitharane in the losing side at the Royal-Thomian in 1952, opening the pace attack with T. Nirmalingam, playing with Frecko Krelshiem, Ubhaya De Silva, S.S. Jayawickrema and A.B. Van Twest etc.

A little known fact was that in 1960, GCB captained the Ford, Rhodes Cricket Team which won the Mercantile E Division with the likes of K. Ariyachandran, N.M. Ladawella and Sydney Fernando etc.

G.C.B. was the first Fulbright scholar from Sri Lanka and during his nearly 50 years at KPMG was the President of the Institute of Chartered Accountants, President of OPA, Council Member of the Commonwealth Association of Corporate Governance and was also on the External Audit Committee of the Central Bank. He was of late honoured for his lasting contribution to the Institute of Chartered Accountants along with K. Kailasapillai and Hemaka Amerasuriya.

I had the privilege to have hosted G.C.B. on his visits to New York where I took him, along with my wife, to see “Mama-Mia”, and as requested, to the Sri Lanka Association picnic and cricket match in Denville, New Jersey and also for dinner at the home of Ford Rhodes alumni Jehan Raheem, Tissa Dharmagunaratne and Buddhi Abeysekera, where to the accompaniment of Melani Babapulle, G.C.B. broke out to sing lustily the eternal favourite, “My Way “.

To his beloved wife, Eustelle nee Abeysundere and beloved daughters Rukshika, Varini and Dipika, my heartfelt condolences.
May the turf lie gently on this gentle giant.

Mithila Gunaratna

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