A heart that beat the tenderest
It is not very often that 'Appreciations' are written on in-laws's.
However considering the tremendous impact Hema, my sister-in-law had on
me and my admiration for her enviable and exemplary qualities, I
consider it obligatory to write this appreciation.
While I started writing the appreciation I was considering how one
could possibly capture in words the essence of a soul that was so
vibrant vivacious joyful, compassionate, deeply loving and fervently
religious. It is not easy to say in so many words the true nature of
Hema fiercely loyal, and of her magnanimity. While I have endeavored to
capture her sublime qualities, it will not adequately sum up her total
Losing both her parents very early in her life, she was looked-after
along with her sisters by her brother Ananda Tissa De Alwis, with
admirable care and affection. Brought up in a Catholic environment under
the care of the Catholic nuns, she became deeply religious. Imbibed with
religious convictions and high ethical values she lead an exemplary
life. From her very early days she showed a great desire to help the
poor and the marginalized. This tribute is not complete if I do not
mention an important facet in her life - the passion and commitment she
had for social service. She endeavored zealously to help the poor and
Hema married my brother Clarence at the very young age of 18 years.
She looked after him with admirable love and affection. Together they
brought up their three children Nimal, Palmela and Anne inculcating in
them the finer qualities and values of life.
This contributed to their remarkable success in life to render a
significant service to society. Hema was a rare personality. Her
exemplary and ethical conduct, integrity and high moral values have left
an indelible impression on me. She was not just my sister-in law. She
was my friend. We argued, laughed, differed and discussed mutual
problems. She enriched my life in many ways. She was an exemplary
Catholic, a gentle, lovable person never given to ostentatious talk or
action. One thing she could not tolerate was pomposity. She was a
demolisher of human arrogance in her imitable style.
To Hema, material comfort meant little. All that she was concerned
with was to help the unfortunate marginalized. She devoted much of her
time and resources to help the poor. She along with the late Maurice
Lord, pioneered the setting of the Maw Sewena at Mattakkuliya to look
after the unfortunate destitute children. Hers was a heart that beat the
tenderest and her hand, the most generous. Always the champion of the
under-privileged, never to be silenced at times of injustice.
During the last couple of months Hema's health was deteriorating and
causing much anxiety to her loved ones. She however never complained but
endured even with stoicism that would have challenged Diogenes. She bore
everything with remarkable grace. She would even joke with the 'Melville
Home' nuns who looked after her with admirable care and exemplary
affection. She passed away peacefully in the company of the nuns while
they were praying and singing praises to the Lord.
Hema is no more. She has answered heavenly summons to appear before
the Throne of God. We could now echo the words of Shakespeare.
"Fear no more the heat O' the sun
Nor the furious winter rages
Thou thy worldly task hast done
Home art gone and taken the wages".
Hema, you surely have done you worldly task admirably and you will be
Her conduct and life style spoke volumes
I would like to pen some words of appreciation in memory of Daphne
Lord, whose first Death Anniversary fell on August 16, 2012.
Daphne lost her father when she was very young and the burden of
bringing up three girls fell on her mother, who had a tedious task, but
gave them a good education; all three girls were educated at Good
Shepherd Convent in Kotahena. Remembering always her difficult
upbringing, Daphne had a heart for the poor and opened the 'Daphne Lord
School' which enabled thousands of students to excel in the subject of
English and do well in life both here and abroad. This school is still
in existence even after 63 years.
She was very humble, down to earth and had a heart for the poor.
Anyone who came to her was never turned away empty handed. She always
had time for those who came to her for advice and a kind and comforting
word for those who were in anguish.
It would be apt to mention that she reflected the love of Jesus. She
was a devout Catholic and went the extra mile to help anyone in need.
Daphne brought up her children in the fear of the Lord and even her
grand children followed suit. Her kindness, conduct and life style spoke
volumes and anyone who came in contact with her would vouch for that.
Smart and courageous at her age, reminded me of the Bible verse "They
will still bear fruit in old age, they will stay fresh and green (Psalms
92:14). Her heart's desire to continue teaching until she was called to
her eternal rest was fulfilled. Her death was sudden and although we
miss her very much, the lesson her very own life taught us will be
etched in our hearts forever.
I thank God for her life and for having had the wonderful opportunity
to be a part of her staff and be closely acquainted with her.
Her favourite Bible verse was "Amen. Come, Lord Jesus" (Rev 22:20)
"Good byes are the laws of earth; reunions are the laws of heaven"
Sincere and true friend
There is only one thing which is certain and common for all those who
are born in this world, that is death, which comes without any
announcement to everybody at any stage. Those who remember this fact
will always lead a simple and unselfish life.
Frank Nalliah is an example to this fact. Frank Nalliah passed away
on September 3, after a brief illness and the funeral took place on
Thursday September 6, 2012. I have been requested by the ex-Samuels
staff to write a few words about our dear colleague Frank.
Frank and myself joined Samuels about the same time in 1968. He was
in the Civil Engineering Department and I joined the Accounts
Department. Samuels was an institution where many qualified engineers
from the University of Sri Lanka underwent their training to obtain
their Chartered and many other trainees also obtained their training
under professional guidance.
The institution was a multi disciplinary Engineering Company and it
was a pleasure to have worked and met all these lovely people who have
passed through the organization and are doing very well in life now.
In the Civil Engineering Department, Nalliah had worked as an
Engineering Supervisor in many water supply projects from Karacuddy to
Matara. Every time he came to Colombo, he made it a point to visit us in
the Accounts Department to clear his allowance. Later in 1982 he got
married to Vimala who happened to be from my village and a class-mate of
Thereon he became a good friend of mine and every time he visited his
wife in Udupiddy he never failed to see my mother who was living alone
at that difficult time and carried some goodies from her to my children
and gave me all the new about her.
Later when my mother came to Colombo and lived here, he made it a
point to visit her and talk to her. He was so much a part of our family
and all of us enjoyed his company. At Samuels, he was friendly with
everybody and bore a smiling face and cracked timely jokes with everyone
around him. When his passing away was announced almost all colleagues of
ex-Samuels who were in Colombo came to the funeral parlor to pay their
last respect to a dear friend and colleague.
Frank, by which name we at Samuels fondly called him, was a friend
sincere and true with a deep sense of humor and responsibility who
accomplished everything that was entrusted to him with a deep sense of
dedication and devotion: be it office or personal. He treated his
seniors and juniors the rich and poor, with equal respect.
A true Christian, Frank was a person who lived his life to the
fullest and touched the love of others with care, concern and
compassion. He carried within him a love for people that made them love
him. He was always the live wire of our circle of friends and the force
that brought us together. We at Samuels called him 'Anchor Man' since
every year on our sports-day he stood as the Anchor Man of the "tug of
war" event, on the Engineering side.
Frank, we can never forget those good times we have had together at
Samuels. So friend, till we meet again in the Promised Land to have
another beautiful get-together and good laugh together which we used to
have, May the Almighty take you into his Arms with Blessings!
A top flight banker
It is with a sense of profound sadness that I write lamenting the
passing away of Saybhan Samat of the Social Justice Movement who led an
illustrated life beneficial to the community and society and to the
country at large, leaving fragrant memories in many minds in whom he
touched. Hailing from a family of Journalists, Saybhan held his own
making significant contributions through the wielding of his pen which
ran freely into the many areas grabbing undivided attention of the local
and international intelligentsia capturing not only the climate of his
literary adolescence but also the landscape of his memory vividly.
A prolific writer, his pet subject was directed more towards the
Malay community tracing their ancestry and their customs with adath
vadath in which he seldom found acceptance but nevertheless was one who
would call a spade a spade and with malice towards none. He was generous
to a fault but was always ready to help those in need who appealed to
him. A top flight banker where he served with distinction, his was an
illustrious career at the premier institution, the Central Bank of
Ceylon. Multi-talented as he was, music was his second love which he
could hold his own against the elite musicians of his time. He had his
own band composition too playing to a mixed audience as at a dance or
for the less fortunate at orphanages and hospitals. He blew the
Saxophone with absolute finesse the likes of which torment me today, the
Billy Vaughan favourites with Teran Bulang being my favourite. His wife
Azeeza on the organ and the late Johar belting out the favourite
numbers. This was the magic of his recitals which was evidences in the
performance of his Combo which he led to reach dizzy heights,
entertainment par excellence. To his beloved wife Azeeza, daughter
Saqveen and Zahara and son Mahadi I would most profoundly say:
'Life is eternal and love is immortal and Health is only a horizon
and a horizon is nothing save the limit of our sight. That is the
consolation we are left with as we mourn the profound absence from our
midst of your husband, father Saybhan.
May Almighty Allah grant him Jennathul Firdous!