One of a kind, she certainly was a fountain of kindness untold. It is amazing how Shalini’s heart flew out to those in need, in despair or lonely. Grabbing every opportunity with both hands, to serve a seriously sick child with parents desperate or to assist someone in abject poverty and yearning for medical care, Shalini would pack more into her already bursting schedule of her household and family commitments, ensuring however that the needs of her dearest husband and three adored children are well taken care of. Her car was at times a taxi with driver Shalini at the wheel running an errand or giving a lift to a needy. Her energy was amazing.
This graduate in Information Technology, having qualified in Canada and having worked until she became a mother, decided to quit work and give her whole to her family. She raised the children dexterously. Among others, Mandrinee’s and Uvindra’s graduations and Janendra’s success in rugby at Royal College were feathers in her cap. She was such a support to Nilmin when it came to entertaining his business partners on numerous parties and X’mas celebrations of Nkar Travels. Her family was her pride and joy.
During the years she was involved in the Past Pupils Association of her Alma Mater, Bishops College, she earned the reputation of a “doer” taking the centre stage in organizing many an event benefiting the school. When circumstances warranted, she did not hesitate or shy away to make representations to the Board of Governors. She had this inherent flare to get people going so as to transpose a hopeless situation to a very successful, happy ending. That was her metal.
Multi - faceted Shalini had a very spiritual side to her as well. Having married Nilmin, Shalini who came from a very much non vegetarian family, chose to be vegetarian within a short period into their marriage. She was a regular at Narada Centre observing Ata Sil on Poya Days, unless some unavoidable circumstance held her back. I recall her text messages saying, “tomorrow is Poya – Sil” and often we did observe Sil together. Having finished the day of Sil which is generally tiring, she had the bubbling energy to drag Nilmin, Mandrinee, Uvindra and Janendra to the Temple and any excuse to not go, was dismissed. She found time for meditation lessons and retreats and she had just begun to introduce meditation to her family when she was dealt with the unfair blow. This was Shalini.
To her beloved father who pre-deceased her and to her loving mother, she was the son they never had. For her two loved sisters, “Lokuakki” was the pillar of strength. To us, her in-laws, she was a sister rather than a sister-in-law. For this special person, any excuse would suffice to get together and have a good time flavoured with so much laughter, food and drink. She was a woman of spirit. Shalini had a passion to travel nationally and internationally and I believe I may not be wrong in saying that she did cover at least one fourth of the globe. Their holiday in South Africa was sadly not meant to be due to her ill health. She enjoyed fine things in life including good, wide and varied food. Although chocolates and cakes were her weakness, she maintained a decent balance, exercising regularly. A mutual friend once told me that she shed sunshine wherever she went. Beautiful and charming Shalini was such an epitome of health and one and all who knew her were simply aghast when she turned out to be victim to the dreaded disease. It was an absolute irony for she was a volunteer at the Children’s Ward at Maharagama for years and until she was struck down, most unexpectedly and surprisingly .She kept calm presumably for the sake of the others. That was her.
The doctor under whom she volunteered at Maharagama was a great strength to her and the family. Nilmin with their three children left no stone unturned to keep her with us and not let her go. She came round and was fine for a good six months back again to her usual self but that was to fleet. Western, Ayurvedic, homoeopathy, religious observances and what not was all done leaving out nothing. Alas! It all ended, on that Friday evening when she very peacefully made her gentle exit with all her close family around her chanting Pirith. For the fifty four years she lived, she accomplished a life of eighty four years. She led a full life, and left behind a great void.
May her sojourn in Sansara be short, free of disease, be it life threatening or other and at the end of which, may she attain the supreme bliss of Nirvana. Nahi Jathu Gabba Seiyang Punarethithi!