H. Kalubanda, a professional banker who functioned at a senior level, passed away recently following a brief illness – barely two weeks between diagnosis and death.
Kalubanda, KB to his friends, passed out from Peradeniya in 1959 having read for a general degree with economics as a subject. After his early education in village school, he joined Ibbagamuwa Central where he continued his studies until he gained university admission. He was among the first flowers to blossom from the free education system to which many of us owe much. Selection to university was a great achievement in those far away days. The priest of his village temple, a close kinsman, having warmly congratulated and offered his blessings, insisted on one thing: that he should never change his name – an injunction he dutifully complied with. He remained to the last-Kalubanda.
After graduation, KB had a stepping-stone teaching assignment at Kegalu Vidyalaya from where he proceeded to the Official Languages Department as a translator. When the newly-established People’s Bank sought promising graduates for its expanding network, KB got a chance of joining the bank service as a graduate trainee. Thereafter, it was a slow but steady advancement to the very summit, having passed all banking examinations then conducted by London Institute of Bankers – the first in his batch to do so; he retired as Senior Deputy General Manager. Along with colleagues of his vintage, there was unfortunately a lingering discontent that they were left in the lurch in regard to glaringly-disproportionate ‘pensions’ those who followed reaped. True to the good nature that characterised him, as he got established in life, he supported his siblings by guiding their children, enabling some of them to enter legal and accountancy professions.
KB was a dynamic person capable of hard work. At retirement, he resorted to translation, putting his abilities in both Sinhala and English to good use.
KB was a keen observer of political and economic landscapes. He intervened from time to time, through the daily press, to protest against certain developments which he judged, according to his lights, as harmful to the country’s future.
His family life commenced when he married Nanda Balasuriya, a teacher from a well-established family in Dewalapola. It was great solace to him that he was surrounded by his daughter and grandchildren in recent days as his wife was in bad health. KB took delight in the company of his close circle of friends. The get-togethers he arranged for them provided an opportunity to relax.
KB took his religion seriously, going to the extent of working for a master’s degree in Buddhist philosophy. The departure of a close friend of over sixty years is a matter of great sorrow. But sure knowledge that his life without blemish would assure him a good birth is consoling. His family and friends wish him the bliss of Nirvana in the Buddhist tradition.