I feel greatly privileged to pay tribute to the memory of our beloved cousin, late Maruneekiar Thiruvathavoorar, affectionately called Manie acca, at her Anthietty Ceremony this morning. She passed away on June 10, 2017 having led a life of grace and dignity. This lovely lady who had touched our lives in some way or other either as family, friend, colleague or a beloved teacher leaving loving memories of her in our hearts.
She was born on March 17, 1926 as the third child of Kathiravelu Sadayer Arulnandhy and Sakunthalaiamma.
Her name was a somewhat difficult name for non-speakers of Tamil. When her father took her to be admitted to Methodist College Colombo, the Principal Mrs. Loos had asked her father, “I am sure you have another name for her at home”, and her father had said, “Yes indeed, we call her Manie”, and so she was entered in the class register as Manie Arulnandhy, and was generally known as Manie thereafter.
Manie acca attended several schools as the family accompanied the father to his various postings until he ended up as a Deputy Director of Education. Thus she studied at Chundukuli Girl’s College, Jaffna, Kandy Girls’ High School, Sacred Heart Convent, Galle, Methodist College, Colombo and Hartley College, Point Pedro. She, her sister Kamalasany and Amy Thamotharam were the first of the very few girls ever admitted to Hartley College.
She was deeply religious but was ecumenical in perception and always accommodated all religions, as one. I have never known her to have failed in her duties; whatever she did for her family, friends, colleagues, whether they were in the right or wrong, it was always with the best intentions.
She had a brilliant secondary school career; at the Senior Cambridge Examination she came 2nd in the Island. She proceeded to Annamalai University in South India to do her degree. She read physics and pure mathematics and she obtained a second class Bachelor of Science Degree. In 1955 she obtained the Diploma in Education from the University of Colombo.
In 1952, she married Thambipillai Thiruvatharoorar, a fellow student at Annamalai University. I once heard her husband say that without Manie acca he could not live any more.
She was deeply religious but was ecumenical in perception and always accommodated all religions, as one. I have never known her to have failed in her duties; whatever she did for her family, friends, colleagues, whether they were in the right or wrong, it was always with the best intentions. Her word was her honour and her promises were her bond. In short, as a woman she was endowed with a warm, genial, benevolent and magnanimous disposition. Her compassion and kindness knew no bounds. She was completely free of pettiness in her attitude to others. These were the sterling qualities which endeared her to all those who had the good fortune to know her.
Having known her personally for more than five decades, what overwhelms me are her humanism and her simplicity. Indeed it was my privilege to be associated with Manie acca for more than fifty years. Many will miss her, and many more will mourn her demise.
She is worthy of remembrance for generations to come.
May her soul rest in peace!