It is one year since Chandra Tennekoon bid farewell to us on July 29 last year. As his wife Ranjani and their two sons Chamath and Yathindra prepare to have a sermon followed by an almsgiving in memory of Chandra aiya, I pen a few thoughts of Chandra, who has left a void behind him.
In every sense, he was a true and well-rounded Thomian for he had the rare fete of experiencing school life in all three colleges under the banner of St. Thomas. He joined St. Thomas Prep at the tender age of five where he served as a prefect and played cricket under the cricketing legend Neil Chanmugam. He was then moved to Guruthalawa where he, whilst pursuing cricket, honed his skills in athletics. This fledgling Thomian then joined S. Thomas’ College Mt. Lavinia where he completed his education.
He was a dedicated planter in the Uva district and his passion for planting and the manufacture of tea was underlined in the many conversations, even after his retirement. Having completed his education at S. Thomas’ College Mt. Lavinia, this staunch Thomian took to a career in planting with Harrisons & Crossfield, a reputed agency house of the colonial masters. He was a dear friend of my late brother Yasapalitha Nanayakkara and through him, he made friends with my brother Padma with whom he shared common interests as Padma too was a planter. This led to his visits to our estate and then to our home in Thalpe where he met his sole mate, my sister Ranjini.
The numerous plantation bungalows Chandra occupied during the span of his career, were open to family, friends and relatives. I recall with gratitude the many memorable holidays we spent in these luxurious bungalows with a retinue of staff. His hospitality knew no bounds.
He loved good food, sports, music, dancing and of course a drink to go with it. He took to badminton as a planter and continued with this in his retirement. This, unfortunately, he was compelled to give up due to a foot injury he suffered whilst playing badminton vigorously.
Lighthearted and fun loving Chandra was never interested in holidays abroad, but he was all out and ever ready for a holiday anywhere within the country. He enjoyed reading, joking, watching sports, laughter and a simple life. He was a gentleman to his fingertips and was calm and collected, keeping a low profile at all times. Chandra could walk with kings without losing the common touch. He was always well groomed and smartly dressed whether in shorts, longs or lounge. He did no wrong even to an insect and enjoyed a quiet life in his twilight years. After his grandchildren Sayush and Tehara came along, they took the centre stage of his life. In 2018 he celebrated 50 years of marriage bliss with his sole mate Ranjini. I could confidently say this was a marriage made in heaven to which two lovely sons Chamath and Yathindra were born. The pair, Chandra and Ranji, made seamless decisions with agreement in whatever they decided.
It was our niece’s wedding on July 12 last year at which he had a jolly good time. Quite unexpectedly, barely a week thereafter, he took ill and ended up with pneumonia, but it was no one’s guess that he would bid farewell that July 29th. It was a solemn parting. Just the way he lived his life, he quietly slipped away. May his sansaric journey be short and may he attain the Supreme Bliss of Nirvana.
Dharma Nanayakkara Gammampila