When I woke up on the 10th of January 2018, never in my wildest dreams did I think that before the end of the day, I would be informed of the passing away of one of my nearest and dearest friends.
My friendship with Hemantha Karunaratne spreads across almost forty years. I first met him on a trip with my cousins, two of whom are Seevali Jayawickreme and the late Harshin Jayawardhane (both Hemantha`s neighbours). From then on grew a lasting friendship and a special bond between us. These many years hold only good memories, with some more outstanding than the rest.
During my years at the Land Reforms Commission, I accompanied Hemantha on most of his business trips out of Colombo and invariably, these ended as good leisure outings. A trip to Bandarawela and many visits to Anuradhapura are deeply etched in my memory. Wherever we met, we never failed to reminisce on the good old days.
Due to our mutual love of music, we spent many hours listening and singing along to our favourite songs
Even after Hemantha got married, I always received a warm welcome in his home by him and his family. A special trip to Kataragama with them brings back such happy memories. Due to our mutual love of music, we spent many hours listening and singing along to our favourite songs. No gathering was complete without a song from Hemantha and me.
Hemantha, for all his fun-loving ways, was a good son, brother, husband, father and a friend. Many times, he gave me sound, helpful advice. He was kind-hearted, generous and never failed to help the less fortunate. If memories could bring him back, he would certainly be here with us now.
My dear friend, it is three months since you have left us.
May you attain the Supreme Bliss of Nibbana!