Dr. (Mrs.) Nallaperuma Arachchige Nandani Chintha Fernando was the eldest daughter of Mr. and Mrs. N.C. Perera and the wife of late Dr. Malinga Fernando. To us, she was Dosthara Archchi, the eldest sister of our maternal grandmother, Mrs. Devika Fernando.
Dosthara Archchi was a devoted wife to Dr. Malinga Fernando and a loving and kind mother to her daughters, Dr. Neluka Fernando and Vindya. She was an exceptional student from her young days, gaining entrance to Sri Lanka Medical College. My grandmother often reminisces about how her eldest sister was a social butterfly, attending ballroom dances each weekend, wearing a new hand-stitched saree made by my great grandmother, Mrs. N.C. Perera. Dosthara Archchi was also a talented tennis and badminton player, being a member of both the Medical College Tennis and Badminton teams, and a skilled swimmer. She was also an enthusiastic dancer, engaging in both Kandyan and ballroom dancing. Dosthara Archchi was a talented singer, having sung with Ananda Samarakoon in the 1st half of the performance of Nala Damayanthi, “Sumano sumano thaniyama noveda pale”.
She had also performed with Chithra and Somapala, the parents of renowned singer Chithral Somapala. During her time as a student at Medical College she caught the eye of Dr. Malinga Fernando, and many of their batchmates recount fondly, seeing them studying together at the Medical College Library where love blossomed. They entered marital bliss on February 12, 1959 at Mount Lavinia Hotel; a delightful occasion attended by family and friends alike. Following marriage, Dosthara Archchi honed her skills as a culinary goddess, serving delectable dishes to both local and international guests with style and skill. Dosthara Archchi made the best asparagus sandwiches, which were a personal favourite, and she would dutifully prepare it each time she knew I would be visiting her home.
93rd Birthday and Three (3) Months Remembrance of Dr. (Mrs.) Nallaperuma Arachchige Nandani Chintha Fernando
While being a dutiful and devoted wife and mother, Dosthara Archchi continued to practise as a doctor and was always on hand to support family and friends alike during medical emergencies. She strongly believed that a female could do it all, balancing both family and a career, and the importance of financial independence for a female. Dosthara Archchi wrote to me on the importance of managing my own finances and having a credit card and encouraged me to obtain a credit card on my 21st Birthday.
Like her mother before her, Dosthara Archchi was a devout Buddhist who maintained close relations with her temple, supporting the temple in its various initiatives and holding regular piriths and danes at her home. She gave her time generously to worthy causes, serving as the Treasurer of the Prithipura Children’s Home in Wattala for many years. Dosthara Archchi was a true #BossLady, balancing a career and family, giving her time and support to both religious activities and worthy causes before it was a trend for females to balance their lives so masterfully. She was and will continue to be an inspiration to her family and friends, showcasing that with perseverance and dedication, you can excel in all endeavours.
“I attribute my success to this: I never gave or took any excuse.” – Florence Nightingale
Janani Wijetunge Palihakkara