H.J Smith came to Trinity to teach in middle school. He was in charge of a new subject called Social Studies which attempted to create awareness of the environment for our boys. During the class on the people of Sri Lanka, he said “Dissanayake come up”, so Dissanayake went up and stood by the teacher’s desk. Then Smithy said “de Joedt come up” and de Joedt went up. Then Smithy said “We have a belief that Burghers are fair, the Sinhalese are brown and the Tamils are dark. This is not true look at these two boys”. We did. Lucky was as fair as could be and Ken was darker than Lucky. Not only was he very fair, he was handsome.
Lucky joined Trinity from Prep in ‘53. Pushpa and I joined from Dharmaraja. We were in Form II 2c (now grade 7) with Mr. Paramsothy as class master. Lucky had the amazing knack to say the weirdest things, make us burst but keep a straight face. He was never punished for disturbing the class. It was always us around him who got the lines.
Like the time Paul Jeyaraj explaining Kandyan kings who had very long names, wrote ‘V D Suriya’ instead of Vimala Dharma Suriya on the board. Lucky turned to us and whispered “I say Suriya, you got VD.” We couldn’t hold it and anarchy took over the Kandyan Kingdom that day.
He was mild demure, unobtrusive and middle of the road. No signal acts of heroism or academic excellence marked his stay. Yet he had talent. He had a very neat fist. He could paint if he wanted to. His painting of a beach side hut was published in the ‘54 College magazine. But he did not pursue his talent. He lived on the Asgiriya road above the rail bridge. He was regular at the grounds and played hockey for the school.
He was chosen to do an Honours Degree in Sociology at the University. It was at the University that he met Sujatha Weerakoon and fell in love with her.
Lucky did several jobs. He began with Air Lanka. When The Hilton was opened and Hans Hauri came as GM, Lucky was selected as Sales Director. But Max Bretchbuell from Inter-continental offered him a better deal. Later he joined the National Savings Bank.
Even though we moved to different places our flag was our rallying point and when we did meet it was just taking off from where we left off.
His service to the Colombo OBA was par excellence. He designed the Dance Souvenir which was central to planning and execution of many events including of course the dance and never missed meetings. It was he who coined the slogan “Unmatched quality, produced by Trinity” for our car stickers. He held every possible position in the OBA. When he was President, a very soft spoken individual, he got the committee cooperation by being appreciative of everyone’s contribution, however small it was. He loved the post-match get- togethers at the club.
So another of our batch of “59 is gone, but not before he taught us a couple of things that live on after him. Perhaps the greatest thing he taught us was that a simple individual can carry great principles in himself.
(Upali Ratnayake – For and on behalf of the TCK(OBA) – Colombo Branch)