Had you been alive today, you would have turned 69. We, Amma, Malli and I, wish Happy Birthday silently for you; wherever you are, may your life be filled with happiness and health. This year marks the eighth year, since you’ve gone. But all these years, you’ve proved one thing: that is there was no one like you. You were one of a kind.
When I reminisce those days with you I can give you one title: “The man with a golden heart.” That’s what you are. You forgave everyone who said, “You don’t have much money; you’re irresponsible; you belong to a minority; you’re not Sinhala.” For those people, you had one answer. That is love, whether that was eternal or platonic. You forgave even the people who tried to loot money from you. There was so much love filled in your heart. And that love poured out of your heart to everyone. You loved people despite whether they reciprocated love or not.
I have never seen someone like you.
You had no desire for money or properties, no aspirations of collecting wealth. Your expectation was to live a day at a time and enjoy it to the heart’s content. You were light as a feather with a million-dollar-smile everlasting in your face. You had no difficulty in unowning things, as you were not attached to things. Indeed, you were an “Ascetic” in a layman’s outfit. If you wanted to be a cleric and become enlightened about life’s true meaning, for you it could have been very easy, since you had very few desires. There was so much to learn from you.
I was looking for someone like you after you have gone, but there is no one like you, I now understand.
One day I asked you, “Dade, what happens when we are dead?” You pondered for a while, and said, “I really don’t know baba, perhaps there might be a special place for the dead.” Now that you’re in that special place, I hope you are doing well while entertaining others with your Hindi songs in your Mohammed-Rafi-like-voice.
In your last days you said, “See, my hair is falling; my skin is wrinkling. I need a new body. I need a new start.” We remind how well the God has listened to you. You were surely a child of God. You are an angel now in God’s abode, and I’m happy for you.
I’m proud that I’m your daughter. And I want you to be my dada in my next lives (if there will be any, but I don’t intend to) as well.
I wish I had that Heart of Gold of yours. But that did belong only to you.
You taught me when you were alive and even after you were dead. You tried to make me good, and by death you proved what it means to be good. You had not earned money, but you had earned people, a lot of people in that case. You tried to make me strong; and your leaving made me stronger.
You sang for me this song when I was small.-
Tujhe suraj kahu ya chanda – Shall I call you sun or moon?
Tujhe deep kahu ya tara – Shall I call you light or star?
Mera naam karega roshan – Jag me mera raj dulara
My little prince will brighten up my name in the world.
In fact, you brought me up like a prince, not like a princess who waits for her Prince Charming to rescue her. Now I’m capable of rescuing myself, and if needed, I can rescue others too. My endeavor is to make your dreams come true.
I look at the pet cat, plants, and things you brought home that are still inside our house; I smell your parched handwritten notes; I feel the few printed shirts that is left of you, which you wore with unique style. Life is such that when one is gone the things left behind bring mystical memories of him.
Wherever you are, continue to live your story, my handsome Hero. You were a star that brought smiles and laughs to people. You were a superhero that helped everyone. You were a chameleon that metamorphosed into different forms: You went to the temple and did blood tests of loku hamuduruwo (the head-monk) and people thought you were Sinhala; you spoke in Tamil with the Tamils and they thought you were one of them; you spoke English and you looked like a decent Burgher. Your story lives on in our hearts until our last breaths.
When you’ve gone, I became a lost sailboat in a turbid sea when the lighthouse had gone out. Now that your light glows in my heart, I can see everything clearly in this world.
There is a rift between the living and the dead. When I’m ready I will cross that gap. See you on the other side my favourite person. I remember you forever.
From your dear daughter