I first met him in the mid-sixties, when we were both fresh out of school and joined J. Walter Thompson’s almost together as account executive trainees. I was killing time waiting for my green card to confirm emigration to the States and he was trying to find his space from where he would go on to a life of adventure and higher states. We hit it off immediately, having so much in common – even though at the time the higher states we found much later in life that increased the bond between us tremendously had not yet manifested.

Our next meeting was many years and experiences later, and although we had been in common cities around the world at around the same time over the years, we never met until both of us returned home in the late seventies. Our mutual friends were a select band we had caroused with over the years and included more than a few outstanding minds that had left what the Buddha referred to as the life of the ‘householder’ for a life of reflection, meditation and relative solitude. Most of the others were creative free spirits in search of beauty and truth, but having wonderful times in the process.

A raconteur par excellence, he could hold forth on a myriad subjects, his one-off raspy voice adding to the effect and with his humour being second to none. His delving into a variety of subjects that included Cultural Anthropology, Philosophy and Religion (among a host of others) resulted in him being somewhat of an expert on the life and writings of Ananda Coomaraswamy and allowed crazy insights into the dogmas he discussed.

Liberal to the core, he made more than a small impact when he pioneered efforts to bolster the case for the legalization of Cannabis Sativa in Sri Lanka by moderating a debate of sorts at the Lionel Wendt theatre sometime in the early eighties. He was also a film-maker and had to his credit a number of Sinhala films, as well as English films which involved foreign actors and Directors. He worked with Lester James Pieris, Mike Wilson and just about all the well known Sinhala actors that included Gamini Fonseka, Joe Abeywickreme, Vijaya Kumaranatunge, Swarna Mallawarachchi, Malini Fonseka and others, too many to mention. He was commissioned to make a documentary on Sirimavo Bandaranaike and worked with David Attenborough on a pilot for a television series. And his foray into local theatre included lavish productions of My Fair Lady and The Sound of Music.

His interest in the ancient culture of Sri Lanka led him to pioneer efforts that have resulted in what is now known as cultural or eco-tourism and his love for nature led him to develop his own ‘riverine reservation’ principles which he applied to his most recent project, alas, now in a state of unfinished effort.

There’s so much more to the man that could never be even partially described to complete the picture that has made such an indelible impression on the minds of those that associated with him – and for us, his near and dear, the vacuum his passing has caused will be difficult to come to terms with.

All I know is that he understood completely the phenomenon of ‘attachment’ and that ‘letting go’ would not have been all that difficult for him.

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