28 March 2014

Dr. Rajeewa Jayasinghe: He gave just by being

It’s been a year since Dr Rajeewa Jayasinghe passed away in circumstances that were tragic beyond the tragedy that the passing of any loved one usually is.  Those circumstances raised questions that are yet to be answered.  Answered or not, the fact that he is no more will not change.  And so we remember, we re-live the happy moments and lament that they will not be repeated.

Rajeewa was a friend by proximity.  We were in the university together.  He was a year junior to me.  I remember and have recalled those times; happy days that we could never convince ourselves would someday come to an end, one way or another.  We moved from year to year, in and out of the university.  Our paths didn’t cross often, we didn’t plan to meet.  We knew each other and in the manner of good friends knew where each other was and what we were about for the most part.  So when we did meet, we had things to talk about. 

And yet, there were absences. There were gaps in our perception of each other that remained right up to the point he left us all.  In the larger order of things, this does not matter much.  After all, there is emptiness within each of us that we cannot put a finger on and cannot ever fill.  All we can do is remember, remember well and rejoice that paths crossed, moments were shared, that there was knowing and there was respect.

It is customary in the writing of memorials to recount a life and trace through anecdote the sensibilities that made a name into a person. We could do this year after year and re-telling won’t make it stale. Still, Rajeewa was made of sterner stuff when it came to the eternal verities.  I would do him disservice to scatter anecdotes among unknown readers.  But there’s one thing I missed and it is not my fault: I did not know him as a teacher.  I knew him as a humble, down to earth, intelligent, friendly human being who never harboured even a trace of ill-will.  Cultured, he was.  And that was his most enduring giving.  Such things rub off on people without detracting from the giver.  What came off, we keep, even if we haven’t recognized or acknowledged the gift.  His students naturally were more aware, as were his neighbors and relatives. 

A few days ago, Rajeewa’s mother called.  The lady, whom I’ve never met but whose voice, tone and words betrayed the gentleness that I recognized in her son, told me that people close to him had written about him.  Poems of appreciation penned by a neighbour, an aunt and a student. She asked if they could be published. The poetry will speak of a man seen with eyes very different from those of a contemporary.  Let them tell their stories [See poems below]. 

For me, it’s a simple matter of knowing he is no longer around but that he lives on in ways he himself may not have envisaged.  So I am grateful, even if my gratitude he will not receive and even though there’s a line of sadness that runs through it all.



My Favourite Neighbour – Rajeewa Uncle

A warm smile, a hearty laugh,
Countless jokes, endless evenings.................
Celebrations of Joy.......
Sharing of tears........
Your Kind Heart
Cheerful personality
Will so greatly be missed...............
But in our hearts.....................
You will be always be alive.............
Young and vibrant
Just the way you always were............
The memory of you will be
Treasured, cherished and loved............
With a heavy heart
As we say Good bye,
We also want to say “thank you”  for all the
Good times and memories

Purnima


Dearest Rajeewa Sir

Your smiling face
Your laughter ... sweet thought....
Your great advices.......... lovely teaching..............
How to forget?............
Days....... Months ........ Years will roll
Since you left us.........
But your memory will be cherished forever
Though you depart  from us........
Memories of you.......... will never fade.............
Dearest  Sir!................
You will ever stay deeply in our hearts.........
We ..... Your ever loving law students miss you.......
And all always recollect your loving concern and love for us............
We pray and wish you the shortest sojourn in Sansara
May you attain the Supreme Bliss of Nirvana ......

Naduni Waidyathilake

Rajeewa

A great tree fallen
The grass greener where it was
To accept a life so brief
Deep in ocean’s sorrow

Aunty Titti

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