Veteran journalist Cecil V. Wikramanayake peacefully passed on to join the heavenly cloud of witnesses recently (December 17, 2016). As a gifted journalist, the contributions he made to the world of journalism in Sri Lanka are enormous. He leaves an indelible mark as a writer par excellence.
As a communicator, he expressed himself in poetry and prose, and under pseudonyms such as Citizen Per-r-r-a, all of which were popular among Sri Lankans in decades gone by. As to what he achieved, I am sure some of his associates from eras past would attest. But, in this brief appreciation note, I would like to pen some qualities that I saw, looked up to, appreciated and admired in Cecil Wikramanayake, my father-in-law.
Essentially, Cecil was a loving person. When you were in his company, you instantly knew that you were in the presence of a loving person, who had walked with kings but not lost the common touch.
He loved and cherished the times spent together with people; He was attracted to people, children, music, arts, sports, food, motorbikes, sport cars, wildlife, and practically anything beautiful.
No wonder, he was able to appreciate the beauty and talent in different people and had an appreciatively inquiring mind regarding difficult situations, persons and circumstances.
He did not have within him any pent-up animosity, envy or jealousy.Neither, did he have a competitive spirit. He forgave people who had wronged him, took him for granted or took advantage of his position of influence that he enjoyed as a journalist. It was no accident that he lived up to a ripe old age of four score and twelve years without any major sicknesses. Until the day he closed his eyes he was a jolly, cheerful person.
In his long life of 92 years, he had moments with eternity and had his moments of choices, when he had definite encounters with God, his maker. There were times, when God through divine interventions saved and extended his life miraculously. He was a man greatly favoured by God. One of his all-time favourite hymns was, “What can wash away my sins, nothing but the blood of Jesus!”
Cecil was true to himself and led a simple life. He lived his life to the fullest, because he did not have major biases, rather, he accepted people just as they were. For him relationships meant a lot and ran deep.
He expressed himself in relationships and worked at them to the best of his ability, always giving, understanding and being available for people but never demanding.
He leaves a godly heritage for his children and all those whom he loved and admired: love, faith and hope. But the greatest of these is love.
Cecil Vera Wikramanayake was laid to rest on December 18 but the memory of this legendary personality will go on in our hearts and lives, until we meet him again in heaven.
Timothy A. Edward