Thursday, March 20, 2008

Anura Bandaranayaka

Much was expected of a man born to a South Asian dynasty, to privilege and wealth. He had the opportunities, the contacts, the personality, the charisma and the honesty. He was felled by some very Sri Lankan traits; The only son syndrome being one, which does not train one to fend for one self. The other being alcohol dependency. He was very ill for the latter part of his life suffering from gout and diabetic conditions, which all thought would kill him. The cancer was just the final reason for his death, but he had effectively died as an effective person on the world stage a long time ago.

He made what in hindsight can be labeled the most foolish of political gambles that shot himself in the foot too many times. He was a Greek tragedy. He was a pitiable person with many endearing qualities of humanness. He died in a rather disheveled government guest house, where he chose to live rather than in his modest home, next to his childhood Tintagel.

Others with the opportunities given him could have scaled heights, exceeding their forebears. His achievements were modest by his lack of political acumen and determination to succeed in whatever he ventured into. The expectations were probably his downfall and this is a lesson to those who think people are born to position rather than deserve it due to effort and ability.

We are partly who we are due to our birthright, however we are more who we are from what we have achieved by using that birthright for a purpose higher than ourselves. Life is not a box of chocolates, but more a game of poker, and while the hand that we are dealt will help us its how we bluff the others to get what we want, when we have a poor hand that gives us the edge and select us from the pack. When we lose the bluff we are forgotten, but the only people who will never forget us are our true friends from whom we cannot hide and who give us friendship no matter how wrong we are or what mistakes we make. Those friends and family are worth cherishing till death and beyond and in them I believe Anura did have people who gave but did not expect anything in return and to them he will truly be missed.

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