Posted in Daily post, True Story, Inspirational

If Only, I Could Turn Back The Clock … (part 1)

dad labSixth of August 1985.  The final nail to the already crumbling state of despair.  The clock started ticking sixteen days prior to this fateful day.

I write about a lot of things, mostly things that has happened in my life.  Writing helps me to heal, vent and sometimes just to delve into happy memories and reminisce. Life for me is not just doom and gloom, after rain there is the rainbow (I give credit for this metaphor to my cousin Roy, not sure where he borrowed it from, but I think it’s a goody).  But, there is no rainbow when you lose some one close to you, just the torrential rain, eventually you are all cried  out.  You smile for the world.  You learn to cope.  You now know never to let it rain again, You lock it shut and throw the keys away.

 Many a times I have thought about writing about my dad’s passing.  I have touched on the subject a few times, but never could I completely submerge into it.  Emotions are too raw and too hard to hold back.  So, I retreat even before I start.

Nearing his 31st death anniversary, thought it is time, to talk about that phone call, the phone call that came late that evening.  Beginning of the end.

Dad was a scientist at the Tea Research Institute of Sri Lanka.  He was well liked and admired.  Apparently he was really great at his job.  There was even a stamp that was printed with his face.  But, he was a gentle and a humble soul with a wicked sense of humour. Some of his jokes were really terrible. But we still laughed.  The Joke being terrible was a joke too.

I remember Steve Irwin’s daughter at his funeral saying “every girl thinks that their dad is the greatest, but my dad was really the greatest”. I feel the same pretty much everyday.

Year 12 exams were nearing, unfortunately after the major riots in 1983, all the Tamil ( a dialect) teachers had left Kandy and retreated back to their home town of Jaffna.  Our school was finding it hard to find replacement teachers.  The day scholars didn’t mind it as they were able to attend private tuition.  Being a boarder under the nun regime, I had no avenues to get ready for the exams.  So finally my dad decided to take me home and educate me himself, or with the help of the rest of the scientists in the place.  My subjects were Physics, Chemistry, Botany and Zoology.  TRI (Tea Research Institute) was swarming with Scientists of all those disciplines. What better place to be in than here.

One of the fundamental things we all forgot to take into account was that I was studying in Tamil and most of the residents of TRI including my dad studied these subjects in English. It was really slow going and finally, he decided to send me to Colombo (the Capital of Sri Lanka), along with my mum to get some private tuition to prepare me for the exams.

Dad would come to Colombo on the weekends.  I am trying to think back, the things we talked about or did,  he was like the male version of “Lorelai Gilmore” on “Gilmore Girls”. (Well, he didn’t sleep around switch between Luke and Christopher like a yo yo, but ..) We talked and laughed about the most stupidest things. We had the most amazing relationship.

daddy's girl

For his time and for his generation he was very progressive.  There was no taboos and restrictions, mainly reasons explained why we could take a different path. Social justice and fairness was very high on the agenda for him.  He found it hard to accept the community’s norm of the “Class” system. He didn’t think women were inferior.  He found “dowry” appalling. He didn’t just think, he believed that I was amazing.

I could write the praises of my dad for days and nights, and how much of a great human being he was. But today’s task is to write about that day when the clock turned on my mum and me.

Dad was meant to come home that Friday evening.  Dad calls to say that he was not feeling that well and has decided not to come.  Which was okay by me.  But, mum was not.  She kept saying that, “no he didn’t sound right”.  She didn’t sleep well at all.  Next morning, she decided to take the train to TRI to see dad. My cousin and I laughed at mum, we both thought she was overreacting.  But my cousin joked and said that it was true love and she should follow her instincts.

She found dad in an absolute state.  She informed the staff and soon got him in the TRI ambulance and transported him to Colombo.  Although it was called an ambulance it does not have any medical staff. It is just a glorified van. So, Dad arrived home.  Although mum rang me ahead and told me that he was not well, I didn’t picture this, at all.

He was weak and stumbled when walking.  He was still smiling and wanted to talk, wanted to talk a lot.  But nothing he said made much sense.  I could hardly recognise who this man was.  I went into the adjoining room and started to weep.  Give me back my dad.  He was fit as a fiddle last week, what happened in just a week. My mum hugged me and said “he is going to be fine”, I don’t think even she believed what she was saying.  But, she had to say something to console me, she had to be strong for her girl.  She had much to do and she couldn’t take time off to drop the ball.

You wonder why this man was in the house and not in the hospital.  Well, this was Sri Lanka. Even if you think you are going to die, you have to make an appointment with the doctor next day.  So, dad had an appointment to see the specialist next day after lunch.



I am a beginner to all this blogging. Recently found a passion for writing. Not sure if I am a good enough writer to publish a REAL book. I am probably using this as a testing platform to see if I attract enough interest. I was born in Sri Lanka, now for the last 26 years living in Australia. So am I a Sri Lankan or Australian, it changes time to time. Lets say I am not ashamed to say I am a Sri Lankan but I think my affections lie with Australia. I am a cancer survivor, marriage survivor, war (civil war) survivor and what ever else the world/destiny has thrown at me. So my blog I guess would be about all those things. Humour is Huge for me, fairness is huge for me, I question everything religion, cultural beliefs, Political decisions. So watch out for some some fireworks laced with humour.

11 thoughts on “If Only, I Could Turn Back The Clock … (part 1)

  1. I do remember this day too. There were some “if only” thoughts amongst some of us and the sadness of not having been able to help a friend. If for some reason we had called him on that fateful day, we would have been alerted of his condition. We were there just few doors away, but none of us realized he was ill. May be we thought he was away. Too long ago to remember, but I can recollect thoughts of sadness and the shock on hearing of his illness, as that week he was with us at a meeting, joking as usual and with no signs of impending death. No one understands God’s plan. But it was God who made amma to go to him at his time of need. In the midst of grief, we do see God’s merciful kindness as well. I strongly believe in loved ones living in another dimension. Your dad is watching your family and lovingly guiding all of you. God Bless


    1. His time was up for some reason. Most thought he was away too, including the place where he was going to eat. He wax traveling a bit those days and it was easy to presume that. I do believe that he is watching over us, or atleast I hope he does. But, i still wish he waz around to see my kids. It was not meant to be .


  2. If Only, I Could Turn Back The Clock,- The heading itself is self-explanatory. Something horrible happened in writer’s life but she wishes it never happened. She expressed it beautifully, beautifully indeed
    Witter Uma introduces herself as new for blogging world, maybe true, but the flow of writing and competency reveal that she is an experienced writer or may be this is an inborn talent emerging out, at a latter stage of her life.
    Observation, comparing the incidents with nature is very vital skill for a writer or a poet. The writer surpasses those skills. Uma has an extraordinary memory power. She wrote all incidents happened in 1985 that was almost 31 years ago picturing as if all happened yesterday.
    I am not willing to continue writing this comment like a total stranger to Uma. She is my second cousin. Her father Late Sivapalan, fondly remembered by me as Rasan mama is my mother Late Nesamany’s paternal first cousin. Amma referred him Rasannan. However, writer Uma and me never met each other. Only once I saw her in her Uniform. I think it was in 1980 or 1981. She was a little girl and small for her age as well.
    Our father’s and mother’s family was very minute compare to other families lived around us. Father was only child and mother had only two brothers. Aiyah doesn’t get along well with his cousins, so we were left with only two maternal uncles to cling around. Even they lived in other parts of Sri Lanka. Since Karthikesu paatta and Eeswary periyama and children lived in our vicinity and we met each other everyday. I don’t know Mangalacca much as she was married and settled in Colombo before we were born. Still there wasn’t much bond I had with extended families.

    I still love my maternal Uncles, but they are very poor in expressing their love. My mother was the worst. Rasan mama (Uma’s father) was very different. He visited us only when he came to Point Pedro on his holidays. The way he expressed his love towards me was overwhelming.

    It was not any bear hug but he hit his right shoulder on my left shoulder and put his arm around me and held my right shoulder very tight and gave me a tender and gentle smile. That hug had thousands of loving words, which I never forget. I can remember him doing this from my 10 years of age and continued even after I reached my 18 years.

    After that I didn’t have much chance to meet him after I went to University. But I never forgot him because it is very hard to erase your childhood better memories.

    Thank God, then I got a chance do my thesis report under his supervision. It was the happiest days of my life. I admired his knowledge in his field. A loving nephew has become an admirer of Rasan Mama. Then I have become a fan of Paththini mami’s cooking. Specially, I loved her pastries.

    He was open in pointing out my mistakes including his mistakes as well. I am sure you would still cherish a photo of him injecting a radiating substance with a syringe into a tea leave. One evening he asked me whether I could point out the mistake in that photograph. I couldn’t figure out. Then he said “Don’t you think I should have worn hand gloves? “. Who talked about personal safety in SL those days? It was not necessary for him to point out his mistake to me but that was Rasan mama.

    I have read up to chapter 5, but I am not ready yet to read further. I will read, I am determined to read and I will continue my comments.


    1. Thank you so much for your sincere comments and compliments on my writing. I do find solace in writing and it warms me when another feels what I have expressed. Your love and admiration for my dad isvery evident. Thank you for telling me these things. Even after so many years I still miss him. And when someone tells me their love and affection for my dad it really means a lot for me. I am lost for words to express myself gratitude to you and im left with tears again.

      Liked by 1 person

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