He was a man of few words. With little complaint he bore the weight of the world on his shoulders. In life, Ravindra Dharmathillake didn’t have it easy, But made the best of it.
A day in Ravi’s life was a herculean feat.Wakeing up at 4am every morning to tend his paralyzed mother; wash her, cook for her and feed her. Then, take the 7am train from Ambepussa to work. If he had to go to Meerigama station, he would ride the bike. Often, at the end of a hard day’s work, the 11pm train, would only take him home at 1am.
Despite having a paralyzed mother to tend , he never failed at work assignments. Rain or shine, transport or no transport, he performed at peak. Despite being a non Catholic and stricken with a terminal disease, one of his last assignments during Easter was a feature on Supuwath Arana, a hallowed catholic meditation centre in Seeduwa.
On a lighter note, Ravi’s strangest of past times, other than bodybuilding; was a knack for repairing cameras, phones and watches, not only of Nation staff members, invaluable family wristwatches came under Ravi’s scrutiny. He tweaked, fine tuned them and replaced batteries.
He never hoarded tidbits and giveaways received at press conferences, but, he distributed them among his friends. He never held grudges even against those who wronged him.
Having started as a typesetter at Sunday Times of Wijeya Newspapers Limited in 1990, he worked there for a faithful 10 years. He spread his wings as a novice photographer at Nation with a simple Sony Cybershot in 2006. His enthusiasm for mastering the art of photography led him to seek help from professionals, who in turn, encouraged him appreciating his humble ways.
As a student of Keenadeniya Maha Vidyalaya, Ambepussa, Ravi excelled as an athlete, and winning district championship events.
At office never failed to flash his biceps to impress his colleagues, who teased him, saying that he had horse power. Ravi’s love of athletics didn’t wane with age. He won the first, second and third places in the 400, 200 and 100 metre events respectively, at the 2007 Mercantile Athletic Meet.
Some people would die only a few weeks into chemo and radiation therapy, but Ravi didn’t let his leukemia get the better of him. Years of working out at the gym, and bodybuilding paid off, keeping him strong body and mind. When other people with this disease became frustrated and demoralized, Ravi turned to Buddha Dhamma, spending many hours reading books on Buddhism lying on his hospital bed in the midst of receiving treatment. He never forgot how to smile.
As attributed to Shannon L. Alder “A legacy is etched into the minds of others, and the stories, they, share about you.”