Prasad Gunewardene

A man can have many children, but a child can have only one father. So it is with our dear father, whom we missed so desperately one year back. It is none other than Prasad Gunewardene, the veteran journalist known to the whole country. Since his calibre in journalism was well elaborated by his colleagues when he passed away, we thought it proper to express these sentimental thoughts.

He was a very loving, caring and an adorable father as well as a husband who was very strict indeed. Being a stern father he had a great impact on bringing up us with good manners which we are today. He was dominant in all what he did as he always believed in the motto “I did it my way” (He was an ardent fan of Frank Sinatra). We were always very proud and confident of Thaththi who was a well-known journalist and an old Thomian hailing from the Pujitha Gunewardene clan in Matara.

He was brilliant in the use of English as well as in Latin and his knowledge in politics, history and all the other affairs was supreme. In spite of his hectic schedule engaged with the newspaper trade, Thaththi always kept his eye on us where he used to make numerous calls from office to see how we were doing. The very first thing he does when he is back from office is to visit our rooms to ensure that we have returned from work safe and sound and that everyone is keeping fine.

From our childhood he never allowed us to go on trips or to attend get-to-gethers without him or ammi as he was so afraid that some danger would happen to us. Whenever something came our way, he stood tall and became our shield. Indeed we missed his love along with that protection and the loss we feel now is beyond what words could express. Thaththi was a born Anglican who later converted to Roman Catholicism after marriage and had a great faith in Our Lady and he often visited Our Lady of Sorrows Church in Ja-ela.

He had a habit of bringing holy pictures home which now hang on the wall and have become one of the greatest remembrances of him. Being the nephew of late great actor Gamini Fonseka, Thaththi had a great taste in music where he wrote many songs and was so close to Annesley Malawana and late Clarence Wijewardene. He was an intimate friend to all. He was cheerful, and was helpful to everyone in all means he could which was proved by the massive crowd that came to pay last respect to him who murmured, “We lost a valuable person”.

Only few musicians and politicians didn’t have that gratitude although his mighty pen helped immensely to glitter their fame and Thaththi knew that bitter truth when he was alive. The night we lost him was an absolute nightmare and indeed it was an early goodbye even he wouldn’t have anticipated.

Even after one year of his demise our hearts are still reluctant to accept that he is gone for good. One of his famous quotes he taught us was that “This world is a stage and each must play a part”. Yes Thaththi, you played your role to the best and you travelled each and every highway.  Now the stage is bare and we are standing there with emptiness all around.

Though it is said that the time is a great healer, the missing of his presence grow more and more each day. His smile, his stories are now only a dream which will last forever as he once said that ‘Older the coat, the value is more’. We only have the hope of being re-united with him in the eternal bliss one day and till then he would be smiling at us from above with his beloved Mother Mary saying, “Welcome to my world and remember that I’m not gone”.

Fondly remembered by Daughters Shavindrini, Suwendrini, Son Dilshan & Wife Soundarie.

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