There is a common saying that behind every successful man there is a woman. But often we don’t talk much about these heroines behind the man. This time we allocated some space for these unsung women behind the success of outstanding cricketers in Sri Lanka. In this column the present writer focused on the romantic times and interesting incidents in their married life.

Rukshani Thirimanne, the wife of national cricket player Lahiru Thirimanne, joins in this discussion with the Rivira Group. Today, Rukshani recollects their past.

Q: Can you remember the first day you met Lahiru?

We attended the same A/L Chemistry tuition class where I met him first.

Q: Then what happened?

There were only 10 or 15 students in our class. All of us were close friends. Lahiru was a reserved and proud type of student.

Q: How did such a reserved person get so close to you later?

One day I was late to class and I had to sit next to Lahiru. Lahiru usually sat next to his two friends – Keshawa and Pasan. I asked for notes I missed from his two friends – Keshawa and Pasan. Both said that their handwriting was poor and suggested I borrow from Lahiru. Yet, I was reluctant to ask for notes from him as I was not well acquainted with him but his two friends asked him to lend his notes to me. But Lahiru flatly refused. Though I did not get the notes from him, after that incident he became a little intimate with me. Later on he acknowledged that he began to think of me seriously only after that incident. In the course of time, through his friends we exchanged our mobile numbers too.

Q: Though Lahiru was an arrogant man, he was interested in you. Was that why he asked for your number from his friends instead of from you?

He never told me how he got my number. After getting my number we contacted each other more often on the phone.

Q: How did it turn into a love affair?

Lahiru missed tuition classes due to cricket matches. I often copied notes for him when he failed to come to classes. Lahiru was reluctant to start a love affair with me as he feared it would hamper my studies. We were friends till our A/L exam was over.

Q: Did you agree to his suggestion straightaway?

I saw no reason to turn him down. I too had a soft corner for him but due to the impending exams we did not reveal our romantic feelings to each other. We started our affair only after the exam.

Q: Did your parents consent to your affair?

I had told my mother about Lahiru but she did not want to take a decision by herself as my father was abroad then. One day Lahiru had informed my mother about our affair but my mother had advised him to think about it after our studies were done. But she had told him that she was not against our friendship. One day in 2010 Lahiru visited our home with his mother. My father was also at home then. My father knew about our affair by then. He told Lahiru that if he thought that his decision was correct, my father had nothing against it. Eventually, we were married on December 17, 2014.

Q: Today, are you happy about the decision?

Indeed yes. We are now a happily married couple. We have a bundle of joy of three months. He is Nivaan Ranushka Thirimanne. Lahiru devotes all his free time to be with us. I have no regrets.

Q: Aren’t you bored when Lahiru is always away from home due to his busy schedule?

Initially, when he went on tour I was a little anxious about him but now I have got used to it. As he regularly contacts me over the phone to inquire after our wellbeing, I don’t feel I miss him. I always take care not to overlook any responsibility at home.

Q: Aren’t you jealous when other girls eye him?

I am not so self-centered. He is in the public eye due to his popularity, why should I feel jealous about it. Some even take selfies with him. I am not petty-minded to misunderstand him.

Q: Are you happy about his achievements, because when you first met him he was not an outstanding player but now he is a player in the national team?

I never expected him to reach such heights in cricket when he was playing school cricket. I derive great pleasure seeing his achievements, achievements made throug dedication and commitment.

Q: How do you see Lahiru as a husband?

He is not swollen-headed due to his achievements. At times he is irritable but I am no better.

Q: Do you have any grand plans for the future?

Lahiru has a long way to go. I dedicate my time for him so I could help him to realize his dream. We want to see our son grow up to be a valuable citizen.

(Translated by Ananda Elkaduwa)

Rukshani Thirimanne, (2) Rukshani Thirimanne, (3)