Champions of humility..

Champions of humility..

Hope comes in all forms and all norms.

On Sunday the 03rd of April, it came to a team considered the under dogs in a hotly contested cricket tournament that had millions glued to their TV screens throughout the cricket mad world.

Darren Sammy who led the team from the Caribbean to the Finals against England, held in Eden Garden Stadium Kolkata, proved to the world that he was a man of his word. He believed in a victory when others doubted their ability to win cricket’s most prestigious crown currently. He believed in God – a devout Christian like most of his team mates, a fact he was proud to declare following their stunning win over England. He had nothing but praise for the boys who made it all possible. He had hope – not just a flicker, but the kind of hope that brims over and infects others around him.

Darren Sammy showed the world that nothing is hopeless until and unless you have taken it head on. Hope is what drives us human beings to achieve stellar success – it is the essential ingredient that keeps human spirit going even when everything else around you, as the poet said, is ready to quit.In the case of the men from the Caribbean, they had plenty of it going around. They never vacated their posts at being masters of hope. And it paid off.

The West Indian team also championed a greater cause. They were the happy-go-lucky team, always smiling, sharing a close sense of camaraderie all around. In a sense, they had perfected the art of having fun despite all the seriousness of winning cricket’s coveted title. They replaced the fun factor that seemed to have gone out from the game, with big bucks taking over and more and more strategic moves wrought with seriousness that belies the joy of playing a sport for the love of it.

Darren and the boys also gave a master lesson in humility that night. They were not just the unexpected champions but they were also humble as they dedicated their win to their fans back home. The cricket pundits had not expected them to rise up to the challenge of entering the Finals and stand tall enough to win. As Darren himself told the world in a speech packed with emotion, they were called no brainers at one stage – they had a point to prove. They knew they were champions inside. The world got to see it at the right time, the right way. When you know and believe that you have within you what it takes to be a champion, not even the world’s biggest and the best heavyweights can stand in your way.

The West Indies cricket team inspired us all with their win. Their victory affirmed that it is not always the most expected, the most favoured, the most likely that win. That there is always room, just enough, for hope to triumph amidst adversity. That tomorrow belongs to those who believe in their ability to rise above the tide.

May Darren and his team go on to inspire hundreds of youth in the Caribbean and elsewhere to give their very best.

 

 

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A requiem for Wassim “Wassa” Thajudeen – Esto Perpetua

A requiem for Wassim “Wassa” Thajudeen – Esto Perpetua

At the school by the sea, the boys are introduced to sports at an early age.

The Thomians like to stress on their balanced education system, one in which sports and knowledge go hand in hand in order to build the personality of young men walking the hallowed portals of learning at Mount Lavinia.

My son, now 17, switched to rowing later on but at STC, he started rugby early on. Rugby is a Thomian passion, one they take very seriously. For the ruggerites of STC, it is more than a sport ; they live and love the game during and after the season. Wassim Thajudeen was no exception – he was a fine young player who showed much promise. In true Thomian fashion, he cared not for false bravado displays of so called false princes, true pretenders to a throne that seemed very real at the time. In the end, that was too much for the demons who could not stand his unspoken dominance, his talent, his capability on the rugby field.  Wassim “Wassa” Thajudeen, as he was affectionately known among his fellow Thomians, was a true blue “Preppite”, a boy from the STC Colpetty, my son tells me, and was indeed much loved.

I can understand that very well. At S.Thomas’, the boys didn’t know each other by their religion, cast or creed but by the fellowship they shared among a brotherhood of Sinhalese, Tamils and Moslems, Christians, Buddhists and Hindus. It never occurred to them to divide their fellow students among ethnic or religious lines.How so unlike the false royal family and its bunch of rogues.

In Wassa, S. Thomas – and Sri Lanka lost a fine young rugby player who would have had a stellar career had he been allowed to live. In retrospect, we realise that we as a nation lived through such dark times that only the mercy of his Allah and my God could have seen us through. Today, as his mother still mourns the untimely loss of her beloved son, I can understand her pain. When you lose your son, you lose your world. And it is never the same again.

The fact that he was tortured and murdered has always been known albeit limited to the circles of Colombo’s dinner circuits – it was a whispered secret that today, is loud enough to be heard in the highest portals of justice. Yet no one dared to point fingers back then. Unless one wanted a free ride in a white van, never to return. But today, thanks be to God, it is different. We can take comfort in knowing that justice has come full circle. For Wassa and the many others whose lives were cruelly snatched during those cursed years of Rajapakse rule, there will be justice. That’s what Good Governance is all about.

Back in the day, I recall telling myself that this, too shall pass.

And it did. On January 08th 2015 – who can forget the sense of liberation and freedom of waking up to a Sri Lanka finally free of the Rajapakse curse.  As we stand on the threshold of yet another election, one that seeks to bring back the demons of injustice, murder, we would do well to remember his death and the deaths of countless others murdered during those long and dark Rajapakse years. Their blood, spilled long before their time and spilled in the most inhumane manner imaginable, cries out for justice.

All mothers still yearn for their little boys inside their grown sons – Wassa’s mother would have been no different. In her heart, I’m sure she still can hear his laughter, his little foot steps echo in the hall way. And what pain it must be to have to live through it. Losing a child is a lifelong nightmare. And there is a lesson for us all in that nightmare.

We owe a responsibility to Wassim Thajudeen, Prageeth Eknaligods and all those brave Sri Lankans whose deaths must not be in vain – we as a nation must ensure they are given peace in death, that justice is done as we head for the polls on the 17th. Let their murders be avenged with the perpetrators brought to justice. That should be our vision – and our goal on the 17th August 2015.

Evil men do not understand justice, But those who seek the Lord understand all things.Proverbs 28 – 5 – The Bible

“God commands justice and fair dealing…” – Quran 16:90