A Tribute by son Ahilan for his father Mr. Rajanayagam Rajadeva
Sri Lanka is an Island in the Indian Ocean, and the northern peninsula of the island is called Jaffna. In the Jaffna peninsula, in the Thellippalai town, there lies a small village called Varthalai Vilan. In this village, the image of Vinayagar, also known as Pillaiyar originated in the Maruthu Tree. To symbolize this Vinayagar image, a temple called Maruthady Vinayagar was built. Since then, this village is widely known for this temple, Varthalai Villan Maruthady Vinayargar Aalayam. In this respected village, late Ponnamblam Rasanayagam, my appaiya, and his late wife Thanganesam Sabapathi Pillai, my appuchi, lived a happy, prosperous life.
They had four children: My Appa, Rajadeva, was the eldest, second is Rajeswari (Canada), third was late Sivanesan (UK), and the fourth is Shanthini (UK).
Appa was born on April 10th, 1935. He finished his early education at Union College, Thellippalai, Jaffna. The whole family then moved to Colombo in 1950 and appa continued his studies at Colombo Hindu College and completed his higher studies. They were all living at no 12 Ramakrishna Road, Wellawatte, Sri Lanka at that time. This house was well known to me since that is where I spent my early childhood growing up. He worked as an accountant at C.F.T Engineering Company, and then at Browns & Company Limited, in Sri Lanka. He was a very hardworking, honest man who was truly devoted to his job.
In his time in Sri Lanka, he married my mom, Vimala in 1974, and then eventually had me as his only child.
We lived in Ratmalana, Sri Lanka for a while before we permanently moved to USA together in 1996. Educating me was his top priority. He has been planning and working towards it since I was born. Once we came to United States, he even took up a new job that he is not used to or comfortable doing at the age of 62, but worked hard day and night for us to make sure that I completed my studies.
Once I finished my education and got a job, I requested him to retire and relax. I am glad that I was able to finish my studies and be the person that I am today while he was alive. With god’s grace, he was able to witness my graduations for undergrad and graduate degrees, bless me at my wedding, and spent a lot of good years with me, my wife and my kids. I am blessed that he was able to spend good quality with my children, play with them, teach them and enjoy with them at all their different stages in life.
My kids have spent enough time with him that they are at an age now where they can now fondly remember their times with Appappa. That holds especially true for Harini and Yuvan. I am happy that he had a chance to meet my youngest child, Sanvi and I know she will always remember him through all of us and from the all the precious moments we had captured of them together.
He had a really good and complete life. In the past 15 years, he traveled around to Canada, Sri Lanka, UK and even China, and seen most of the good things that happened in our life. He was there on all the occasions and functions that we had, and he even visited me in Beijing, China and stayed there for three months with us. Over there, he climbed the Great Wall of China and seen the Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square.
I can’t ask much from him at this age. I can’t ask him to hold onto till my kids graduation or wedding. That would be too much suffering on this part. We are thankful and grateful that he has lived 80 years filled with love, happiness and good times. I thank you God for allowing him to stay with us this long.
My father is a born vegetarian and a strong Hindu. I found out from one of the elders in our community that he volunteered as an assistant to saiva priest at Maruthaddy Vinayagar Temple during his childhood, and learned all the agamams and vedantams. When there is a religious occasion or ceremony in our extended family, he is the one who knows what to do and helps everyone to do it the correct way. He has taught me the fundamentals of life and saiva samayam to me. He is an ardent Murugan follower and a Sai Baba devotee after he married my mom. He has observed Kantha Shashti Upavaasam for six days from childhood with just one meal of fruits and milk until recently. His devotion and discipline towards God is such that he doesn’t sit down and teach me or tell me. Just seeing him do it and experiencing such a devotion is how I learned it myself.
His journey on this earth with us ended on May 5th, 2015. We are all now remembering and celebrating his accomplished full life and documenting the memories and his influences on our lives in this book. His journey towards heaven, towards God and to finally be one with God has begun.
Appa, thank you for all the beautiful memories and for this wonderful, blessed life that you have given us. If there is a next life for me, I would like to be your son again. We all love you from the bottom of my heart.
Ahilan R can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org
This tribute is written in loving memory of Mr. Rajanayagam Rajadeva in the book released at the 31st day of his death anniversary held in New Jersey, USA on Sunday, June 7, 2015. The entire version of the book is available in the link below.