Obituary Appreciation – Norman Dudley Rajendra Casie Chitty
Posted on April 30th, 2014

D L O Mendis

These lines are penned to honour the memory of a beloved friend whose passing leaves me and countless others with a sense of immeasurable loss. “Casi’ as we knew him, will be remembered until we ourselves receive our respective calls, or ‘boarding passes’, as we sometimes joke about death.

Casi wooed and won his beloved Manel when she was a brilliant public servant in the Finance ministry. They were both children of railway Station Masters, and we had this in common as my father too was an S.M. going back to the pre-independence era. When I was recuperating after an accident some years ago, Casi and Manel found space in their house to accommodate me for some time since my own family lived in Kandy at that time. This was a gift of friendship and love that can never be properly repaid.

Casie loved sports and he and Manel brought up two sons whose achievements on the tennis courts were a source of quiet pride and satisfaction to both parents. In time the youngsters followed their parents to achieve distinction in the world of high finance. Casi, having retired early from the department of Inland Revenue, practiced law, and was a great help to all his friends like me to resolve income tax appeals. He somehow found time to visit us for discussions, not confined to minor tax issues, and cricket and tennis, but about my personal interest in Water for Jaffna and elsewhere in Sri Lanka. He unfailingly purchased my books and read them avidly. He enjoyed the joke when I passed an email to him where one of my critics wrote that I went around trying to sell my books, like a gram seller!

Then, last Sunday April 27 at a meeting at the Royal Asiatic Society a brilliant presentation on water was presented by an engineer and discussed. Participants had been invited on a personal basis and some of us had to virtually gate crash the meeting. Next, on Tuesday April 29 morning at the Gandhi Centre a project in which water was a critical input was discussed. It was only after that meeting concluded that I learned about Casi’s funeral scheduled for that very afternoon at Borella, Kanatte a few hours later! What wonderful discussions we could have had on these matters if Casi’s life had been spared.

My wife and I took a three wheeler to try to get to the funeral parlour before 3.30 pm. We could never have made it in time by car, as the roads were jammed with traffic, and it was raining steadily. It took us a full half hour from Torrington junction to Kanatte, and the last few yards we walked in the rain as even the three wheeler could not proceed. I like to think that many of those cars were carrying friends to pay their last respects to a man of the rarest integrity whom we were privileged to have known in this life.

D L O Mendis

 Colombo 5


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