HAPPY BIRTHDAY SIR ARTHUR.
YOU ARE 96 TODAY!
“I do not feel a day older than 80”!
Photos courtesy Sir Arthur Clarke Office
“Inside every older person is a younger person, wondering what happened.” - Jennifer Yane
by Dottie WEERASOORIYA, Sri Lanka
(his personal secretary)
A Birthday is a day when a person remembers and celebrates the anniversary of his or her birth. Birthdays are celebrated in numerous cultures, often with the presentation of gifts or a party. The celebration of a birthday traditionally marks how old a person is and the celebration culminates when death occurs. Thereafter, if celebrated, the celebration states that if still alive, they would have been a certain number of years old.
In contemporary society this aspect is somewhat ignored and the number of years is counted as if the person were still alive. Shakespeare’s 400th birthday was celebrated as if he were still alive; although he actually died when he was 52 years old. More recently, a few people come to my mind including the late Michael Jackson and Amy Winehouse. How could one forget Whitney Houston, who sadly was not present to celebrate her 49th birthday, and Elvis Presley has been gone for decades; he would have been 79 years old next month.
But none of these celebrities are more precious than our Sir Arthur. Following contemporary style, I have chosen to say, “Happy Birthday, Sir Arthur. You are 96 today, 16 December, 2013. This heartfelt wish comes to you from all your loved ones at 25, Barnes Place, your family and friends in Sri Lanka, Your family overseas, as well as friends and admirers all over the world will nom doubt echo my sentiment on that day as they silently remember you."
[Left] Sir Arthur is with his beloved extended members of the the Ekanayeke Family at Barnes Place, Colombo, Sri Lanka.
[Right] Sir Arthur is at his 87th Birthday, and Melinda, the youngest is the Ekayaneke Family is as the Gorilla, who is presenting the Birthday cake to Sir Arthur. The little girl is in the left photo is also Melinda. Photos courtesy Sir Arthur Clarke Office
Just a few thoughts to reminisce….
Whenever someone telephoned Sir Arthur about his forthcoming Birthday, he often joked about it and said they should count birthdays not by years, but by the good deeds done.
In 2007, to all those who called to find out what he felt about reaching 90, he laughingly said “I do not feel a day older than 80”! He loved celebrations and entertainment. But he preferred the celebrations to be low key, enjoying himself with his large adopted family in Sri Lanka, Hector Ekanayake his friend and Business Partner and the Ekanayake family, his personal and Underwater Safaris (diving company) staff, and other close friends who dropped by to wish him well. Sir Arthur appreciated all the Birthday Cards that he received, and following his Birthday we had stacks of Thank You notes to send out to all corners of Sri Lanka and all over the world. In fact, the numerous cards, messages, email wishes, floral tributes from friends, admirers and fans were all meticulously arranged and replied to and took us days and weeks to send out replies.
|[Left] Sir Arthur C Clarke is cutting his 69th Birthday cake according to his personnel assistant Rohan de Silva. [Right] On the same date and year, with his dog Ricky.
Photos courtesy Sir Arthur Clarke Office
Our silent wish for you was that you would reach 100 Not Out!
Looking back on your last Birthday with us, on 16 December, 2007, as you celebrated your 90th Birthday in a very special and memorable way, our silent wish for you was that you would reach 100 Not Out! Regrettably, that wish did not materialize for us. You Got Out at 90, and we had to say our last farewell to you in March 2008. But 16
December is a day that will remain in our memories, as we remember you with love, admiration and respect.
You have earned our gratitude for all time and your presence will be with us like the sweet scent of the flowers you loved, still wafting in the breeze around the garden at Barnes Place.
Your Office at Barnes Place will boast of no party today, your chair will be empty and we will miss your gracious presence. But many wonderful memories remain. Once again I fondly recall those lines of Rudyard Kipling that you often repeated, and wished to be remembered by:
”If I have given you delight
By aught that I have done
Let me lie quiet in that night
Which shall be your’s anon.
And for the little, little span
The dead are borne in mind,
Seek not to questions other than
The books I leave behind”.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY SIR ARTHUR. YOU ARE 96 TODAY!