I was the first in the 'gonwahansela' class in school                       
I am Christian, wife Buddhist, daughter-in-law Muslim
- Sunil Perera

    It was Sunil Perera, leader of the Gypsies who was a speaker at the Story of Success held a few days ago by the MBA Student Association.

   He revealed many interesting experiences he had not revealed about his childhood and also exposed that he was a Christian, his wife a Buddhist and that his son married a Muslim girl and that there's no conflict within their family. His interesting story unfolds as follows.

  "It was my father who was a great strength to me in my life. When schooling, I had no liking for my father whatsoever. I saw him like an enemy. It was after I left school that I got close to him.

  Initially, my father was a clerk at the government Postal Department.

  He was a daydreamer. Because of this, many of his dreams never came true. Like in those days, our family also was a large one. There were 10 children. With mother and father it was 12. When going out it was like a cricket team going out into the field.

  Father at that time thought that I'd become a great man some day. In the 6th and 7th class I came first in the class.  Father then thought 'oh ... this is the guy'. Then an uncle came from abroad during that period. My father asked from him where Oxford and Cambridge was and how to gain entry to those. That was my father's dream.

  And I came first because of a methodology of categorising classes in our school. Class 'A' had the cleverest children. Class 'B' had a group of 'gonwahanselas'. For my luck I also was posted to that class. So I lived like a king in that class. There was no need to tell all this to my father, I thought.

  Anyway, it was in about the 7th class that I began to play the guitar. From somewhere a Father came and said, 'son, there won't be any progress by being in that class. It's only the dirtiest boys who are in that class'. Father wanted to change my class. Though I told not to do so, because I'll be losing my friends, neither my father nor mother gave ear. Anyhow I was put into class 'A'. Then I came 25th.

  Father thought that I came 25th because of the guitar. He told me to break the guitar and throw it away. He asked 'do you know that musicians are beggars? This guitar is the curse', and so saying he was adamant in breaking the guitar. Finally, I told him the truth. 'Father, this is the problem ... I was like a king in class B. And now I can't live like that'.

  But he didn't stop my studies. As time went on, he understood that I may not study for long. And those castles he built in the air all toppled. Then he said, that if I was going to do music, he would give his best support, but to do it properly.

  After that, he gave not how other fathers give. He made a studio for music and put all his children into it. Then grandmother and relations all began to get confused and started shouting saying, 'this man is playing hell ... aren't you teaching these children?'

  Father gave money for our practices. If we were to practice in the evenings, he would take a large drink and come and listen to us. He used to put a drink daily. When he used to drink with friends, he would bring them to the studio and would say, 'son, sing that song ... sing this song'. When he says so, we have to sing. After singing the song, the friend with him would talk high of us or else when they go, father would say 'I don't like that guy'. It means that his friend who was with him should say 'shah... fantastic ... your son is great!' Mother of course would say 'father is mad men'.

  After getting into the field of music, I first of all sang a Sinhala song called 'Mama dunne kiss ekai, kiss ekai'. Because of that the Sinhala media began thrashing in the press mercilessly. But because such thrashing I never fell. In fact I got used to it. I got a thrill also once in a way by provoking the media. If a friend of mine would see me somewhere, he would come running and say 'you were given a superb whacking, no?'

  When I was carrying on with my group Gypsies, at one time I realised that love songs of Milton Mallawaarachchi had a good demand. I thought that I also could attract the attention of girls with songs like that. One such song of mine was 'oba dutu ea mul dinaye'. There was another song titled 'oba langa innam nilupul suwanda ura'. Although I said 'oba langa innam', not even a single came near me. It was near my ayya that they came. He was very handsome.  That was why it made me think that that song too was not mine. I was thinking that that would have an attraction. But that actually was where I made a mistake.

  After that I stepped out and discovered what suited me. The song 'none mage sudu none' became very popular. I also had a big liking for humorous things. That's where my talent lies. At the same time,I remembered another thing that my father said. 'If you're running a race, see how many are running. If 5 are running, even if you come last, you are the fifth. If 3 ran, even if you come last, you can go and tell them "I came 3rd". That's what father always said.

  Whatever it is, I was motivated towards doing humorous things. Discovering what suited me was indeed a special thing.It is important that you identify what you CAN. Doing so, I released a cassette with 4 songs titled 'lunu dehi'. It was a success. The 'kurumitto' cassette was also a success. It was done with small children as the target. Most things done with small children in mind or as target happens to be a success.

  If one is to achieve a success in life, there should be a system. Lot of the things in this country has no system. Even the system that is available, each person uses in different ways. There maybe those who were successful among them. I am happy about it. But taken as a whole, there is ONE Sri Lanka. What we say as ONE, we have been unable to create for ourselves.

  Though now it's 61 years since we achieved Independence and we talk about it with pomp, I see that very majesty as something similar to sexuality. Majesty is something that should come automatically. What is done in the country is that an attempt is made to force majesty. Even if we think so well and in a simple manner and do some creation, we are told that it is 'hurts' the culture or history. I take many things in a simple way.

  Some people don't like to do something different. I don't know whether it's in the genes. I am Christian. My wife is a Buddhist. The gap between both of us is 15 years. There was no Buddha statue in our home. Also with the idea of checking god, I told "let's bring a Buddha statue". My wife brought a tiny Buddha statue. I said, "this can't even be seen no". Like the figure of Jesus Christ, I brought and kept a big statue of Buddha right there in the same place. So far no problem. Both god and Lord Buddha are there in the same place together in peace. My son married a Muslim girl. I told her to bring her god also and to keep it there. But there's no god in that religion. To compensate for that, we brought and kept a symbol there. Now I want a Hindu Tamil for our family. What I see is that what could be solved with love, revenge should not be used. If those things are going to be solved with revenge, with the absence of love, the problem is bound to aggravate.