‘Mahela is my first and last love’ Christina speaks of life with Sri
Lanka Cricket Captain Mahela Jayawardena:
very first time, my father saw Mahela on TV in a Cricket Match, he had a
premonition. He told my Mum `that’s the guy whom Christina would get
married one day.’ I was far away in India at that time, and has not
heard of anybody called Mahela at that time,” recalls Christina.
“He pestered me for nearly one year as I was not at all interested in
having a serious affair since I had just started to work. Now he says he
gets pestered by me,” she laughs revealing her eight year love affair
with her husband Mahela Jayawardena, the Captain, Sri Lanka Cricket
Christina, facing her first interview with media exclusively for the
Sunday Observer - `From the Spouse’s Mouth’ has many thoughts to share.
Feeding him with delicacies prepared to Eastern, Western style or
whatever recipe that comes to her hands is her favourite hobby.
“Fortunately he burns them all, otherwise Mahela tends to end up in
having high cholesterol level,” she went on with her usual serious cum
charming grin, “But, I think he needs energy to bat as well”...
Christina Sirisena was born on February 12 in 1981, to Sri Lankan -
Danish parents; Gamini Sirisena, a planter whose home town was
Heerassagala, Kandy and Marianne Pertersen of Denmark. “Both my older
brother and I were born in Denmark. I was two years when we first came
to Sri Lanka with my parents on a holiday. We settled down here
permanently in 1990,” she says.
“How my parents met each other is also an interesting story. My
paternal family had been planters. When my father was about 19-20 years,
he had decided to roam around the world. It was late 1960s. My father
was a huge Elvis fan.
Once he was in France and wanted to fly to Las Vegas to see Elvis.
But, for some reason he had found out that the particular flight was
getting delayed, and decided to take the flight to Denmark. Both my Mum
and Dad had worked at the same place, and that was how it ended up in
them getting married,” recites Christina.
Her father returned home with his Danish family and settled in Kandy.
Christina and her brother’s mother tongue was Danish. The first few
years of their schooling was in Denmark.
Since their father wanted to bring up his two children according to
the Sri Lankan traditions, he entered them to schools to study in the
Sinhala medium; Christina to Holy Cross and her elder brother, Alex to
“Dad always used to talk with us either in English or Sinhala since
we were in Denmark. He thought it would make us easy to catch up the two
languages, though we always answered to him in Danish,” she says.
Question: You speak English extremely well. How’s your Sinhala?
Christina: My Dad’s endeavour to make us study in Sinhala was
not a success though he tried to give us tuition and so on. My brother
and I then entered Kandy International School and we went up to O/Ls. We
could speak Sinhala to a certain limit, but unfortunately unable to
write or read.
Alex went to Switzerland to do a Hotel Management Course. He lived
there for 5 years, via Germany moved to Denmark and settled down their
after getting married to a Czech girl (Czech Republic). Alex is a Dad
now. My two-year-old nephew speaks, Danish, English and Czech. My
parents though live here, they speak Danish at home.
Question: Did you continue your higher studies?
Christina: I did my A/Ls at Mount Carmel College, Bangalore,
India. It was the period when I added experience to my life in
abundance. I was in the hostel. I could say, I grew up a lot when I was
there. I made my best life long friends there. Both my brother and I
have been very close to Mum and Dad.
The hostel life made me mature and quite independent. Got the chance
to travel a bit around India. The College which was run by Carmalite
nuns was very strict. This taught us discipline and to be more
methodical. Unfortunately I didn’t go for the degree. However, I was not
that much of a study person. I stayed in India for two years, and I felt
that was enough.
One month after Christina returned home, her father who saw an
advertisement in a newspaper, asked her to apply for it as an Air
Stewardess in Air Lanka (SriLankan Airlines). “I applied and got it. I
was under training. It was the end of 1998. And it was the time I met
Mahela for the first time,” she recalls.
Denagamage Prabath Mahela de Silva Jayawardena was born on May 27,
1977 at Mulleriyawa to Senerath Jayawardena, a Technical Officer at the
Sri Lanka Rupavahini Corporation and Sunila de Silva. The biggest
traumatic tragedy in his family occurred in 1994, when Mahela’s one an
only sibling, his younger brother, Dishal died due to a brain tumour.
“I’ve heard that both Mahela and his brother were very close to each
other as they had only one year difference in age. Mahela says Dishal
also played Cricket and would have been much better batsman than him.
Both were Nalandians,” butts in Christina.
Mahela entered Nalanda Cricket at the age of 11 in 1988. He did a bit
of school athletics until he was 15 years and gave up when he realised
his interest was only for Cricket. Mahela captained the school team
(under 19) in 1995, and entered the National team in 1997. “And it was
this period that I started flying,” breaks in Christina.
“I wanted to enjoy my life at Air Lanka. I love travelling, and have
really enjoyed my life there. I wanted to see the world, and not to have
serious love affairs which would tie one down. I met him through
Cricketer Avishka Gunewardane, whose was my friend as well.
From the day Mahela saw me he was interested in me and kept on
calling me and pestering me. It went on for nearly one year. Since the
nag was intolerable I thought of giving it a try”, laughs Christina.
“Both our families were very open minded. I must say a word or two
about Mahela’s parents. Though they were conservative and old fashioned
they were so open and warmly welcoming, and gave us all the freedom we
wanted. After I left Air Lanka I worked for a UK travelling company for
three and half years.
My job was to arrange holidays between Sri Lanka and Maldives. Since
it’s totally net work based company I had time to travel along with
Mahela. I gave up that also in 2007, in order to give my full
co-operation to him. Mahela and I carried on for so long - nearly eight
years. We wanted to know each other first.
We were together and I even travelled with him when he went abroad. I
had to travel and stayed separately as only wives and not girl friends
were allowed to be with the team. Still we didn’t mind. None of the
parents worried us to get married. It was our sole decision to get
married, and that was when we thought it was the right time to settle
down. We got married on November 3, 2005,” she recalls.
Question: Wow!, Happy Wedding Anniversary, Captain Mahela and
Christina for your third year anniversary which falls tomorrow! Accept
the wishes from our staff and readers as well. When are you going to
think of adding the third member to the family?
Christina: Mahela would have a baby even tomorrow if he could.
He loves children. Hmmm... I should think about it too. I sometimes feel
that I’m still not prepared for that. However, tell the Sunday Observer
readers that we’ll give it a serious thought. (laughs).
Question: You rarely miss his matches, and could be seen at
the pavilion giving all your moral support to him. Hope you would be
seen soon with a cute bundle, (colour is immaterial, whether it’s `Pink’
or `Light Blue’) cheering him at his future matches. All the Best!
Christina: Thank you! (laughs)
Question: Don’t you miss Denmark?
Christina: I’ve been in Sri Lanka quite a long time. I do love
both countries. My maternal grandma still lives in Denmark. My parents
go and stay with her for a few months as an annual routine. I too try to
go there every year since my brother lives there.
In their white mansion at Pelawatte, Battaramulla, Christina and
Mahela benevolently spend their life in peace. The green garden is
marginalised with a small pool, and the wire mesh through which the
scenario of the Parliament of Sri Jayawardanepura and the serene city of
Battaramulla could be viewed. The big antique hanging in their dinning
room depicts `Devas’ (gods) worshipping `Salumina Seya’ adds a bit of
colour and a serene mood to the simple spacious atmosphere. “This was
found from a temple affected by the Tsunami.
Its a bit damaged, but still has it’s value. Both my father and I
love antiques. We moved to this place recently. There’s a lot more to be
done,” she says.
Question: What faith or religion you follow?
Christina: I’m a Buddhist. My father even though he was a
ardent Buddhist, never restricted me or my brother to follow one
religion. When we were in Denmark, we went to the Church. And, here, we
go to Buddhist temples and even to the Kovils. I respect all faiths and
religions. Also I believe that as long as you don’t harm anybody and
lead a good life hat’s a blessing that showers upon you. Even the Buddha
has taught it. I don’t think afar, and I take each day as it comes. I
live for the moment and enjoy life. I’m a very methodical person, and
Mahela thinks sometimes it’s too much.
Question: Your pastimes?
Christina: Both my brother and I were good swimmers. I even
swam for the National team representing Sri Lanka in South Asian Games
in 1992. Unfortunately I didn’t win, and gave up as the training was in
Colombo and we were living in Kandy at that time. It was strenuous. I
don’t believe in getting involved in things are not interesting.
I read a lot, anything that comes to my hands, except
science fictions as I don’t exhaust myself thinking about the future
predictions. I’m a person who prefers to live only for today. I love
photography. My grandma is a good photographer. Apart from that I like
shopping, and to organise get togethers with our friends. Actually, we
do a lot of entertainment.
Question: You seem to easily give up on things. For example;
your studies, jobs and even sports. What do you think about marriage
which is based on give and take policy?
Christina: I agree with you. That’s why Mahela and I waited so
long to get to know each other. Nothing is perfect in this world. We
also have ups and downs, but I believe those make life more interesting,
and otherwise it would just flow monotonously. Both husband and wife
should be able to give and take equally, and it’s unfair to expect only
one party to work for it.
Question: Mahela, as a husband?
Christina: Extremely loyal, honest and very generous. Also
lazy, neglectful, and I cannot ever expect him to replace anything what
he takes up. Extremely messy (laughs). Those are the things that make me
angry. I have got my father’s temperament. My mother is a cool person.
Mahela, in that case never gets angry. I hardly see him even raising his
In his sports world, Cricket is his first love, Golf becomes his
second love. Oh! sometimes I too walk with him along all the 18 or 19
holes in the Golf Court. He tries to provoke me also to play Golf, but I
don’t think it fits with me (laughs). His mother says he has been
holding the Cricket bat since he was a two-year-old. He has had no other
hobbies (no time actually) other than for Cricket.
Question: You said something about your father’s prediction of
Mahela and you.
Christina: He had seen Mahela on the TV first at a match
played in Galle. I was in India at that time. His premonition was told
to us by my Mum after Mahela and I got involved. Also there’s another
interesting story. We were celebrating Mahela’s birthday at his parents’
place. I just sent a SMS to my Grandma in Denmark saying about it. In
return, I got one from her saying that co-incidently, it was her
grandmother’s (my great great grandmother’s) birthday as well.
And after a few minutes, she sent another SMS saying that she had
found that her grandfather’s (my great great grandfather) birthday fell
on my birthday. We all were shocked! It was a pleasant surprise I’ve
ever had. My great great grandparents were born on the same day that of
mine and Mahela.
Question: One can affiliate it to one’s re-birth. Do you
Christina: Yes, it could be. Mahela is my first and last love.
Hope Cancer Hospital, the dream of Mahela after his brother’s death,
is still under construction at Maharagama. “It was started in 2002. I
have been helping Mahela’s father in raising funds. It’s a separate body
from the Maharagama Cancer Hospital, but comes under Ministry of Health.
We hope `Hope’ will be real soon,” hopes Christina.
Question: As the final question, I would like to ask how do
Air Stewardesses enchant so many Cricketers like this? A number of
Cricketers have married Air Hostesses? What’s the secret?
Christina: (laughs) You better ask them. But Mahela got
involved with me only when I was under training and not as an Air
Hostess. I loved him not as a Cricketer, but as who he was. We hardly
had time to meet each other in our first two years as I was flying and
he was fully involved in his matches. I do understand his lifestyle as a
Cricketer. That’s the secret that keeps us going.