To my younger self… | Sunday Observer

To my younger self…

3 October, 2021

Q: What do you want to tell your younger self?

A: You will be young only once; make the best of it. Don’t underestimate the importance of education, which will be the backbone of everything you do in life. There are no silly questions to ask; it is silly not to ask questions. It’s ok to cry or get angry; those are natural emotions that will teach you important lessons in life. It’s always better to try and fail than not trying at all. Do your best and leave the rest!

Q: Have you any regrets?

A: 1) I am ashamed to call myself a Sri Lankan not having made an effort to learn Tamil. 2) My mother who was a music teacher tried to teach us to read music. We (three sons) who witnessed music students coming home and playing the same piece of music over and over again refused to sit and learn to read music; instead, we opted to play music by ear. The skill of sight-reading would have taken our musical journey to the next level.

Q: The best times of your life?

A: Many generations recognise the best era for music (locally and internationally) to be the 70s! I am honoured to have had the opportunity to perform with Clarence Wijewardena (a genius composer, arranger, guitarist and singer) and his band the Super Golden Chimes from 1974-1977 as a youngsterwhile still schooling at Royal College.I still get goose bumps when I recall how Clarence composed songs at the recording studio itself,directing the music spontaneouslyto produce hit song after hit song! It was also exciting to tour around the country performing on stage to tens of thousands of fans at a time, and then coming back to Colombo to rock the fans at dances. What an exceptional experience of a lifetime!

Q: What does your generation have that this generation doesn’t?

A: Back then, we enjoyed simple pleasurers– the snake charmer and the borukakul karaya were our monthly entertainment that we looked forward to. The man with the rabane (drum) who could instantly compose songs on the go still amazes me! Due to the lack of toys, we became very creative; made a drum set using boxes and plates; got my first guitar made by a carpenter who also knew a little bit of electronics.

Sang our hearts out in harmony serenading from house to house during Christmas time entertaining families and earning pocket money. Always had time to play a game of chess, draughts, or cards with my grandfather. Not sure how many of these simple pleasures still exist!

Super Golden Chimes

Q: What does this generation have that your generation didn’t have?

A: Information at their fingertips. Even Bill Gates would not have expected the digital revolution to change the world as much; Internet, Google, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, smartphones, smart watches, Computers, TV have forever changed our lives, and given the new generation a head start!! Today if a guitarist wants to learn how to play the lead solo for Hotel California (or ANY other song),there are hundreds of teachers on YouTube teaching you the solo note by note; Google will give you the musical notation and guitar tabs note by note. Anything you want to learn is at your fingertips! Now here’s an INTERESTING THOUGHT - up to our generation, children always looked up to their parents and adults for answers for anything and everything.

For the first time in the million-year history, the tables have turned where our children now find the answers on Internet and teach the parents. I don’t know whether to call ourselves losers or the luckiest generation to have witnessed this massive generational change with digital revolution! What do you think?

Q: Your advice to the current generation?

A: You are unique in this world; don’t be afraid to explore your talents and follow your dreams. Look for happiness within you; owning a big house or an expensive car will certainly gives you comfort but not necessarily happiness.

Think and dream big, you have a whole life ahead of you with information at your fingertips; take advantage! Opportunities are rare; always grab it with both hands.

Do not get addicted to your phone; talk to your family and friends at the dinner table.Remember there are people around you who are not as lucky as you are; be kind to them and give them a hand. The world is ready for you. Are you?