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‘Kapuwa’ and the ‘dewalaya’.


I was a regular visitor to my father’s office when I was a child. One of his office room walls was reserved to display the 06+ awards for securing the best Annual Report and Final Accounts, awarded by the Chartered Institute of Accountants, Sri Lanka. He was the top gun of the Finance department who was responsible for managing the largest corporate account in Sri Lanka.

By the early years, I had thought that my father’s job was to prepare this document each year where his name will appear on the 3rd or 4th page. Actually, I was right from my early years. If you summarize what he did all year, (sometimes getting late to pick me up from school, working on holidays, hours on telephone while at home) it would come down to the preparation of final accounts.

He was so keen on these reports; he always wanted the best front page for his reports. I was so keen to know about the front page of the upcoming annual report, since my opinion too had a significant weight on the final design. Most of the award ceremonies were held at the BMICH and I believe that he took me to each and every one that I can remember. I remember two things about the ceremony.

  1. There were glorious events followed by an awesome dinner.
  2. The Chairman of the Corporation always received the award from the chief guest.                                                          

I did not worry too much about somebody else receiving the award back in the days, although I knew that my father spent his heart and soul on to that.

Then as days go by, still I was visiting my father’s office little bit grown up than before. Then I found out that, he was writing the second page of the report – Chairman’s Message, as well. Me being a schoolboy, was furious regarding this and asked my father;

“ Why can’t the Chairman write the ‘Chairman’s Message’ himself? Why are you writing it down? ”

His reply was:

“ You have been to the dewalaya right?

Have you seen god? You haven’t right?

Kapuwa does all the stuff right?

You see, I am the kapuwa of this corporation,

And the

Chairman bugger is nothing but god !!! ”

I didn’t quite understand it back then.
(He simply points at incidents, leaving me to understand things by myself, when I can.)

But, I do now!


To all my non-Sri Lankan readers “dewalaya” is a place of worship for god.“Kapuwa” is the care taker and the person responsible for carrying out all the rituals.

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