Kitchan Annai was my friend and confidant!

Born on 7th May 1943 and in retirement my cousin Kitchan Annai passed away after brief illness on 21st December 2022.

It is true attending my cousin Kitchan Annai’s funeral would have given Kamala and I much needed closure to realize we were not the only ones mourning; but it was not to be, being on holiday down under with Nilani’s family in Sydney, Australia.

Earlier on hearing of the ill-fated accident Kitchan Annai had in his home, we visited him in hospital and wished him well and hoped he would get better to return home soon. But it wasn’t to be and now we have to come to terms with the loss of Kitchan Annai, my dear cousin.

Kitchan Annai is seen seated with Acca, while I am in Appu’s arms and Rasa in Amma’s arms. This typical vintage family photo taken 70 years ago in a studio in Jaffna in 1948, when Seeni Appu (centre) having arrived from Malaya to continue his eduction in Sri Lanka (then Ceylon).

I still have fond memories of living with Kitchan Annai, my cousin and his siblings all through my teenage years in my uncle’s house in Colombo. To me his death represent the loss of a friend, protector and confidant with whom I shared many memories, sharing a room in my uncle’s house to grieve the loss of our past friendship.

At Royal College, Colombo, two years my senior, Kitchan Annai participated with me in many school extra curricular activities as scout groups and literary association events and many sunday mornings were spent at the Mount Lavania beach, a regular family outing; where learned to swim in the sea, under the guardianship of his father, my beloved Kunchi Appu.

For our April school holidays Kitchan Annai would travel with me to Moolai, attending the Pilliyar Temple Festivals. After uncle passed away and right up to this year Kitchan Annai continued to participate in our family’s third festival at the Moolai Sithi Vinayagar temple held annually around April.

Most importantly, when in 1996, during the civil-war period I moved with my family to Colombo; if it wasn’t for Kitchan Annai, I would have not taken up employment in Saudi Arabia. As he was already working in Saudi, he was able to introduce suitable employer to match my experience. It resulted in getting direct placement with an international call made from Colombo. Once in Saudi, even though we lived far apart, I would drive from Jubil to his apartment in Dammam at weekends during the full five years period. Later, on completion of our assignments we returned to Colombo.

Early this year Kitchan Annai retired after a long period of employment.

In this sinario, Kamala and I were happy that all went well at the final rights and send off for Kitchan Annai with my cousin Kandu his brother doing all religious rituals. We must move on remembering the time spent together with him fondly; it helps to appreciate the time we had together and honor his memory by focusing on the positives. May his soul attain mooksha! Om Shanthi!