I believe that I’m a fan of spontaneous plans and decisions. I believe that whatever happens to you in life, happens for a reason. Just like that, on a rainy evening, I casually took an invitation from Mindula to join the Rotaract Club of Achievers Lanka Business School, simply because I was too bored to go home after CIMA lectures. Just like a lot of people, I too joined Rotaract with the promise of food. If someone told me that I would be at this position in Rotaract back then, I wouldn’t have believed it for split second. But then again, that’s the beauty of life!
Starting as a newbie, I found myself involved in our club’s biggest projects such as Conquer Colombo and Friends in Action, in next to no time. At the end of that Rotaract year, I was approached by Sathma to take up Secretary of the club, and although and nervous of what’s to come, I took it up. Today, here I am at the end of my tenure as the 11th President of this prestigious club with a rich history. You might say that it was a risky transition from a newbie to a President, but I believe you can never achieve things in life if you aren’t willing to take that risk.
When I look back at my journey at Rotaract Achievers, it is filled with numerous stories and moments that are simply priceless. I can’t even count the moments of satisfaction I have gained through making a difference in someone’s life, the times where we’ve laughed so hard until we cry, the nights where we’ve had meetings till everyone falls asleep on one zoom call, and many more.
I will always remember the unique Suwithi moments, and how everyone gets in line to roast her, and how she would only respond to it with a bright smile and a never-ending laugh. I will always remember how I turn towards Sathma every time I had a doubt or doubted myself. I will always remember how Asel subtly swoops in when all the roasting sessions start, and how he agreed that he is as old as Kasun, as fat as Hamdhan and as lame as Sathma (if you know him, you wouldn’t believe it). I will always remember how we tease Hasitha to buy a car every time we had to walk in the sun whenever we go to Seenigama (Build a Smile for Hasitha). I will always remember how Bipash never helps out but would gobble all the food at Food Voyageur. I will always remember how Kalani would help each and everyone out without hesitating, and all the egg-related jokes, as Hiru resembles a giant living egg. Rishad and Niflaz, the two people who are best friends and a bit more who have no idea that the word no exists.
I will always remember how everyone suspects Lavanya to be the imposter when we play among us and ends up getting kicked out, except the times where she actually is the imposter. I will always remember the first time Mark played Pictionary with us where he drew something bizarre and unrelated. I will always remember how Lakshan drove on the wrong side of the road after Installation until I shouted and saved our lives, and how Theekshana almost killed everyone trying to do a insane car stunt. I will always remember how Gowthaman showed up at Sathma’s President’s dinner wearing a T-shirt, shorts and slippers and how Priyan drives a massive vehicle despite his height. I will always remember how fast Rukaiya talks so that no one understands what she has said and how Sandithi believes all the lies she is told, especially from Lakshan, Theekshana and Priyan. I will always remember the man with a plan, Ruwin, who never runs out of ideas. I will always remember the exceptional PR skills of Akila and Nadun who always mentored us, and not to mention the unique and funny vocabulary they share. I will always remember how easily Rahul gets annoyed when we say or do something stupid, and how Nuwanthi would be there for every one of us at the most crucial times. Finally, to all the newbies who joined us this year, your commitment and enthusiasm which even inspired me at times is something that I will never forget.
I will always remember how we used to celebrate everyone’s birthdays by singing happy birthday around the table in the cafeteria while playing among us. I will always remember how we took a post-midnight road trip at DejaVu, and how Theekshana almost drove us into the Kelani river. I will always remember how we made random plans to meet at Suwithi’s, tried to walk on the beach despite the rain, played a deadly game of spoons at Kalani’s and ending the day with the heartiest singing session.
This year was a difficult and a different challenge to all of us with the COVID-19 pandemic. Switching projects from physical spaces to virtual platforms all of a sudden was a real test for me as well, because growing up as Rotaractors, we have only had exposure to events and meetings which happen physically. I believe I was gifted with a very talented team who were always determined to keep their heads up, while even inspiring me to become the best version of myself. This year we fell, we stumbled, we got up, and we mustered the courage to complete many noteworthy initiatives, while transforming into the best version of ourselves. It was indeed a rollercoaster ride that we all faced, and I believe we overcame all those obstacles through sheer perseverance. As they say, it’s not the destination but the journey that matters. It makes me happy to see how much my members have grown during this year, and I believe that it is one of the greatest satisfactions for any President.
I would like to take a moment to thank all the past presidents and senior members who shared their wisdom and experience to guide me towards the correct path. I also wish to thank all my friends in Rotaract as well for being a part of this journey.
The past three years have been some of the best years of my life, thanks to Rotaract Achievers. This journey has been full of challenges, laughter, tears, sleepless nights, tiring days, but above all, I’m truly grateful for all the lessons, the inspiration and the experience I’ve gained. More than that, I’m sincerely grateful to the people I’ve met, and for the fact that I have a place where I can call home without any hesitation. Rotaract may not be an easy ride, but what this extraordinary movement has to offer is priceless and rare. To all future leaders out there, know that this journey is not going to be a cakewalk, but a one to remember, and that those difficult paths will always lead you to beautiful destinations. Never be afraid to take risks and move out of your comfort zones because it is only when you Reach Beyond them, you that will reach your maximum potential and be the best!
Rtr. Thisura Ramanayake