In the early sixties, when I first came to consciousness as it were in Sri Lanka, I knew little and understood nothing of the tragedies my grandmother had faced earlier. We were aware only of my uncle Tissa’s dying and his death, nine months after we came back from Canada. The family had got chicken pox in London on the way back, my fault for I had contracted it just before we left Canada, so that we could not enjoy the tour of Europe that my parents had planned. Worse, we gave it to my grandmother and my uncle in hospital, and to Aelian Nugara, the Lake House agent in London who had been of invaluable assistance to the family, and generally it seems caused an epidemic.
A few months after we had got back my grandmother returned with Tissa, knowing that nothing could be done for him. He came back to the room at the front of the house which had been his as a boy. It was on the south side, above the drawing room, but also had windows eastward, looking over the front lawn and the pink cassia tree that he had planted there a few years earlier. He liked to look at the tree, initially, but then his eyes began to fail, and he was blind by the time he died, on January 30th 1961.