Introductory Remarks by Channa Daswatte
At the launch at the Indian Cultural Centre on 23rd April 2013 of
The Moonemalle Inheritance by Rajiva Wijesinha
I am privileged to have been asked by Dr. Rajiva Wijesinha to speak at the launch of his new book, which is his tribute to Ena de Silva in her 90th year, but indeed regret my inability to be here in person. Since part of the book is about travels, and the bug is indeed in me too, Rajiva has been kind in letting me be absent for this, as I travel at this very moment through Iran.
Travel is indeed a wonderful equalizer and opportunity for sharing. This is amply evident in the second part of the present volume. And indeed traveling with Ena is an especially enriching experience. The wonderful way in which Ena always manages to bring great food and service in the middle of the jungle while watching elephants swim across swollen torrents is fascinating. This is indeed in the true spirit of Ena de Silva, who on a trip to Sikkim eight years ago, with my parents, Chamikade Alwis (who will kindly read this in my absence) and myself, insisted on riding a yak at 17,000 feet on the border with Tibet! Ena was never going to miss out on any part of the fun of a journey. Traveling with Ena, as Dr. Wijesinha points out, also lends an opportunity to imbibe her vast knowledge and clear opinions about all things. But more than anything, her endlessly curious mind constantly engaged us with questions about her surrounding environment. I for one was glad that I had a pictorial handbook of Himalayan flora and fauna at hand to sate that curiosity. Continue reading