There were several more trips to Yala that year, and one to Wilpattu for the April New Year holidays. Richard was meant to come with us, but we also asked his mother Manorani, at which point he declared that he had too much work and could not get away. Like many markedly self aware people, he was determined to keep the various aspects of his life apart. I had realized this the previous year, when he had asked me to spend some time with him and Manorani at Kadirana, at a small estate bungalow not too far from Colombo which was owned by a cousin of his father. The first evening was delightful, but the next day he decided that he had to get back to Colombo for work, and we did not see very much of him in the days that followed. Manorani and I had a great time together, me writing, she sleeping most of the time and reading trashy novels, but it was always fun to have Richard back, even if late at night, with time only for a hasty breakfast next morning.
While we were at Wilpattu, typically, he turned up on his motor-bike, which he had bought in the days we taught together at 8th Lane, falling off regularly and cultivating spectacular bruises, but ploughing on with his efforts to master the monster. He spent a few hours with us, claiming he was en route to some assignment. In fact this was true, for it was in those days that he had begun doing propaganda work for Lalith Athulathmudali who had recently taken up the position of Minister of National Security. Lalith had been a great friend of Manorani, and then of Richard, who saw him as a sort of mentor. He was very fond of him, and described him as Tigger incarnate, from the Winnie-the-Pooh books, full of enthusiasms that he did not think through properly. This was not quite accurate I think, for Lalith was ambitious and planned carefully, but Richard, while not entirely disagreeing, saw him as nevertheless comparatively innocent, and a tool in the hands of President Jayewardene.