Monday, December 15, 2008

Kumudu Rodrigo

Kumudu Rodrigo

Built a tea brand from scratch

Who would have thought that when we all saw Kumudu on that fateful day on the 15th of September that it would be the last time that we would see his smiling face and his still small voice? Many of us are still suffering from the shock of bidding him goodnight and agreeing to meet him the next day, when we were thunderstruck by the news that he had met with a tragic accident a few minutes later. As the news trickled in, we all thought it was a case of another accident of someone’s reckless driving or a faulty vehicle, but it was only the next day that all of us realised that the cruel hand of fate had struck this genial personality. We came to know that a large metal piece from a passing cement mixing truck had flown off and come through the driving side shutter and struck one side of his head. The thunderous impact of this object made him lose control of the car rendering him motionless. He was unconscious until he passed away exactly one week later. He was only 37 years old, far too young to die.The doctors in the accident ward did their utmost to give him the best care and attention but unfortunately fate took a different turn and all of us lost a gentle human being whose qualities and ways are rare in this present generation. We were always greeted with a warm smile whenever we saw him, and never saw him unruffled or angry or upset over anything. None of us have ever heard him speak a harsh word to anyone even though some may have offended him. He was indeed a rare human being. The saying that only the Good die young is truly a fitting tribute to his memory.He joined Aitken Spence ten years ago, as a young graduate trainee and came to work in the marketing division of Elpitiya Plantations Plc. as a junior executive. His dedication, hard work and common sense attitude made the company entrust him to develop a brand of tea from nothing. He single-handedly gave birth to the Harrow Ceylon Choice brand and brought it to what it is today from scratch. He took the tough low cost route and built the brand purely on relationships, quality and image to make it a brand that is well known particularly in the outstations with over 15 distributors and 20 sales representatives. He built a Harrow family amongst all these people, as was witnessed during those tragic days after his accident. His dedication to the brand was unbelievable, so much so that even in the last moments before his death, he had been on the phone to some distributors and sales representatives. The pride of his life was the brand and did everything on his own giving leadership to all who worked with him. It was no surprise that in a few years he rose to the position of Deputy General Manager. His void in this job will be hard to fill. Kumudu was also a great family man and did more than his best for his wife and three children. He wished the best for them and his main ambition was to particularly give his children the best education that he could afford. His wife Shama was his tower of strength and together built his home and family bit by bit. Unfortunately he was tragically struck down before he could see the fruits of his hard work. The pain and agony to his wife and children cannot be measured and if we, his colleagues, miss him so much, one could not imagine the grief and sorrow that his family and his parents would be going through after his death. We can only pray that God will help his family to bear the grief and sorrow of his sad loss and may God give strength to his wife Shama and the children to carry on life and fulfil Kumudu’s expectations with the help of all those who cared and loved him in life. May his soul rest in peace!Colleagues at Elpitiya Plantations Plc.


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