‘My Chequered Life by Nihal Jinasena – A Memoir’

Saturday, 20 September 2014 00:02 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Autobiography of Deshamanya Dr. Tissaweera Nihal Jinasena – Veteran industrialist and sportsman, Dr. Nihal Jinasena is currently the Chairman of Lalin Michael Jinasena and Co. We read books for various reasons – for entertainment, to learn things, to relax, to get a thrill, and on that rare occasion we pick up a book to feed and satisfy our curiosity to know about someone else’s life, as Oscar Wilde very aptly put it when he said “The public have an insatiable curiosity to know everything, except what is worth knowing.” Although, I am sure he was talking about idle gossip that we love to listen to so much. Biographies of famous people from around the world fill our book stores, and we tend to spend a lot of money on acquiring these books, and trying to learn something from them. However, it is not often that these notable people pen down the mistakes and failures they have gone through in their lives, lest it should make them less notable in the eyes of the world community. That is not however, the case of Dr. Nihal Jinasena’s Biography titled ‘My Chequered Life’. From start to finish, it is a very honest and candid look into the life of one of Sri Lanka’s most illustrious personalities, and a name well known in the business community. In his book Dr. Jinasena, very honestly states his life with his family and the happy times spent with them, as a child growing up, and as an adult entering into the world of business, and about his family and background and lifestyle. How they, as a family, got on with their lives in times of plenty and in times of hardship, in times of togetherness and in times of dissention. It is a look into a never before known part in the life of a very famous family in Sri Lanka. The book at all times portrays the Sri Lankan intellect and ingenuity, in tracing back the start and development of the Jinasena family’s company that has been a household name for decades with their engineering marvels that have assisted farmers in this country for many a year, and it very clearly shows the honesty, integrity and genuine care with which they have worked and carried on in business from the beginning, never ever compromising on these qualities just to earn a profit. To read about the existence and practice of these qualities, so rarely seen these days in the business community and the corporate world, are an inspiration to the reader, especially to someone who might think that such things are not of great importance in this modern day and age. Dr. Jinasena proves beyond a doubt that such things as honesty and integrity are what keep a person continuing in business and in life, and he shows the value of working hard for what you want to achieve, as opposed to getting something without exerting any effort or work on your part. His mention of his adulthood and family life with his wife and son, their struggles as a family, and their triumphs over those struggles, and what he has taught his son to be, is advice that we can take and impart to our children as well. ‘My Chequered Life’ is an inspirational story if ever I’ve read one, whether one be young or old. It is fun to read, with humorous retellings of the stories of a young scamp, a schooling boy, a university bachelor, and young businessman, a family man and a mentor to many. Because it is real, we are transported back to those wonderful ‘Wonder Years,’ and looking at the old pictures in the book certainly take you back to a now forgotten era. A wonderful read, an entertaining story, and certainly something to think about. – Reviewed by Anusha Wickramasinghe