A Eulogy Delivered at His Funeral Service by Tissa Jayatilaka



Felix Perumal

Felix Perumal (29.07.1935 – 03.10.2023)

We are here today to bid goodbye to Felix who has reached the end of his long and well-lived life. Parting from loved ones, we are told, is ‘sweet sorrow.’ All of us here in this chapel are indeed deeply saddened by Felix’s passing. Hence this parting is sorrowful.

One may ask, how then in the present context, could it be sweet?

Felix’s earthly toils of over 88 years are now over. The acute pain and discomfort he has had to endure, in the last year or so of his life in particular, have come to an end. Moreover, no more will Felix suffer the traumas and indignities that advanced age and illness force upon us. These, for certain, make this moment sweet, if not bitter sweet.

In addition to his family and friends, two others helped make Felix as comfortable as possible and they deserve special mention. I refer to Manoj who drove him around, kept a watchful eye on him and served Felix loyally and faithfully for several years. The other is Lal who took such fine care of him and on whom Felix depended heavily in the last difficult stage of his life.

All of us have fond memories of Felix which we shall cherish as long as we continue to be around. We will re-live these memories and recall numerous tales associated with him in the years to come, especially so over a drink or two at the Tamil Union Cricket and Athletic Club as we, Felix included, have done whenever we reminisced about old companions who had left us earlier.

Felix the Family Man

Felix loved and cherished his family. Though Mario and Nedra kept him company, he missed Surani and Roshni and their children as well as his own siblings who, living overseas, were not physically close to him. He, however, remained resolutely in touch with them in spirit despite the many miles that separated them.

I recall his happiness and joy whenever Brian, Walter, Surani or Roshni and theirs visited. And how distraught he was when they went back to their respective homes in Australia. I remember pleasant evenings spent with his sister Inez and brother-in-law Chris at either the Tamil Union or at Felix’s home.

Sadly, Felix had also to cope with the early loss of his wife Chitra. Felix and Chitra were excellent hosts and many are the memories that remain of delightful times spent in their home or ours over food and drink.

In July, a few weeks ago, Surani, Michael, their son, Roshni and brother Brian came to help Felix celebrate what turned out to be his last birthday. As part of the events to mark the occasion, a get together of family and close friends was arranged at the Tamil Union in the ‘Felix Perumal Lounge’ – a lounge so named in recognition of his long and fruitful service to the Club as cricketer, tennis player, general committee member, president and patron of the institution. Although he looked forward to the event, Felix was also a little apprehensive. He wondered if he would be able to make the trek up to the lounge given his physical frailties. A few days prior to the get together he told me, in a voice tinged with love, pride and relief that his grandson – – the son of Michael and Surani – – had told him, ‘don’t worry Seeya, I’ll carry you up the stairs to the lounge.’

Felix beamed with pride when his granddaughter –the daughter of Mario and Nedra—entered university in Glasgow, Scotland, to pursue her medical studies there, just as he was proud of Roshni’s and Kushil’s children and their progress.

All of us know that Felix was both thoughtful and methodical. He told me during our frequent chats that he had made arrangements, sans fanfare, to share whatever he possessed not only with his immediate family but also with certain other less well-off persons including his domestic staff.

Felix the Friend

When he came across congenial companions, he grappled them to his soul with ‘hoops of steel.’ I do not need to go into detail, but all of us his friends are familiar with this aspect of Felix’s personality.

He was kind and generous to a fault. However, he never suffered insincere men and women gladly. Neither did he hesitate to call a spade a spade. He was frank and open, even blunt, whenever he disapproved of any act of commission or omission that he found unacceptable by his standards. Those of us who knew him intimately are aware that he had the courage of his convictions to confront a friend or foe whenever the occasion demanded it.

I could go on about Felix and our many encounters on and off the cricket field, tennis court and on the lawns of the Oval cricket ground where elbows were vigourously exercised, so to speak, over the years. The fun and laughter we shared on those occasions will linger for months and years to come. The present is not the occasion to dwell on such moments; remembrance of these things past will have to be deferred for other appropriate future occasions.

It is now the moment to say a final farewell to a fond father, brother, grandfather and dear friend to many.

For me, personally, it is time to bid adieu to a person I have been privileged to know as an intimate friend for close upon half a century.

Rest in peace, Felix. Yours has been an innings well played and a race well run.