Words: Ronali Moonemalle Goonetileke
Photos: Nirmala Dhananjaya
I look back at my childhood longingly as it was filled with adventure! From playing a game of cricket with my friends one day to flying colourful kites the next day followed by refreshing nature trails the week after, there was always something to keep us occupied in the great outdoors! This exposure made me quite an ambitious child, especially in the field of sports where I participated in almost everything. My sporting antics were encouraged at home too where I learned to ride my father’s motorbike by the age of eight and have carried this passion well into adulthood!
Also, nature played a pivotal role in my life. I was constantly surrounded by it, especially by the green expanse of paddy cultivation that bordered my home which was a sight for sore eyes. This early exposure to traditional cultivation is probably what inspired a yearning in my heart for organic cultivation years after.
I completed my primary education at Maharagama Vidyakara Vidyalaya after which I had the privilege of attending Devi Balika Vidyalaya, Colombo 08 through the grade five scholarship examinations. As you can tell from my previous response, my interests leaned more towards sports rather than studies! I reveled in team sports such as basketball, netball and cricket as well as athletics, and was later appointed as the school Games Captain in 1998. Although sports dominated my world at the time, I chose to study Biology for my A/L’s with organic chemistry being my favourite subject. While also juggling duties as a prefect, I had to undertake quite a few responsibilities during the latter years of my schooling career which undoubtedly molded me into the person I am today. For this, I will forever be indebted to Mother Devi.
Sport was and is always my hobby which keeps me feeling refreshed, fit and alive! Even after I left school, I carried this passion well into my university days where I would jump at the chance to participate in some game or another. However, my priority would be towards Cricket and Basketball matches organized by the institution. This great love for the two sports drove me to participate during my career days as well. Especially in Dubai where I worked as an Avionics Engineer, an interschool sports carnival was held for old boys and old girls of local schools. Happy to say that we Devians became the all-round champions of the event and I managed to bag the best player award for the cricket series! I think at this point, it’s a given that sports runs in my veins!
My academic career centered around Avionics, also known as Aircraft Electronics which I studied overseas at Aviation Australia Brisbane in 2011. For this particular course there were 45 students selected out of which I was the only female, and we delved straight into the theoretical aspect of the subject line for one year. The next two years that followed was focused on training which as you can understand was quite a tiresome effort. All this hard work however helped me achieve the role of a ‘Licensed Aircraft Engineer’ – a title I had been dreaming of since I was a little girl! Thereafter, I completed my post graduate studies in Aviation Management at the University of New South Wales, Sydney in 2016.
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