It is with extreme sadness we bid farewell to Mr. Mariasoosai. I have known him since I joined St. Patrick’s College in 1966.  My father and Mr. Mariasoosai taught together at St Anthony’s Kayts during their younger days. They were old pals. Both were transferred to St. Patrick’s College in the early 60s. In those days, only two teachers Mr. Mariasoosai and my father came to school on a BSA Bantam motorcycle. A crowd will gather to see these two young smart men riding in their noisy contraptions. Both were always parked next to each other outside the refectory behind Mathews block. My father always gave me a ride to school until I was old enough to take the bus. Both motorcycles will arrive more or less at the same time and park next to each other. Mr. Mariasoosai will always greet my father first and then me without fail, asking the usual question, are you studying hard? Post the fuel price hike in 1971 they both reverted to bicycles perhaps with their teacher’s salaries they decided to use the motorcycles only for essential journeys and teachers’ toddy excursions.

In the early 70s, the National curriculum was revised, and vocational subjects like woodwork, metalwork, and agriculture were introduced. Mr. Mariasoosai taught me agriculture from grades 6-8. I wouldn’t say I took agriculture as a subject seriously, but he made it great fun. Perhaps he himself was a farmer in his spare time and he loved farming and wanted to share his passion with his students. It was the time the SLFP Government banned imports and tried to steer the nation toward self-sufficiency in agricultural production.  Food was rationed there were long queues for basic essentials like bread, rice, sugar, etc. Mr. Mariasoosai was instrumental in planting rice utilizing the unused land next to the Chapel and basketball courts in support of the National cause. Agriculture students were given practical lessons in paddy cultivation.

Our class always looked forward to his lessons firstly there was hardly any homework to submit, we loved his real-life stories related to farming, and no corporal punishment was ever executed. We learned a lot about irrigation systems, soil conditioning, and testing, and the effect of climatic conditions on agriculture to name a few.

He was a man of deep faith. One thing he never tolerated was any student behaving improperly during morning noon and evening prayers at school. If anyone dears he will execute corporal punishment. His dedication to his profession is unparalleled.  His sincerity is unmatchable. He always took a personal interest in each student. Is it any wonder the almighty God had blessed his children to be top medical consultants? I cannot recollect a time that he would come in for lessons and not teach. He will take up the whole 40 minutes to teach, never wasting a minute. He was blessed with an extraordinary memory, even in his 90s he could remember the names of his students and their ancestry. I wonder how many students he would have taught and to remember most of their names is beyond me.

He also took a keen interest in Football and athletics.  At one time he was in charge of the 3rd eleven soccer team. He was part of the Mathews house hierarchy. Mr. Mariasoosai dressed impeccably and often wore neatly pressed traditional white Veshti and national to school. I have seen him enjoy a cigarette at parties. It is so sad to see the old guard who made men out of boys fade away.

I pray may the good Lord rewards his faith, sincerity, dedication, and humility with his richest reward. May he join the Angels and Saints and praise God in eternity. I also pray for the family he had left behind for strength to cope with their great loss.

To Sir with Love.

Joseph Rajmohan


SPC Jaffna Alumni Association UK