The aunt

Mallika Talwatte reflects on her experience of courtship during the 1940s and why she decided to remain single. Photography by Kannan Arunasalam and Menika van der Poorten.


Join the discussion: 13 comments

  • magerata says:

    All of you are brilliant and continue to shine, brighter!

  • mel says:

    Very touching.

  • Chaminda Amerasinghe says:

    Lovely collection of photographs :) Brings tears to the eyes.

  • Helga De Silva Blow Perera says:

    Rendezvous with destiny. Good, admirable, ‘soul’. Accepting karma. Being happy.

  • Shamil Ranasinghe says:

    I love this aunt…especially with her letting her niece and boyfriend meet at her place! :)

  • G says:


  • Surani says:

    I spoke to Ms. Mallika Talwatte, and she was interested in seeing this page, on print. She remembered being interviewed, and was thrilled to know that she was on the net.

  • Nilmini Hecox says:

    I am one of Mallika’s “daughters”. She is my mother’s oldest sister and I spent the first year and a half of my life being cared for by my Loku (my name for her) and my Athamma as well as my mother. Although I live in the US now, I see Loku annually when I visit (in fact I am sitting at her dining room table right now). She came to be with me when I graduated from college in the US, was a big part in my own wedding almost 17 years ago, joined my mother to help care for my first-born in Denver and has been there during many more pivotal moments in my life. Loku’s love is unconditional and she is one of the most important people in my life, as well a role model for me of true independence of spirit, courage, optimism, and love of life. Thank you for sharing just a glimpse of this very special aunt of mine with the world.

  • Nilmini Hecox says:

    Wow. Just watched all three clips. I knew my Loku had been engaged before but did not know it had been for four years. It also sounds like they had registered the marriage at some point (based on the reference to signature on the form). I did not know this detail either. A great twist to this story is that I wore the saree she had bought for her wedding at my own wedding almost 40 years after the day it was bought from India. My own mother had worn it as her bridal [saree] as well and I felt very blessed to have both their lives and hearts literally wrapped around me on my big day. I believe the saree has special powers since both brides who wore it continue to be happily married for 38 years and 17 years respectively :)

  • Kaushinie Panditaratne Weerasekare says:

    During the time of my own hiatus which the whole of Kandy knew at the time, and afterwards it seemed, I saw kindness and gentleness mixed with deep understanding and sympathy in Aunty Mallika’s eyes as we walked back from discussion sessions with Bhikku Bodhi at the Buddhist Publication Society. But she never hurt me by asking anything — now I know how deeply she must have known my pain.

    Maybe it was an engagement, a ‘notice-of-marriage’ that was signed and not a registration of the same.

    I am not surprised that her saree brought luck — I remember her as a person who has such a great heart and who yet takes her self lightly with humour. A true great lady of Kandy.


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