The English teacher

Mrs Kandiah had never even been to England but through the words of the favourite nature poets, she could immerse herself in the meadows and hills of the English countryside, without leaving her home in Batticaloa. Photography by Kannan Arunasalam.


Join the discussion: 14 comments

  • Elmo Joseph says:

    First of all, I wish to honor Sujikanth Sotheeswaran, Kathirgamathamby Krishnaraj and Ketha Ledchumanasarma for their commendable help on “I Am Batticaloa”.

    Ms Kandiah in 2013 visited Melbourne, Australia and met some old boys of St Michael’s College in Melbourne and Sydney. She brought us some old memories of her success stories in Batticaloa as a history and English language tutor.

    I am surprised to listen to her brief speech with some meaningful involvement in Batticaloa. Best of luck to an intellectual.

  • P. Seevagan says:

    She was a great teacher of us. We are proud about her.

  • Kannan Arunasalam says:

    Mrs Kandiah was gifted in the English language. In fact she relished everything English and Englishness. Retired from full time teaching, she spent her time tutoring young Batticaloan students. She also escaped into her powerful imagination, roaming the English countryside.

    We sat with her elder sister in the sitting room of her ancestral house, as she talked to me about her obsession with England. She had just finished helping a woman with an application that needed her expertise in English.

    Mrs Kandiah painted in her spare time and her love of art and its healing power inspired her to get involved with local projects helping children deal with trauma. The Butterfly Peace Garden took up much of her time now.

    She had never been to England but through her mind’s eye and the words of English nature poets like Colleridge and Wordsworth, she could travel there, to its meadows and hills, while not leaving her home thousands of miles away in Batticaloa.

  • Mano Santharaj says:

    Ms Kandiah – But for us, she is always Rajes Acca . We are so proud about you Rajes Acca

  • Balendran Balasubramaniam c/o. Balan Motors Batticaloa. says:

    Her teaching, especially English language, drama and poetry have made a great impact on my life, though I never had a chance to thank her personally. Thank you so much, teacher.

  • Rohini James says:

    Ms. Rajes Kandiah was not only an inspirational teacher at SMC after her graduation from Peradeniya, she was loved by the whole school. She was the Vice Presidnt of the Batticaloa Ladies Club down Green Street and was a great organiser of events, making coffee and desserts for the school and the club.

    I have always admired her way of accepting challenges and helping others.
    Ms. Rajes Kandiah is a wonderful senior citizen of Batticaloa town.

  • Franz Waldner, A-1080 Wien/Vienna; Austria says:

    I was very lucky to meet Ms. Kandiah and a teacher friend of hers when strolling through Batticaloa recently. Being invited for tea to her wonderful house and talking about past and present Batticaloa was a highlight wonderful experience on my 3 weeks trip to Sri Lanka (25 Jan – 15 Feb 2017). I sincerely hope to hear from Madam.

  • Ananda Visvanathan says:

    Ms. Rajes Kandiah, is affectionately called as “Rajakja” by me from my childhood. She was not only our immediate neighbour, she was my playmate, sister, teacher, friend, philosopher, guide, mentor. I have no words to thank her for what I am today. She was and is an inspiration for so many.

  • BJA says:

    This morning I attended a relative’s funeral: the Late Mr Francis (92). His grandson gave a splendid tribute. Dakshan mentioned that his granddad had a great sense of humour and was also one of the finest, record-breaking sportsman Batticaloa ever produced.

    May Ferdinand Francis rest in peace.

    During the post-funeral lunch, a cousin of mine produced a picture from the distant past from her mobile phone. The picture was from an English play at college which our teacher of English Ms Kandiah had directed. Although I vividly remember playing in that drama, time has robbed me of its name. Subo – (Sugunam & Joseph’s daughter) played a significant role, including the late Dr Reginald Lena, Mr Nimal Veerasinghe, Mr Shikan Canagasooriyam, and a few good old mates and yours truly played our parts to our director’s satisfaction. Ms Kandiah liked the play so much that she kindly threw us a sumptuous dinner as appreciation.

    It must be said Ms Kandiah was the most inspiring teacher we ever had. I salute her!

    When my son saw the picture, all in our costumes and in get-set-ready-action, he was quite moved to see his ‘appa’ as a young lad. Children seem to forget that once we too were young. Now we dream that we are forever young.

    Happy 2019!

    Rev B J Alexander

  • B. Nimal Veerasingham says:

    Miss. Rajesh Kandiah was our English teacher – The ‘imagination’ she connoted in the conversation is fundamental to all things, revolutionizing the current world – we did not realize it then – but very much now. We realize that the ‘imagination’ she enthralled, is what making the West to prosper – by way of innovation, discoveries and new technological breakthroughs.
    When we did not know who a puppeteer is – she transformed our class led by Chandi Alexander, into becoming the unseen performers at the SMC Centennial celebrations.
    At a time when I did not know what daffodils are – she made me hand-print ‘William Wordsworth’s famous poem, to be hung on the class wall, complete with painted daffodils (My friend A.S.Thiyagarajah being the artist) – so that we could ‘wander lonely as a cloud.’
    Thank You Teacher – for making our lives richer that riches ever can buy.


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