Varun Muruganandarajah's article

Varun Muruganandarajah

1/7/20244 min read

My Written Statement on Uncle Sri – Varun Muruganandarajah

There are certain figures in history who garner a great reputation and leave behind an incredible legacy. Examples include Abraham Lincoln, Albert Einstein, Nelson Mandela and the one and only Mr. Sri Guggan Sri Skanda Rajah. He truly was an incredible man that touched the lives of many but he was simply Uncle Sri to me. A humble, intelligent and sophisticated individual who was truly a blessing to my family. Uncle Sri was like a grandfather to me, always offering advice and looking out for my future. When I was born Uncle Sri alongside Aunt Janet was one of the first people to come to visit me at the hospital, Uncle Sri immediately gave a cheque to my parents to open a bank account and start investing for my future. I always treasured Uncle Sri’s visits to my house as he was so knowledgeable on a wide range of topics from history, politics, sports and storytelling. I still remember sitting next to him in our living room and excitingly listening to stories such as “Androcles and the Lion” and “Robin Hood”. Uncle Sri was one of the main reasons for my interest in History and Politics. I learned so much about Rosa Parks/Black History, the Sri Lankan Civil War and the policies of Pierre Elliott Trudeau. When I was a little boy I wanted to be the Prime Minister of Canada and Uncle Sri was one of my biggest supporters and always believed in me.

Uncle Sri and I also shared a mutual love for food. Whether its Chinese food, Fish and Chips, Mutton Rolls or my Appa’s cooking, Uncle Sri and I would devour it. Fun fact: If Uncle Sri’s nose is runny while he eats that means he is enjoying his food. I can finally admit this after seven years. When I volunteered for Tesoc Multicultural Settlement Services the organization that Uncle Sri worked for, we spent more time planning our lunch order than doing any work. What I loved most about Uncle Sri was his special friendship with my dad Muruks. I will never understand how two men who were polar opposites would end up becoming such good friends. Listening to Appa and Uncle Sri’s conversations would be like watching a sitcom. Appa a wild and hyper individual who tends to make rash decisions would often irritate the calmer and more collected Uncle Sri. As Uncle Sri would famously say in his deep voice “Muruks I am leaving”! Eventually, Uncle Sri would cave into Appa’s silly shenanigans. One of my favourite stories about Uncle Sri was from when I was in the seventh grade, I had to do an assignment on an animal known as the “Wolverine”. Uncle Sri found out about my project through Appa immediately called me and said he was coming over to help me. He brought so many documents filled with great information and practically stayed the entire weekend to help me finish the project. I ended up getting a 94% on that project and it was all because of Uncle Sri.

Uncle Sri has given me so many incredible gifts from story books, birthday money and even his own wedding suit, something I will forever cherish for the rest of my life. There is still so much that I have to say about this remarkable man. I am going to miss hearing his stories, or whenever he calls me “Varun cunju”. I will miss seeing the guilty look on his face when he asks me to get his Insulin Pen whenever he eats desserts. I will miss sharing a booth with him and another dear friend of ours named Crisy Boy at my Appa’s restaurant on Saturday nights as we would watch our beloved Toronto Maple Leafs play. I will miss his silly conversations with Appa and I will miss the fact that I will never see him for the rest of my life. One of my biggest regrets was not visiting Uncle Sri before he passed away. In May of 2019, right before I graduated high school, I visited Uncle Sri at his senior home to tell him that I had been accepted to university. He was so happy and couldn't wait to hear about my university experience during my next visit. Sadly that visit never happened as the Coronavirus hit and we were all separated from our loved ones.

It’s unfair that the one person who was most excited to hear about my university appearance didn't get a chance to hear it. It also breaks my heart that I didn't attend the funeral. It was mostly my fault, I could have done more to go visit him but I didn't. What I am trying to say is don’t ever postpone anything in life and always spend time with the people you love because you never know when you will see them again. I would like to offer my thoughts and prayers to Aunt Janet, Anya Acca, Dr. Sri Bhavan and Uncle Sri’s entire family. There will never be another Sri Guggan Sri Skanda Rajah. He truly was a special person in my life and I loved him very much. Thank you for everything Uncle Sri may your legacy live forever! I know you are enjoying a nice glass of wine up in heaven. Go Leafs go!

The dynamic trio Uncle Sri, Appa and myself from my second birthday.
The dynamic trio Uncle Sri, Appa and myself from my second birthday.

The dynamic trio Uncle Sri, Appa and myself from my second birthday.