It seems almost ages ago when Aunty Lil came swinging down the corridor laying proud claim to another scalp to the Lintas formidable creative people portfolio. Although I knew him I did not quite expect him to be that big. Well over six feet he was our gentle giant. I, who usually boast of a proud history of scraps with creative, had no reason to shout or argue with him. From his SLIM ad awards Gold bell winning Sunlight Wesak campaign where he produced it within 24 hours to run from Saturday morning on Rupavahini, to coolly hanging out with his then wife to be girlfriend at the Glow (always the corner table), he was one hell of a guy, a human being and someone I am proud to call a friend.
He was the epitome of a gentleman. Before meeting his current wife and then single, I remember asking him if he would mind escorting my niece for a 31st night dance at the Mount. Given that I was going for another party, and he had to go with my elder sisters family, he was a sport and readily agreed. I remember calling them at the dawn of the New Year; he was having a glorious time other than for the fact that he was dying for a strong drink! That was the amount of trust I had of this young man.
The memories are many:
Tall, gangly, and chilled out, his stroll down the corridors of Lintas was a fast walk for all of us. Many a time would I enjoy seeing one of the many Client Service skirts running after him inquiring about an ad deadline? I still hear his booming voice in my head, “I told you know I will give it.” The same booming voice we heard everyday and at every single company event which he never would miss.
Chilling at the overseas ECD’s house in Battaramulla, the ECD and I had the misfortune of facing a very drunk and abusive spouse of the domestic, demanding on taking her away well past midnight. Again, one mobile call to him and he was there within five minutes. He was a true showman, and he immediately chased the spouse away and stayed on with us to ensure that we were sufficiently comfortable before taking his leave.
At the tail end of my career at Lintas, the infamous meeting for the Unilever corporate campaign with the Chairman and Brands Director. All the creative deserted me, he alone came along, tried his best with me to sell what we had, drank our tea and left. He and he alone had the guts to come along with me. Most importantly the only reason for him to be there was only due to the loyalty of our friendship.
The proud moment he arrived in his brand new car to my house to deliver his wedding invitation. How delighted and happy he was.
Calling me in London when he started his own advertising agency, Brands Alley. Always staying in touch.
The stories to narrate, the memories are many. Leo you may have gone from my world to reside with god, but you will live forever in my heart. I wish we had more of the one thing we have no longer, time. In my heart you live, a brilliant human, a great friend.
I shed a tear as I type this on my keyboard. I believe that somewhere in heaven, up there, you are sitting in front of your MacBook Pro, laughing down at all of us.
When the world zig, the folks at Brands Alley zag... http://brandsalley.com/
Leyon Rajaratne, Rest In Peace.