A genius of a wanderer
By Priyangwada Perera Ceylon Today Features
We often say that the present generation of youngsters are not book-friendly. They are accused of not reading. If at all they do, they are more into e-reading. However, there is a new awakening of the written word in the form of newly emerging young writers. Sachintha Pilapitiya also emerges from this new talent. He is ready with Farren the Wanderer. In conversation with the young man, we found him to be versatility personified.
Sachintha Pilapitiya said it all started with his parents. So, what magic spell did his parents cast on him? “It was the exposure I received thanks to them. My father made sure that we have seen every corner of this beautiful country. Even as a kid, I realised the beauty of this island is about its diversity. Be it our landscapes or our people.” This realisation intensified during his school days at St. Thomas’ Preparatory School. “I had friends from every background.
I was engaged in basically everything my school offered: Debating, dancing, athletics, rugby, badminton, cadetting.” Having said that, in 2016, Pilapitiya became the Head Prefect of the school. Not ending there, he was also the cadet sergeant, badminton captain and a senior member of the rugby team. “I was also taking my Ordinary Level exam that year. Life was difficult. Yet, I understand it is the toughness that gives fun to life,” he said.
Pilapitiya said that craving for adventure was always in him. Speaking of his school, he said that school is family. “This family made sure no one was left behind. I wanted to bring out the same concept even in my novel.
This is what is seen through the friendship of Farren and Kronos.” Thinking back on his school life, Pilapitiya said that life changed when he joined St.Thomas’ College, Mt. Lavinia. I joined the boarding School and it toughened me. I made friends with people who came from all parts of the country.
This new found freedom and way of life made me do rebellious things that I would never even have imagined of doing. This opportunity made me explore and try out new things.”
Pilapitiya is undoubtedly a ‘model student’. He studied combined mathematics, economics and English literature for his Advanced Level examination whilst playing 2nd XV rugby, being the vice captain of the college badminton team, being the vice president of interact club and being a college prefect.
Apart from all these achievements, he has been writing short stories and sending his writings to newspapers since he was just 6-years-old. He changed himself from a traveller to an explorer. “One could go to Rome and see the Colosseum, that’s what you do when you travel.
But to taste the ice cream, the pizza, to dance to an Italian song, to speak in a different language and to feel their ways of life would be to explore. As I explored these countries, I also grasped how important exploring Sri Lanka itself was,” he said. This is where he created Farren’s fictional world and portrayed his unquenchable wanderlust.
“As embarrassing as it is to say this, during my O/L days which was also a time of a lot of responsibilities at school, romantic ideas catalysed this novel. I owned no smart phone untill I finished my A/Ls. Believe it or not; I ended up writing letters to a certain someone. Thus the relationship between Farren and Amelia was created.” He further expressed himself, proving he is far more insightful than his tender years. “I believe that most people are extremists since they have been confined to just one thing in life.
There’s a whole world out there for us to see. Starting with Sri Lanka, I follow Buddhism and have also read the Bible, Celebrated Iftar and even know some Hindu Sutra.
Explore these differences and I assure you, you would not lose your identity but rather learn to respect the identity of others.” Farren the Wanderer is a magical story that fits into the genre that is loved by the new generation of readers. The book is rich with absolutely stunning illustrations that intensifies the magical experience.
Pilapitiya’s achievements need to be listed out simply to do justice to a boy who can be an inspiration to aspiring youngsters.
He is certain that it is his wanderlust which helped him to get a scholarship to the New York University in Abu Dhabi. “I am excited to be a part of its global study programme.
I hope to study economics and legal studies and minor in creative writing at university. I want to learn about the world and to serve Sri Lanka as well. I have already begun working on my next novel, an exploration of Sri Lanka’s communities,” he said. Pilapitiya ‘s book will be available at the International Book Fair and it would definitely be a book worth owning.
(Pix courtesy Sachintha Pilapitiya)