bridal entourage and Indu — making bridal dreams
stands out as a beautiful person who helps colour the
lives of young women on their wedding day…..
She walks in with a smile. She tilts her
head and gives a soft smile. She is talking to a bride.
Indu Hewapathirana is aware that she is
talking about a happy event. She takes the bride to the
future — to the special day — discussing the colours,
the clothes and the way she ought to look. It is a happy
meeting. And this way, she has met a countless number of
brides who come to her as unsure women in love who are
trying hard to look their best on their very special
It is Indu’s task to make their dreams
Indu Hewapathirana is comfortable amidst
the array of those who dress brides — she stands out
from the make-up artistes and hair dressers in the
field. "I am comfortable in this competitive business,"
says this bridal dresser and beautician who counts over
17 years in the field.
The dream of a new bride
Brides and weddings may be not frequent
happenings in our lives, but they are everyday
happenings for Indu Hewapathirana who wakes up to make
the dream of a new bride come true.
"It gives me so much happiness and job
satisfaction to see my talent being portrayed in the
beauty of each new bride," said Hewapathirana who has an
exceptional talent in being able to bring out the best
in each bride.
Indu’s compassion also helps in her
loving outlook towards all. "I remember when I opened my
salon, I dressed an orphan as a bride. My friends told
me that this was ‘inauspicious,’ but I have had no bad
luck whatsoever," she said with a soft smile.
As if dressing brides is not involving
enough — the talented Indu Hewapathirana has made
further inroads into the world of creative beauty.
Excelling in t-shirt painting, making of bouquets,
designing of jewellery with mural and crystal beads,
Indu stands out also as a great creator of sarees.
"Working of sarees is viewed as a
arduous task. But there is no pleasure without pain. My
sarees are exceptional and these creations bring me
great joy," she said.
A great responsibility
Indu continues to smile. But her
schedule is a heavy one. Providing a total bridal care
package is a great responsibility, but Indu takes it all
in everyday stride.
"Be it Western, Kandyan, Hindu or a
Muslim bride, she should be an epitome of beauty of this
special day. She must not only look elegant and charming
but must glow with her own special beauty," pointed out
"There is the fear that ‘becoming a
beautiful bride is an expensive affair,’ but this is
certainly not so. I always concentrate on the budget of
the bride and give her the best within the range she can
afford," she said.
A student of Haris Wijesinghe, Indu
spoke of her mentor with great reverence. "I will not be
what I am today if not for the things I learnt from him.
I have not forgotten and I am not one to forget," she
"Clients are usually reluctant to get
dressed by assistants, this is why I want to do it all
personally," said Indu, speaking from her salon, The
Centre for Brides on the Main Road, in Battaramulla.
A past pupil of St. Mary’s College,
Matara, Indu credits her artist father H.B.D.C.
Dharmadasa as being the reason for her ‘inborn talent’
and her ability to reach the heights of beauty. "You
reap what you sow," he once told me and taught me the
importance of being kind, patient and compassionate,"
said the soft-hearted Indu.
"Being customer-friendly is an important
quality. Brides are nervous anyway and when they come to
you they place their trust in you and it is up to you to
live up to that trust," said Indu who has dressed a
range of brides during the past 17 years.
What It Means To
Be Christian – A Guide For Roman Catholics And
Catholic Press, Colombo and
Ten Simple Steps
To Make A Marriage And Family Last – A Guide For
Intended And Married Couples
Colombo Catholic Press and Barefoot Bookstore.
At every Catholic Mass the "I Confess"
is recited. How many bishops, parish priests, priests,
nuns, lay leaders and Catholics have really understood
what it means when we ask our Maker to forgive us for
what we have done and what we have failed to do? How
many? I love the Catholic Church with all its richness,
but my heart bleeds for its terrible sins; sins of
omission and sins of commission.
Every Wednesday evening in Colombo,
almost 5000 people flock to a prayer and healing service
at St. Peter’s College, Bambalapitiya, to listen to a
talented and very good lay Catholic preacher who is
undoubtedly doing the Lord’s work. Why does this happen?
I believe that this will not be happening if the
bishops, parish priests, priests and lay leaders in my
beloved Catholic Church did their job. They have failed.
There may be some who do not agree with the approach of
this lay preacher but what he does is keep the people in
the Catholic Church and for this he must be appreciated.
The primary purpose of the Catholic and
every Christian Church is to preach the full Gospel of
Christ and his kingdom and bring every Catholic and
Christian to an intimate, personal, deep and growing
relationship with Jesus Christ which must result, not in
a feel good experience, but in changed individual and
The primary task of every bishop, parish
priest, pastor, nun and lay leader is to preach the Word
of God, build a Christ-centered community and DO the
will or work of God. "By your fruits shall you be
known…You are the light of the world."
How many bishops, parish priests and
others in the Catholic Church are more interested in
putting up buildings, structures and monuments when the
vast majority of their people are struggling to make a
living, living in physical and emotional pain in their
homes, struggling in their marriages? Ordinary people
like me are not interested in doctrine but are yearning
for a deeper knowledge of the Bible, and to grow
in Christ. I am not talking about a fundamentalist view
but a faith that respects all other faiths.
I am told that over 75% of Greater
Colombo lives in shanties. What is the leadership of the
Catholic Church doing for them? Bishops, parish priests
and other leaders must get out of their comfortable
mansions and residences and live among the least of our
brethren. Remember the story of Dives and Lazarus as
told by the Master? They must learn from two
extraordinary Archbishops from Latin America; Dom Helder
Camara and Oscar Romero.
I was 10 years old when I left what was
then Ceylon and for over 25 years have lived in Southern
California. These 25 years and more have taken me to
numerous countries. My high school, undergraduate and
part of my graduate work was completed in India, a
nation where almost half the population, a staggering
500 million people, still live in misery. As a young
man, I walked over dead and dying bodies outside the
Madras, now Chennai, Railway Station, which became part
of the life purpose of that incredible human being and
saint, Blessed Teresa of Calcutta.
It’s a new world
My family is known to the leadership of
the Catholic Church especially because of my beloved
uncle, the late Monsignor Dr. Manik Muttukumaru. He and
so many others did and continue to do outstanding work.
So many do this work unrecognised and unknown. But the
world and Catholic Church he knew is gone! It is a new,
new world, which demands that every bishop, parish
priest, nun and lay leader in the Catholic Church be
born again, in every sense of the word.
My new book published by Colombo
Catholic Press, What It Means To Be A Christian
pleads for a deeper understanding between Catholic and
evangelical Protestant leaders. Both have much to learn
from each other, not grab each others members! My first
job in California was with World Vision International,
the largest evangelical Christian international
development organisation in the world.
The great Evangelical Protestant
Preacher Billy Graham never asked people who came to
hear him to leave their churches. He never had a church
but preached in crusades and filled auditoriums
worldwide. He said: "I don’t care if you are Catholic,
Presbyterian, Baptist, Assembly of God, Anglican,
Methodist or from any other denomination. Give your life
to Jesus Christ, make him the Lord of your life and
enter into a relationship with him today. Go back to
your Churches and DO the will of God."
This is what the evangelical Protestant
Churches in Sri Lanka and other countries should be
doing. But what does a evangelical Protestant Pastor do
when over half his congregation are from the Roman
Catholic Church? Can they afford to lose members and
Building your kingdom
My question to every bishop, parish
priest, nun and Catholic is: "Do you have a personal
relationship with Jesus Christ? Have you encountered
him? Do you KNOW him or do you only know about him? If
you don’t know him, how can you preach him? Does every
member of your congregation see the Lord and a beautiful
human being in you? Are you more interested in building
your kingdom in your parish or diocese, protecting your
turf and hoping for a higher office?
Do you do the right thing in your
diocese or parish no matter what the cost to self, or
are you afraid of what some leaders may say? Is there
pride, self-righteousness and spiritual arrogance in
you? Are you an obstacle to initiatives that will build
the Kingdom of God, not yours, in your diocese or
To the parish priests, are your
assistants and other associates free to help build this
Christ-centered community? Do you trust them? You must
have one common purpose. "A kingdom divided against
itself cannot stand." Remember what the Lord said to the
religious leaders of his time. I plead with every
Catholic to see their bishops, priests and leaders as
human beings first and help them.
It was a prostitute who challenged the
establishment when she walked toward the master in the
house of Simon the Pharisee! You can bet that many of
the men there had derived pleasure from her! It was a
former prostitute who had the courage, not the 12 holy
male disciples , to go to the tomb of Jesus and then run
to tell the men that HE had risen! The men were
The Gospel is the most revolutionary
message ever preached; a message of peace, love,
forgiveness and reconciliation. It turned the world
upside down! It must today!
The family is the most sacred
institution in any society. It is under severe attack
today. The divorce rate in Colombo is pretty alarming,
especially among the young. Others simply stay in their
unhappy marriages for their own reasons. Consider the
lifetime scars on minor children when they witness
unhappiness and often verbal abuse at home or a divorce.
There are however couples who are really fulfilled in
their marriages, who have their challenges and are both
determined to make it work, who bring out the best in
each other. But alas, these are increasingly few and far
This is part of what I learned in the
research for my book. Who better to address this topic
and help prevent these breakups than a person who has
paid the price? Failure, it is said, is the best
teacher. The pre-marriage seminars do not appear to be
delivering the desired result. They must be re-thought.
In conclusion, I am a management
educator and consultant who runs a global organisation.
What my colleagues and I preach around the world is that
every organisation must face the reality of itself today
especially given the current unprecedented global
crisis. The world as we knew it yesterday no longer
exists. The Catholic Church is no exception and is also
in crisis. It is the oldest organisation known to man!
2000 years old!
The most urgent task for the leaders in
the church is to convene a serious conference to
determine its purpose today, what has gone wrong, what
it has done right. It must reexamine what kind of future
leaders it is producing in its seminaries. The Mass must
be a true celebration. The primary purpose of the
sacraments, the Eucharist and the Blessed Sacrament must
be to bring people to the Lord; to truly know him and
not merely know about him.
The Church, its bishops, priests, nuns and leaders
must be ‘born again’ every day. Fear must have no place
in the church. Almost every recorded encounter with the
Lord, beginning with the annunciation, began with the
words; "Do not be afraid." What are we afraid of today?
Let us begin today! I love the Catholic Church and my
heart bleeds for it.