Businesswoman. Wife. Mother. And to balance all three is what Rohanthi Alahakoon, 25-year-old author aspires to achieve. Author? Yes. But then, where does the writing come in? Writing is her hobby, and now it’s official! Rohanthi’s first book ‘Moments in Time’ was launched on April 2.
It all started in 2004, when Rohanthi was reading for her degree in International Business and Marketing at Minnesota State University, Mankato, USA. She would find herself, as she sheepishly confesses, scribbling poetry as a result of boredom during university lectures!
Moments in Time, as the title suggests, describes her life experiences and is divided into three sections - Moments, Reflection and Curiosity. It traces a series of unconnected experiences and situations that the writer has faced, each of which has resulted in an emotional outburst, the vehicle of which has been the written word. It is almost as if the writer is taking the reader by the hand and reliving those life-defining moments of her adolescence. She explores a variety of topics, ranging from her feelings for her loved ones to her recollections of her schoolgirl days at Bishop’s College to her graduation, from the tsunami, to her last dance, and her vision for Sri Lanka.
Each story presents a thought-provoking insight into the wealth of feelings that are often overlooked but nevertheless attached to every human situation.
Moments in Time is written in poetry form but can be enjoyed by all age groups. It can be appreciated by non-poetry lovers too for though the diction and metre are simple and make easy reading, she has a highly evocative style.
In addition to writing, Rohanthi is also very passionate about ballet. She says that she ‘loooooooooves dancing!’ and not surprisingly, her teacher Oosha Saravanamuttu was Chief Guest at her book launch.
Asked what the greatest challenge was in this literary journey of hers, she says it was the fear that people would not like her work. She was unsure of her talent and constantly battled within herself to go on.
Rohanthi has many more books in the pipeline and does not want to confine herself to one genre. Currently working on a Math elementary workbook for grades 1 and 2, she is also writing a story with her brother, working on 8 books in all. Her “ultimate goal”, which she defines as “something I have to do before I die”, is to make a blockbuster movie of one of her writings.
This young achiever works at MAS Holdings and enjoys her work thoroughly. Being very sentimental, she fondly recalls her grandmother's last words to her: "Reach for the stars and don’t ever forget your roots". She seems to be living up to it as she is juggling her work and reading for a Master’s degree in Business Administration at the Australian College of Business and Technology while still finding time for her family and friends. Gratitude to those who have helped her along her journey in the 25 years she has walked the earth is very apparent.
Her determination and drive are praiseworthy. But what is striking is her philosophy: “It’s okay to do what you love” because, to quote Rohanthi from Moments in Time, “Don’t let anyone make you feel that you can’t have what you deserve”.
Moments in Time, by Rohanthi Alahakoon, is available at Vijitha Yapa, Sarasaviya and Samayawardhana Bookshops.