Blind war hero meets his sweetheart:
Love has no barriers
The happy couple exchanging
It was March 25 at 9.21 am that she lovingly said 'I do' on the
beautifully decorated poruwe amidst over 500 guests. The beautiful young
bride who was courageous enough to share the rest of her life with a
groom, who will never able to see her beauty, put on the gold ring to
show him that 'he is mine'.
"Yes I got married", exclaimed Lance Corporal Charith Kularuwan
Kulathilleke recalling his wedding a few weeks ago. The 23-year-old who
never dreamed of getting married as he is totally blind, said he 'saw'
his wedding like seeing a film. It can be traced back to the history of
Abimansala, which was the home for disabled war heroes in Anuradhapura,
as this was Abimansala's first wedding.
Taking his lovely wife to his half-built house in the remote hamlet
of Wellara in Mihinthale, Charith was busy learning to operate his new
gift - a laptop when the Sunday Observer spoke to him about his
The 23-year-old soldier of the 5 Vijayabahu Infantry Regiment (VIR)
who battled to liberate the country from terrorists, had to fight to get
the consent of the parents of 18-year-old Suvini Sewwandi, who was
adamant that she wanted to marry him.
From the first day - September 11, last year- of their meeting
Sewwandi has been able to shed light into his world which was filled
with darkness. Despite the strong opposition from her parents she
decided to visit Ranaviru Sevana at Ragama, where Charith initially
sought medical treatment.
"While I was in a bus to go for my classes, I saw a blind soldier
seated in the front seat. He was going for treatment to the Colombo Eye
The way he was staring at the sky from the window tugged at my heart
strings and I talked to him. I got his contact number. When we were
talking. I felt that he was a person with principles", Sewwandi who took
a bold decision to be the soul mate to Charith said.
When her parents realised that they could not stop her from marrying
a war hero, they gave their blessings to the marriage.
At the wedding
Learning to handle the JOSE computer which was gifted to the
The newly wed husband recalled the incident where he lost his sight.
It was on a night mission that four out of an eight-man team started
crawling towards the target which was five kilometres away from the
Forward Defence Line of Kilali, Jaffna.
The main objective of the mission was to destroy LTTE bunkers and
disrupt the stability of the LTTE's defence lines along Kilali.
Charith who led the four-man team crawled for over one and a
half-hours clearing the path to the target. They were a few yards away
from each other and there was a thundering explosion of a booby-trap
which blew off the young soldier, who always took the lead in any night
mission. "With the explosion, my eyes turned red. I can only remember a
big red ball coming into my eyes". He was, then attached to the 53
Division, when he lost his sight and his right hand. If not for the body
armour jacket and helmet, Charith would never be alive.
"They attacked us but the others were able to neutralize them and
also took over the bunker. We did not fear death and always wanted to be
in the forefront as the prime objective was to liberate the country from
LTTE terrorism", he said. Charith who regained conciousness at the Sri
Jayawardenapura hospital realized that he would never be able to see the
The fateful day was November 18, 2008, Charith not only lost his
sight but also his maiden love. Drowned in deep distress he tried to
commit suicide several times but finally decided to challenge his
fate."I was afraid of the dark. When I see a blind person I used wonder
how they would face life. But now I know how a blind struggles in life
but what I can say is that I 'see' the world more than before", he
said.This first wedding ceremony at 'Abimansala Wellness Centre' took on
special look with colourful decorations to hold its first wedding. The
centre, which was the brainchild of the Army Commander Lt. Gen. Jagath
Jayasuriya, is the home to 53 permanently disabled war heroes, who are
well looked-after by a team of qualified staff.
"I was happy that most of the high ranking Army officers attended my
wedding. We held it according to tradition. I am happy I am able to
fulfil my mother's biggest worry that I would be left alone in this
world. I know that 'Sewwandi nangi' (he still calls her with the same
name that he got to know her will look after me well. She is my strength
now", Charith said. He thanked the Army Commander, the chairman of the,
Seva Vanitha Army Branch Manjulika Jayasuriya, Director of
Rehabilitation Maj. Gen Ranjith Samaratunge, all high ranking Army
officers and staff of Abimansala who helped him for his wedding.
Minister of Agrarian Services and Wildlife S.M Chandrasena's wife was
kind enough to sponsor the food and bridal dressing free. There was
barely a dry eye as the couple exchanged their rings and when the
radiant bride in an off-white 'osari' holding the hand of the war hero
reached the guests to thank them. The Chairman of the Demo company
Ranjan Paranavithana promised to financially assist the couple to
complete the half-built house, which was constructed from money saved by
Charith since May 2005 as a soldier. Charith who was 'lovingly led' by
his beautiful bride posed for pictures with a smile showing his untold
Charith learnt to operate a computer at Ranaviru Sevana, he is now a
fully-trained computer operator training others who are visually
impaired at Abimansala. Using the special software package -JOSE-
designed for the visually impaired. He also can use the mobile phone
which has a similar software for the visually impaired.
"I am happy with my life now but at the same time I am very sad as I
cannot see her face. Everyone says she is beautiful and now I see her
from an image that I have created in my mind.
I sing when I feel down and I also meditate to get relief", Charith
the war hero, who called his bride a heroines as she won all the odds
and was ready to face a challenging life with a visually impaired
person." Why I decided to marry him was because I felt Charith Aiya was
a war hero and was a human being. It was not about 'seeing' the world.
He is really a courageous person and we both wanted to stand against all
odds", Sewwandi said adding that the couple plans to start a
communication centre soon.