The final years of the 20th century, the world was immensely excited about the new millennium. Two young gentlemen spending the most memorable time of their school lives in the place where river, lake and mountain meet were listening to another monotonous lesson of chemistry.
Were they actually listening or pretending was a suspicion to Mr. Pathiraja; one of the popular masters of Trinity College at the time. He wanted to check on their behavior. When he actually approached them to find out what they were doing he was awestruck, furious. One was drawing some fancy cars and the other was preparing what looked like “cheat codes”. The teacher thought they were making fun out of his lecture and chased them away from class.
It didn’t end there. They continued their habit and Mr. Pathiraja never stopped punishing. By any means these two were not amongst the most studious in class. Both studied in the Biology stream. It was rather a herculean ask since one actually chose this stream because his parents forced him to and the other reluctantly chose it to survive from rather a vicious Fresher’s treatment in the commerce stream. (At the infamous ‘Chicago Block’.)
These gentlemen left the gates of college as fully fledged Trinitians. They spent some relaxing time soon after leaving school. During this time, the guy who prepared “cheat codes” in class decided upon launching his own “cheat code” website – WWW.MEGAGAMES.COM. Those were the days when Need for Speed, Mortal Combat and other first generation video games conquered the virtual market. In no time his site had over five million viewers. And at the age of 21, a deal changed the faith of his destiny. A popular internet media company saw the potential in it and bought the website for US $ 12 million (Approximately 1.2 billion rupees). Currently this website holds the distinction of being the largest hardcore gaming archive in the world.
The other notorious chap followed his passion on designing body kits for cars. With the dawn of the new millennium, sports cars took the streets. Movies like “Fast and Furious” made a culture for street racing. He launched his company “ACCOLADE” to design and manufacture body kits for the international market. Sales were carried out through a creative website designed by him- WWW.BODY-KIT.COM. No sooner fortune and fame captivated him. At the age of 20, his first deal with an American was priced at US $ 40,000.
Both didn’t look back from there on. Spinning in Vegas, shopping in Paris and going on weekend trips to Singapore became routines of their young lives. Currently both in their early thirties are living lavishly. The guy who made “cheat codes” is running a successful consultancy firm in the United States, advising Sony, Nintendo and EA games on gaming. The other is the sole proprietor of four companies all related to assembling and manufacturing body parts for leading automobile brands. Lately, the later has diversified his entrepreneurship into renewable energy by establishing WIND ASIA company Ltd.
They dreamed out of the box and chased behind them. Gaming and street racing took the youngsters by storm during that era. One can say they were at the right place at the right time to taste success. However both did what they love. Thus, I am sure they never had to work a day in their lives as told by Confucius.
As I write this, one of them should be cruising in his Porsche 911 Turbo on the streets of Vancouver and the other must be testing the 4×4 capabilities of the latest Nissan Patrol on a mud trail in Wasgamuwa. The boy who was punished for writing cheat codes in class a decade ago is HARSHA JAYASEKARA and his accomplice who drew those car models is DIMANTHA JAYAWARDENA.
Some of their classmates must be doctors by now and others may be researchers or professionals. But this story tells the difference between education and creativity. More often than not creative people start business while educated professionals work for them. Bill Gates once summed this up by saying “ I failed in some subjects in exam, but my friend passed in all. Now he’s an engineer in Microsoft and I am the owner of Microsoft.” So the question remains, whether education alone will make you successful?
These two have proven that it’s in fact a combination of imagination, determination, perseverance and also education. They’ve found the correct formula for success with instinct. Both of them have degrees and they have played sports in school. It proves that nerds don’t always become rich.
As Prof. Arjuna Aluwihare points out, “Trinity education is what a Trinitian learns outside the classroom”. Harsha was a member of the college swimming and badminton teams. He polished his aesthetic skills by been a part of the oriental music society. After acquiring so much wealth and becoming a gazillionaire at 21, he still pursued in his higher studies. Harsha ended up obtaining his BSc. from the University of British Columbia.
Dimantha on the other hand was the President of Simithraaratchy House. One of the founding members of Martial arts in Trinity. He ended up his school carrier as a School Officer under the patronage of illustrious Kumar Sangakkara. Once boisterous Dimantha, completed his degree in business at the University of Manchester.
In school these two best friends were by far the so called nerds. This speaks volumes of the multifaceted life in the school on the hills. Trinity is a place which produce all-rounders and that’s why even the most notorious student in class is doing well in society.
Article Written By – Choliya Bandara (2010 Senior Prefect of Trinity College)
Published 4 years ago by Dakshita Choliya Bandara