Wednesday, 19 March 2008

Sir. Arthur C. Clarke, 1917-2008

Sir. Arthur C.Clarke
Sir. Arthur C. Clarke passed away today at a hospital in Colombo at the age of 90. A lot is mentioned about him in the Wet, so I will keep it brief and just share with you my fortunate encounter with this great man.

In the ancient history, 2001, during the days of my desk job, I made ground arrangements for the Sri Lankan episode of the Canadian reality TV show: My Global Adventure—a centred on a twenty-something women from Calgary named Asia (Anastasia) Nelson (picked from over 500 other candidates) on a globe-trotting adventure, covering 24 countries in 6 continents in 8 months. It was produced by Minds Eye Pictures and its Director Tom Davidson had an express pre-tour request, which was to meet Sir. Arthur C. Clarke, who had been one of his heroes from childhood.

So I had to organise this meeting. And I was lucky enough to accompany him on that.

Sir. Clarke, when we met him at his study, was browsing some super-magnified pictures of Mars in his Laptop when we met him. Which did not surprise me! He was very relaxed, and showing us those pictures he was watching and pointing to a pale coloured straight line captured clearly in one of them, he asked what we thought about it. We watched. Some silence followed—us with our thinking caps on. And seeing our sorry faces, Sir. Clarke helpfully interjected, "it looks like someone has driven a pretty large vehicle!" with a wry smile.

Thereafter, he showed another picture. It had closely-spaced circular crown-like thingamajigs scattered all over. Some were small, and some were big. To us laymen they looked somewhat like tree crowns from a helicoper. He chipped in, "...they look like huge Banyan trees!", with a slight giggle. So we weren't hopelessly bad after all. But, if I remember right, he didn’t know what they were as well!

It was such a great experience chatting to him. We were also shown his "ego chamber"—filled with photos and other memorabilia of his career, including pictures of him with Yuri Gagarin and Neil Armstrong. Sir. Clarke was kind enough to present an autographed copy of one of his books to Tom, which was very special for him. We didn’t take any camera to this meeting—a big mistake. We still regret this, as one his aides took a photograph of us, promised to send it, but failed to deliver.

I would love to see a museum will be put up one day to celeberate this emminent person that Sri Lanka was blessed to be home for since1956.


Nora said...

I love this post and so sorry to hear that he passed away. This is truly a great memory that you will always have.How lucky for you that you got to meet him..I will have to listen to the news tonight...thanks for this lovely post.

brucesc said...

How interesting about your meeting with Clarke! We were just talking about him and wondering how he happened to retire to Sri Lanka.
What a great tour you gave those Englishmen--I bet they were out of their minds with such success!

Amila Salgado said...

Hi Ocean
You're right, it is a fantastic memory to have and I do feel rather lucky! I am glad you loved this one. Thanks!

Brucesc, Thanks for dropping by. We did ask as to why he made Sri Lanka his home and his simple answer was to escape the harsh British winter!

Those Englishmen left a happy bunch. We did have quite a trip!

BTW, I have added your excellent birding blog to my blogroll. Hope to explore it more in the future.

Related Posts with Thumbnails