Akram Cassim

In conversation with Ashwini Vethakan

 Akram is the CEO of Colombo Jewellery Stores





April 1963


Alma maters

Thomas’ Preparatory School and S. Thomas’ College


Family members

My wife (Sharmila) and our daughter (Hanaa)


Wanted to be

A pilot


Is (but didn’t want to be)

An accountant and a jeweller – but I enjoy being both!


Driven in

Any vehicle that’s around – I’m not really fussy when it comes to cars


Would like to be driven in

Anything that can get me from A to B




Likes to play




Likes to watch

Cricket, tennis and football


Most unforgettable event

Watching Colombo Jewellery Stores (CJS) brand ambassador Jacqueline Fernandez ride into a packed hall on a horse for the launch of the Perpetual Grace campaign at The Stables at Park Street Mews in 2013


Most forgettable event

My father’s death in 2008


Purpose of life

Enjoy doing what you have to do in ever-changing environments and circumstances while living as positively as you possibly can with hope for the future




Most hated chore

Changing a tyre


Success is

Doing what I enjoy and enjoying what I’m doing


Impressed by

People with good vibes


Happy place

I try to be happy anywhere that I happen to be – but if I have to name one place, I guess it would be home


Three hobbies

Photography, reading and holidaying


Pet peeve



Ideal romantic date or outing

A gondola ride in Venice


Three items on the bucket list for the next six months

Visiting three places – Samburu County (Kenya), Botswana and Egypt


An item on the bucket list following retirement

That would have to be annoying my daughter, I guess!


Three must-haves

My phone, a good book to read and chocolate


Two ‘would like to haves’

A magic carpet and magic wand!


Mantra to unwind

Prayer and meditation




Days of the week

Sunday, Saturday and Friday



Blue, black and green


Chill out spots

A jungle spot anywhere, the Galle Fort or a beach


Leisure wear outfit

Jeans and T-shirt


Workwear outfit

White shirts with short sleeves and black or blue pants



Chocolates, prawns and biryani



Ice coffee, orange juice and sparkling water



Hublot, Salvatore Ferragamo and Hugo Boss


Local holiday destinations

Wilpattu or any of the numerous beach resorts in Sri Lanka – we live in an island that is peppered with some amazing beaches!


Overseas holiday destinations

Venice, Paris and the Maasai Mara National Reserve in Kenya



Jack Nicholson, Peter Sellers and Julia Roberts



Elvis Presley, Louis Armstrong and Sir Elton John



W.Somerset Maugham, Dan Brown and Paulo Coelho




Favourite quote from a movie

“May the Force be with you” (Star Wars) – the line was so impactful
when it was said in the movie


Favourite local sportsperson

Deshabandu Sanath Jayasuriya
– because he revolutionised One-
Day International (ODI) cricket forever in 1996 with his batting

Favourite international personality

Walt Disney – because he was a pioneer and innovator who had an amazing imagination, and created an empire out of an ordinary mouse!


What Disney did

Brought joy to millions of people around the world with his later creations – viz. Disneyland amusement park and Walt Disney World Resort


Favourite songs

The music from Grease – a musical that I enjoy watching


Favourite movie

Hatari – because it was the first movie I watched, which introduced me to the wonderful world of animals and Africa that I continue to enjoy to this day


Likely retirement destination

Galle Fort – I would be surrounded by my childhood memories, the ramparts and the sea; Galle is a fantastic city for anyone to live in




When you dance, you look like

George Foreman


The first thing you notice when meeting someone is

His or her eyes


Recently laughed out loud when

I had a conference chat with my friends


You’re irked when

People lie to bring down someone because of their envy, jealousy or insecurity


Challenged by

Ongoing changes in the technological sphere


Colombo in a few words

I’m enjoying the changes that can be seen around us


Sri Lanka in a few words

My paradise island


The world in a few words

A wonderful place




Memory skills on a scale of 0 to 10



Computer ability in one word



Most productive in the morning, noon or night

The morning is when I’m most productive


A leader or follower by nature



Workout preferences



Cook or foodie

I’m a foodie – but I would love to be a good cook as well


Best haircut and style



Quality or quantity



The glass is half full or half empty

Half full


Work or play after retirement



The most delightful word you can think of



Do you consider yourself to be a student or teacher?

A student


A new technology that will transform the future

Innovations in the arena of food tech­nology such as lab grown meat and cellular culture could change the way in which we obtain the food we eat


Most used word or phrase

Let’s eat!


Role model

My grandfather – because he was someone with whom I enjoyed my childhood for 12 years and he spoilt me like any granddad would!


Yourself in a few words

Happy and content


Motto in life

Enjoy life!