Gowri Rajan In conversation with Ashwini Vethakan


Born in

Alma maters
Good Shepherd Convent Kandy, école internationale, Bishop Cotton Women’s Christian College (Bangalore), Bangalore University and University of Peradeniya

Family members
My dad the late T. R. R. Rajan was an entrepreneur, industrialist and philanthropist. I live with my mother Jeewa who is a philanthropist.
I have two sisters – Ahalya (a businesswoman and ardent golfer) and Ashwini (a doctor).

Wanted to be
A lawyer

Is (but didn’t want to be)
A businesswoman

Driven in

Would like to be driven in
A Rolls-Royce


Pool and rifle shooting

Likes to watch
Sci-fi and Marvel movies – as well as videos of our family pet Murphy

Most unforgettable event
When I was saved from death in Trincomalee by surviving the tsunami in 2004 – this prompted my spiritual awakening and a desire to serve humanity

Passion project
My desire to serve humanity led to setting up Sri Lanka’s first human heart valve and tissue bank at the Lady Ridgeway Hospital for Children through Rotary District 3220

Most forgettable event
I can’t remember!

Purpose of life
To do good in the world


Most hated chore
Peeling onions

Success is
Having peace of mind in every situation

Impressed by
High intellect

Happy place

Three hobbies
Working out in the gym, listening to music and travelling

Three peeves
Hypocrisy, negative attitudes and gossiping

Ideal romantic date or outing
A candlelit dinner on the beach

Two items on the bucket list for the next six months
The launch of three new products and to make progress in my doctorate (PhD) programme (which requires
a great deal of focus)

Items on the bucket list following retirement
I haven’t thought that far ahead yet

Three must-haves
God, the love of my family and loyal friends

Three ‘would like to haves’
Superpowers, more hours in a day and all my departed loved ones returned to me

Mantra to unwind
Count my blessings with gratitude


Days of the week
Each day is a favourite in its way

Mostly black but I like blue and red too

Chill out spots
Colombo Swimming Club and the Colombo Club – and Rajan’s Den (our private clubhouse in Kandy, which was built for our use and to host friends)

Leisure wear outfits
Comfy jeans and anything else that is comfortable to wear

Workwear outfits
Mostly saris and sometimes casual business outfits

Oriental cuisine

Water, a glass of red wine and margaritas

Christian Dior, Michael Kors and MAC

Local holiday destinations
Any nice resort by the beach

Overseas holiday destinations
I love London, Los Angeles and Singapore – so far

Chris Hemsworth

In childhood, my favourite musicians were Michael Jackson and Madonna – but now, they’re Jennifer Lopez and Ed Sheeran

Jane Austen – at a time when I used to read books

I Know Who I Am (by Sinach) and Happy (by Pharrell Williams)


Favourite quote from a movie
“I laugh in the face of danger” (Simba in The Lion King) – because it shows we can overcome any obstacle that life throws our way

Favourite local sportsperson
Kumar Sangakkara – apart from being a cricketer, he has an exceptional personality and is an inspiration to all (he is a great ambassador for ‘Brand Sri Lanka’)

Favourite international sportsperson
Usain Bolt – I admire his confidence

Favourite international civil servant
Former UN Secretary-General and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Kofi Annan – for his sincere advocacy for peace and respect for human rights

Obsessed with
The subject of biohacking: a desire to feel better and how far we can push the human body –  I’m drawn to the feel-good factor based on science and biology

Favourite movie
Thor: Ragnarok – I found it to be very entertaining with brilliant visual effects and family friendly dialogue

Likely retirement destination
Sri Lanka is the most likely place because I can’t really think of any other country that I would like to retire in at the moment


When you dance, you look like…

The first thing you notice when meeting someone…
His or her eyes

Recently laughed out loud when…
I was with my friends

You know it’s going to be a bad day when…
I have a cold

Saddened when…
I see the homeless and helpless

Challenged by

Colombo in a few words
Diverse and vibrant

Sri Lanka in a few words
A miracle in Asia that needs more people with the right attitude

The world in a few words
It’s what you create within yourself


Memory skills on a scale of 0 to 10
Eight – but I would like it to be 10

Computer ability in a few words
Adequate to handle my work

Most productive in the morning, noon or night

A leader or follower by nature
A leader

Workout preferences
High-intensity interval training (HIIT)

Cook or foodie

Worst haircut and style
When I had a fringe and plaits in my school days

Quality or quantity

The glass is half full or half empty
Half full (always)

Work or play after retirement
Why should I retire? I haven’t even thought about it

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

Most used word or phrase
Wow, okay so?

Role models
Nelson Mandela and Rotarian K. R. Ravindran

Yourself in a few words
A people person

Motto in life
Nothing is impossible

Gowri is an Executive Director of the Sun Match Company