Onitha Gurugalla

In conversation with Ruwandi Perera

Alma mater
Bishop’s College

Family members
Husband and two children – Umain (17) and Nihara (11)

Wanted to be
A lawyer

Favourite day of the week
Every day is a favourite

Worst day of the week
I don’t have a ‘worst day’ as such

Three must-haves
Lipstick, mobile phone and perfume

Mantra to unwind
Live every moment, laugh every day and love beyond words!

Favourite colours
Red and black

Happy place
Home – with my mum, husband and children

Cook or foodie
Foodie, of course!

Favourite food
Japanese cuisine at the Taj Samudra’s Yumi restaurant

Favourite drink

I don’t have any but love to spend time with my childhood classmates – Anuradha and Sonali – and meet up with them every month

Pet peeve
Dengue mosquitoes

Likes to play
Athletics – since I was an athlete in school – and basketball

Likes to watch
Swimming and tennis

Unforgettable event
Completing my A-Levels and being selected to work at Air Lanka (now SriLankan Airlines) in my first job – and I loved the uniform!

Forgettable events

Favourite local destination
Jaffna. I visited the north only recently with family thanks to my friends Saumya and Shewa (who is in the army) – we really enjoyed the trip and Jaffna is a fabulous city

Favourite overseas destination
Dubai! After I married in 2000, my husband and I both worked at the Hilton in Dubai and my son was born there – I love the city and visit every year as my brother lives there

Ideal romantic date or outing
There’s no such thing – I love every place

Items on the bucket list for the next six months
Travelling and studying

Items on the bucket list following retirement
OMG, I haven’t decided yet!

Quality or quantity

Work or play after retirement

Likely retirement destination
Sri Lanka!

Obsessed with
My saris

Purpose of life
Live your life to the fullest, be humble and kind, and work hard – nothing is impossible

Happiness in a few words
When I see that my children have grown up to be beautiful kids – they are humble, happy and caring

Favourite songs
Someone Like You (by Adele), Somethin’ Stupid (Robbie Williams), La Isla Bonita (Madonna) and Perfect (Ed Sheeran)

Favourite movies
At present, it’s Bohemian Rhapsody because I love Rami Malek – and I also love Pretty Woman, Cast Away, La La Land and Cinderella 

Best actors
Rami Malek, Bradley Cooper and Richard Gere

Best singer
Madonna – I’ve loved her songs since I was in Grade 3 and still do

Favourite author
Paulo Coelho

Favourite local sportspersons
Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara

Favourite international sportspersons
Serena Williams, Valentino Rossi, Michael Phelps and Virat Kohli

Favourite local politician
Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa – for ending the war

Favourite international politician
Russian President Vladimir Putin – I love his personality

Colombo in a few words
A beautiful city

Sri Lanka in a few words
A place that I simply love

The world in one or two words
An amazing place

Role model
My father – I’m here today because of his guidance; he is one of the strongest people I have met in my life

Most used word or phrase
‘Hugs and kisses’

Yourself in two words
Strong personality 

Motto in life
Have hope, be strong, laugh out loud, live in the moment, dream big and never give up

Onitha is the Public Relations Manager of Taj Samudra