Ramesh Schaffter In conversation with Ashwini Vethakan

Ramesh is an Executive Director of the Janashakthi Group


Born in

Alma maters
C.S.I. Ewart Matriculation Higher Secondary School and Sherwood Hall Senior Secondary School in Chennai (Madras at the time)

Family members
Wife (Abby) and our four children (Sashi, Sarita, Tehan and Ethan)

Wanted to be
A veterinarian

Is (but didn’t want to be)
A boring accountant!

Driven in
A Nissan Leaf – an eco-friendly car

Would like to be driven in
Something a lot more fancy!


Likes to play
Cricket, badminton and pool

Likes to watch
Period dramas and action movies

Most unforgettable events
The 1996 Cricket World Cup victory in Lahore at which I was present and the birth of my children

Most forgettable event
The death of Tryphon Mirando – a friend, mentor and colleague who died of a heart attack at 53 while visiting his family in London

Purpose of life
To love God and humanity


Most hated chore
Any chore – particularly filing

Success is
Being the best version of yourself that you can be

Impressed by
Very little

Happy place
At home surrounded by my family

Three hobbies
Researching obscure topics of no use to anyone, and reading and following cricket around the world

Some pet peeves
Racism, bad driving and inconsiderate people

Ideal romantic date or outing
Spending time with my wife at St Mark’s Square in Venice

Three items on the bucket list for the next six months
Visit St Mark’s Square, take a cruise around the Mediterranean including Santorini, and lose 10 kilogrammes in weight!

And three items on the bucket list following retirement
There is no such thing as ‘retirement’! Don’t keep anything for later; enjoy every moment that you have – but I would like to travel around Sri Lanka in a caravan

Three must-haves
Access to Wikipedia, a comfortable pillow and my allergy tablets

And three ‘would like to haves’
More holiday time as well as with my childhood friends (since most of them are overseas) and good coffee

Mantra to unwind
Feet up with a cup of hot coffee in my hand


Day of the week
Every day is great!


Chill out spots
Watching live cricket at the Tamil Union Cricket and Athletic Club, and in the Cinnamon Lakeside lobby

Leisure wear outfits
Jeans and T-shirt, and anything between casual and very casual

Workwear outfits
Similar to my leisure wear – and if I do have to dress up, it’s usually with a white shirt and no tie

Thai, Indian and Japanese

Soda on the rocks (two-thirds of a good drink), virgin Mary and virgin pina colada

Christian Dior – for my Fahrenheit perfume

Local holiday destinations
I love the whole country – particularly Galle and Trincomalee – and the journeys in-between

Overseas holiday destinations
Rajasthan and Italy

Richard Gere, Robert De Niro, Pierce Brosnan and Denzel Washington. Actually, quite a few and you didn’t ask about actresses – that list is even longer!

Varied tastes; but as a former CEO of a retro radio station, lots of ’60s and ’70s musicians

Louis L’Amour, author of the best westerns ever – and I’ve read almost all of them


Favourite quote from a movie
“Real peace is not just the absence of conflict; it’s the presence of justice.” (Air Force One) – because it’s true even if it was written by a Hollywood scriptwriter

Favourite local sportsperson
Muttiah Muralitharan – because he’s a dear friend whom I have known since he was 18

Favourite international sportspersons
Sir Vivian Richards and Sir Ian Botham – because they were my heroes when I was growing up

Favourite local civil servant
Deshamanya Bradman Weerakoon – because of his exemplary record and down-to-earth personality

Obsessed with
The news – I’m addicted to it

Favourite songs
Yesterday (by Andy Williams) – it reminds me how not to lead my life; and Amazing Grace – because it’s the story of my life

Favourite movie
Pink Panther – my entire family has memorised all the lines

Likely retirement destination
No retirement for me so I’ll probably be stuck here – but I would be enjoying the whole country rather than only Colombo


When you dance, you look like…
No one is watching

The first thing you notice when meeting someone
His or her smile

Recently laughed out loud when
I watched a standup comedy clip that was brilliant

You know it’s going to be a bad day when
There’s a power cut, you cannot open the gate and you’re already late for a meeting

You’re irked when
I see injustice around me

Challenged by
What I can do to change that

Colombo in a few words
Home – it’s comfortable and I love it

Sri Lanka in a few words
Love every bit of it but not explored enough

The world in a few words
A nice place spoiled by humans


Memory skills on a scale of 0 to 10

Computer ability in one word

Most productive in the morning, noon or night
Under pressure

A leader or follower by nature

Workout preferences
Watching others working out!

Cook or foodie
A bit of both

Best haircut and style
When I had long curly hair and bleached it like Lasith Malinga – everyone thought it was a wig

Quality or quantity
Quality (always)

The glass is half full or half empty
Half full if it’s mine; half empty if it’s yours!

Work or play after retirement
No retirement; but life is play – if you enjoy what you do, you don’t work a day in your life

The most delightful phrase you can think of
Hakuna matata

Do you consider yourself a student or teacher?
A bit of both

A new technology that will transform the future
Anything that can be used by technological retards like myself

Most used word or phrase
Come on!

Role model
My father – he’s almost 90 and still working

Yourself in a few words
Funny, laid-back and loyal

Motto in life
Happiness is not a destination