Piece image

StoryCorps: Ashanthi Gajaweera and Mala Fernando

From: StoryCorps
Series: StoryCorps
Length: 01:49

Mala Fernando tells her daughter Ashanthi Gajaweera about the early days of her marriage in Sri Lanka. Read the full description.

Fernando_240x240_prx_small When Mala Fernando came to visit from Sri Lanka, her daughter, Ashanthi, brought her into our mobile booth in Rochester, New York.

Here, Ashanti asks her mother about the early days of her parents' marriage.

Also in the StoryCorps series

Piece image

StoryCorps: Dean Smith (01:51)
From: StoryCorps

Dean Smith, who spent 40 years as a stunt double for Hollywood Westerns, talks with his wife, Debby, and son, Finis.
Caption: Jeff Lasater (L) and Drew Cartwright

StoryCorps: Jeff Lasater and Drew Cartright (02:29)
From: StoryCorps

Jeff Lasater tells his friend Drew Cartwright about his son Jeremiah who, after being bullied at school, committed suicide at 14 years old.
Piece image

StoryCorps: Debra and Lionel D'Luna and Adrienne D'Luna Directo (02:37)
From: StoryCorps

Adrienne D'Luna Directo interviews her parents, Debra and Lionel D'Luna, about her sister Alexis who died from complications of CHARGE syndrome in 2012.
Piece image

StoryCorps Griot: Clayton Sherrod (02:13)
From: StoryCorps

Clayton Sherrod looks back to 1964, when at 19 years old he became executive chef at an all--white country club in Birmingham, Alabama.
Piece image

StoryCorps: Yelitza Castro and Willie Davis (02:24)
From: StoryCorps

Yelitza Castro talks with her friend Willie Davis about serving meals to the homeless community in Charlotte, North Carolina for the past three years.
Piece image

StoryCorps: Maria Vasquez-Rojas and Francisco Vasquez (02:28)
From: StoryCorps

Maria Vasquez-Rojas talks with her brother, Francisco Vasquez, about being diagnosed with ovarian cancer shortly after finding out she was pregnant.
Piece image

StoryCorps: Dennis and Barbara Hale (02:37)
From: StoryCorps

Dennis Hale tells his wife, Barbara, about being the sole survivor of the Daniel J. Morrell shipwreck on Lake Huron in 1966.
Piece image

StoryCorps: Rogelio Martinez and Lisa Moya King (02:08)
From: StoryCorps

Rogelio Martinez talks to his former dance teacher, Lisa Moya King, about how she helped him through abuse at home.
Piece image

StoryCorps: Glenda and Larry Rike (02:55)
From: StoryCorps

Glenda Rike tells her son, Larry, how his father, Aubrey Rike, came to be one of the few present when President John F. Kennedy received his last rites on November 22, 1963.
Caption: Paquita Williams (L) and Laura Lane (R)

StoryCorps: Paquita Williams and Laura Lane (01:51)
From: StoryCorps

New York City Subway Conductor Paquita Williams talks to one of her passengers, Laura Lane, about her job.

Piece Description

When Mala Fernando came to visit from Sri Lanka, her daughter, Ashanthi, brought her into our mobile booth in Rochester, New York.

Here, Ashanti asks her mother about the early days of her parents' marriage.

Broadcast History

NPR's Morning Edition 11.13.09


Mala: I got married on the day of my 22nd birthday. It was tough you know? Your father used to treat me like another little girl. I told him, I’m not your daughter. I’m your wife. Treat me like a wife.

One day he asked me what would you do if I die? And I told, “Don’t talk about death.”

Ashanthi: Didn’t he joke around and say you should marry a wealthy mudalali which means seedy businessman?

Mala: That’s right! That’s right! You should get married again, he told me. Oh no, I’m not going to get married again. Then after that he just…died about two weeks later.

Ashanthi: Gosh.

Mala: He got a heart attack and he suddenly died.

Ashanthi: Yeah.

Mala: And within that year I grew up so fast.

Ashanthi: Because you didn’t even know how to write a check before that.

Mala: Yes, and I was so proud of myself. I found myself as a person, for the first time. That’s the beginning of...
Read the full transcript

Intro and Outro


Time now for StoryCorps.

This project has been recording conversations between loved ones asking each other about their lives.

Today, we'll hear from Ashanthi Gajaweera [uh-SHAN-thee gah-juh-VEER-uh] and her mother, Mala [MAH-lah] Fernando.

Ashanthi [uh-SHAN-thee] had some questions for her mom about the early days of her parent's marriage in Sri Lanka.


Ashanthi Gajaweera [uh-SHAN-thee gah-juh-VEER-uh] with her mother, Mala [MAH-lah] Fernando, in Rochester, New York.

Their conversation will be archived along with ALL StoryCorps interviews at the Library of Congress.

Get the podcast at NPR-dot-ORG.


This is NPR News.

Additional Credits

NPR, Corporation for Public Broadcasting

Related Website