‘Frogsmacked’ was the word that came into my mind as I contemplated interviewing Kumar de Silva on his queer affinity towards frogs (not the live ones of course!).
I myself am not a fan of the four-legged amphibians but the hordes of pictures on his FB page piqued my interest and prompted me to delve further.
The outspoken Kumar, obliged me with his fascinating tale…..
“Once, many years ago, on a post-lunch stroll during a balmy autumn noon in the South of France, I came across the flattened remains of a frog, which had been run over by a village tractor. The exquisite shaped form instantly sparked a fascination in me. I brought it to SL quite surreptitiously and hung it in a glass frame. The fascination was both compelling and binding and that’s how I developed this obsessive hobby for collecting frogs.
I have nearly 100 frogs now. It has now grown into an obsession and I purposefully go on treasure-hunts for my frogs when on my overseas jaunts. The delicate inanimate objects are brought to SL with the utmost care, similar to carrying a child, encased in bubble wrap and carefully placed in my hand luggage,” expressed Kumar with a loving tenderness for his precious collection of frogs.
“My friends understand my madness and thus indulge me with the most priced gifts of frogs from various parts of the world hence the sentimental value is greater. Angela Seneviratne gifted me with a rare frog from Ireland while Yashodha Wimaladharma brought me a beautiful wooden hand-crafted frog from Bangkok. The celebrated Everest duo Johann & Jayanthi carted a frog duo all the way from the Kathmandu bazaar, on their return from conquering the summit. I’ve named them ‘Jo+Jay’ and they now hang on my ang-thattuwa (antlers) at home”.
“My froggies come from all parts of the world and consists of an array of frogs made from metal, porcelain, papier-mache, glass, clay, silver, rubber, wood, cloth, and crystal. Some are either bejeweled, coarse or sleek to the touch and are displayed in every nook and cranny in my appartment”.
Young Ayesh de Fonseka of the innovative jewelers Tiesh crafted a unique black silver frog ring ruby eyes. He completed the set with a gold frog-shaped lapel pin and cufflinks to match. These were custom-made for me and I sport them with unbridled pride.
Kumar’s uncommon pastimes do not limit themselves to the subject of frogs per se as the effervescent persona is drawn to quite another eyebrow-raising hobby, which is the collection of snail shells!!! I was aghast … Snail Shells ???? I asked incredulously, to which he replied ‘oui oui!’
The shells of the ‘escargots de Bourgogne’ are brought all the way to Colombo annually from Paris, then cleaned and washed and lovingly polished with wax and then deposited in a glass bowl where they sit pretty, to be admired.
A maverick for sure as one must admit that it is an unorthodox pastime, yet our Kumar perceives his collectibles as priceless treasures.
What do you intend to do with this collection? I do have a long- term plan for these products and I wish to keep it a secret for the moment,” was his intriguing reply and if you are aware of his creativity and extrovert personality, one could expect the most brilliant endeavour imaginable. But let it be ‘toute de suite’ (immediately) Kumar, as the suspense needs to be quelled.
Kumar in a Profile
Kumar de Silva also counts thirty five plus years of experience working and interacting with hundreds of people from diverse organizations across different layers in Sri Lanka’s multi-disciplined corporate sector.
As a very popular and much sought after Personality Development and Corporate Etiquette Trainer, he now shares his experiences (gained both in Sri Lanka and France) and a wide range of soft skills, with Sri Lankan corporates to help them gain self-confidence, enhance their individual social performance levels and navigate their personal role in a highly competitive corporate journey to success.
An English Honours graduate (and former lecturer) of the University of Kelaniya, he is a Paris-trained, award-winning television personality.
Author and photographer, he was knighted by the Government of France as Chevalier in the Order of Arts and Letters (Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Arts et Lettres) for his longstanding contribution to the propagation of the French language and culture in Sri Lanka.
A former newspaper journalist at Lake House, multi-lingual de Silva is also a veteran Public Relations and Media Consultant, and, Editor of the popular leisure and lifestyle blog – ColomboDiary.
He currently hosts his own Celebrity Talk Show ‘Anything But’ on www.pulse.lk, across all social media.