While breaking the glass ceiling is what we refer to as breaking of barriers that hold women back, I picture Kumudini Perera-David actually kicking it with all her might and shattering it to smithereens as Kumu to me has always been a strong and vibrant personality. While I pause to reflect, I can’t help seeing the vivacious Tina Turner pounding her staccato heels on the floor as she sings, “What you see is what you get “when I think of Kumu. Her overwhelming trait is her forthright attitude and fearless manner as she’s one of THE MOST interesting personas I’ve met.

Making her presence felt

I recall the fact that even at school she just could not be ignored as her personality shone through like a rainbow that bursts through the storm clouds and arches across the land. Although we greeted each other at school and cheered for the same house at the sports meet and other events, I had no knowledge of the real Kumu, except of being aware of a helluva talent she possessed for singing!

Advocating for change

In the ensuing years, we used to meet at various events but it did not go beyond a girly greeting until I added her on FB and read her testimony. Kumu’s knack for venting her deepest thoughts on social media was an inspiration as it paved the way for those who hid painful memories to address these burning issues considered a taboo by society. Her experiences of being abused as a child, effervescent attitude to sex drove a metaphorical nail on the head and earned her an extensive fan following, to the point in which she occasionally informed that it was time for filtering her account as it exceeded the limit.

When did you come to that realization that your experience could be shared was my first question at our lengthy tête-à-tête over coffee and chocolate milkshake, to which she responded; “It was when I overcame the stigma of being a victim and realized that I am a victor and my story could help another person to rise above the vicissitudes and crush the waves of despair which threaten to drown out the person you were created to be. Most often, a brutal awareness of being party to a stolen childhood can cause bouts of depression which steals one’s joy and it needs to be addressed professionally with the first step being the awareness. “Most often than not victims of any form of abuse, especially when they have been subjected to it as children, tend to internalize their experiences, allowing guilt to gnaw away their propensity to enjoy life to the fullest.” Recognizing the fact that you are not to blame is the first step in the healing process. As well, it is essential to deal with the anger that wells up against the perpetrator, as in most cases it is a person of trust who has manipulated the situation. Seeking redress through legal means, though ideal, may not always be viable and may cause further victimization and pain to the victim but to move forward through forgiveness is always a good option as it releases the invisible hold another person’s actions has on you,” revealed Kumu.

Till I was 33 years old I was on survival mode and trying to cope with anxiety and depression but I had an epiphany which led me to throw away caution to the wind and seek counseling and advocating for awareness and change in how we perceive ourselves, augmenting our individuality and value as people who deserve to be loved correctly and to enable us to love without fear or trepidation.

She is also known to campaign against animal abuse as she herself has literally adopted many fur babies who have been abandoned by negligent human beings.

The diabolical actions against her has not made her a person devoid of compassion as she is ultra- sensitive, making her a go to person for anyone ( irrespective of gender) who is dealing with issues related to abuse. While abuse has been prevalent since time immemorial, it has been swept under the proverbial carpet, which has enabled it to rear its ugly head continuously but gutsy folks like Kumu are adamant to rout out the evil by placing themselves as juggernauts even at the expense of being ridiculed publicly on social media. It is a stand only a few can muster and she runs the gauntlet of advocacy day in and day out with a determination that deserves all praise.

Singing her way through life

On a lighter note, we focus on Kumu’s incredible voice, her acting and artistic flair which is awe-inspiring. Her performances are compelling and makes you think that she came out of her mother’s womb singing but for those who are not aware, Kumu discovered her extraordinary talent during her late teens and she attributes Aunty Marianne of Merry an Singers fame to having lovingly drawn her out of her shell.

Exploring her penchant for teaching, she along with a few passionate individuals have formed a choir, aptly titled, Clefolution which literally means resolving both clefs- enabling equally passionate singers, be it amateur or professional to band together and sing to their hearts content. As well, the lockdown period created an opportunity for her to spread her knowledge beyond the shores through online voice training classes which she conducts on a daily basis.

While her nightingale voice has gained recognition, one cannot help swoon at her drawings and that too was a self- taught passion which she dabbles and excels in.

While Kumu’s life has been dotted with trials, she has embraced it all with gumption and stood up tall against the marauding forces, inspiring others to not merely live but thrive!

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About Rochelle Gunaratne

I believe that everyone has a story to tell and in turn, I love listening to those stories, attempting to paint a picture to my readers with my words. I may not be an artist or painter, but I believe words can create powerful images in ones mind and it is how we share our stories with others.
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