I am very patriotic
By Menaka Indrakumar
He prepares to climb Mount Everest once again, and this time doing all the needed preparation with much certainty that the unfulfilled goal will be conquered. Johann Peiris will leave in April to climb the tallest mountain in the world.
We met him despite his busy business schedule and meeting appointment after appointment at Cutting Station.
He sat down to talk about the previous journey, preparations and climbing again. As it is Independence week, we asked how patriotic he is, and he responded with a well formulated reply; "I am very patriotic. I think we all need to celebrate Independence Day with pride, and if every citizen of Sri Lanka makes a conscious decision to be a part of the change to make this country a better place, that would make Sri Lanka a better place."
When Peiris and Jayanthi Kuru-Utumpala attempted to conquer the mountain, Jayanthi reached the top while he couldn't as his oxygen tank had malfunctioned. Yet, Jayanthi's victory and his efforts were celebrated by all Sri Lankans upon their return in 2016.
When asked whether he considers himself as a national treasure, he responded: "I wouldn't brand myself as a national treasure. But I think we should learn to appreciate all those who put in so much effort in every aspect of life, however, small or big they may be."
Before he became famous for mountain climbing, Johann was a reputed hairstylist, with the branches of successful salon Cutting Station opened at different places. When asked about hair, and which celebrity has the best hair he said, Julia Roberts. "Because both her natural curley look and her blow-waved look compliment her so well. And also, Yashoda Wimaladharma, as she sports many different looks."
Cutting Station is unique for its service and well-trained staff, as he personally checks on his customers. He said the salon is a very homely place, besides the staff being well skilled and personally trained.
Getting mentored by the best in the industry, Ramani Fernando, he credits her for the lessons she has taught him.
Moving on from hair and beauty, the focus was shifted to the mountainous task in April. When asked how confident he is in conquering the peak, he replied, "I am doing everything in my power to prepare myself to be more than ready. The rest is in the hands of God who will be a very present part of this journey. With a few months more, preparing for such a task will be tough. Everything is going well. Hoping to have the support and backing of everyone with me."
After, Johann and Jayanthi attempted the climb many have expressed the desire to conquer the tallest mountain in the world. His advice to them was: "Follow your dreams. Don't give up without a fight. Always make the necessary preparations. Don't be afraid to make changers for your safety. Be open to advice from others."
When asked whether he wants to document his journey on TV, he says he would love to be given the chance, and will document it in every possible way, with all the opportunities that come his way. He also spoke at length about what motivated him to climb mountains. "It was something that my father inspired me to do when I was young. From then on the love for climbing grew in me and I took it to another level. Then in 2011 I met my climbing partner Jayanthi who made things so much more interesting as she was daring enough to take on much harder challengers."
He adds with much pride that even after 10 years from now, he would still want to climb. He wants more adventure. When asked how the previous attempt changed him he said, "In a way that I never imagined. I have become a lot more positive in everything I do. It has also made my faith grow stronger. It is also very rewarding to see so many young people being inspired by our story."
Clearing the air of the recent controversy about the ad campaign he added, " It' was a part of the campaign launch which is still ongoing. There was a small misunderstanding. The concept of the picture of the business woman will be followed by many other people from respective fields. The main focus was to convey the message that anybody can climb ".
Finally, after all the talking and waiting to attend to his next customer, we got to know five thing we don't know about him: He loves cooking, entertaining and is a very spiritual person. He always dreamt of piloting a plane. "Everything else about me is very private," he said with an enigmatic smile.
Pic by Anuruddha Medawattegedara
Location : Cutting Station
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