‘Pets and plants should be treated the same way’ – Shanuka Abilash
By Kusumanjalee Thilakarathna
Shanuka Abilash is a grade three student of Sussex College, Malabe. He speaks highly of the good qualities children have and he especially likes individuals who are compassionate towards people who are in need. Eight-year-old Abilash is an actor and he plays the main character in the teledrama ‘Shakthi’ currently being telecasted on TV Derana. He is also a member of Ranwala Balakaya.
Q: Abilash, can you tell us more about yourself?
A: I am Shanuka Abilash and I am eight years old. I am currently in grade three at Sussex College, Malabe. My hobbies are riding a bicycle, dressing up as a soldier, watching movies, and helping animals on the street. I live with my sister, mother, and father. I have pet rabbits. I used to have a pet dog too.
Q: How many rabbits do you have and what are their names?
A: I have five rabbits. All of them are white in colour. We have named the parents Sudu Mahaththaya and Sudu Nona. They have three babies. We are yet to name the babies.
Q: Do you have any tips for those who have rabbits as pets?
A: You’ll need to make sure you have plenty of time to spend with them every day. Rabbits need grooming every day. You have to give them nutritious food. We give them kangkung every day. They also need fresh water and some space to play. You have to look after them very carefully as they can fall sick. If so, you have to take them to the vet or get advice from one.
Q: With whom do you ride bicycles?
A: With my friends down the lane. I have about seven friends in my lane. We get together to play every evening. My best friend is Dilan.
Q: Tell us about your acting career.
A: I first acted in a television commercial and I was only six years old then. After that, I acted in many dramas and commercials. I enjoy acting very much.
Q: Any experience you would like to share with us related to acting?
A: Well, there are many. But I am really fond of this memory where we got a chance to pick wild berries from a real forest. That was the first time I was in a real forest. I really enjoyed that experience.
Q: What is your favourite subject?
A: Mental maths.
Q: What is mental maths? What can you tell us about it?
A: Mental maths is training to do maths “in our head” without using a pencil, paper, or a calculator. Mental maths can also help us understand mathematical concepts better. Practising mental maths regularly helps to improve our number sense.
Q: How useful is mental maths?
A: Well, it helps in practical situations. Do I have enough cash to buy everything in my trolly? If one chocolate is Rs. 40, how much will I need to buy chocolates for all my friends who live down the lane? Is the cashier giving me the correct balance? Things like that become easier when you get good at mental maths. You can simply do the calculation in your head.
Q: Do you play any sports Abilash?
A: I love to play cricket. That is my most favourite. But I still haven’t been able to join school practices. I usually play with my father whenever he has free time. My friends also join me most of the time.
Q: What is your ambition?
A: My ambition is to join the army. I think it’s an honourable job where you get to protect your motherland. I also think that they have a really smart uniform.
Q: You told us you love to take care of the animals on the street.
A: Yes. I feel really bad for them but I can’t bring them all home, because there are a lot of them. So I feed them every time I get a chance. They love to follow me when they see me on the road. They really love me.
Q: Do you think helping others is a good habit?
A: Of course, yes. I try to help others whenever I can. I always help my mother when she does housework. She praises me a lot for helping her. I help the poor with food and clothes whenever I can. I help my friends too when they are in need. It makes me feel really good to see someone else happy because of something I did.
Q: Do you have any other hobbies?
A: I also love to spend time in my garden and help my parents to do gardening. Just like with pets, we have to take care of the trees and plants too. They too are living beings although they can’t move.
Q: Would you like to thank anyone who has supported you?
A: My family and the drama and commercial crew who support me when I’m on the set. I also have a special person I would like to thank. Her name is Dinusha Lakshani. I fondly call her Doni Akka. She is very beautiful.
PHOTOS © SURANJITH JANAKA