Indy Wallace

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Text Indika Madapatha Sellahewa
Photos Nirmala Dhananjaya
Hair and Make-up by Maheshi from Ramani Fernando Salons – Battaramulla

Lanka Woman interviewed Indra Wallace, who cherishes her Sri Lankan identity and roots, when she was in Sri Lanka on holiday with her family. Married to an Irishman from Dublin, living in the UK with their three children, Indra is the epitome of a strong modern day Sri Lankan woman living in the West. She has reached great heights in her career and travelled extensively around the world throughout her childhood, family and professional life. Having worked as Sales Director and Associate Publisher for the largest Publishing and Event Company in the world, Indra currently lives in London devoting her time to her family.

Indy, tell us about your childhood, schooldays, and family.

Born in Ragama, Sri Lanka, in 1971 I left with my parents and younger brother to live in Northern Nigeria due to my father’s work as an Engineer.
I lived in Kano Nigeria till I was seven and then moved to a boarding School in Deal, Kent, England. My young days were fun growing up in Nigeria. Life was carefree, full of adventures with my younger brother cycling and exploring our compound we lived in and lots of interesting experiences as a young child. We had few worries and fears back then, some being an encounter with a poisonous snake or a scorpion! We had very few friends in our neighborhood as most children were away in England in Boarding School. I had an unconvential Sri Lankan childhood in the early 70’s; I was brought up by an extremely bright and eccentric father who had a liberal view to parenting and tried to empower me even as a young child.
Many may have thought we were spoilt as children but we had a vacuum in our lives as our mother was not engaged in our upbringing, leaving it solely to my father and our African steward to cook Sri Lankan meals for us and mind us.

Living in Nigeria and going to boarding school in England what lessons did you learn for life?

It was a shock to leave for Boarding School in England at a young age. I missed my father immensely and the carefree life I had in Nigeria, Boarding School in England in the 1970’s was a culture shock. Britain then was very white, somewhat racist and set in the beautiful English countryside. I was probably a minority in colour and race. I remember at a very young age flying unac-companied with my brother back and forth from Nigeria to England on our school holidays; I must have been about eight or nine years old, then.

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