Search This Blog

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Yoga at 70+, A Personal Discovery

  By Srianee (Bunter) Fernando Dias                                         

When we met at our 50th Reunion, our good friend Mahendra Gonsalkorale spoke about the importance of exercise.  His favorite activity is golf, which he seems to enjoy in various exotic locations.  I have not yet been tempted to invest the time and money to chase a small ball over finely manicured grass, but who knows, I may try it sometime.  The secret to regular exercise is finding an activity that is enjoyable.

I have never been very athletic, only moderately so, but I know that exercise is important, especially now.  As a teenager I played some tennis and was enthusiastic enough to play in the heat and sun during our lunch breaks at school, arriving hot and sweaty to our classes after lunch.  Later on as an adult, I took some lessons and played in fits and starts at different times when I found  friends who were on the same level, and really enjoyed it. But, the problem with tennis is that one needs someone on the other side of the net to return the balls.  My tennis buddies moved away, or developed arthritis and various other ailments, and my racket retreated to the back of the closet.  A few years ago I even tried playing with my grandson, who became increasingly impatient as his tennis skills quickly overtook mine.  “You have to run for the ball, Grandma,” was the refrain I kept hearing from the other side of the net.  (But really kid, can’t you return the ball closer to me?)

When I finally retired from the daily grind of work, I realized that I had to have a plan to keep moving.  I enjoy walking outdoors when the weather is agreeable.  We have several beautiful reservoirs not too far from where I live, and there are great walking trails around them.  These areas are wooded and isolated and walking alone on those trails is not something that is recommended.  To make things worse, the black bear population in Connecticut has been steadily increasing, and it is not unusual for walkers to encounter bears on these trails.  These are not aggressive bears, and they usually shy away when they hear people talking or making any kind of noise.  The lone walker, however, could unexpectedly startle a bear.  Friends have advised me to carry pebbles in a can while walking alone (they were serious!) so that the bears would hear the noise and stay away.  But, unless I can find someone to walk with me, I stay away from these great trails and just walk on the sidewalks (boring!) along the streets.  But, I do try to make it more enjoyable by listening to my own music.
At various times in my quest for enjoyable exercise, I’ve signed up at local gyms to use their equipment.  My enthusiasm was short lived, and I stopped going after a few months.  I have to admit that exercising next to other sweaty bodies was a bit of a turnoff.  I also discovered that I was a bit of a germaphobe and didn’t like using equipment recently vacated by someone with a cold or who knows what else.

Several friends had been attending a yoga studio near me and kept telling me how great it was, and I decided to try it out.  Besides, I felt that I needed a ‘framework’ to my retirement routine, because otherwise there was a danger of the days just frittering away.  For the past year or so (except for the time spent in Sri Lanka) I have been attending ‘gentle yoga’ classes every Tuesday and Thursday mornings.  The attendees are mostly women, ranging in age from 25 to 80+, but I have also noticed a few brave men among us.  The classes last about an hour and 20 minutes, begin with meditation, deep breathing and end with relaxation.  There is some chanting involved because some of the instructors have trained in India.  I’m still learning the correct names for the poses: Warrior, Downward Dog, Child Pose, Rag Doll, Tree Pose, etc.  Most of the exercises we do focus on stretching, improving flexibility and balance. 

Coincidentally, when I was thinking about writing this article, the April/May issue of the AARP magazine published an article which listed “21 Reasons for Doing Yoga  After 70.”  The reasons given in the article are: Improves flexibility, increases balance, fends off weight gain, supercharges brain, soothes stress, reduces depression, protects your heart (reduces blood pressure and LDL), promotes more zzz’s, eases back pain, boosts body confidence, relieves headaches, lessens inflammation, helps breathing, slows aging, encourages exercise (getting involved in other forms of activity), increases aerobic capacity, eases cancer recovery, fights incontinence, improves your day (I can attest to that, the mood is improved!), curbs neck pain and controls diabetes (decreases blood glucose levels).

I have a long way to go before I can hold the poses in a respectable fashion. I seem to stretch certain muscles, the existence of which I have forgotten about, although I’m sure at some point in our first two years of Medical School I knew their origins and insertions!  I still stand very close to the wall when instructed to stand on one leg (Tree Pose) in case I teeter and totter (which I always do).  Some of the exercises we do are designed to ‘lubricate’ the joints.  It is a whole body and mind endeavor, something which I think I will be able to continue doing way into the next decade.

I know that some of our Blog readers are practicing yoga already, but I encourage those who haven’t tried it to give it a shot.  I recommend starting with the gentle version and if something appears to be too difficult, don’t do it.  You will feel the benefits very quickly.    My goal is to be able to do a headstand before I am eighty.  (Just kidding!)

Monday, June 19, 2017

E-mail from Razaque Ahamat

Dr. Razaque Ahamat

16:16 (21 minutes ago)
to me
Dear Lucky,

I am sorry that I was unable to respond to in the Blog as I was "unwell".

In mid June I was taken to Hospital by ambulance on 3 occasions in the space of 10 days-- twice in one day. First was a "chest pain"-- thought my end was nigh???.
Found nothing-- all cardiac enzymes were negative!!...... probably indigestion???.
Next was ten days later when I was going to the toilet @ about 3am, tripped & fell .... hit my "UGLY" face on the radiator & had profuse nasal bleed........ discharged from hosp.... re-bled.... rest is history.!!! Left Hosp. after 3days!!

Shall be in touch again "SOON"!!!!.


p.s.---May post this please. 

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Creative Spot by Sriani Dissanayake Basnayake

Old Aunt goes down Memory Lane…………

     Old Aunts interest in rugby has had many resurrections, the last being in 1996, when one nephew donned the No; 8 jersey. My interest was sustained up to the end of 2004, when the younger brother captained the College team. These two dear nephews (hereafter referred to as DNs) looked so handsome in their heyday, that all females young and old drooled longingly at their physique. Today, they both look like Sumo Wrestlers, and no one would imagine that they could even grasp a Gilbert, leave alone play rugby!

After DN’s exist from the rugby scene following the Bradby of 2004, OA’s (Old Aunt’s) interest in rugby waned gradually, due partly to advancing age, and partly due to the absence of a family member in the College 1st XV. One DN produced a male offspring 3 years ago, and he may be the first 4th generation Royalist to play in the Bradby. My father played in the 1st XV in 1930 and captained in 1932, my late brother, of “drop kick fame” played from 1962 – 1964, his son was Vice Captain in 1998 and his youngest son captained in 2004. Will little Thushin be the first 4th generation Royalist to play for College?

Even though the game of rugby in Sri Lanka is an all male affair, the interest in the game is shared by a large segment of the female population, ranging from sisters, girl friends, friends of girl friends, mothers, aunts and even grandmothers. In my life, I seem to have gone through all those categories.

A rugger match is a place for females of all ages to display their fashions, their anatomical endowments, and to see and be seen. The numbers that fell for tackles in the stands may have far surpassed those tackled on the field. The antics in the stands often convinced me that there were much faster numbers on the side lines than the fastest three quarters on the field. In addition to the ill effects of the natural process of aging, OA’s concentration on the game has been constantly interrupted by disturbing elements which are now part and parcel of popular school matches, viz..vociferous female supporters. Females with little knowledge of the game keep shouting instructions to the players, and one wonders whether their high pitched screams of “tackle low”…  “pass it….pass it”  or “go boy go” etc were meant for the players on the field or those sitting by them in the stands, who were either tackling too high, or had not found touch even though they had covered considerable ground up and under. “Well tackled” comes a shout from behind. For a moment I wondered whether he was referring to Mr Heththumuni sitting in front of me, for despite his persistent “heththus” he was off side for the early part of the game, but now seemed to have found good touch on innumerable occasions!! Some women are quite knowledgeable re the game, and recently at a school match, the women behind me were screaming at the Ref to give so and so a yellow/red card etc….even before I could fathom what the infringement was.

Judging from the matches I have witnessed in the last few years, the behavior of the female of the species has not changed over the past 60 years. The only difference I have noticed of late is that there is plenty of shouting in the vernacular, with shouts of “gahapang”, “allapang” and even a “marapang” thrown in!

I am taking a crash course on the laws of Rugby, so that by the time of the Bradby I would know that a “low tackle” is not the act of a lecherous man, and being “off side” is totally different to fielding on the off side in cricket, and anyone finding good touch need not be charged for sexual molestation!

 I do not know whether I will have the pleasure of watching still another Dissanayaka take the field, but even otherwise, I can go down memory lane, and sing:

                        “And we their loyal sons now bear
                         The torch, with hearts as sound as oak,
                         Our lusty throats now raise a cheer
                         For Hartley, Harward, Marsh and Boake.

                                                           OLD  AUNT SB
                                                                            June  2017


Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Colla's Obituary

COLLURE - DR DON BERTRAM MAHENDRA. Beloved husband of Ramani,​ inspirational father of Nishani and father-in-law of Mark,​ amazing Poppa of Joshua and Toby,​ brother of Dudley and Tilak,​ brother-in-law of Nalini,​ Dellani,​ Nilanthie and Kithsiri,​ son of the late Dr DCM and Patricia Collure,​ son-in-law of Sumana and the late Roland Wijewickrema,​ passed away peacefully in Wellington NZ,​ 31 May,​ 2017 surrounded by his loving family.068900

Please see older posts.

Monday, June 5, 2017

Some pictures of Mahendra Collure

I am thankful to Indra A. for sending me these pictures.

February 1999

 !st. Picture  - Rotorua- hot springs, north island, New Zealand

2nd. picture - Gisbourne, north island, New Zealand


Sunday, June 4, 2017

Mahendra Collure

Indra Ananda1

03:03 (5 hours ago)
to me

I am one of Mahendras medical school batch mates, & was fortunate to have interned, at Ratnapura general hospital, Sri Lanka with him. Fortunate, because living in the same intern’s quarters I got to know this exceptional man. Colla was always so soft spoken, a truly fine gentleman & I noticed had a talent for decorating ( quarters socials ) and a caring and diligent physician. Those who met him and I were lucky to have known him.

More recently he sent me wild life pictures after  the trip to Sri Lanka. They were exceptional pictures that showed the artist in him.

I am like Mahendra, an anesthesiologist by training, but living in the USA, and several years ago my wife Rani & I visited Colla and Ramani in Gisborne. We stayed with them in that beautiful  & award winning home, on the hill that that overlooked the bay & if I recall correctly, the bay into which captain Cook had sailed in. We therefore had a lot of stuff in common to talk about- having been medical school batch mates, co - interns & anesthetists. Colla and Ramani were gracious enough to entertain us & even take the trouble to drive us to distant Rotorua- sheep shearing & sulphur and hot water springs come to mind.

Indra Anandasabapathy

Indra had addressed this to Nishani. But as there was some doubt whether it reached her, I have modified it to suit the blog.



I heard from Sanath Lamabadusuriya, the shocking news that Mahendra Collure has passed away. 

Mahendra was the Bestman at my wedding. When his wife Ramani was expecting their only child Nishani, my wife Mangala was also expecting our eldest son Shehan. Ramani was at St. Michael's Nursing Home at Alfred House Gardens and at the same time, Mangala was at St. Michaels's, Anderson Road where Dr. Rasamutthiah was a House Officer. Both Ramani and Mangala were under the care of Prof. Wilfred Perera. 

May he attain Nibbana.


Please see the following e-mails.

From: Chandrawije <>
Date:2017/06/01 4:06 PM (GMT+08:00)

Subject: Fwd: Don Collure

Dear Friends,

Another member of our 54 group has passed on. Dr. Don Bradman Mahendra Collure who worked in New Zealand is no more. May he attain the supreme bliss of Nirvana.

Kind regards,


Sent from my iPad. 

Begin forwarded message:
Date: 1 June 2017 at 12:59:18 PM AEST
Subject: Don Collure
Just to let you know Dad passed peacefully late last night-Mum and I were with him, he was surrounded by love. As he wanted it, we arranged for his cremation this afternoon. We visited him in hospice again this morning and he looked peaceful and beautiful- everdignified and magical. The 5 of us spent a bit of time with him at the parlour before his cremation and it was perfect. Mum remains strong. We are looking after her, she is Amazing.

Blog Administrator's note: His real name is Don Bertram Mahendra Collure. 

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Creative Spot by Indra Anandasabapathy

Indra has sent two paintings of a dog called Sandy which had been their pet several years ago done in WATER COLOR. According to Indra, they illustrate two different techniques used in water color paintings. The DRY and the WET techniques, which here are easy to make out. Sometimes the painter starts with the wet technique where the paper is wet at the time of painting and then allows the paper to dry out before finishing the painting, using the technique to accentuate some areas. Water color is not an easy technique to master.


Oil on canvas

                                                                  OIL ON CANVAS.