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Friday, April 1, 2011

Remembering Anna Ponnambalam Sathiagnanan

Anna Sathiagnanan (nee Ponnambalam) was fondly called "Anna Marie" after the song of the same title made famous by Jim Reeves in the sixties.  She passed away on the 13th of March, 2011 after a prolonged illness.
I first met Anna in June 1962 when we entered medical school.  She came from Methodist College while I was an entrant from Visakha Vidyalaya.  As medical students, we used to travel in the same direction after lectures.  Later, I had the good fortune to share a room with her at the women’s medical hostel.
I will never forget the way she used to bring my daily morning coffee unfailingly at 6 am each day, all the way to the 4th floor from the ground floor.  She looked after me like a sister and encouraged me to study. She was an accomplished violinist who kept us entertained, playing her favourite musical instrument in the room during leisure hours.
In her professional career, Anna worked mostly in Zimbabwe (1976-2004) at the clinic on Aberfoyle tea estate, where her husband Gnanamuthu Sathiagnanan too worked. She moved on to working in the Infectious Diseases hospital in the nearby town, and after a few years, set up her own practice as a GP.  She also worked at a mission hospital in Lesotho from 2004 to 2006. After her husband passed away, she moved back to Sri Lanka in 2007, where she continued to work at Navajeevana until she fell ill in early 2010. 

They were the parents of two lovely daughters who looked after their mother devotedly during her last illness. Anna was very fortunate to have two daughters who sacrificed a lot to be with their mother and look after her during those final difficult days.   With her demise, I have lost a very dear friend and a good companion.

Anna's family hopes to take her ashes back to Mutare to scatter and have a memorial service for her in August.
                                                                                                    Kusuma Jayasuriya Ruberu    

1 comment:

  1. Thanks Kusuma. I remember her well too as she was easy prey for jokes! I lost all contact with her after I came to the UK but shall always remember her as kind and lovely person. - Speedy-