This blog is about new entrants to the Colombo Medical Faculty of the University of Ceylon (as it was then known) in June 1962. Please address all communications to: firstname.lastname@example.org.You may bookmark this page for easier access later.
Header image: Courtesy Prof. Rohan Jayasekara, Dean, Faculty of Medicine, University of Colombo (2011 - 2014).
Priya's funeral took place at the General Cemetery, Kanatte this evening in the presence of a large gathering. I thought this is a good time to post the following Appreciation written by ND.
By Nihal Amerasekera
Priya entered the Faculty of Medicine in
Colombo in September 1962. She was
educated at Visakha Vidyalaya, Bambalapitiya the institution that has produced
ladies who have contributed much to Sri Lankan society since it was founded in
In the Faculty many of us were mesmerised
by her graceful ways and stylish good looks. Like the rest of us Priya suffered
the ‘indignities’ of rags, signatures and the revisalsin the “Block” and took it all in her stride.
All through those gruelling years in the Faculty she conducted herself with
dignity and was well liked by everyone. In all those years her thoughtful
kindness and simplicity shone through.
In 1967 we met again in Kurunegala doing
those arduous tasks of internship. We worked together in the Childrens
Wardwith the Paediatrician Dr Chandra
de S Wijesundera (who later married our batchmate Manel Ratnavibhushana). There
I got to know Priya more closely sharing the on-calls and other onerous tasks
of a busy unit. While at work she had the great ability to remain calm and in
control. She showed tremendous kindness,
courtesy and patience towards the children in her care and also to their
worried parents.I recall Priya had
great empathy for the poor simple rural folk of the wanni who sought our help. She
remained a reliable, unpretentious and hardworking colleague throughout. The passion integrity and professionalism Priya
showed during the internship was a beacon for us all.She was indeed a very special person.
Priya was witty and warm and had a
tremendous sense of humour. Despite the hard work we shared amusing anecdotes
of day to day life in the house officer’s quarters and laughed a lot. What was
most striking about Priya was that she never had a harsh word for anyone.
We said our goodbyes in June 1968 and
parted. She left Kurunegala for a job in Colombo and finally found her niche in
Family Planning.There again she showed
her professional skill, expertise and attention to duty. Until her retirement
she became one of the king-pins and driving forces of that organisation.
Interns at GH, Kurunegala - Seated 3rd from left is Priya
Author is standing 5th from left
Priya married Chula De Silva , an Engineer,
and had two daughters Sharini & Anjali. Her extended family gave her tremendous joy
and satisfaction. At this time of grief our heart-felt sympathies go out to her
immediate family and friends.
Priya showed much enthusiasm for the batch
reunions and get-togethers.She took it
upon herself to organise such events and remained a live wire throughout those
I never saw Priya for many decades until we
met by sheer chance in the lobby of the Cinnamon Grand Hotel in September 2012.
She had come to take ‘Patas’ Ratnesar for tea to her own home. We had a bear hug
and a long chat about old times. She called me to join them for tea but sadly I
had another engagement. Then she looked lovely and charming as ever.When we said goodbye I somehow felt this
would be for the last time and I was overcome by emotion. At the time I knew
about her long battle with cancer which she had accepted with characteristic
grace. Priya endured her final illness with much courage and great dignity. I
feel greatly privileged to have known her and worked with her.