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Sunday, October 5, 2014

"The Terrace" at Mount Lavinia

Way back in 1967/68 during our Internship, I was residing in the House Officers' Quarters at Colombo South General Hospital. It was in a separate building at the far corner of the property facing De Silva Road (road connecting Hospital Road and Dutugemunu Street) where there was a side gate to enter the premises. That building has since been demolished to give way to the many new structures that have now come up, especially after the hospital attained "Teaching" status. It is now the Colombo South Teaching Hospital affiliated to the Faculty of Medical Sciences of the Sri Jayawardenepura University. On my now infrequent visits to my old workplace, even I get lost in the maze which I once knew like the palm of my hand.

When we graduated in March 1967, very few from our batch were posted to Colombo South Hospital. They were Lucky Weerasooriya, Dawne de Silva, Surangani Abeysuriya, and myself. Rest of the Interns were either from our senior batches (who had fallen back to graduate with us) or those from our parallel batch in Peradeniya. Thus they comprised of N. Satchithanandan, V. Sri Krishnarajah, Rex Perera, Mani Kandiah, Kamala Velupillai, Swarna Samarasinghe (all seniors). From Peradeniya we had Adiel Anghie, Chandana Bopitiya, Ranji Richards, Nithi Tharmakulasingham, Srikanthi Perera, Philomena Perera and Rita Saverimuttu. There were two foreign graduates namely John Mahadeva and Devasagayam. After the August results were released, a few more joined us. They were, Padmini Karunanayake, Ananda Hettiarachchi, Anandan Jayaratnam and Devayani Gunasekara  (from our batch in Colombo), Shanthi Karalasingham (Peradeniya) and Walter Jayasinghe and Siri Nanayakkara from our senior batches.

On our "off" days, we invariably went out for dinner somewhere. One of our favourite haunts was "The Terrace" at Mount Lavinia Hotel. Siri Nanayakkara had a car (Morris Oxford EN 524) and that was our usual mode of transport. Most of our male colleagues like Lucky Weerasooriya, Adiel Anghie, John Mahadeva, Satchi, Hettiarachchi, Krishnarajah were engaged to be married (or had confirmed girl friends) and they obviously didn't want to waste their non "on-call" days in the quarters. So, it was mainly Siri Nana, Rex Perera and myself who frequented the Mount Lavinia Hotel which was not far from the hospital.

Although the bill came to something in excess of Rs 10,000 last night, in the mid sixties, a beer and good dinner cost just a few rupees. Our monthly allowance of Rs 475 as an Intern was more than sufficient to cover our "Buth Bill" and other such "luxuries".

47 years later, when I visit "The Terrace" with my family, it brings back fond memories of the distant past. The refurbished hotel looks different and certainly more crowded. Try getting a room there - they have 100% occupancy even in this off season! The Colombo skyline along the new Marine Drive, Colombo Fort area with the high rises and the expanding Port has changed. But the nostalgic memories remain. Pictured here, I am flanked by my three grandkids - Prashan, Anisha and Nimesh.

 
 
The view from "The Terrace"

2 comments:

  1. Thanks for that . It is amazing how you remember all the names of our colleagues. I have not been to the Terrace knowingly although it is possible that I went there about 5 years ago with some friends. My recollection of Mt Lavinia hotel was linked to the "Little Hut" where the Jetliners used to play. Ishan Bahar, the leading vocalist was my schoolmate at Royal. I still remember his Elvis Presley numbers. He and Mignone were formidable artistes. The price you paid for your family meal seems phenomenal, even after taking account of inflation. Good to see how much a family man you are.

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  2. Thanks Lucky, for sharing your memories. This venue is special to many of us as it is where we visited when we took our foreign visitors for a meal or which we ourselves still visit when on our Sri Lankan visits while living abroad. It has also been visited by great people in the past and we should be very proud to have this venue in Sri Lanka. It is wonderful to see you there with you three lovely grandchildren, in the photo.
    Zita

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