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).
My recollections are from those magical and
bohemian days in the Medical Faculty. He took life easy but sailed through
those examinations with consummate ease. Punsiri had a fine relaxed attitude to
life and we remained friends throughout those gruelling five years. The
students’ common room was his refuge. He was never averse to that extra cup of
tea and a chat at anytime.I recall with
great nostalgia the Law-Medical encounter, the resultant justice and his
part in the numerous discussions in the intervening period. Even in those early
years, tall and forthright he was a fine leader. His desire to do the right
thing, stood out.He was kind, generous
and always gentlemanly.
I remember the time he went into Public
Health. We were all wracking our brains to decide on our careers. He rapidly
developed a reputation as a superb physician in his chosen field. It didn’t surprise me to hear of his rise and rise to emerge as the
Director of the Anti-Malaria Campaign. When
Malaria re-emerged as a potent killer worldwide, with nasty resistant strains,
Punsiri played his part in controlling the disease in Sri Lanka. He conveyed a
sense of calm organisation regardless of the challenge,
which was his hallmark. With his egalitarian outlook he must have made a good leader
to his staff and to the public at large.
His sunset years were sadly marred by his
struggle with prostate cancer. Punsiri, by his attitude to his illness was
inspirational and enriched our lives . As we celebrate his life we feel the
sadness that he is no more with us. We cannot now put our arms around and chat, as we had done
so often in our youth. We will remember his sense of fun and the tremendous
sense of humour.
In this time of loss I seek the wisdom and
comfort of the words of Omar Kayyam:
Worldly Hope men set their Hearts upon
Turns Ashes--or it prospers; and anon,
Like Snow upon the Desert's dusty Face,
Lighting a little hour or two--is gone.
make the most of what we yet may spend,
Before we too into the Dust descend;
Dust into Dust, and under Dust to lie
Sans Wine, sans Song, sans Singer, and--sans End!