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Saturday, July 9, 2016

Our date with the Don

 By Dr. Nihal D Amerasekera

Mahendra, Zita and I have made our lives in the UK.  The seasons and the vagaries of the British weather  have now been incorporated into our psyche.  Our first mini reunion was held in London in 2015. We were delighted to hear that Sanath  will be in London in June/July 2016 and will be free to meet us.  It is said “If you want something you ask a man. If you want something done ask a woman”. This old adage still rings true. Zita despite her busy life rallied the troops and organised a get-together in a plush French restaurant in the Soho district of London. I am now a Londoner living just a stones throw away from the heart of that great city. Mahendra travelled all the way from Manchester to be with us on that afternoon. Zita came from far away Kent. We reached our destination through the dust and grime of road repairs and flying debris of building works.

After the incessant rain we’ve had this summer the sun shone brightly for us. Even the British weather greeted our valued guest. I had not seen Sanath since the early 1970’s when we sat the MRCP part 1 examination in the hallowed precincts of Medical College at Kynsey road. As we eagerly awaited our guest, Sanath walked in with his usual broad smile and warm greetings.

After the pleasantries we ordered the usual social lubricant of wine and beer which helped us to relive and reconnect. It was truly wonderful to talk of old times and of mutual friends. They were indeed our golden years.  Sanath is a fine raconteur and kept us entertained with his enormous repertoire anecdotes. These were re-told with his characteristic no nonsense - matter of fact style. That is his hallmark, something we all recognise and have come love. The medical fraternity is not immune to controversy. Way back, there has been some intrigue, chicanery and mystery in medical politics in Sri Lanka. Many of these had taken place after we had emigrated.  Those events were brought to life by Sanath in his own inimitable Hitchcock style, laced with his own brand of humour. Sanath has the most remarkable memory for detail. His limitless self confidence was a pleasure to experience.

The medical profession, patients and the general public value his skill, care and compassion. They respect his opinion enormously. He still gets much satisfaction from teaching and travels to Rajarata Campus to impart his knowledge to his students to whom he is a great role model, mentor and guide. Sanath has had an illustrious career in Medicine and made an outstanding contribution to higher education in Sri Lanka.

Sanath remains a gentleman to the core and always scrupulously honest, extremely kind and very generous. He made use of his profile to attract investments from abroad  and spoke most warmly of his efforts to help his students, patients and those with disability.

We relived our years in medical school with great relish.  Touching on those departed brought back memories. In our minds they will always remain youthful as we saw them first. It was wonderful to recall the events like the final year trip which has had a lasting impression on the many who joined in.

After the sumptuous lunch Zita took us to “Just Joe’s” for a cappuccino where we continued our banter. These meetings are sadly a rarity and would indeed be increasingly so with the passage of years. Time is something we don’t have in such great abundance. We said our goodbyes and parted with the usual promise to keep in touch. The warmth of our friendship will linger in our memories for a lot longer.

The flood of daily emails generated by his computer will continue to arrive on our PC’s to maintain the lines of contact open.

Friendships are one of life’s great gifts. Those made in the heady days of our youth are simply priceless. We are immensely proud of Sanath’s professional achievements. He has brought honour to our batch. Our sincere thanks to Sanath Lamabadusuriya for making an effort to meet us. May we have the good fortune to meet again.

“A good head and good heart are always a formidable combination. But when you add to that a literate tongue or pen, then you have something very special.” 
Nelson Mandela


  1. It is always good to catch up with our colleagues. Sanath followed up our meeting with an email plea to some of his colleagues to access our blog.

    This is his email and I am sure he wouldn't mind me posting it.

    Dear Friends,
    I am in England at preset on holiday and last Wednesday, three of my batch mates, Zita Subasinghe, Nihal Amerasekere and Mahendra Gonsalkorale entertained me for a lunch in London. Nihal has contributed an article to our blog spot regarding this re-union. You could access it on
    This blog spot was created by our fellow batch mate Lakshman Abveygunawardene, in 2012 to celebrate our 50th anniversary of entering the Colombo Medical Faculty. So far it has had over 900,00 hits from all over the world,
    Kind regards,

  2. Dear Mates,
    It is nice to see old mates getting together for a natter & reminisce about old times over a sumptuous meal & coffee. I wish I was there & I am sure to have joined in the 'hacha pacha'--- recollections. reflections & laughter. Out in the 'sticks' here in Dundee, as ND calls it 'close to the North Pole', we are starved for Sri Lankan company. The one, a widow, that we know of thinks that she is Richard Branson is hardly a B&B owner--- stupid cow!!
    Anyway guys, enjoy every moment of your gatherings that come your way.
    God be with you all.


  3. Razaque
    Dundee I know is the UNESCO city of design and the city with 2 universities. It is called the city of jute, jam and journalism. Its proximity to the North Pole is a geographic fact but in London we are close to it too. As the crow flies we are just 362 miles apart although the train journey is 6 hours. Perhaps you could see the incredible light show the aurora borealis from your back garden. In London we don't have the clean air and the pretty landscape you enjoy.
    I hope I have now put the record straight!!

    1. ND, I am impressed of your knowledge of Bonnie Dundee. It is also the called the 'City of Discovery' in view of Capt. Scott's ship that went on an Antarctic Expedition-'The Discovery', set sail from Dundee & is now docked here on the river Tay, as a tourist attraction. The Queens Hotel where he had his last meal before he set off is still there but now only in name!!
      Not far from there is the LONGEST Rail Bridge in the WORLD &it is over the Tay.
      For the future we are looking forward to the opening of The Victoria & Albert Museum that will be sited next to the ship "Discovery".
      As for the Universities Dundee University is ranked very very high on the academic rankings & the students have given it a 100% ranking as the happiest and most welcoming. This is the highest score compared to ALL Universities in the UK. The jute industry in now almost in total decline.
      Of course one cannot forget that "Beano" & "Dandy" have their origins in Dundee!!!
      I shall rest my case!!

    2. ND,
      We used to see the Arora borealis frequently in Aberdeen, and not so often in Dundee. I have also seen the Arora australis while I was in Christchurch during a visit there --- it was quite by chance & I was told its rare to see it so far into the hinterland in NZ. Perhaps I am the only one in our batch to have had the good fortune to have seen both these spectacles of nature!!!.

  4. My offer to come and visit you at a mutually convenient time is still open Razaque.

    1. It is very kind of you to visit a mate living out in the 'sticks'!! Yes, we can make some arrangement for a visit as we do not travel out of Dundee these days!!.
      I will be in touch with you via e-mail soon, as at the moment we have our hands full.
      Looking forward for a long jaw over a glass of "Ushkey Dae" --- water of life in Gaelic or as I call it "Barley Water" .....

      Slangie Varr...... Cheers as we know it.

      The Substantial One.