Thursday, August 4, 2016
Tudor WICKREMARATCHI: Remembered by Dr Nihal D Amerasekera
Although we joined the Medical Faculty together I came to know Tudor more closely during our internship in Kurunegala. We worked together in Surgery with Dr N Rasiah for 6 months. He was caring and kind to his patients and had great empathy for the poor village folk of the Wanni. He had the tremendous gift and ability to speak to them in the same village jargon. Tudor was a wonderfully helpful colleague and I too had the privilege of covering up for him when he had a particularly heavy night, sometimes at work and occasionally in the clubs and bars in the town. He showed tremendous loyalty to his firm and colleagues during the heavy workload and intensity of internship.
Tudor lived in Ambaruk Sevana, which was an old walauwwa gone into decline. This was acquired by the hospital and refurbished as HO’s quarters. It was ideally located in a coconut estate. Being at a distance from the hospital their frequent parties and nightly sing-songs did not disturb the peace. The Medics in those days lived up to their hard working hard drinking image. He was our very own CT Fernando who sang those famous songs deep into the night often dripping with emotion. We were young in those days and amazingly the public forgave our misdemeanours or so it seemed. His bosom pal was Asoka (AP) Gunatilleke from the Peradeniya batch. They organised the fun at Ambaruk Sevana in that magical year of internship. Sadly Asoka too passed away 2 years ago after a successful career in New Zealand.
During those happy days in Kurunegala he fell in love and married a fellow intern from Peradeniya. After internship he was posted to Dambulla as DMO. During this time I was AJMO Kurunegala seconded from the OPD. On many occasions I met up with Tudor in Dambulla while on duty. He never failed to invite me to his lovely DMO’s bungalow after work. Often even before I sat down he opened the bottle of amber nectar.
Tudor came into prominence in our batch when he apparently threatened to let loose the Maradana thugs on those who ragged us. He boasted at the time he had connections to the Colombo underworld but this perhaps was just tall-talk. Tudor was well versed in the art of exaggeration. But all through the Faculty days he was a gentleman and kept on the straight and narrow. He was lively, entertaining and humerous. He made a tremendous contribution to the life of that great institution. He always remained a kind, generous and loyal friend. Tudor joined in the fun and frolic that was endemic in our batch. Tudor was a member of the Bloemfontein hostel that had a macho image during our years in medical school.
He too emigrated to the UK around 1974 and specialised in Histopathology. Here I met him just the once while visiting Dr Titus Perera in London. He was then his usual happy self but much subdued by the passage of years, building up a career and bringing up his family. I nearly fell off the chair when he refused a drink. Tudor worked in Bristol as a pathologist where he was greatly respected. One of his daughters is a Consultant Neurologist in Southampton. I am reliably informed he had a fatal heart attack while playing golf in 2011. Some would say there is no better way to go than when doing what you enjoy. I was deeply saddened to hear the news. Even now when I hear a CT Fernando song I am reminded of Tudor. I can still picture his tall, dark figure dressed in all white wearing a broad smile. His loud laughter and cheeky grin are memories for us all.
Tudor, passed away on November 5, 2005 aged 66.
May he reach the Ultimate Bliss of Nirvana