Friday, January 6, 2017
Lesser known characters from our Medical Faculty days
By Mahendra Gonsalkorale.
Quite understandably, many of the reminiscences that have featured in our Blog concerneither our fellow travellers or our Teachers. I want to talk about a few of the “less mentioned” who also formed an important part of our faculty experience. I shall start the ball rolling by recallingArumugam from the Anatomy Department, “Prick”Perera from Physiology and Rogus from Pharmacology. There are of course many more and I do hope that other readers will chip in with their own stories.
Arumugam, if I recall correctly, was a shortish and somewhat malnourished figure in khaki shorts or tucked up sarong showing signs of balding with a mix of black and grey hair combed back. He displayed a moustache and possibly a rather sparsely populated facial “fungus”. He had his front teeth peeping between his lips most of the time although he never smiled. He was a bit hunched and smelt of formalin. I am certain he was fond of alcohol. He was “in charge” of the dissecting labcontaining rows of cement slab tables on which corpses were dissected by us. I recall approaching him to provide a group of us with a brain preserved in Formalin for dissection at home. He readily obliged for a small santhosum. I always wondered whether he had a hidden dark side dealing with more macabre matters.
Prick Prerea, bespectacled with a prominent bald forehead and receding black hair was always dressed in white with his trouser waist band just inferior to his nipple line.He looked busy all the time, and had that cultivated air of importance. When I met him first, Ithought he was a Lecturer or Staff member. He sensed thisbut did little to put me right. He certainly was the Lord of the Jungle as he strutted round apparently doing all kinds of important things when not pricking fingers and drawing blood.To me, he never smiled or looked happy.
Roguswas quite a character. White traditional sarong with wide black belt, betel stained teeth and ever present smile, he was Prof Kotte’s and Dr Lionel’s “all-purpose man”. He would tidy up, shop, run errands and do any odd jobs around the department. I got to know him quite well when I returned to the Pharmacology department as a Demonstrator in 1972. He was so obliging, willing to help in any way he could. He had some unpleasant duties too, such as provide cats for demonstrating the pharmacological effects of various chemicals on the circulation which sadly meant sacrificing the unfortunate creatures. I do hope that this unnecessary experiment is no longer carried out. Rogus once invited Dr Lionel, myself and other members of the Department to visit his home and he proudly provided us with a delicious meal consisting of manioc, grated coconut and lunumiris, apologising that he could not offer anything grander and thanking us for coming to his humble abode.
As I said, there were many more in all the various Departments and I do hope some of you will come up with more recollections