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Tuesday, May 23, 2017

THE SPEEDY VIRTUAL INTERVIEW SERIES - Episode 3

Episode 3, May 2017

Lakshman Abeyagunawardene, 
Consultant Community Physician and Writer


It is my great pleasure to record this virtual interview with my much admired colleague and friend Lucky, and I thank him for his kind permission to post this on our own Blog, ColomboMedgrads1962 which as we all know is the brainchild of the subject of this interview, Lucky Abeyagunawardene himself.

Speedy: Good morning Lucky and thanks for appearing on the Speedy Interview. You are my third subject, the others being Cyril and Zita.

Lucky: My pleasure Speedy. By the way, have I ever called you Mahendra or Gonsal?

Speedy: As far as I can recall, I have always been Speedy to you. I am sure it was UVA (Ananda De Silva) who coined that name after the then popular song by Pat Boone called Speedy Gonzales, and it stuck! Coming back to you Lucky, there are so many things about you we can discuss, but if you don’t mind, we shall confine this to your early pre-school life, your school days, Medical Faculty days and key events that followed. Will that be OK?

Lucky: Sure. I certainly don’t mind! Just keep me under control if I stray a bit from your agenda. I have a tendency to digress when writing.
Speedy: Astute observation! That’s fine. You are a Hikkaduwaman born at the height of the Second World War and one of 4 children born to Cyril and Elsie Dias Abeyagunawardene. Are there some lingering memories of Hikkaduwa? My father incidentally is from Hikkaduwa and I have very fond memories of visiting his family and of hours of sea bathing.

Lucky: My ancestral home was by the seaside on the main Galle Road. I was born in that house called “Sandfield”, but had moved to Galle when I was just a toddler. As such, I cannot remember my maternal grandmother who was living at the time or for that matter, anything else around the Hikkaduwa house except perhaps the great big ocean.  Strangely, I remember albeit very vaguely, the Seenigam Devale which was on a tiny island in mid sea, clearly visible from the Galle Road.
I do remember my mother talking about Gonsalkorales of Hikkaduwa. That was long before I met you in Medical College.

Speedy: Well, can hardly blame you. It has been a long time. You then moved to Galle and from there to Hendala and on to Colombo in 1949.

Lucky: Yes, that’s right. My father was a government servant and all this happened on his transfer from Galle to Colombo.

Speedy: I see, government servants were indeed subject to transfers. How well do you remember your childhood and of people who had a great influence on you?

Lucky: I remember very vaguely the house in Kalegana, Galle (where we lived for a short time) but moved to the larger house that my father had built at Mahamodera, while I was still a pre-school kid. Other than my mother, I don’t think anyone else influenced me that much in my childhood. However, since my mother’s elder sister lived just behind our Kalegana house, I spent a lot of time with my three cousins – Hubert, Samson and Christie who were much older than me. The youngest Christie is none other than the well known Chest Physician Dr. Chris Uragoda who is still living aged 89. Other than my own mother who had influenced me, it was Chris Uragoda that I looked up to as a role model.

Speedy: That is most interesting. You probably know that my brother Raj is married to Indira Kottegoda, daughter of Prof SRK. Chris Uragoda is Prof Kotte’s wife’s younger sister who died last year. So indirectly, we are related! Let us talk about your education. What was your first school and when did you enter St Anthony’s College, Wattala? And what were the circumstances that led to you entering Carey College, Colombo which interestingly was located very close to the Colombo Medical Faculty.

Lucky: I remember very well how I started schooling. Like most boys of that era, I had been admitted to two Girls’ schools to begin with. They were Holy Cross College, Gampaha and Good Shepherd’s Convent, in Nayakakanda, Hendala. As the Convent would not take boys beyond Standard II, I was admitted to St. Anthony’s College, Wattala while we were yet in Hendala.

The circumstances that led to my admission to Carey College are a long story, but I shall summarise it.

On being allocated government housing at Manning Town, Colombo 8 following a long waiting period, my father had to move the family from Hendala to Colombo at the end of 1949. I had just been promoted to Standard IV (Grade 4 to present generations) at Anthony’s College, Wattala. But new students were not generally admitted to such “middle level” classes in primary sections in leading schools. As such, it was no easy task for my parents to find a suitable school for me in the big city. My two elder sisters were lucky and they gained admission to VisakhaVidyalaya in Bambalapitiya without any difficulty. My parents didn’t have sufficient “pull” to admit my younger brother and myself to a good Boys’ School in Colombo “in mid stream”. Thus, I ended up in Standard IV at Carey College, a little known private fee-levying Baptist school situated at the junction of Kynsey Road and Norris Canal Road. So close, but yet so far from a later destination – the Medical College which is just across the road from Carey College!

Speedy: As ND would say, “the awesome force of destiny”! Then you had to think of preparing yourself to enter University and although I know that you gained admission to Ananda, you may have ended up at Royal or Wesley. Their loss of course!

Lucky: Being the good Royalist you are, you have unwittingly given me the opportunity to explain myself! It was only at the end of 1951 when I was in Standard V at Carey College, that I was able to sit for admission tests to enter a better school. My father was very keen to admit me to Royal College, but in addition to Royal, he also sent in an application to Wesley College and on my request, to Ananda College as well. Royal College turned down my application on the grounds that I had to be 10 years and 6 months of age on January 1st 1952. I was underage by about three months. If I really wanted to get into Royal, I would have lost a year, and had I been successful in the admission test, I would have ended up in the Class of 1953 at Royal.  Instead, I faced the admission tests at Wesley and Ananda at the end of 1951 and was successful in both. I probably would have had my own religion in mind when I opted for Ananda – the premier Buddhist educational institution. I have no regrets for not being able to gain admission to Royal either. It is true that with contrasting features, Cinnamon Gardens and Maradana are at opposite ends of a spectrum as a school’s neighbourhood and environment. But as a student at Ananda, I found that greatness in a school does not depend on its locality. My Alma Mater would have flourished anywhere on earth, as an outstanding seat of learning!

Speedy: As I said, Royal’s loss, Ananda’s gain. Clearly, Buddhism had a great influence on you. I would like to talk about your school days at Ananda and in particular, how it shaped your character and personality. I am sure you were a good student but did you indulge in any extracurricular activities while at Ananda?

Lucky: As you know, I was at Ananda from 1952 to 1960. Needless to say, had I not entered Ananda, but decided to sacrifice a year to get into Royal, my personality would have been quite different. I must say that I was an average student. In hindsight, I now realise that I should have been more involved in extracurricular activities. Apart from being a cadet and playing table tennis, I was unable to play more outdoor games mainly because the school grounds was located some distance away from the school. My parents would have found it difficult to arrange transport had I wanted to stay on for cricket practice for instance – a game that I loved.

Speedy: Thank you for that honest and forthright recollection. Could you now clarify how and why you spent some time as a Teacher at Talatuoya Central School prior to starting your medical education in 1962? I am sure readers would also be interested in reading about your experience taking up a responsible job at such a young age.

Lucky: Unlike in the case of the Advanced Level (AL) examination of today when timeframes and calendars of events are uncertain and subject to change, the University Entrance (UE) examination during my student days was held almost with clockwork precision in December of each year. Results were released in January of the following year, and university academic sessions invariably started in June. That was also a time when only a mere one thousand students sought admission to the University in the Biological Sciences stream. Again unlike today, the UE examination consisted of both theory and laboratory practical components in all four subjects (Botany, Zoology, Physics and Chemistry). Candidates who reached a certain standard in the “first leg” of the examination (theory and practicals) were then summoned by registered letter, for the “second leg” - what was called the Viva Voce examination. It was at the “viva” (interview) that university authorities made the final decision on who would enter the Medical Faculty and who would be admitted to Dental and Veterinary Faculties. Another lot from those who were not summoned for the “Viva” were admitted later to the Science Faculty to follow a course leading to the degree of Bachelor of Science (BSc). The successful candidates, who qualified for professional degree courses such as Medicine and Dentistry, virtually had their future cut out for them even at that early stage. University entrants also made full use of the interim six-month period from January to June to find gainful temporary employment for which opportunities were many. Not only were they able to earn a few extra rupees, but they also gained valuable experience that was bound to serve them well in later life.

Speedy: I see now. You had a six month period to fill before commencing Medical studies.

Lucky: Yes. So it happened that as a teenager in late 1960, I applied for my very first job. I registered myself at the Education Department at Malay Street (for posts of Science Assistants) and also at the Central Employment Exchange at Lotus Road where available openings were more general and unknown till one was offered to a registrant. Largely due to the non-competitive climate prevailing at the time, I was successful in both! I preferred to accept the teaching post, foregoing the opportunity to join the Health Department as a Trainee Radiographer.

By some strange coincidence, it was on the very day that I reported for work at Talatuoya Central College that I heard the good news that I had been summoned for an interview at the University Staff Bungalow on Reid Avenue. I have preserved to this day, that all-important registered letter signed by the University Registrar M.D.G. Abeyratne, with the envelope in which it was enclosed!

My main responsibility at Talatuoya was to teach Science and Mathematics to students in “Pre-Senior” classes including the Senior School Certificate (SSC Prep) class. In addition, I was also assigned duties as class teacher in a lower class (grade seven).


When it was time for me to submit my resignation, I had to say goodbye not only to the school, staff and students, but also to the teaching profession of which I was a proud member even for such a short period. I was accorded a farewell at a special school assembly where I made my first real public speech as a government official!

Speedy: There is no doubt in my mind that the beneficiaries from your teaching stint were not just you but all the pupils and teachers that you had the privilege of working with. Let us now move on and discuss your medical career which began in 1962 when we all became proud and somewhat anxious medical students. Let me start by asking you, how old were you when you decided that you wanted to be a doctor and can you recall the reasons why?

Lucky: It was as a child that I first thought of becoming a doctor. My maternal uncle, his son and two more of my first cousins who were sons of my mother’s elder sister had already qualified as doctors because they were years older than me. Perhaps, my own decision to enter the medical profession was influenced to some extent by these close senior relatives.

Speedy: It is quite interesting to ask that question and in many cases, there were doctors in the family who indirectly influenced that crucial decision. I would welcome readers of this blog to comment on their own experience. Let us dwell on some significant points in your medical student days. There are many and some are chronicled in the Blog but I would appreciate a brief summary of the highlights.

Lucky: Sure Speedy, but before I move on to my medical student days, I must mention that like Zita Perera Subasinghe whom you had interviewed earlier, I too had to go through the 6 months course. Zita was among the 15 who had to do chemistry in the Science Faculty at Thurstan Road. So, even before I got to know you, I knew Zita. As a matter of interest, I must mention here that the first three to be featured on “Speedy Interviews” happen to be those who did Chemistry in the 6 months course. The other of course was Cyril Ernest.

I entered the Colombo Medical Faculty in June 1962 and graduated in March 1967. It was 5 years of hard work, but I enjoyed life as a medical student very much. The examinations came and went, but there were also fun events such as the Block Seniors versus Staff cricket match, the 2nd MB trip, Block Concert and Dance and the Final Year trip.

Speedy: Your next move was to serve as a Doctor. Please take us through your career path and it is always nice to listen to any anecdotes or snippets from you about those days.

Lucky: I did my Internship at Colombo South Hospital. One year later, I was posted to the Central VD Clinic (now called the STD clinic) at the General Hospital, Colombo. In 1969, I went back to Colombo South Hospital as a Medical Officer in the OPD. Soon after I got married, I opted for a career in Public Health and was posted as an MOH at Matara. While serving in that capacity, I was selected for a WHO Fellowship of two years duration.

Speedy: And that Fellowship led you to South Carolina, USA. What sort of work did you do and how much has that experience helped you as a Doctor working in Sri Lanka? Could you also touch on your decision which you held for a long time that you would not leave Sri Lanka permanently? I know that you have written a lot about this and about other aspects of your life in your book, “From Hikkaduwa to the Carolinas- Memoirs of a Reluctant Expatriate”, (published by Karunartne& Sons Ltd 2009, ISBN 978-955-9098-84-3), an absorbing and interesting read.


Lucky: That’s a long question, but I will try to answer it as briefly as possible. It would not be correct to say that my WHO Fellowship lead me to South Carolina. I spent the period of post graduate training at the University of California, Berkeley in 1974/75 and graduated with a Master’s Degree in Public Health (MPH). For my course work, apart from core courses like Epidemiology, MCH, Biostatistics etc., I did non-medical subjects (or Behavioural Sciences) such as Sociology, Social Psychology, Medical Anthropology and Communication. On my return to Sri Lanka at the end of 1975, I was attached to the Health Education Bureau as a Consultant Community Physician/Health Education Specialist. In that capacity, what I studied in Berkeley came in very handy, particularly in field work.

In the early stages of my professional career, I never wanted to leave Sri Lanka on a permanent basis. However, I had to change this stance later on when my children were studying abroad and there was a social upheaval in the country. It was mainly for economic reasons that I emigrated to USA in 1997 when Green Cards came my way. That was when I settled down in South Carolina.

You have referred to the publication of my Memoirs – “From Hikkaduwa to the Carolinas”. It was done on my return to Sri Lanka soon after complete retirement in 2009. It is really a collection of articles that were published in Sri Lanka newspapers and covers my long journey from Hikkaduwa where I was born, to South Carolina in the US where I found employment. 
To complete my answer to your last question regarding my professional career, I have to mention that I retired from government service prematurely at the age of 48 to accept a position in UNICEF. Prior to that, I had done short term consultancies for the WHO and the Commonwealth Secretariat which took me to places like Indonesia and Malaysia.

Speedy: Thank you Lucky. That was a long journey indeed. You mentioned the social upheaval in the country and economic factors which contributed so much to the “brain drain”. That I am sure will resonate with a lot of our readers. I know you have touched on your own personal life as a husband and father but if you don’t mind, just take us through how you met Mangala and decided that the only life for you would be to be with her for the rest of your life?


Lucky: Well, it was an arranged marriage! We have been married for 47 years and I have been fortunate to have a supportive wife by my side right along. We have a son and daughter and three grandchildren. 
Speedy:What a splendid arrangement it proved to be! We cannot leave this discussion without referring to the Blog you started in 2011. I know I speak for our colleagues when I say that we are all most grateful to you for that.

Lucky: I knew that you would come to our Batch Blog sooner or later! It was started in 2011 as part of the build up towards our Batch Reunion that was held in Hikkaduwa to commemorate 50 years of our entry to the Colombo Medical Faculty. It is primarily for 1962 entrants and carries important news items, pictures, e-mail messages, announcements etc. I am glad that even after 6 years, the blog is continuing and helps in keeping the batch together. I would not have been able to sustain it this long if not for the support I have received from batch colleagues like you Speedy.  You have come up with so many new ideas to strengthen the blog’s in-built sustenance mechanism. In fact, this new feature of “Speedy Interviews” is one of them. You conceived the idea, conceptualised the entire exercise and put it into action. In my view, you Speedy, and I should equally share any credit for running this blog. I am also indebted to the regular contributors who unfortunately are just a handful. But I do know that there are many others who visit the blog, but don’t contribute or comment.

Speedy: Very generous of you to recognise my help. It has been an absolute pleasure and I will continue to do whatever I can to help you. You are now retired, spending time with your loved ones and may I ask you how you keep yourself occupied and healthy?

Lucky: This is a question that I am often asked by many people. In short, I now do what I want to do at my own pace. Believe me, there are so many things that I have to do even in retirement and quite often, I go to bed around midnight. I spend a lot of time at the computer, watching TV, attending to minor handy work around the house and indulging in my favourite pastime - walking. 

Speedy: The secret of aging well, keep yourself mentally and physically actively engaged. And finally Lucky, what makes you “tick”? Are you philosophical, religious? Do you spend time wondering about the mysteries of life?

Lucky: I take it that what you mean by “tick” is what keeps me going, especially in a healthy mental state. I am neither philosophical nor overtly religious. But I do wonder at times about so called “mysteries of life”. All I can say is that I have cut down stress to a bare minimum and take each day as it comes. I like to be independent as long as possible, with no bosses looking over my shoulder. It is my personal opinion that even in retirement, it is very important that a person should be economically independent as well. My wish is that in the end, I don’t become a burden on my family.

Speedy: Thanks so much Lucky for being so frank with me. I am sure that readers would find this fascinating and absorbing. Before we conclude, could you please name five people in the World, from past and present, you admire the most.

Lucky: That’s a difficult one. It is impossible to name five people in the world, from past and present, because there are so many who fall into that category. It will be grossly unfair if I have to leave out any of them just to restrict the number to five. So, please Speedy, let me skip that.

In conclusion, I definitely must thank you once again for all what you have done to help me run this blog.

Speedy: You have given your reasons and I respect that. Once again, it has been a pleasure to “talk” to you and obtain so many insights into you and your life experience. I would like to conclude by wishing you and Mangala continuing happiness in your life together.

For those who like to read Episode 1 (Cyril), the link is http://colombomedgrads1962.blogspot.co.uk/search?q=cyril

And Episode 2 (Zita) is:
http://colombomedgrads1962.blogspot.co.uk/search?q=zita+speedy+interview

27 comments:

  1. Lucky was at first a bit reluctant to be a subject because of his modesty but I managed to persuade him to change his mind. I found this wonderful to read as it was so interesting and helped me to get an even keener insight into my friend's mind. His journey is also historically important as it covers interesting aspects of Sri Lankan history such as education, geography, university admissions, govt jobs and transfer system, difficult periods in Sri Lanka and the effect on Professionals, family ties and customs and so much more.

    It is my intention to do more of these interviews and I yet again make the offer for interested colleagues to approach me with their ideas on taking this further.

    This becomes a really worthwhile exercise only if you, the Readers, welcome it.

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  2. My dear Speedy,
    The interview you have conducted of Lucky is a fantastic historical review of his life and times since his early childhood days to his present exalted position in the eyes of his classmates of the 1962 Colombo med grads.A great review indeed.I always wonder how you find the time to do what you do.I for one am really grateful for your contributions, which do give me immense reading pleasure.
    Kind regards.
    Cyril Ernest.

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  3. Hi, Blog'62! You are giving us a treat today with a Speedy interview with your Master, Editor,Organiser and Boss, Lucky. I can see you jumping for joy, Blog '62! And we want to thank you!
    And you, dear Lucky, as you Speedily go through your life history and medical career with Mahendra, I am following your footsteps wherever a congruence exists. Your experiences are truly reminiscent of what most of us went through, for instance the dilemma of where to finally work and settle down. We can read in between the lines too and feel that Batch'62 is truly a family. No wonder we dip into the Blog when we feel down. Thank you for cheering us up! I relived your book, From Hikkaduwa to the Carolinas. That book was the impetus for the establishment of the Blog, I feel. Thank you for your frank appraisal of your life and medical career. We wish you, Mangala, your children and grandchildren a happy, carefree life with good health and serenity. From Zita

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  4. What amazes me when I read these is to just pause for a moment and travel back in time to those "innocent" days and then fast forward to the present and just wonder at all the things we have achieved and experienced. Who would have even in their wildest dreams of yesteryear would have conjured up these stories! As they say, there is nothing to beat real good fiction apart from fact!

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  5. Great!- Thanks Mahen and Lucky-though one photo is missing-that of the gorgeous "Mrs.Perera" !!

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    1. Who is Mrs Perera Rohini? Am I missing something!

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    2. Indeed Mahen- You've missed a treat !
      Hopefully Lucky will come up with the photo and explanation when he wakes up! I assure you it is nothing sinister !!

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  6. Lucky and Indra, I have written a reply to your comments in the previous post.

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  7. Lucky, can you explain who is in pictures 8 & 9, that will add more meat to the frame of the write up.

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    1. Go on Lucky, I know you are not a vegetarian!

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    2. Can't help butting in just to say I like your humour Mahen !

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  8. Thank you all for your comments.

    Indra - Picture 8 was taken in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in the late eighties when I was attached to the Asia Pacific Institute for Broadcasting Development as a Consultant with the Commonwealth Secretariat. I was the Course Director when the Institute conducted a course on "Radio Programmes for Women on Health". Seated in the front row with me is the late Hugh de Silva (formerly of Radio Ceylon) who was Deputy Director of AIBD. The short haired lady in the centre is Kumari Shukla, a well known TV Presenter and high up with TV Malaysia. There is one other Sri Lankan (4th from left in the middle row), a Tamil TV presenter in Sri Lanka. She is Rani Pushpanayagam. All the others are from different countries (Western Samoa, PNG, Maldives and Polynesian Islands etc).

    Picture 9 is of the Convocation Procession at the BMICH when I was conferred the MD degree (a postgraduate degree equivalent to a Ph D) by the Post Graduate Institute of Medicine in 1986.

    As for Rohini's comment about Mrs. Perera (which thankfully has not been published) was taken during the Concert presented by the Sri Lanka Medical Association (SLMA) during the Annual Sessions in which I played the role of "Mrs. Perera". Others in the picture are Dr. Dennis Aloysius and Dr. J.B. Pieris (Senior Consultant Neurologist).

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    1. Lucky ,"Mrs. Perera" in her saree was so gorgeous, she put us saree wearers to shame! Pity you don't like her seen in the blog.

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  9. My prediction is that we will hit the 1 Million mark by the end of July. Lucky, had better start preparing for the great occasion!

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  10. This is a very interesting idea Mahen/Speedy. Thank you Lucky for sharing your life experiences with us. Lucky, a question for you, when you were at Ananda College, was Mr. Pannikar one of your teachers? He came over to Ladies' College and taught us zoology after he finished up at Ananda. We had to stay after regular school hours for his classes. He was an excellent teacher. I dissected toads, rats, sharks, tapeworms and cockroaches under his supervision! So did Rohini Ana.

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  11. The late Mr. Panikkar not only taught us Zoology, but was also the master in charge of Upper VIB which was my last class. We were aware that he was teaching part time at Ladies College.

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  12. Mr Panikkars two daughters married Sandy Parameswaran(old Royalist ) and Nihal de Silva( former Ananda College cricket captain), both of whom were in our junior batch. The elder girl, Shanthini, is Para's wife and is a radiologist in the US but the younger girl did not graduate
    Sanath

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  13. Srianee,
    I have very fond memories of Mr Panikkar, the kindly,fatherly gentleman who taught me more than zoology,as well as his two beautiful daughters-Maya and Shanthini who were both as lovely and humble as he was.
    You'd remember I spent my entire school life having fun and doing everything other than study!I just got by with what I heard in class and did no other study!
    (I was too busy reading Dostoyevsky,Chekov,and Bertrand Russell to name a few!)
    I managed to secure top marks-(90s and even 100 %) in Maths and Physics right along as I knew a few principles and the rest followed logically for me without having to study.However, I knew next to nothing of the details of vertebrates invertebrates etc and probably scored very poorly- except---
    One day, Nimal W.(gold medalist pianist-who you'd remember)came home with me after school,and we chatted, had dinner ,played the piano, and at the end of the fun things when it was getting dark,Nimal remembered that there was to be a Zoology test the next day- So the two of us sat on my bed and read about hydras and sea-anemones.
    A few days later, Mr Panikkar announced the results of the test and announced to the class that he had given me 17.5 marks out of 20- and went on to say that 17 out of 20 was the highest mark he would give anybody, and that he had only once before given 17.5 to one other student of his, and that was "many yrs ago to a girl named Ranee Goonewardena". Nimal who was seated next to me nudged me throughout ,as she knew Ranee was my first cousin who was already out of med school,though Mr .Panikkar was unaware of it! This episode stuck in my memory owing to the coincidence. You may or may not remember this.
    I also remember him for one other important thing he spoke of in our class-the fact that it is no point being angry or bearing grudges-as we are not the same people from moment to moment - that our chemistry keeps changing , and that even our cells are being renewed each moment-so why be angry! it is best to forgive and forget and carry on with life.
    This really impressed me and I have thought of him and his lovely daughters when I get annoyed with people.
    Panikkar was a lovely man who taught me more than zoology.

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  14. I have heard of this famous and much revered Teacher but never actually met him. He sounds a very enlightened and wise person and those of you who had the privilege to be taught by him are indeed very fortunate. Rohini Ana, you were obviously a very bright student blessed with a very logical and analytical brain (no surprise!) and I wonder what made you choose Medicine as a career rather than something involving Maths or Physics for example. I suspect it was the lack of the amazing range of opportunities open to students these days. Thanks for sharing some aspects of those character-forming days with us. It is now time for you to send something we will enjoy reading!

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    1. Mahen- unfortunately not bright enough to know I needed to study!!
      I might let you into how I tumbled into medicine someday!
      Too long to write here !

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  15. I can't remember everything that Mr. Panikkar taught. But I well remember the phrase "From moment to moment" which he used frequently. He also had the habit of asking "How much?" instead of the usual "Pardon" or "Beg your pardon" or "Sorry" (used erroneously by some people). I was seated in a back row and promptly replied "140 for 3" or some such cricket score. A few of us were secretly listening to a cricket commentary on a pocket radio kept under the desk. I had been caught unawares and everybody laughed. An interesting cricket test match was in progress and I thought he was asking for the latest score!

    He was a frequent visitor to the International Buddhist Centre in Wellawatte and often talked about in class, the sermons preached by Ven. Heenatiyana Dhammaloka thero.

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    1. Lucky, you seem to have been as naughty as I was !!
      Panikkar was an enlightened gentleman.

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  16. Lucky and Rohini,
    Thank you for these interesting details about Mr. Panikkar. I don't remember specifics, but I do remember that he was kind and wise. I think I enjoyed the bits of of philosophy that he passed on along with Zoology. He complimented me on my dissections and and the drawings that accompanied them. I guess I was destined to be a pathologist all along!
    I had the pleasure of attending his 80th birthday at Maya's house when he was visiting her in New Jersey and I was happy that he remembered me! For some reason Google has kicked me out, so I am "anonymous "now! No time to correct it at the moment.

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  17. Let me guess. Is it Srianee (Bunter)?

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    1. Yes, that comment was mine. I am no longer "Anonymous." Google kicks me out once in a while and I have to sign on again.

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  18. I too had heard about late Mr Panikkar through my Anandian friends.I had some of his Zoology notes when I was sitting for Medical entrance.he had to leave,perhaps because of the change over of media of teaching to Sinhalese.Non-Anandian

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