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Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Old friends meet in London

Two Old Wesleyites who were both in our batch (ND and Indra), had a rendezvous at Oxford Street in London during Indra Anandasabapathy's brief visit there. A few pictures from that happy meeting.

Nihal Amerasekera and Indra Anandasabapathy




After Fifty Years by Nihal D. Amerasekera

Indra and I hail from that great institution on Baseline Road in full view of the Welikada Prison. We were berated by our teachers that if we don’t tread the straight and narrow pathwe may end-up in the ‘hotel’ in front of our gates.Despite the generous offer of free food and lodging in the ‘hotel’ opposite we managed to find gainful employment in a more salubrious place not too far fromthe noise and grime of Punchi Borella. Perhaps we missed out meeting some of the illustrious and colourful characters that walked the corridors of that ‘infamous hotel’.

Indra was always a clever, quiet and studious guy who avoided the rough and tumble. Despite the dirt and stains of the laboratory practicals he managed to always be dressed immaculately in a brilliant white unstained shirt and trouser. The creases on his well ironed trousers were strikingly sharp and could slice a loaf of bread. He maintained this sartorial elegance all through medical school. Who could forget his skill in identifying the carpal bones while they were still in his pocket!!

We have kept in touch on ‘Facetime’ over the years seeing ourselves grow older and wiser. Sometimes from Florida and at other time from his house in Staten Island we have talked in all weathers. It is such a pleasure to speak with Indra. I was thrilled when he said he was visiting London and we decided to meet in Busaba off Oxford Street. It was indeed a great pleasure to meet Rani for the first time. In the past I only knew her as the creator of those wonderful paintings and the passionate gardener who maintained an immaculate garden, indoors and out.The photos of their plantsin the blog gave us such great pleasure. They have a tremendous love of nature and wildlife. Rani’s kindness and pleasant friendly manner made it a wonderful meeting. We then proceeded to an Italian Coffee shop when Indra and Rani had Devonshire Scones with clotted cream with the coffee. The conversation continued from international politics, to Sri Lankan cricket and our lives in retirement.

In the middle two photos it seems like I am planning to raid the cashier’s till behind me!! It may have crossed my mind. Frommy pose and demeanour in those photos you may have thought that I dominated the conversation. Nothing could be further from the truth. Indra still maintains the careful precision of an anaesthetist waiting to wake us up. Although measured, Indra is a fine raconteur and helped us enormously to reconnect and recall those great years at school and the Faculty. It was amazing that we remembered so much despite the years. The enchantment of those years in old Ceylon still seem to haunt us.

Both Rani and Indra are kind and considerate and it was hard for me to say goodbye.The tears welled up in my eyes as I hugged them.As I write this note, their generous invitation to visit their home still rings in my ears.What struck me most about Rani and Indra was theiramiable honesty and their modesty despite their many achievements. I wish them both good health and happiness in the months and years to come. May we have the good fortune to meet again.


9 comments:

  1. Glad you two met. Would have Tried to come but in NZ and Australia

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    1. Do not miss the south island tour or drive through- Queenstown,Milford sound, the forested area with giant ferns in the north - used in Lord of the rings.
      South island is way prettier than north.
      ia

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  2. Sumathi

    Nice to you two(duo),at least in photos.Indra was my friend,HO at Ratnapura General.He never forgot to visit me at Deniyaya,just before the Insurrectio, erupted.He was with Desmond and late Dr.kandiah(senior).He revealed about his departure to States,alone with Desmon.I am isolated in Midlands with hardly any contact with our old mates.Londoners are lucky as the London being the hub of the air travel industry.
    I am sure Mahendra(Speedy) might have met Rohini,in Auckland.

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    1. Sumathi, you should write about your experiences during the JVP insurrection.
      ia

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    2. When I was a registrar to US Jayawickrama in the early 1970 his SHO was arrested by the police during the insurgency. He seemed a nice guy with strong left wing attitudes but kind to his patients. I was sympathetic to Che Guevara and his struggles for a just society and had many books at home about him which I was advised to destroy. I hasten to add I was never a part of that ruthless cult which nearly destroyed our democracy. I recall the disruption of life at the time and the uncertainty nearly 50 years ago. How time has flown!!

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  3. Lucky
    Thank you for publishing our photo. I will write a short account of our meeting soon. It was such a pleasure to see Indra and Rani.

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  4. Indra, I thought you were a Peterite. When did you cross over?
    Sanath

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  5. Trust Zita to be always late to comment! Well, better late than never, I like to thank Nihal for that wonderful profile of our batch mate Indra Ananadasabapathy after a brief meeting with him in London after all those years. I am very happy to read these details about him as recently we've just been admiring his photo contributions to the Blog and paintings of his wife, Rani. It's great to know that our batch mates have achieved such a lot became such great people in their own right and are still contributing something valuable whether it be art, photography or friendship. Thanks for posting this Nihal and Lucky. from Zita

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  6. Thanks Zita. It was great to see you today at the Reunion in London. We must meet again when Mahendra is back and with Joe his usual self.

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