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Sunday, October 29, 2017

Wedding anniversaries

Wedding anniversaries
Mahendra “Speedy” Gonsalkorale
Zita and Joe just celebrated their Golden Wedding Anniversary on the 23rd of October

We are all in our seventies now and those of us who are happily married are clocking up the years of being married with the inexorable passage of time. I am sure many have reached significant milestones such as the 25th (Silver), the Pearl (30th), the Ruby (40th). I am also sure there are growing numbers  now in the Golden category of 50 years, and who knows, even an Emerald (55th) amongst us. I doubt whether we have a Diamond (60th) yet!

My good friend and colleague Zita SubasinghePerera just celebrated 50 years of marriage to that wonderful man Joe with their two children Rohan and Nisha.  It has been my pleasure to have them as close friends. I have met Nisha and Rohan who are lovely “kids” and a credit to their parents. Zita is a most generous and kind person and has a probing and intellectual mind and thinks deeply about human nature and relationships. It is always a pleasure to discuss challenging topics with her and get her critical views on them. And Joe… well he is Mr Gentle and Charming personified!
I am sure all our fellow batch mates will join me in wishing Zita and Joe many more years of blissful married life.

I have interviewed Zita in my virtual interview series and please use this web address if you would like to read it.

I hope readers from our Batch will inform us of others who have reached this milestone.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

More Goodbyes

Harsha Boralessa

20 Oct (4 days ago)
to me
Dear Lucky

Harshi and I were shocked to hear of Surens sudden passing away. Although I did not know him that well in medical college, Suren and Sweeney became very close family friends of ours over the years in UK. 

We met them regularly every 2-3 months at Sri Lankan Balls and we all enjoyed Ballroom and Latin dancing very much. Last Saturday,14th October, Suren and Sweeney were to be our guests at the Visakha Ball. Suren had bought a dress for Sweeney to wear for this occasion. Sweeney told Suren, "I have plenty of clothes, why are you buying dresses for me. I am not Princess Diana." Suren promptly replied, "But you are my Princess." They were a very close and loving couple.

We have been to see Sweeney twice this week and spent time with her. Obviously she is devastated. Suren was a very warm and sincere person and had many loyal friends who are visiting and supporting Sweeney. I will be attending the funeral. It is all very, very sad.

I wish to share these thoughts with you.



Charles Kodikara

My Dear Suren,

Let me say good bye to you. I regret that I can't attend you funeral. I live in Scotland (up north). Pushpa had been ill and had been in hospital twice during the last two weeks. You were with us from the age of 11 in the middle and upper school at Ananda. You have had your misfortunes losing your sister (early in life) and your Mother recently. Suren you had been a true decent fellow, sad to see you go. Hope that we will meet in a future life. Let me give my condolences to your wife and Son.

May your travel in Samsara be short.

May the Triple Gem Bless You All,

Chas Herbert Kodikara (Kodda).

Goodbye Suren!

Dear All Mates,

It’s now the Eleventh Hour before our dear Childhood Mate SUREN
Is laid to rest. Leaving most emotions aside, it is time for us to reflect
Upon our life span of four SCORES, and philosophically concur that,
When Born, one must Age and Decay, must Disease and One Must Die !
Suren went through all of these, and inevitably so will we!!

In the Best of Buddhist Tradition, we transfer Merits to our departed
Beloved One, and wish that SUREN has gained a FORTUNATE EXISTENCE
In the Unfathomable SANSARIC JOURNEY, and be Blessed with All the
Graces and Adornments of the Supreme Triple Gem !!!

Heart-felt Condolences to Sweeni, son Rasi and the IYER FAMILY,




The passing of Suren was a great shock to me as he was a v close friend.
I knew him & his family for more than 50 years.
His family knew my family too.
I first met him at the age of around 10 years .
I joined Ananda in the 4th standard & Suren joined later
At school we were good friends & we both went through the trials & tribulations of school life together.
We finally entered the faculty of medicine and both Suren and I ended up in Colombo.
After internship we met each other again in the UK When we both worked for the NHS
at St helier Hospital, Carshalton Surrey, for about 5yrs. I did Orthopedics while Suren & my wife Sirima
were in the A & E. Sweeni, Suren;s wife was doing nursing.
At St Helier we moved closely with each other

Suren was a v good Budhist & supporter of all Ananda College OBA activities.
Now both of us in retirement we moved closely meeting at personal social occasions &
at OBA & OGA Dinners & dances ,Suren & Sweeni were wonderful ballroom dancers.
At all the social occasions Suren will be missed.Their wonderful dancing will be missed.
May He Attain Nibhana
Sirima & I offer our deepest condolences to Sweeni & Rasika & family.

Sunil Abeysuriya

Blog Administrator's note: This is an unedited version. Any belated appreciations will be published.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Consciousness, "I", a "person"

I do believe that we cannot be ourselves with our store of memories, attitudes, beliefs, fears, apprehensions, exhilarations, sadness, happiness, relationships, puzzlement, amazement, confusion, wonderment, and a whole host of other things, without our physical Brain. Not having a properly functioning physical brain is like having a computer without its processor and memory. I, therefore, believe that the physical brain is a sine qua non for consciousness and self-awareness. I base this on our knowledge of how we change when parts of our brain are damaged by injury or disease. The range of effects seen are enormous and dependent on which areas are affected. It can be just a loss of memory of varying degree to a total change of personality so that the person "now" is totally different from the person "then". But both are conscious in the sense that they are alive and aware with all the bodily functions, responds to questions and exhibit behaviours. They sleep, they wake up, they laugh, they cry, they show happiness and sadness but they could be totally different although the physical likeness is preserved. We, therefore, have a body in which there appears to be now a virtually totally different person. We see this in frontal, fronto-temporal and hippocampal damage for example. Or take a disease like Alzheimer's which can be so devastating in change of personality. To me, this means that our brains when functioning as a whole organ give us a sense of being a "person" and the notion or person is conditioned by what is stored in our brains and what is produced in the brain by the various neuronal circuits interacting with each other. In this case, the sum is greater than the addition of individual parts. A symphony is a collection of music on different instruments but the effect it produces is above and beyond its parts. There is absolutely no evidence that the person who "was" before the cerebral insult is lurking somewhere within him trapped in a physical form beyond his control. If this is the case, this sad person has a "hidden original me" with a "new me" that arose within the same body after the damage. I don't think that is possible. 

But slightly digressing, the concept we have of being a person is so dependent on what goes on in our brains at any one time that even a "person" can be different "persons" at different times depending on situations, time etc. In a way, there is no "person" as such but a succession of experiences of being a person. We think we are the same because the change is gradual and occurs within a physical body we can see and feel. but we need to only take our minds back a few years and find that in many ways, we are now different, and in some cases, massively so.

So to sum it up, our functioning brain continuously informs us that there is an "I" (consciousness, awareness) and this I believe functions even when we are asleep but as sleep shuts us off from experiencing impulses from  our "outer senses" (such as vision, touch, smell, hearing), we are not aware or "conscious" as in the wakeful state but we are there, and our brains are working producing all sorts of activity which can even result in playback of a "video" constructed from true past life experiences and totally "computer generated" images of things which never really happened and we call this dreaming.

"I" arises from brain activity giving us a self-awareness. No brain - no self-awareness -no consciousness!

Just to complicate matters, if we blow up any living being through a zoom with massive capability, you will just see at first a collection of cells and then as you zoom further you will see  molecules -->  atoms --> fundamental particles --> wave forms and within all this, as much as 90% is empty space!

I hope my article will stimulate an useful and interesting discussion. I have purposely kept Religion away from it although this may have resulted in an incomplete view.


BA's note: (The writer - Dr. Mahendra Gonsalkorale is a Neurologist cum Geriatrician)

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Letter to my friend Suren.

Randy Santiago

Attachments17:59 (2 hours ago)
to me,

Letter to my friend Suren.

The word of your death, reached us few days ago, but I believe and feel you have not left us at all.

Some time ago, while enjoying single malt in your beautiful home, you told me dying is a biological fact and also to many it is also a religious symbol.

We talked about many things and then got refocused into how we end our journey of Sansara. Suren, you said again dying is some thing we all do. But is also something we all observe others do at a distance and reminded me dying can be peaceful and we know you left us peacefully.

I knew Suren for many years from my Childhood and classmates (JSC) when I joined Ananda College. He was very popular student, friendly and studious. Suren was a regular member of the Cheering squad, when Ananda played Inter-collegiate cricket matches against leading schools. While playful, he was studious and a brilliant student and entered the Medical College.

The only period I lost contact with Suren was when he was a medical student, but got reconnected to him when he was young doctor doing his obligatory internship.  It was during this period that Suren introduced me to Swini, his bride to be.

The many visits to his parent’s residences in Kurupu and McCarthy Road’s were memorable. Mrs. Iyer, Suren’s loving mother welcomed us to their beautiful homes.

 In the year 1971, I reconnected with Suren and Swini, when I met them in Wallington, Surrey, UK, thanks to my sister Rani and a good friend Lakhi , during my short visits to England from Denmark.
Since then I maintained regular contacts with Suren. Suren was a caring and a successful Doctor. He was generous and funded AOA-UK and also funded Sri Lankan Buddhist temples and many other worthy causes in Sri Lanka.

 Suren, also you were a very good ballroom dancer. I have attached a picture to celebrate your fondness for dancing. In this picture you were dancing with our daughter Kirsten and this picture was taken 27 plus years ago.

 Suren, was always generous and whenever I had a medical question and I needed a consultation, Suren was one telephone call away. Suren passing away came as a jolt to his friends and family. Suren I will be with you at your home and your family, during the farewell ceremonies on Oct 24 and 25th.

You have the highest point in your Sansaric Journey and may you attain the supreme and ultimate bliss of Nirvana.

Dying is a subject of in great novels and some poems.

Emily Dickinson wrote:

Because I could not stop for death-
He kindly stopped for me-
The carriage held but just ourselves-
And Immortality.

Ranjit Santiago.

USA. (Oct. 18, 2017.)

Monday, October 16, 2017

Suren Iyer - An Appreciation by Dr. Ranjith Hettiarachi


Suren was our class-mate in the mid-fifties, in a few of the
many SALHAHA class-rooms. We ended up as class-mates
In the upper 6B in 1959, seeking University entrance into
Medical studies. We were amongst a bunch of colourful
but riotous classmates, yet studious enough to achieve
Medical school entry in the early sixties, under the supreme
guidance of a remarkable “Father-Figure” and Zoology
Teaching legend -Mr Panikkar.

An interesting but relatively less remembered event was
my interaction with Suren’s elder sister Sita, who was my
Co-star on stage at Ananda in 1957, in the stage play
“HONDA DASAVA” produced by our versatile, celebrity
Mathematics Teacher, Mr C.M Weeraratna. Sita was at
St Bridget’s Convent as a school girl, and was lobbied to
Come on stage with us, probably by Mr Weeraratna.
The entire IYER Family, except Mr IYER, SP-POLICE, joined
us at rehearsals on Friday evenings at the then OLCOTT
Hall.Suren too joined the family from time to time.
Sita and I both gained entry into Medical studies in 1960.
While she was with the first ever Medical student batch
atPeradeniyaIn January 1962, I was at the Kinsey road
Colombo medical faculty.

Having met on many occasions in Colombo, I had the
great fortune to meet Suren’s mother Mrs IYER at my home,
when she visited Melbourne inthe late 1990’s/ early 2000’s
My last interaction withSuren and Swini was at Pundrika’s
home in Colombo,though I had missed out on them
a few times during my visits to London. We did miss out
on him whenwe had the Anandian class-mate re-union in June 2017.

I knew Suren as a medical school mate, only a year junior
to me, but lost track of him when I departed to Australia
in 1969. I did have some interaction with him in London
and in Srilanka, both via our other classmate Pundarika.

Suren was a most affectionate, faithful classmate with
whom most of us were geographically distanced when he
was resident in London. He did interact with most of the
Classmates and Batchmates in London, and joined the
Various events in Colombo. We did miss him in during our
Short visits to UK.

Suren’s sudden, unexpected demise came as a shock
to almost all classmates, who were much grieved by his

We present our heart-felt condolences to his beloved
wife Swini, Son R, and all his brothers scattered around
the world.

We sincerely hope that Suren seeks a Fortunate existence
 And a Sansaric Journey blessed with the Blessings of the
TRIPLE GEM ! May he be Well and Happy !!
We sincerely hope that we would meet him again,
preferably at Ananda and the Colombo Medical school.

RANJITH HETTIARACHI and all school mates.

Blog Administrator's note: Ranjith was in our senior batch in Medical School and still in active practice in Melbourne, Australia. This is an unedited version.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Death Strikes Again

I was really upset by the announcement of Suren's death. I can hardly say the words as he was so ok at the mini reunion Mahendra/ Pram organised. 

When I couldn't sleep I wrote the attached piece. Not sure at all if it is appropriate at this time.

I'll just let you both see it at this stage. I don't mind if it is published or not as we have to, may be lie low, soon after the loss of a friend.
I am ok with anything. If you both read it, even that's enough.
Thanks for putting up with me!

Sad but resigned on Suren's loss,


Death Strikes again

You struck again, dirty mean Beast!
Taking two friends and brother in a veritable feast
And then you stalked as though not enough
On Suren you dealt a blow so rough

Enjoying seeing innocents die
Letting loved ones pine and cry
When you took Ivor, my bro
You did it like a real pro!

No one knew just what had passed
‘Unknown aetiology’ it was classed
Until Genealogy and Police came
Luckily to none they assigned blame

You have a smiley cruel face
Striking down innocents almost in grace
Get away Beast nasty cruel
If not, there could be a duel!

Ok if it’s my last breath!
If I can strike down the Beast of Death!

(by Zita Perera Subasinghe)

Suren Iyer, an Appreciation

 By Nihal D Amerasekera

Suren had the tremendous capacity for friendship and soon became a popular figure in our batch. He was an inveterate smiler. All through the hardships of signatures, revisals and clinical appointments his everlasting smile is what I recall most. I remember whenever someone was in trouble, during those years, he was there to comfort, console and encourage. He was never afraid to voice his opinion. Suren joined in all the fun and the frolic of the Faculty and was ever present at the many functions. Sadly, I lost contact with Suren after 1967 and saw him for the first time thereafter at our Reunion in London recently. He was in sparkling form with his hilarious one liners and amusing anecdotes. I am so pleased I got the opportunity to speak with him and reminisce. My grateful thanks to Pram and Mahen for organising such a wonderful event.

In those days he lived in Kuruppu Road Borella. That was a few doors next to Daya Perera who was an old Wesleyite and in our junior batch in the Faculty. His house was a regular watering hole for us and he remembered those days most fondly. Daya passed away in 2004 while on a flight to Hong Kong from Los Angeles. His ashes were scattered in the South China sea. Suren knew all this and mentioned the sadness on his demise.

I am told Suren was a successful GP in the posh county of Surrey. He continued to work part time after retirement. I am certain he was a good friend and a leader at his surgery and changed the lives of countless people for the better. Suren was charming, kind, helpful and generous. Those are my memories of a wonderful human being. I am grateful I was able to walk with him even a short way, in our long and tortuous journey through life. We have lost a wonderful and genuine friend.
On behalf of our batch I wish to pass on our condolences to his immediate family.

May he attain the Ultimate Bliss of Nirvana

A very special e-mail from Upul who was three years our senior

Upul's wife Primrose was in our batch

U.D. Wijayawardhana

16:02 (22 hours ago)
to Swinime
Dear Swini,

I am very thankful to Lucky Abey for informing us of the sudden death of Suren. Primrose joins me in sending our condolences.

My mind went back to 1957, the year I entered Ananda College, when I first met Suren. Though we had not met for ages, I still remember the beautiful welcoming smile he had on his face.
He left this world in the best way a person can hope for but, unfortunately, it has left you with the most traumatic incident in your life and our thoughts are with you. May fond memories console you.

Deepest sympathies.


Saturday, October 14, 2017

Original source of information and outpouring of grief from members of our batch

Sent: 13/10/2017 17:04:30 GMT Summer Time
Subj: Re: Suren Iyer
Dear All. 

I am at Swini’s house and I am asked by Swini and Ras ( son), to inform all of you of Suren’s funeral arrangements as follows

The Funeral will take place on Wednesday 25th October, 2017 at 2 pm at:
North East Surrey Crematorium 
Cemetery Lodge
Lower Morden Lane

Please could you let Ras know if you’re planning to attend by sending him an email to:


(Above e-mail is meant mainly for UK residents)

Antony Cyril Ernest

08:20 (13 hours ago)
to me
It is indeed a real surprise to hear of Suren's death. Never knew of him being ill. My sympathies to his family.
Cyril Ernest.

Sent from my iPad

Nihal Amerasekera

13:05 (8 hours ago)
to me
So sorry to hear the sad news. We met him at the reunion in London in July. He was in top form. Will write at length soon 

Lucky, Thankyou for informing us of the sad departure of yet another batch mate from amongst us. I would like to offer my condolences to his family and friends.
(This appeared as a comment under another post)

Mahendra Gonsalkorale

14:34 (7 hours ago)
to ZitameNihal

What a shock! I knew he had quite serious heart problems but they were under control. I rang Swini and first spoke to a family friend and later briefly to Swini. She was quite understandably in a state of shock. I didn't speak for long. The family friend said she will let me know when funnel arrangements are made. 

Thanks for informing us. 


Kumar Gunawardane
10:46 (4 hours ago)
to me

Thank you Lucky for informing us of the passing away of a valued colleague.Please convey our condolences to Swini and family.
This once again emphasises the importance of the blog and the reunions.


Srianee Dias

17:45 (3 hours ago)
to me
Lucky, This is very sad news.  I wonder if he had an underlying heart condition.  I'm glad we got to meet him at the reunion.


Harsha Boralessa

14:23 (42 minutes ago)
to me
Dear Lucky

Harshi and I were shocked to hear of Surens sudden passing away. Although I did not know him that well in medical college, Suren and Sweeney became very close family friends of ours over the years in UK. 

We met them regularly every 2-3 months at Sri Lankan Balls and we all enjoyed Ballroom and Latin dancing very much. Last Saturday,14th October, Suren and Sweeney were to be our guests at the Visakha Ball. Suren had bought a dress for Sweeney to wear for this occasion. Sweeney told Suren, "I have plenty of clothes, why are you buying dresses for me. I am not Princess Diana." Suren promptly replied, "But you are my Princess." They were a very close and loving couple.

We have been to see Sweeney twice this week and spent time with her. Obviously she is devastated. Suren was a very warm and sincere person and had many loyal friends who are visiting and supporting Sweeney. I will be attending the funeral. It is all very, very sad.

I wish to share these thoughts with you.



Pramilla Senanayake
Pramilla Senanayake

07:34 (14 hours ago)
to meSwini
So shocked and saddened. Please send more information as you get them. We were together at both reunions (sl & Uk) will miss him terribly)

Chula de Silva

07:37 (14 hours ago)
 to meSwini

I am the late Priya (Gunaratna’s) husband. Please accept my sincere condolences.

I have met Suren at the various batch get togethers

Best regards

Chula de Silva | Consultant Risk Manager
Delmege Insurance Brokers (Pvt) Ltd 

Appu sumathipala

23:54 (8 hours ago)
to Standardme
---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: appu sumathipala <>
Date: 14 October 2017 at 17:15
Subject: Suren's funeral

Accept my deepest sympathy.I am a batch mate and I never met him after 1967.He was a real gent.
May he attends Nibbana.

A dear friend, Sumathi.

Dawala Ruberu

13:34 (8 hours ago)
to me
dear lucky,
it was a shock to hear about suren. i am glad that i met him at the get together.please convey my deepest sympathies

nalin nanayakkara

13 Oct (2 days ago)
to me
Sorry Lucky- was on vacation for 2 weeks and unable to retrieve e mails - as a result the mailbox got full.
Now back in Ca- please re-sand re Suren


06:44 (15 hours ago)
to me
Indeed sad!

Sent from XFINITY Connect Mobile App

Dr. Harsha Samarajiwa

13:32 (4 hours ago)
 to me

Sad news.

Rajendra Ratnesar

08:13 (13 hours ago)
to me
That's shocking news. I thought he was full of energy like the suren we knew. Please convey my sympathies to the family.
Be thankful for every new day

Sent from my iPhone

Sunanda Wickremesinghe

15:01 (6 hours ago)
to me
Dear Luky
 very sad news.spent some time with him at the reunion.althogh we worked very close to each other never met him in the uk.
thanks for letting me know.even if the news is bleak
with regards

Sent from Windows Mail

Manel de S Wijesundera

08:58 (12 hours ago)
 to me
Dear Lucky,
It is sad indeed as he was in the ‘pink’ of health and active at our get together early this year.
 I recall fond memories of his elder sister Sita who was in the first batch at Peradeniya , a beautiful and an accomplished Indian classical dancer but tragically died of ulcerative colitis while at Peradeniya. The first two batches were very closely knit as we were admitted a few months apart. Her short but fatal illness made us aware of the shortcomings in managing & treating disease. It was one of several tragedies we faced in loosing fellow students.
Please forward his wife’s contact

Swyrie Balendra

07:35 (14 hours ago)
to me

Dear Lucky
Shocking news indeed. He looked so well at our reunion. Feel so sad as we were close friends in Medical school.

Pathmani Goonawardena

19:22 (13 hours ago)
to me
Please pass my condolences to Swini .He was a great guy and always upbeat. I will miss him Paddy G

Dr. S.A.P. Gnanissara

08:49 (13 hours ago)
to me
Thanks Lucky.  What a shocking & sad news. We have fond memories
of our recent get-together.

Sura Fernando

10:53 (53 minutes ago)
to me
Dear Lucky,
 Felt really sad at the surprising news. Especially since we met Suren and his wife recently .
 Would like to know any further news you may receive
 Mant thanks

Revo drahaman

07:56 (13 hours ago)
to me
thanks lucky



Dear Swini and Ras,

I am posting this on behalf of Sanath Lama who has just returned to Sri Lanka from Paris where he was attending a conference. He wishes to send this condolence note to you on the loss of Suren.


19:22 (13 hours ago)

Raveendra Nadaraja

23:00 (8 hours ago)
to me
On Oct 12, 2017, at 6:11 PM, Lucky Abey <> wrote:

I have just heard the shocking news that Suren Iyer had passed away a few hours ago. Apparently, Swini had found him on the floor of the bathroom. Being a qualified nurse, she had tried CPR but to no avail. An old classmate from Ananda residing in UK informed me.

Writing in haste. More later. .
Sorry to hear this shocking news. My deepest sympathies to the family. Suren was a good friend.
Ravi Nadaraja

Ranjith Dambawinna

15:33 (16 hours ago)
to me
Dear Lucky,

So sad to hear this news. 
I rang Rohini Abey. and she was shocked too!

    Suren was a decent guy and often volunteered to participate in Buddhist Brotherhood activities when e were students.
I recall how he too brought the family car along, to take the orphans at the YMBA to Galle Face on Sundays!

  He and Swinii met us frequently at school reunion dances, but they suddenly 'withdrew' from circulation!  We never knew the reason why. 

Can I please prevail upon you to send me setails of his bereavemnt , as I do not heve even a contact number!  many thanks  ranjith.