Story about another professor

Batch'64 Prof



A tale began in my mad, mischievous, carefree, Block days’

It was a fine afternoon, felt too good a day to get stuck in the Histology lab, A session I hated most, didn’t understand, nor knew a cell from a blob Parenchyma, fibroblast or an epithelial cell, too bizarre & looked the same Had a nice mid-day nap and came down from third floor, my room at Bloem

Table tennis table, outside the sub warden’s quarters, was quite tempting A racket on each end of the table, a ball nearby, yet no one was playing Studious mates do not cut practical sessions, their keenness, I was cursing Looking around near the ‘duck pond’, I saw a gentleman seated, relaxing

He looked serene, well healed, attired in a bow tie and a two piece beige suit Appeared bored, no one else was around, I guessed him, a parent of a student With the table tennis ball bouncing on one racket, to entice him, I approached Well, when hungry, any meat is beef, from old gent, ‘can you play TT’, I asked

To my innocent invitation, he looked utterly surprised, as well as bemused Stony silence no acceptance or denial but his piercing look got me worried I was in a dilemma over his stance my play hungry mind couldn’t comprehend Silence broken, making me uneasy, ‘shouldn’t you be at lectures’ he questioned

Because of his rather authoritative look, I did not have the courage to be impolite Yet mumbled to myself, ‘who the hell is he to tell me what to do’, I was a spoiled brat When turned back to get away from this, whom I thought, was an insignificant pest, Noticed, he getting up adjusting the trouser and on the chair, tidily placing his jacket

He caught up with me and asked, ‘so you want a partner to play table tennis’!

My flippant mouth opened, criticizing friends’ keenness to attend practical classes

Laughingly ‘told this old gent, ‘I think they all are competing to become professors,

Life is for enjoyment, I am still young and have no hesitation to cut a few sessions’

So we got on with the game I love, and to my surprise, found he wasn’t a pushover!

I won the two sets played, thanks to agility, flexibility & stamina, being much younger

He was appreciative saying, ‘you give a good game’ yet like a father saying to a naughty nipper

Told me, ‘young man do not let playfulness ruin your studies, if you want to have a bright future’

I saw from the corner of my eyes when I was playing Table Tennis

Few seniors who were looking cagily while passing to their rooms

Noticed Dr Kularatne our Sub warden on return was very respectful

To this decent looking gentleman whom I beat squarely in table tennis


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Late Kandiah a veteran at Bloem came rushing to me and asked

Do you know who he was the man you sent in the TT table around

I was getting jittery but did not show, and said he gave me a good game

‘Yakko ! that is Ranaya!!!’ the Obstetrics Proff. you dealt with no reverence

Mind you I was only few months in the medical school, a raw fresher

Knew only Prof. Wass in anatomy, Prof Koch in Phys, & Prof Hoover

The story did not end there fast forward to as in my third or fourth year

I met My TT pal at DMH as a stupid student, and he was the professor

Rest is history I managed finals including O & G without a debacle

I’ii take you forward to internship at DMH Bunty and me with Menda

Already both of us had developed a shine towards Obst, and Gynae

Must say decision was easy we hero worshipped both prof & Menda

Year was nineteen seventy-one, the exam was MRCOG part one

For the first time RCOG decided to hold it in Colombo, Ceylon

When I came to know it only three days was left to send application

I panicked and gave a desperate telephone call to my ‘Obs. Guardian’

Professor Ranasinghe shouted at me and said there’s no time to lose

Write immediately your details as he was at that RCOG rep for Ceylon

It was a Saturday I could not get bank to organise fees to be attached

Good professor said I will put the money just post personal description

Exam fees was hundred and eighty rupees in early seventies

He sent my application putting his own money as my exam fees

Never accepted all my attempts to pay it back later occasions

Finally, he shut me, saying TT at Bloem, was worth a few bucks!


Ariya 1

Ariya De Silva

17 thoughts on “Story about another professor”

  1. I think that your TT friend never liked me because I broke the glass door in the 2nd floor corridor . However,as a warden of Bloem, he could sacked me from Bloem but didn’t!!


  2. My dear Seelan,

    While we did appauld your bravery of going through a glass door
    Sad it wasn’t duly appreciated by the Obstet. and Gynae maestro
    May be he loved you a bit more & prevented you testing every door
    Decided slashing one median nerve as the limit for a budding doctor



  3. Thanks Ariya for the interesting anecdote.

    Seelan I didn’t know that you possess the magical talent of “breaking glass”


  4. Hi Ariya et al, Thanks for your Bloem encounters.I always wondered why, someone would choose a name like Bloemfontein for the hostel.Thereby hangs a tale.
    Returning to Prof Ranasinghe, we missed a significant person in his life, his wife.Anne Ranasinghe, née Annelise Katz was born of Jewish German parents and was sent to England as a teenager to escape the final outcome of her parents in the gas chambers.She learned English and wrote memorable poetry and books after coming to Ceylon as the Prof’s wife.Her books make interesting reading of her life adjusting to Sri Lankan society and the problems she saw in our country.She bloomed later in life ,when she started writing.She died a few years ago in Colombo.


      1. Hi Sam, I am unaware of her work on line.I do have a copy of Snow, which I purchased from The book shop at Barefoot sometime ago.I am sure some of her work would be available on line.Please check on line literary sources in Colombo.Regards.Eddie.


  5. Hi Ariya,
    an interesting tale no doubt. I think the MRCOG part one as a separate entity was first held in 1972. quite a few of us attempted the exam and were successful but did not pursue the specialty any further.
    I also recall another instance when Lakshman’s public dissertation of the causes of infertility would have served the batch better in 1969 when most of us were floored by Visvanathan’s one and only question on infertility in the final MB,BS.
    However that is history.


    1. If my memory is correct, first time MRCOG part one when held in Ceylon, was not well publicised
      However Bunty, Mahilal, Lucky Dissanayake and mysef and a few I may hsve missed from our batch and most other from much senior batches got through. Probably Mahilal will add to this.


  6. Ariya,
    you have to add late Sandy Perinpanayagam as another batchmate who was successful at the 1972 attempt at MRCOG part 1 as well. One of my very good friends, Sandy Peri, Kutty Peri myself and Kumaraswamy ,we spent an untold number of hours studying the finer points in contract bridge and stuck up such a long lasting friendship, we still reminisce about Sandy. May he rest in peace.


  7. Thanks Annesley,

    Nice to know Annesley about your contract bridge days
    Only the clever can play bridge as you need to read minds
    I would have loved to join your game but lacked marbles
    So stuck to table tennis and billiard when Marker allowed


  8. Dear Seelan
    I was inside Acc Service OPERATING THEATRE when it hand was repaired. Senior batch Sammy was the Anaesthetist


      1. Yes I remember. Dharma, Asokan & Arul were the others who helped. Asokan’s Uncle did the repair.
        Many Many Thanks


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