Dear All, Well it is almost nine months since we had our RU and things and people have all seem to have gone very quiet. How is everybody keeping? As for Ranjit and myself we have been extremely busy visiting Sri Lanka about four times in the last 3 months to attend to some property matters and a wedding and now we are helping our daughter re locate back to UK. She has got a job in Leeds so we are house hunting for her as she is at the moment on a Leadership course at Summer Institute. Saturday whole day will be spent viewing some properties. Ariya since you lived in Leeds could you enlighten on some good areas please. It has to be near Carr Manor. In addition Ranjit’s first cousin from Las Vegas will be coming here with her son, on Sunday for about a 10 day holiday so be will be busy again taking them and showing the around. I was hoping to invite Chandra and Satpa and a few others for a little lunch but have not had the time for anything and by the time life gets back to normal Summer will be over. Let us know how our friend are doing and what they are up to. Cheers. Praxy
I once saw a flower and was delighted
Beautiful pink , I soon got attached
‘It was smiling at me’, I quickly deduced
It was yearning to be picked up; I did hallucinate,
I was simply deluded and wanted it to be mine
Could not resist, I was a slave of my senses and obliged,
Ignored the thorns, though they were very sharp
Did not matter it was in someone else’s garden
Going through a gamut of desirous feelings
Scraping my hand, grabbed the flower and avulsed
With greed to the point of intense desire,
I clung on to it, I had to keep it, ‘my pink rose’
Despite giving me bleeding and pain in the finger!
I got so attached’ I was nearly possessed by it
Wanted to keep it and guarded it jealously
Its appearance and fragrance, were heavenly
Every other second, I showed it to someone
When they said, what a pretty thing! I was beaming
It is all mine, I found it, and others too like it
But they haven’t got it, I was thrilled
It was blissful to hear the praise
Felt it was not the flower, they praised,
They were all praising me!
Soon it became a part of me
Few fleeting moments, I was happy
Alas! The petals became floppy
Pliability and softness gone
The sweet smell, waned next
Became a foul smelling clot
Soon it had shrunken
Then it became a burden
I hated and threw it in a bin
My happiness flown away
The flower transiently, I owned
I thought would last and adored
I wanted it to be always with me,
Soon, I was glad to throw it away
The happiness gone, Now I am sad
When I analysed it through,
I wasn’t sad, before I saw the flower
So, does it infer, it was the fault of the flower
For smiling at me and perishing later
The flower should not have deceived me!
Is it my eye that is at fault for showing it to me?
I was fine before I saw, that wretched flower
Why did the bewitched flower, invite me?
May be I did not pick the flower
But the flower did pick me, to deceive
What made me to be so attached?
Why did I allow myself to be deceived?
Did I carry an innate craving?
Didn’t I know, the flower would perish
I should have known the nature’s rule
Every living thing will decay and die
If I knew that the flower would perish
Why did it hurt me when it obeyed the rule?
Was it the colour, the shape or the smell?
Why I pandered to transience, is unconceivable
If the flower or my eye did not want to deceive
Who really cheated me, in this ignoble game?
I have seen moths jumping to catch flame and die
The flame or moths’ eyes or wings do not want to kill
So why moths cannot resist the bright lights
Am I the same, to be titillated by pleasure of my senses?
My thoughts became darker but deeper
I am now looking for the culprit, who deceived me
My anger for my eye and for the flower are gone
The flower is inanimate and the eye is just a lens
Sun rays showed the flower to me
Traversing via eye lens into my brain
But why did my brain, want the flower to be mine
Why was I attracted to a perishable thing, mean?
I was confused, the blame game, crisscrossed
Among the flower, my eye and the brain
Who or what did really make me sad
Will I fall again to the same trap, I asked
Then I saw a pussy cat crossing a busy road
Beautiful creature, blue eyes and a fine fur coat
It was coming towards me, I was very pleased
And I waited on the side, till it crossed the road
Alas, a car hit ‘my cat’ and killed it on the spot
I felt unbearable grief, splitting my heart
I cursed the driver and cursed myself too
Not being able to save ‘my cat’ my sadness grew
Neither the cat nor the pink rose really were mine
Moment I saw them I made them mine, forgot the nature’s rule
Losing them brought sadness, yet faults were not of the cat or rose
Many flowers wither in the wilderness and other’s cats do die,
I am not sad for any of those probably because they are not mine
I am beginning to see some light in this conundrum
Realised the creator of sadness, not external sensual objects
Nor the sense organs but my desire to acquire and clinging
So the wanting to make them ‘mine’ the root cause of sorrow
Of everything I see, hear, smell,
taste or feel as my own!
Next challenge, I have to conquer,
The reason to place ‘ME’ in the centre
Of everything my senses could muster
My parents, my children, my wife
My country, my house, my diploma
My job, my staff, my office, my dogma
Funny thing is that even the foes and adversaries
Are all ‘mine, so will be my death and my illnesses!
1. Had an old friend visiting after few decades, our tiny home
With his beautifully decorated wife of upmarket, impeccable charm
She did try hard to indicate to me their well-to-do status
See how she almost succeeded, using her well-chosen phrases
2. ‘Oh, what a darling petite,
Fine little house you got You have found yourself
A lovely little slot’
3. She meant theirs is a mansion,
Well above our level Reflecting her mammon,
Emphasizing we are not her equal
4. ‘This sitting room is ever so sweet,
Uncluttered and charming,
All your things are nicely fitted in,
And the ambience is calming’
5. She means, she has a bigger space,
Studded with many stuff Our thread bear survival,
she has understood But happy to bluff
6. Well, who wants all that space like us?
Our drawing room drives me to tears.
I cannot do the cleaning alone anymore
Dusting off twenty chandeliers is no joke!
7. Two charming cosy bed rooms Perfect!
All one needs, I pray
I hate when my husband’s office crowd
Come to our house to stay
8. Their large hospitable house
Frequently visited by many
And probably half the world do assemble
There on Christmas Day!
9. ‘You’ve even brought your old TV
And it is so appealing I like antiquity
And who needs a flat screen anyway?
10. She means that she has quite a few Modern ‘boxes for viewing’
And long ago the ones like mine,
Had been chucked away
11. ‘Oh, look, a little patio,
It is perfect for a cook on a spit
It is so close to the lounge
You can easily be in and out
12. That means their estate is huge,
And also has a splendid view
Ours has been scarcely used;
She is sociable and we are the contrast
13. ‘Downsizing is such a clever move,
I also admire your bravery’
She means she’d hate to do the same
And could not stand to live like us.
14. Indirectly asking how we manage
To live in this rabbit den
Her possessions are so vast and valuable
Needing an ‘A grade mansion’
15. ‘You have cleverly used your back garden,
Few fruit trees too, nicely tucked in
Must steal a few ideas of saving the lawn,
To my gardener who eternally complain’
16. Again spelling out the enormity of her house
And the garden reflecting the affluence
Being able to keep her own gardener
Showing their high class and the depth of their purse!
17. It was lovely, my affluent old mates
And their well-heeled spouses
When met me in the RU 64,
Did not try to show their high classes
18. They were magnanimous enough to overlook
Visible scars of my harsh struggle
And showed compassion and delicacy
Knowing, my life had not been a doddle
MINI UK RU 64, May 9th, 2015
I have a great pleasure in reporting on the “Mini RU64” we had on the 9th of May 2015 at Harrow, England. The venue was a Sri Lankan restaurant called “The Meeting Palace”.
It all started when I decided to attend my brothers 80th birthday in England. I just informed CJ, Arulrajah and Sattianayagam of my plans and indicated my wish to meet many batch mates as possible. That set the ball rolling. Most, if not all batch mates in UK were contacted with usual results of responses and no responses. 15 batch mates and 10 spouses attended. The notable absentees were Arulrajah (organizer) who was down with the “Flu” and did wish to share the virus and Praxy de Saram, (aka “RU Addict”) as she was in Sri Lanka at that time. RU addiction must not be so severe as she did not cancel the SL trip!! Others could not attend for various reasons.
It was a time of great fun; I met Titus, Thillaivasan, Bigga and Sunila after about 45 years. George and Shalinee after 5yrs or so. That was great. I also found that some who lived in UK for 45 years met some batch mates residing in UK during the same period for the first time!
The event started with the usual greetings and hugs followed by drinks. Over the four-course meal, photographs taken by Yogamany and myself of the 50th RU64 were shown on a big screen TV. It was a time of reminiscence and test of memory. This was followed by the video of the skits from the 50th RU64 at Beruwela, Sri Lanka (thanks to Mahesan and Selvarani Richards for recording and sharing the copies.) There were plenty of laughs and comments! Also some could not see parts of the skits at Beruwela as they were preparing to perform. Some of us understood the jokes better the second time over. Some who do not understand Sinhala well got a better understanding. I did a bit of translation on the side.
Management At the “Meeting Palace” helped by closing the restaurant to other customers, giving us exclusive use of the 40-60-seat restaurant. This was especially good for the slides, video and dancing. They also provided DJ services that included “Baila” and live drum. The beat was great, resonating in the chest! This got many on the floor. If awards were to be given for the dancing, it would go to Titus. The food was very good, all Sri Lankan style.
After about 5 hours of fun, goodbyes were said with promises and requests to work on another RU64 without requiring major organization as we had in in 2014. “Just select a week-end and venue, inform all batch mates and they book the hotel on their own. Include a dinner and a DJ for Saturday night. No organized talks or tours. This must be sooner than later before we loose our ability to travel or as someone said, ”Before we kick the bucket”
Regional Mini RUs like this one in UK are another less complicated possibility.
How about it North America and Australia?
CJ Amerasurya and Daya
Kathir Thillaivasan and Vasnthy
A Sattianayagam and Ianthi
Bigga Gunewardene and Sunila
David Selvarajah and Rajini
George Jayatilleke and Shalinee
Somasegaram and Indira
Sree Mathiaparanam and Maha
S. Sahadevan and Yasodara
Dharma Alagaratnam and Yogamany
Some photographs to remember will be included.
Sam, My clever bosom pal,
Your web site has enabled many mates to read my poetry
However, some had made them sad, For which I am really sorry
Please publish Verses below will cheer them immensely
I am now probably for the first time
In my life is care free
And become the person,
I have always wanted to be
Oh, No, not the man in the mirror
With baggy eyes, wrinkles
A pot belly and a sagging butt,
Like a lemon propped on two sticks!
I certainly do not agonize
Or lament over my looks for long
As I now have, an amazing,
Beautiful life to prolong
I would never trade
My rich experiences or my friends
For more hair on scalp or a flatter tummy
Nor to look amazingly young
I’ve learnt to let go things easily,
And no fuss over mistakes
Whether it is mine or others
And forgiving has crept into my life
A much kinder being, I’ve become to self,
Friends and foes alike
Surprisingly much less critical
And become an easy being to please
I do not curse myself for eating
That extra piece of cake
I do not care,if I did not make my bed,
When not feeling fit
I have earned the right to be messy,
Deaf, dizzy and confused
No routines and nothing is done
Till my mind is ready for it
I am sad many of my good friends
And loved ones have left the world
Far too early before they could
Enjoy freedom, privileges and joy
The care free life,
Great feeling of being in charge of my universe
Which is given on a plate,
The earned right, for us the golden oldies
Oh, no, I am not demented or confused,
My mental faculties are fine
Getting old is the best thing that can happen,
Similarly to good wine
Whose, business is it,
If I choose to play a computer game
Through the night
I do not need to answer
For delaying my bed time,
Watching a juicy porn film
I am the undisputed monarch
And the owner of all I survey
Dance to yester tunes uncared
Of missing steps or my sway
I have the right to weep thinking of affairs
Which broke my heart
As well to smile over jolly things,
Surreptitiously done in the past
I can walk in a swim suit,not bothered of the eyes
Gazing at my gaunt wiry body
Enjoy the bulging flesh of beauties around,
All my senses for that are trained and ready
Take a dive into the waves in the open sea,
Ignoring pitying glances from the jet set
They too will get old one day,
I have a chuckle and enjoy the freedom, today I got
A comedian once said, when a man gets old,
He will lose two things
One is the memory and the second,
‘Oh sugar’, I knew it, but I forgot
It does not matter I can always remember
Things, close to my heart
Why should I bother, no one is waiting
And none is there to listen.
Though my heart was broken many a time
And I am grateful for the memory loss
I am sure confusion is a God gift
For the golden oldies to live the life with less fuss
The broken hearts and sadness endured
Has given me the strength to understand
The impermanence of compound things
And nothing in life remains unchanged
I like to look at the bright side and enjoy my time,
Must remain optimistic and have a laugh
I am so blessed to have lived a long life
And should not be depressed or pathetic
I have seen my hair turn grey and fall,
My youthful laughs etched grooves on face
So many of my friends, who never laughed
Died with smooth faces and cheeks
As one gets older, it is easy to cope with change
As I have lived through them
Our attitude should be positive and forgiving
And I for one adore the person, who I am
I will not waste my time or cloud my mind,
As I know that I have the right to be wrong
Consider my changes of old age are trophies,
I’ve earned for a prolonged jolly good living
His now weakened, painful hands were healing hands Just only a decade ago, they were described as exquisite Fingers, insured for a million, the middle & the right index Adored by many thousands of his patients of the fairer sex
Those comforting digits ‘the diagnostic tool’ now a pathetic site Wrinkled and reddened with shrunken bones and swollen joints Stiffened by over usage, virtually fixed, unsightly and hopeless Like his eyes and ears non-functioning and passed ‘the shelf life’
VH & Repair, Ovarian cystectomy and removal of fibroids Were his bread and butter, did abdominal hysterectomy in minutes Ectopic pregnancies for saving lives and LRTs to support families Husband to do away with condoms or to the wives, their hormone pills
He never knowingly did an abortion, throughout for any price The foetus though small, he considered had a right of its own life Whether was created by an act of love or an act of lust Adhered to the Hippocratic Oath, to him life was very precious
Alas, his memory is faint and the speech is slurred, Voice once booming now is a whimper, hardly heard The beautiful nurse who was glued to him always by his side No longer there, neither his pride, nor the procession of clients
The shoulders droop and the back is hunched His heart once full of love broken and saddened Mask like face bears no smile, full of crisscross lines No teeth to show the spark has gone, virtually lifeless The flowers of youth had flown away Weeds do proliferate nearly everyday There are no warm hands to welcome him The twilight zone agonizingly extends day by day
Ariya De Silva
Representatives from the recent batch reunion organizing committee , Drs Anoja Fernando, Damayanrhi Wijedoru, Ranjith Almeida, Lakshman Senanayake, and Ariya de Silva met the Dean of the Faculty of Medicine yesterday to hand over the scholarship funds and some medical books collected from the attendees.
Submitted by Ariya de Silva
It is with great sadness we announce passing away of a great teacher Dr A.M. Mendis(89) few days ago at his home in Perth, Australia. Following eulogy was submitted to us by his daughter Dr.Geetha for publication
I thank you all on behalf of our family, Anoja & Lal, Geetha, Shiroma, Asitha and Komi, and grandchildren Jennifer and Chamath for joining us to pay our last respects to my father Ariyaman. My thoughts and thanks are also with absent family and friends.
I have to say at the outset that it is impossible for me to do justice to a man who has led such an exemplary life, and been an inspiration to so many. But I will offer a few glimpses of his rich life.
Ariyaman was fondly known as Menda, Mende, Dr Mendis or simply Doc.
He leaves a legacy of devotion to wife, children, grandchildren, family and friends, dedication to his profession, love of teaching, love and respect of his colleagues and patients, and service to his community.
Thathi comes from a very close knit family. His parents Dr A B Mendis and Mrs Charlotte Mendis loved and admired him. To his siblings Thathi was their much loved and revered Loku Aiya. Their unfaltering devotion to Thathi and each other over the years has been wonderful to witness. My special thoughts are with his dear sisters Damitha, Aurasie, and Mahila, and his dear brother Paddy and Charmaine. They and their late spouses, Dr GCI De Silva, Ally Weerasinghe and Bandula Wickremasekera created a loving and respectful extended family for us to grow up in. My late maternal grandmother, Galle Archchi, was an ardent fan of her son in law. He looked after her and my mother’s family, Loku amma, and Artie mama, now deceased, and Sujatha Punchi amma who is in our thoughts today.
Thathi was ever grateful for his formative years at St Thomas’ College, Mt Lavinia. There he excelled at studies and sports. A proud Thomian, we heard him singing his school anthem just a couple of months ago!
A new and long chapter began with a Medical School Dance when the young Dr Ariyaman met nurse nona Cecelia Jayasundara. He was soon to head off to the UK for specialist training. When Thathi introduced Cecelia, she was warmly accepted by his sisters and brother and nicknamed “Sis”. This ploy helped to keep the evolving romance under wraps from parents until my father telegraphed his parents from England to inform them that he had passed his membership of the Royal College of Obstetrics & Gynaecology, and that his bride to be was enroute to get married. My grandfather wisely trusted his son’s judgement.
Thathi returned to Sri Lanka in 1957 with his new wife and baby Anoja to be greeted with much celebration in Colombo. Cis & Ariyaman went onto enjoy a very successful partnership which produced four more children. Despite being busy with his career Thathi made time for his family. Our annual holidays to explore remote locations in Sri Lanka and Wild Life Sanctuaries and National Parks provide us with wonderful memories of fun and adventure. He and ammi knew to enjoy the simple pleasures of life. He was ever ready to gather around the piano and get everyone singing and dancing. There were endless opportunities for this as our huge extended family got together frequently to celebrate birthdays, New Years, weddings and everything in between. Ammi often reminisced towards the end of her life that she had had a wonderful life with my father and that they aspired to an ongoing relationship beyond this life.
On his return from England as a Consultant, Ariyaman’s career took off and he soon established a reputation as a highly regarded Obstetrician & Gynaecologist. As a child I remember that everywhere we visited in Sri Lanka, however remote, people would come up to him and say Oh you are Dr Mendis – you delivered my child and immediately extend their hospitality. I formed the impression that my father had delivered all the babies in Sri Lanka!
In his foreword to Thathi’s memoirs, his mentor, the late Dr Anthonis, Chancellor of University of Colombo wrote: “ Ariyaman’s life has been one of many scintillating facets. Academically brilliant, both his school years and his medical career are sprinkled with scholarships, honours and medals. When I met him at the Colombo General Hospital in 1951, I was drawn to him because of his intellectual qualities and his stamina. He readily did all the work allotted to him plus more. Time was not a factor to him, he worked till late, he was reliable, trustworthy and efficient.” He goes onto say, “His life reveals precision of the intellectual combined with the compassion of the humanitarian”.
Thathi had a gift for teaching. To this day his former students, who have been highly successful in their own medical careers, recall thathi’s inspiring qualities. I quote from a recent poem dedicated to my father by Dr Ariya De Silva OBE.
“The ideal teacher, an oasis of knowledge, erudite
None so far I’ve met, committed and so upright,
Kindness & understanding of students, an unfaltering friend
The mentor with wisdom and attention undivided
Gave your heart and your mind to patients, and never were in a rush
Understood their feelings, their worries, fears and concerns,
Encouraged me to reach heights well beyond my dreams
I thank you Sir, for that, from the bottom of my heart “
At the age of 50 my father left Sri Lanka in what would have been a major upheaval, letting go of a well- established career and extended family, in order to give his children a better future. Our family emigrated to Perth. It seems word got around before he got here as we were met by a number of Sri Lankans who became part of a wonderful network of friends, some of whom are here today. Ariyaman soon established himself in WA initially as Senior Medical Officer to the Kimberleys and later in private practice in Perth. Within a short time he was highly regarded by colleagues here. When I was at Medical School I encountered senior consultants who said to me, Geetha you can learn all you need to know from Mende. For a man who never sought recognition it amazes me how he was so widely known and respected. People still comment on his energy, diligence and attention to detail – whether he was doing major surgery or toiling under the bonnet of his car or planting trees didn’t seem to matter.
His passion for travel which he shared with my mother and the enthusiasm for photography that went with it, is a whole other story as evidenced by a massive collection of photographs all methodically annotated.
He also found time and energy to contribute to the WA Buddhist community. As usual his help was practical. Ajahn Brahm recently reminded him of how he helped with spade work to turn the soil for laying the foundations to the first buildings at the Serpentine Monastery.
We have been extremely privileged to have Ariyaman as our father. It has been our privilege also to look after him in his final years when Ammi was no longer able to care for him. I have to say that I am really glad they had five children, a son in law and two grandchildren as it was indeed a team effort to look after ammi and thathi so they could live in their own home to the end of their days.
Ariyaman means “noble mind”. I reflected recently with Thathi, that he truly lived up to his name. He set an example of how to conduct one’s life with dignity. This he showed us throughout his life and throughout his final years of incapacity, right up to his last breath.
We wish him the highest blessing, May he attain Nibbana!
Thank you all.
We will close the ceremony with a traditional song of praise (Danno Budunge), one of Thathi’s favourites followed by the anthem of his beloved alma mater, St Thomas’s College.
Please join us at home in Winthrop for some refreshments.
Sent to us by Dr. Ariya de Silva