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Monday, September 30, 2013

In Memory of the late Dr. K. Sri Kantha

In Memory of the late Dr. K. Sri Kantha (Sent in by Indra Anandasabapathy).

The Silent Guest


The Silent Guest
Dr. Nihal D. Amerasekera

The pendulum of the mind oscillates between sense and non-sense, not between right and wrong.

Carl Jung (1875-1961)

It was the spring of 1980. I had just completed my final examination and the relief was almost palpable. With two of my friends I decided to celebrate the occasion with a weeks holiday in Cornwall in the southern tip of England. We booked a holiday cottage in St. Ives and arrived at the village in the late afternoon. It was a holiday village with numerous cottages of the same design spread over a wide area.

Climate

Cornwall is a lush green peninsula that projects into the ice cold waters of the Atlantic. Throughout the year it is battered by the prevailing south westerly winds that bring moisture laden clouds from the Gulf of Mexico. Rain is never far away. The truth is far removed from the travel poster images of blue skies and broad sandy beaches. It is often engulfed by violent storms. The sea around it is littered with shipwrecks since the early seafaring days.

People

The peninsula played host to the gentry and the villains alike. The landed gentry owned vast acres of that green and pleasant land. They fought for their King and country and formed the British aristocracy. The many swashbuckling pirates who created their own empire in these parts inspired Robert Louis Stevenson to write his epic Treasure Island. The Cornishmen accept the climate with a philosophical shrug although we braved it with less fortitude.

Cornwall comes to life in the summer with scores of families heading to the coast with a never ending stream of cars clogging up the highways and byways. After the summer holidays Cornwall slips back a century to a land of peace and solitude. The river Tamar meanders through its plains and valleys. It supports and sustains life as it finds its way into the sea at multiple exits. The many villages that line its vast forbidding grandeur of its coastline give refuge to the brave fishermen. They take their lives in their hands every night as they venture into the treacherous and inhospitable waters of the Atlantic. Shoals of pilchards and sardines imprisoned by their nets give them their livelihood. Of the many who went to sea some never return adding to the misery and hardship. The drifting sands are hardly a refuge for these brave fishermen off the Cornish coast.

Trips

There is no fever like the quest for the past. We wandered the length and breadth of Cornwall looking for remnants of the past from Roman ruins to King Arthur’s Castle at Tintagel. Wherever we went we seem to be the only intruders. When the thunderstorms broke we took refuge in farms and barns. Often gulls and ravens became our only companions. My reliable Volkswagen Polo took us around Cornwall during the day. We spent the evenings in the quiet pubs and bars that dotted the countryside, wining and dining at will. It was indeed a most relaxing week away from the hustle and bustle of London.

The guest

Once after a long journey we returned late. I dropped off my pals at the nearby Seafood Restaurant and slipped home for a quick change and a wash. I remember it well being a cold and drizzly evening. I parked my car opposite our cottage and walked up the steps to the main door. As I walked into the lounge it was well lit by the street light streaming through the wide bay window. The smell of frying bacon filled the room. I was puzzled as we never cooked in the house. I thought I had gone into the wrong house and stepped back to look at the number on the door. It was certainly the cottage we had rented. I groped for the light switch but couldn’t seem to find it. A mist or a fog seem to waft across the lounge and there was an icy chill in the air. I saw the head of a lady seated in the sofa facing away from me. As I said hello! The head turned towards me and her face became clearer. She had long dark hair combed back. She was an old woman with knitting in her hands. I will never forget her piercing deep set eyes staring at me. She stood up with the greatest of ease like a well oiled robot. Then her face lit up with a broad smile. She seemed transparent and I could see the wall and the television through her bright white dress. My legs and arms didn’t seem to move for a moment. When I switched the light on the fog was gone and so was the lady. This unnerved me completely. I have never seen anything like this before or ever since. My legs were shaking with fright. I shut the door and returned to my friends in the fading light.

The aftermath

When I related the story they were rather apprehensive to get back to the cottage. It was hardly a tale for a wet English spring. We remained a few more days in Cornwall but did not experience anything untoward. When I returned the cottage keys to the caretaker I related my story. He didn’t seem surprised and looked again at the number etched on the key with a knowing smile. He hurriedly said goodbye and wished us a safe journey home.

I have never had any belief in the supernatural and as always will remain a sceptic. Stories of the occult have been a part of fairy tales. After my experience I had never known greater despondency. Was it an illusion or a vision. The images of nearly quarter of a century still haunts me when I visit that splendid corner of England. Fear is now forgotten, danger had never been, and what remains is a mystery. The bitter hot tang of the frying bacon is in my nostrils even now. For a born cynic what perpetually amuses and amazes me is the obtuseness of this weird and wonderful world.

I dedicate this anecdote to my silent guest in the hope she would find lasting peace.

 

Sunday, September 22, 2013

K. Sri Kantha

It is with much sadness that I convey to you the news that K. Sri Kantha of our batch has passed away. Please see the Obituary (sent in by Indra Anandasabapathy).
 
Dr. Sri Kantha, 73, of Madison, N.J., passed away at his home in Florida on Sept. 15. A funeral service will be held at Wm. A. Bradley & Son Funeral Home, 345 Main St, Chatham, N.J., on Monday, Sept. 23, at 11:30 a.m. Interment will be private. Relatives and friends are invited to visit on Sunday from 2 to 4 and 6 to 8 p.m. For further information or to send a condolence, please go to www.bradleyfuneralhomes.com Born and raised in Colombo, Sri Lanka, Dr. Kantha had also lived in England and Canada before moving to Madison in 1982. He was a graduate of St. Peter's College in Colombo and the Colombo Medical School. Following his residency in England, he was offered a fellowship in pain management at the prestigious McGill University in Montreal, Canada. Dr. Kantha returned to England as a consultant, then in 1982 joined the University of Medicine and Dentistry in New Jersey as an assistant director of the Pain Management Division. He eventually established a private practice in interventional spine care and retired in 2009. Dr. Kantha enjoyed travel and lecturing to the international medical community. He will be fondly remembered for his compassion, active lifestyle, and remarkable sense of humor. Dr. Kantha was the beloved husband of 42 years to Mano and loving father of Dr. Brinda Kantha and Anna Kantha; he is also survived by four brothers and one sister. In lieu of flowers, donations in Dr. Kantha's memory may be made to The Lewy Body Dementia Association at www.LBDA.org. - See more at: http://obits.nj.com/obituaries/starledger/obituary.aspx?n=sri-kantha&pid=167047705&#fbLoggedOut

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Nihal Amerasekera
               9:24 AM (11 hours ago)
to me
 
I am presently in anatalya in turkey when I received the sad news. May he have eternal peace.
 
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nithya jayawickrama
            12:27 PM (8 hours ago)
to me
 
I am indeed saddened by the news. Srikantha fondly called 'Norman', was my study partner with two others at Bloemfontain hostel. Every one knew him as he was such a vibrant character. We kept in touch in England too  when he was in Birmingham and also met him at a batch function in London. How ever he became rather a recluse in recent years. One incident which I remember well is how he and I obtained our Final MBBS results from the Dean Prof Dissanayake, as they were not published as we had defaulted payment of hostel fees!! 
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appu sumathipala
1:06 PM (8 hours ago)
to me
 
23 09 2013
Hi Lucky
thank you for informing about our old friend's death.
I have very good memories of his days in the Medical School and the Bloem hostel.He was nicknamed Norman as he had a similarity to good old Norman Wisdom.
I  met him for the first time, after Medical School days,in Birmingham UK,where he was a Senior registrar in Anaesthesia. and the last time I met him was at the 25th anniversary,held in London.
my deepest sympathies are with his  family.
Sumathi
 
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Asoka Wijeyekoon
3:49 PM (5 hours ago)
to me
 
Dear Lucky
Many Thanks for conveying the passing away of Sri Kantha I'm truly saddened I have many fond memories  at med school and later I did meet him in UK few years ago and found him to have the old great sense of humour but much more thought full and serious consiststant with his work in USA My Condolences to his wife and family
Thank you once again for your great work
Kindest Regrds
Asoka Wijeyekoon aka Lubber
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Swini Iyer
6:10 PM (3 hours ago)
to me
 
 
 
 
 
 



Hi Lucky
many thanks for letting me know regards Srikantha , is it the same chap we used to call oedema ?if it is the same one I relieved him in Wirawila TB hospital in 70 when rolled off a parapet wall and broke his collar bone. nevertheless it is sad . one less from our batch. hope you two are keeping well
 
regard
suren
 
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McCormick, Malkanthie I
8:04 PM (13 hours ago)
to me
 
Thank you for sharing. We will keep his family in our prayers.
 
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Dawala Ruberu
7:42 AM (1 hour ago)
to me
 
dear lucky,
thanks for the news ill send a message to the relations
regards,
kusuma
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manel lena
8:36 AM (49 minutes ago)
to me
 
Thanks Lucky. appreciate the updates and news. Sri Kantha was always smiling, joking and showing off his white teeth all 32 of them, in a contrasting background. Very sad to hear of his passing on.  best regards Sujatha   Maligaspe Lena
 
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INDRA
6:32 AM (2 hours ago)

to me
 
I was at the funeral  for Srikantha this morning. He was a good guy, good hearted , liked pranks, got into med. school & then got off the track for a time only to bloom late. It sort of is remarkable because here is a guy who did interventional pain management procedures in the 80' s when there were only a handful in the whole world doing them. FFARCS, Fellowship at Mc GILL, Montreal etc.

Alzheimers the cause.
 
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Lakshman Weerasooriya
7:44 PM (4 hours ago)
to me
HI Lucky,
Thanks for the note Re Sri Kantha passing away.I met him a few times.He was a much 
Changed individual since Med School.

Lucky W

Lakshman Weerasooriya
7:44 PM (4 hours ago)
 
 
HI Lucky,
Thanks for the note Re Sri Kantha passing away. I met him a few times. He was a much 
Changed individual since Med School.

Lucky W
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anton4410@aol.com
1:57 AM (5 hours ago)
to me
 





hi
with sadness I read about sri kantha
and remembered how much potassium in my body
last time I met him in London for the 25th reunion

SRI KANTHA AND KON BALA were room mates at blom

we planned and executed many mischiefs there
he had a photographic memory
when I met him in my home in la
he was a changed religious man very different to the man we saw in
med school
I certainly will miss him
may he rest in peace
anton ambrose





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Monday, September 16, 2013

Nihal (MDNK) Goonetileke was in town


Nihal (MDNK) Goonetilleke was in Sri Lanka recently on holiday from UK. Nihal was my Bestman when I got married 43 years ago. A few of us met him and reminisced about the past. Above picture shows from left to right: Sura, myself, Nihal, JC and HN.

Monday, September 9, 2013

CoMSAA Reunion 2013


Please click on the following link to see pictures from the CoMSAA Reunion held over the weekend at the Blue Water, Wadduwa.
Our batch was represented by 7 of us. In the last picture, you will see from left to right - Pram, myself, Sura, JC, Kusuma, Lalantha and Chandra. In one but the last picture, we had with us the oldest living alumnus of the Colombo Medical Faculty Dr. M. N. Burhan (General Surgeon who worked at the Colombo South Hospital and later at the General Hospital, Colombo). I am told that he is 93 years old. He is the father of Dr. Indrani Amarasinghe (Surgeon at the Maharagama Cancer Institute) and Shirani Thilakawardene (Supreme Court Judge).