Monday, August 14, 2017

Tales of yester-year

Sent by Premalatha Balasuriya (Ranasinghe)- 1959 batch

1. New students had entered the Faculty and it was ragging time. I am relating one incident that I can recall. The fresher boys had to come in white trousers and during the interval they had to come to the lawn in front of the Physiology block. They had to roll up one trouser leg, wear jingle bells on the leg, wear the tie front to back (I can recall only this much). The so called ‘honourable seniors’ got them to march round and round the lawn saying ‘left, right, left, right’ The Dean – Prof Abeyratne, fondly referred to as ‘pachaya’- announced his arrival by a small cough and the seniors ran away. The boys continued to march. He came and asked ‘Are you a pack of lunatics from Angoda?’ No answer came. The boys continued to march saying ‘left, right, left, right’ for a time until they got chased away by the Dean. I am sure they enjoyed the fun.

2. There used to be an annual cricket match- staff vs block students in the 1960s. Sheriff Deen happened to be the compere.  Dr Watson had just started neurophysiology lectures and it was like Greek to most of us. When he started to bat, the compere announced ‘Dr Watson is receiving an afferent input from  ???? and he is sending an efferent discharge’ and so on..

3. When we were doing Prof C C de Silva’s appointment at LRH, Malkanthi (Dr Channa Wijesinghe’s wife) was the intern house officer. Prof used to sit at the table and teach with the students around him. The intern house officers had to be there. He carried a long knee hammer with which he used to hit anyone missing an answer to his question. Malkanthi happened to answer a question put to a student. He said ‘next time you do that, I will put you under the table’ and he did just that. Whenever a student missed answering a question he used to hit Malkanthi under the table with the knee hammer. She was shouting ‘Please don’t sir’. She had to wait there until the end of the class

Dr.D.F.De.S. Gunawardena was a Consultant Surgeon at the GH Colombo in the 1960s. He had a problem with his larynx and could not talk loud. The medical students had a joke circulating that they went to do his surgical appointment, to learn ‘The secrets of Surgery’. It was a New Years day and a new batch of twelve medical students, went to see Dr.D.F.De.S. Gunawardena in his ward, to start their surgical ‘clerking’ of two months surgical training. They were timid and got late by ten minutes. They went up to the Surgeon and wished him a ‘Good Morning. The Surgeon mumbled something in reply, with a dead-pan face. The students thought that the Surgeon was wishing them a Happy New Year. They replied in unison ‘Wish you the same Sir’. This time the Surgeon talked a bit louder and they heard him repeating ‘Get out’. It was punishment for getting late for the appointment.

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