Tuesday, October 31, 2017
Recalling old days
E.mail responses to the 'Resurruction' series written by me
Dr.Tissa Kappagoda, e.mailed on 22/6/2006
This is so vivid. I have spent the best part of thirty years chasing Claude Bernard and his internal environment! This was the topic of the oration I gave earlier this year at the SLMA. Professor Koch's lectures were exactly as you described them. Their significance dawned on me 10 years later when I started doing research in Leeds. Things went the full circle for me when I was invited by the Physiologists in Colombo to deliver his memorial lecture. Professor Basnayake was in the audience and he came up to me before the lecture and asked me if I remembered him! How could one forget these people?
My overwhelming impression of Professor Basnayake was his sense of kindness. In many ways one felt that it was genuine reflection of the man himself and how he viewed his place in the world. Around 1989 I was visiting my parents in Kandy and someone suggested that I give a lecture to the Department of Physiology in Peradeniya. After my presentation, Professor Basnayake offered to give me a lift to my parents' home in Kandy. As we left the Department and headed to his car he suddenly excused himself and rushed back to re-position a saucer which was by the door of the building. I noticed that it contained some colorless liquid and as we moved away I asked him what he was doing with it. I was thinking in terms of a physiological experiment. "It's the ants," was all he said and we moved on to other topics. Much later I mentioned this to a friend at Peradeniya who smiled and said, "That's Bassa for you!" According to my friend Professor Basnayake was moving the saucer which contained some sugary liquid to a spot where the ants could get better access to it. Although I cannot vouch for the accuracy of his interpretation, it is conceivable that his concern extended to more than humans and puppies......