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I describe here my first inklings of an initiative by the University Grants Commission that was to change my life. At the same time we heard that the thrust of British educational work in Sri Lanka was going to change, at the behest of a new Minister. The ODA expert on education, with whom David Woolger and I got on well, had no option, as he indicated to me, but to abandon what the Brits had done so well in the last decade and move instead to primary work.

The pictures are of Arjuna and of Lynda Chalker.

A changing scene

On Monday we had a meeting about the Asset course which I realized the Council would not let me continue with. On the next few mornings I spent much time at Bagatelle Road working on the new Primary books, but also went to my office at the Council for arrangements for the planned drama workshop.

The following week the Bakers were in town and we had lunch with them on the Wednesday and they hosted friends for dinner on Thursday and then Council staff for lunch on Friday. On the Tuesday we had had an expatriate reading his poetry and on Friday Reggie spoke on the War Poets.

The following Monday there was a meeting with ODA, which seemed to be with us all the time now, and the next day we had an education seminar in the morning with a Shakespeare programme Scott had produced in the evening to celebrate Shakespeare Day. That was repeated the next evening, when Neil also had a party for ODA. It was on that occasion I think that Arjuna Aluwihare first told me about the Affiliated English Colleges he was planning.

The next day we had a tea party at the Council after an EWC meeting, to launch the first number of the second volume of Channels, and that evening Gail hosted the ODA team to dinner. On Saturday I had IB examining, and on Sunday I went up to Aluwihare, from where I went to the Matale Education office next day to meet with Gail and the ODA Educatio Adviser Michael Francis, with whom I got on well. I went on then to check on a couple of schools, before lunch with Ena and getting back to Colombo. And that evening yet another of our ballet schools put on a performance at the Wendt.

The next day Chris presented scenes produced by the workshop he had conducted. I spoke to David the next day about ODA and on Thursday we had a final meeting with Francis with a post-mortem with David to follow. It seemed they were going to shift from the very successful work which had been done, to concentrate on primary. When, later I think, I upbraided Francis about this, he told me with a shrug of the shoulders that he had to serve his political masters and Linda Chalker, then his Minister, was very keen on primary education.

That night the NIE gave a dinner for the ODA team, and next day I tied up loose ends at the Council for the next day I left for four weeks away in Thailand and Cambodia and Vietnam and Laos.

I describe here the visit of one of my best friends at Oxford, Bruce Balden, while Scott’s partner was also here, along with a most distinguished dancer they knew called Lloyd Newsom. And in addition the Liberal Party and its think tank the Council for Liberal Democracy hosted a grand event, to launch the seminal book on Constitutional Reform which Chanaka Amaratunga had produced., following the seminar series we had commenced at the height of the JVP problem.

The pictures are varied, the original Navrang book, a picture taken during one of the early CLD seminars with two later very conservative stalwarts who ran CPA, Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu and Bradman Weerakoon in the foreground, then Bruce on the left and Lloyd Newsom, and finally a lovely old picture of Selwood, which still goes strong.

The visits of friends, mine and Scott’s

We entertained the children in the cast that evening after another play of Somalatha’s, and the next day I was recorded talking about Richard along with Ranmali and some other friends, I presume for the BBC. That evening Lesley Randles had another party, which she was good at, and in the night my old Oxford flatmate Bruce arrived, on a break from Bangladesh where he was teaching on sabbatical from the school he taught at in England.

Scott’s partner Chris was also back and the following night Scott had us both for dinner, along with his other Council friends, to meet a dancer called Lloyd Newsom whom he much admired. He was very gay, and with David and Mevan there too as well as Scott and Chris, Bruce was a bit bemused.

He set off to see something of Sri Lanka including, being Bruce, to climb Adam’s peak, we checked out a space for Lloyd to conduct a workshop, ending up at the Council. That evening I spoke there on Virginia Woolf, and also took delivery of the Crisis in Sri Lanka, an extension of the book Navrang had brought out in 1986. And the next day we got the 19th number of the Liberal Review. Both these featured a the reception the CLD held that evening at the Oberoi, though the main purpose was to launch Ideas for Constitutional Reform, the proceedings of our first seminar series. President Premadasa attended and the event went very well, and afterwards Anila had me for dinner with Bruce who had made it back for the event.

The inauguration of another CLD seminar took place at the BMICH next morning, and then we moved to the Oberoi for lunch and the continuation of the seminar that afternoon and the next day, with a dinner that night at the Hilton. The seminar only concluded on the Monday morning and then that afternoon I took Bruce and Scott and Chris to Aluwihare via Pinnawala and Lankatilleke. Unfortunately I had to visit schools in Matale the next day, and then schools in Dambulla and Galewela after lunch at Aluwihare, getting back to Colombo in the evening.

The next day we opened Geoffrey’s Exhibition and then had dinner at Anila’s, and then Bruce left the next morning. The following morning I went to Nuwara Eliya by train with Shanthi to spend the weekend with Sharya and her parents at Selwood. It was a melancholy occasion, but we played Cluedo as we had done in the distant days after I had come back from Oxford.

By this time I was doing a vast amount of work for the Ministry of Education, following Lalith Athulathmudali’s efforts to revitalize English Teaching, but this of course upset Gail the more, for she herself was not capable of such support. I recall then Mrs Baker telling me, soon after she met me, that Rex had told her I was far too qualified for the job I was doing, but then, with no insecurities himself, he knew how to make use of me. Both Gail and Neil were totally fazed by their comparative lack of academic accomplishments, and took refuge in trying to cut me down. Fortunately by then I had support from the Canadians, in addition to my other contacts.

The pictures are of the Deniyaya Convent and the New Oriental Hotel and the Matara Resthouse.

Work for the Ministry of Education

On Thursday I went to Galle with Scott for a Prinsett Immersion Course, and after visiting the Education Office and the RESC went on to the Matara Resthouse for lunch. I saw the District accountant that afternoon and then had a drink on the Resthouse verandah before dinner and a walk. Next morning I visited schools in the Akuressa and Morawaka and Deniyaya Divisions and dropped in at Deniyaya on Nimali Kannangara, a remarkable lady who had been married to a UNP stalwart, Aelian Kannangara. She was his second wife and he had left her his property, but she gave it all to the children of his first marriage and went to live in retirement at a Convent in Deniyaya. We had been in touch because she thought our books very helpful for the children of the area to whom she was trying to teach English.

After more schools in Matara, I went back to Galle to stay at the NOH. I had drinks there with Scott and Barbara, and then two American VSOs who were helping on the Prinsett course as Scott was joined us, and for dinner. When I got back to Colombo next day, I was delighted to get the go ahead from CIDA for yet more books, now done directly through the English Association.

Their cheque arrived on Monday, when I was approached by the BBC regarding a programme on Richard. The next day we had a seminar on our Low Price Publications and that evening Gill and I saw Roland at the Central Cultural Fund. On the next two days I judged the Schools Shakespeare Competition semi-finals, with the usual hospitality at the Flower Drum for lunch. On the Friday I went down with David to the NOH to join Scott, and I had a literature class the next day for the course before visiting the RESC, and then lunch at the Sinbad Hotel on the way back. I saw the Shakespeare finals that night with Scott and had dinner at his flat.

The next day we had interviews for a messenger for our Unit which Neil had deemed necessary, and picked a delightful assistant from the library who got on very well with Savanthi, the new secretary for the Unit who had been hired in our absence. We had selected another lady earlier but she was quite chaotic and had left, and Ranmali and Clive and his Secretary Jenny had chosen Savanthi who was quiet and extremely efficient and continued to work for me when needed after I had left the Council.

I am fascinated, going through this, at the amount of work in music we continued with, something that was in short supply afterwards. But in these dying days of the Council showcasing British culture, there was a wonderful lady in the London Music Department, Marion Glazebrook, who much appreciated an enthusiasm that matched with hers, and she helped us to have a full programme, both people she toured and those we picked up as it were, travelling independently.

The pictures are of Scott and Neville, I could not trace Marion.

Music and education

After the day spent on Gill’s archaeology project, I toured a number of schools in Moneragala and Wellawaya, having lunch at the sports meet being conducted at one of them, and spent that night again at the Victory Inn. Next day was more Moneragala Schools and also some in the Bibile Division. Then I went on to Amparai to pick up Scott who had gone there for workshps, and returned for the night to the Wellawaya Resthouse.

Back in Colombo next day we registered students for classes the English Association planned, and next day I had to be back at the Council for Asset payments and further arrangements. The next day, Monday, Neil had a dinner for the ODA team. The following day I had a long chat about Neil with John Payne, the only sane member in my view of the Senior Council Management team, and though he was circumspect it was clear he shared my views.

On Thursday we met with the ODA team and had lunch with them, and the following evening Scott hosted Neville Kanakaratne for drinks and dinner at Bagatelle Road. And then I had to go to the airport to pick up a touring musical group called No Strings Attached. I took them next day via Pinnawala to Kandy where they performed in the Council hall. We got back the next day, via Lankatilleke, where they had a workshop at the Council, and that evening Neil had a dinner for them. On Monday they performed at the Galadari and were given drinks afterwards at the Intercontinental.

On the Tuesday we had a visit from a senior officer of the Council in London, who met with the staff too on the Friday, but nothing much else happened that week.  I continued with the proofs of the HIEE book, no easy task given the range of papers and writers Jamie had put together, and then on the Sunday we had what was termed a Jazz Jam at a club in Colombo with a visiting Trio whom I took to Kandy on the Monday. They performed at the Queen’s but we spent the night at the Suisse, and then, after much running around – to the Library and the Public Library and the Queen’s and the Education office – for reasons I do not now remember, we got back to Colombo. I saw Geoffrey again that evening about the Exhibition and the Cafeteria, and that night Neil had a dinner for the Trio.

I had forgotten to note yesterday that I was returning to the British Council, and my travels in the early nineties, having completed ten posts about travels with Kithsiri half a decade later. This post too continues with a range of work, though by now it was clear that the Brits at the Council were determined to stop much of what I was engaged in.

The pictures are from another nocturnal visit to Polonnaruwa, when the lighting was perfunctory. What Springford had achieved a quarter of a century earlier was now ancient history too.

Work with Scott Richards and Gill Juleff

After the workshop in Matale with Scott, we spent the night at Ena’s, and next day I looked at schools in the distant Laggala Division of Matale, astonished at this poverty stricken area in what I had thought of as a prosperous district. I had obviously been right to suggest Matale as a beneficiary of furniture, though my motives had been more selfish in that it gave me a chance to visit Ena.

Scott left that evening and I stayed on, getting to Colombo with Ena on Sunday when Chitra had a dinner for Scott and his mother as well as family friends. Next day I spoke to ODA about the Assets and my Drama work, since by now Gail was casting dark looks at all this work which was too unorthodox for her rather simplistic view of what ELT support should entail. But that night she hosted a dinner for Scott.

On the Wednesday I presented books to Lalith at the UGC, and then left for Anuradhapura with Nirmali, picking up Scott and his mother from Kurunagala on the way. We stayed at the Tissawewa Resthouse and next day I visited a number of schools with Nirmali, and then she and Mrs Scott and I went to Polonnaruwa where we were treated to a display of the lights. Unfortunately Roland Silva did not work on a programme to use the lights to attract tourists, but he was always helpful when I asked for a display, which I felt was a reasonable request for a Council specialist – or rather the mother of one, for Scott I think did not join us that evening, finding his mother difficult in too long a dose. Ena did, coming up from Aluwihare, and I found it fascinating to watch the two powerful old ladies dealing with each other.

I left Nirmali and them at the Resthouse for only two rooms were available, and stayed myself at the Seruwa hotel. Next day I went to a number of Polonnaruwa schools before getting back to Anuradhapura to stay at the Tissawewa Resthouse before getting back to Colombo next morning. And that was when we learned that Neil had been called back to London.

On Monday February 18th there was a memorial service for Richard on the 1st anniversary of his death, after which David had me for drinks, appropriately enough for he was now the friend in Sri Lanka I found most sympathetic with Richard gone.

Next evening I set off after work to Ratnapura, spending the night at the pleasant Kalavati hotel before going early next morning to Gill’s archaeological site near Samanalawewa. We had lunch at the site and I prepared my reports, waited for a tea party to say goodbye to one of the British staff members, and then went on to the Victory Inn at Moneragala for the night.

I relate here how, after I had shown up how deceitful Neil Kemp was, he went back to London. I thought there might be some sort of a connection, in that it was clear the vast majority of senior staff found him appalling, but of course nothing overt was said, and it was only recently that I heard that Council lore over the years was that I had done for him. But though he went, nothing could stop the downward slide of the Council after Mrs Thatcher had turned it into a commercial enterprise and the idealistic staff who had done so much for both Britain and the countries they served in faded away. 

The pictures are of Geoffrey with Ena and of Ismeth Raheem and of David Gladstone, with two British Council representatives interspersed, Neil Kemp and Richard Jarvis, both in later years.

The departure of Neil Kemp

Next day I went to Horton Plains with Raji and Mali for a lovely long weekend, which he had arranged for older friends. Back at the Council on the Tuesday, I went to Geoffrey Bawa’s for we were putting on an Exhibition for him. He had been enthused by the success of Ena’s exhibition, and we became quite close now, which helped when Neil wanted to put up a cafeteria in the garden. I asked him at the senior staff meeting whether he had consulted Geoffrey, who had designed the original building, and he hesitated so I said it was not proper to do anything without informing Geoffrey and said I would check.

Neil could not object, and when I saw Geoffrey it was clear he knew nothing of what was going on and thought the idea terrible. He told me to say so but I said I needed something in writing, at which he hesitated and then wrote with a flourish on a sheet of paper, ‘Can nothing be done to stop this monstrosity?’ I took it back and gave it to Neil, whose face fell.

That was the end of his plan, and indeed of him for soon afterwards he was recalled to London. This was presented as a promotion, but much later I was told that Council lore was that I had got rid of him. I am not sure whether David Gladstone, who got on well with Geoffrey, had got involved, but when Neil’s successor came the first thing he did was consult Geoffrey about a design for a cafeteria. Geoffrey refused to get involved, but told them to consult two of his former apprentices, Ismeth Raheem and Feroze Choksy, and chuckled at the idea of Richard Jarvis, a fussy little man as he put it, having to cope with Feroze who was also a fussy little man with a large presence. But Ismeth smoothed things over and took charge, and in the end a not totally preposterous building came up, though it ruined the lovely lines Geoffrey had laid out.

On Wednesday David finally introduced me to his partner Mevan, at dinner at the German Restaurant with Scott too. Next day I met with the ODA reviewer and then saw Kamala at the Ministry, and left that afternoon with Scott for a workshop at a school in Matale.

This is a longer post than usual, for it takes me through to the end of May, after which I once more took on a permanent position at Sabaragamuwa. The pictures are of the Hanwella and Puttalam Resthouses with the Bandarawela Resort in between.

Last days as a freelance

It was on the following Wednesday March 19th that I travelled again with Kithsiri,  to the Peradeniya and the two Kandy GELTs, getting to Aluwihare for the night. Next day I saw the Gampola and Mawanella and Kegalle and Tholangamuwa GELTs, with lunch at the Kadugannawa Resthouse, and then got back to Colombo. That Sunday  sadly I had to go to Siron’s sister’s home for she had died, having suffered from cancer, exacerbated I believe by the university establishment replacing her at Trincomalee with someone who cared for the position but not education.  

The following Tuesday I went with Kithsiri after work at the UGC to the Narammala and Kuliyapitiya and Chilaw GELTs and spent the night at the lovely little Battulu Oya Resthouse. Next day I marked papers there and slept and then had lunch at the Puttalam Resthouse before seeing the Puttalam and Anamaduwa and Nikaweratiya GELTs and then getting back to Colombo.

Then on Friday March 28th I set off for the United States for a tour the Americans had arranged for me, getting back to Colombo only on Wednesday May 7th. Because of the American trip I had deferred taking up my post at Sabaragamuwa University, in fact until the beginning of June because I had a few more commitments before I could settle down to a full time position.

After work at the UGC and Nirmali’s on Wednesday May 14th I went with Kithsiri to the Dehiwela and Piliyandala and Pannipitiya GELTs and spent the night at the Hanwella Resthouse. Next day I went to the Eheliyagoda RESC and then saw Somasundara at Belihuloya before going on to the Buttala and Moneragala and Bibile GELTs though only the second of these was functioning. And then I went to the Bandarawela Tourist Resort where I had stayed with Ena many years ago, to find Anberiya already there with Nirmali and Paru and Dinali, all of whom we had roped in.

I started the workshop off next morning, but went after lunch to look at the Badulla and Bandarawela GELTs before leading another session before dinner. We then feasted on cake and played cards, and I was given shirts by Paru and Anberiya for it was my birthday.

The workshop took the whole of the next day though in the evening, I presume at Kithsiri’s request, I went to another Resort to watch a cricket match. But I was back at the Tourist Board Resort for breakfast and a long morning at the workshop before lunch and the return to Colombo.

The following Wednesday May 28th I went with Kithsiri, in my father’s car, to a Kurunagala and the Galgamuwa GELTs, with the night at the Anuradhapura Tourist Resthouse. Next day I went to Vavuniya and took a GELT class and then came back to the Anuradhapura College before a quick nap at the Resthouse. Then I visited the Anuradhapura and Kekirawa GELTs and went to Aluwihare for the night.

I spent the morning there and then went to the Polonnaruwa and Hingurakgoda and Dambulla GELTs, getting back to Aluwihare for the night. Then on Saturday the 31st I left early to have breakfast with the Bishop of Kurunagala before a service and a formal breakfast to follow, I presume in memory of my mother. I went then to the cemetery to put flowers on Lakshmi’s grave and then saw her old friend Justice Victor Perera, also a Catholic, about adding an inscription about her on the cross which commemorated her mother and father who were buried there.

I also visited the weekend GELT at St. Anne’s and then picked up Anila who had now taken my mother’s place on the Bishop Lakshman Wickremesinghe Trust, and took her to Colombo.

Next day I worked at Nirmali’s and then after lunch dropped in at the UGC with Kithsiri and went on to Belihuloya where a guesthouse had been got ready for my use. Next day, Monday June 2nd, I took up my duties there.

This post describes the death of my mother in England, at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford.

My mother’s death

My parents left for England the evening after that last dinner at my sister’s, to relax before she entered the hospital the following week, and I set off the next day with Kithsiri to leave books at Kurunagala and with the Wehelles, before spending the night at the Anuradhapura Tourist Resthouse. Next morning I went to Vavuniya to see the Rector of what was now the Vavuniya campus of Jaffna University, left books there and at the Matale RESC after dropping in at the Walauwe, and then at the Kandy RESC and St. Mary’s in Kegalle and in Gampaha before getting home.

On Friday February 7th I left to join my parents in England, and had a harrowing few days, worrying about my mother as she faded after the operation and looking after my father who was overwhelmed with grief. Fortunately we had friends and relations who rallied round, and helped us cope.

We returned to Colombo on the 18th with the body and had the funeral on the 20th. My brother did not come, but sent his son who turned up late for the funeral, and that day attended an event described as ‘Seema’s Birthday Bash’.

I spent that week at home, but resumed work at the UGC and Nirmali’s on Monday February 24th and travelled again with Kithsiri the following Monday. The GELT had now resumed and, leaving books at Eheliyagoda and Ratnapura, visited those GELTs and the Ruwanwella one before getting to the picturesquely situated Kegalle Kurulukeley Inn for the night. 

Next day I left books at the Kandy and Matale RESCs and had lunch at Aluwihare before seeing the Daumblla and two Kurunagala GELTs. After talking to staff at Palapathwala’s I got back to Colombo and worked at the UGC and Nirmali’s on the next two days, leaving on Thursday afternoon with Kithsiri to see the Jaela and Minuwangoda and Negombo GELTs, with the night at the Gampaha Resthouse.

I attended the wedding of my of the Instructors from Pasdunrata I had recruited to USJP in 1992, and then looked at the Veyangoda and Gampaha GELTs though the Kelaniya one had finished by the time I got there and I could only talk to the teachers. I got back home that night, for I could not stay away for too long though by now I had weaned my father from wanting me to sleep with him.

I worked at Nirmali’s over the weekend and at the UGC next morning, and then went to Nirmali’s to finalize the Liberal book and give it to our printer. Then I set off with Kithsiri to visit the Ambalangoda and two Galle GELTs, which had nearly 600 students between them. We stayed at the Dickwella Beach Hotel that night and dropped books at the Tangalle RESC next morning and had lunch with Nimalka and then visited the Tangalle and Walasmulla GELTs. We were too late for Embilipitiya and could meet just a few students and the stall, and then we went back to Colombo.

I describe here my selection to the post of Professor of Languages at Sabaragamuwa University but this was overshadowed by my mother going to England for her operation, for which I accompanied her and my father since my brother could not make it as had been initially anticipated.

The pictures are of the fabulous tree at the Belihuloya Resthouse, and then the Resthouse at Haputale.

A new position

On Saturday December 28th I worked at the UGC as well as Nirmali’s and then went that evening with Kithsiri to see Palapathwala at Kurunagala and Janaki Munasinghe at Anuradhapura before spending the night at the Maradankadawala Inn, the lesser I think of the two resthouses there. Then on Friday I went to Aluwihare and on then with Ena and Karim to Wasgamuwa for yet another New Year with the Raheems, this time at the Gale Bangalawa. Once more we had a wonderful time, and glorious food, though we left on the 1st, getting to Aluwihare for that night, managing just soup and sandwiches on the lawn for dinner.

I went to Colombo next morning via the Kandy RESC and the Kegalle St. Joseph’s Centre to leave books, and went to the UGC after collecting clothes from home and dropping them at the flat. But then on Saturday January 4th I left for Chennai for a couple of conferences in India. Before I went I dropped in at home where my sister asked if I could go with my parents to Oxford for the operation the following month. We had assumed my brother would go, given his experience of the John Radcliffe, but he had said he could not and my sister too was busy on the days of the operation so I said I would go.

I got back from India only on Sunday the 19th and went back home since my  sister-in-law had now left. I had to deal too with a Liberal delegation from Taiwan, whom I hosted for dinner at home on their final night, the last feast my mother presented at Lakmahal.

Then on Thursday January 30th, I went with Kithsiri to the Kalutara RESC and stayed that night at the Hikkaduwa Beach Hotel. I went to Galle next morning to leave books, and then to Tangalle where Nimalka gave us lunch, and then Buttala and Welimada also to leave books before spending the night at the Haputale Resthouse.

On the Saturday I had lunch at the Belihuloya Resthouse and then went to the university for an interview, after which I was told I had been selected for the post of Professor of Languages. I got back home that evening and worked next morning at Nirmali’s on the Bangladesh paper and then on the Liberal book, going that evening to Anila’s for dinner with my parents. I was happy to tell them then of the new post, for I knew they had been worried when I resigned from Peradeniya, and now I was at the level I would have achieved had I simply stayed on there, several years before that would have been possible at Peradeniya.

There was much travel over the next few months, but I did manage a few trips with Kithsiri. I had also by now decided to apply to Sabaragamuwa and worked well with Nirekha Weeratunge whom I knew from long ago, and whom Somasundara had put in charge of a new curriculum.

The pictures are of the view from the rock at Aluwihare and from the Araliya and Collingwood hotels, and then the Polhena Reef and Nirekha. I was so lucky to travel so much in those days in this beautiful country.

Intense travel and much work

I had much travel overseas over the next couple of months in connection with my new responsibilities for the Liberal Party, not least because I was the only theoretician left. Otherwise I worked in Colombo so it was only on Saturday November 2nd that I set out again with Kithsiri after a full day’s work at Nirmali’s. We spent the night at the Nittambuwa Ranthisara Hotel, going on to see Palapathwala in Kurunagala before getting to Aluwihare for lunch. I had the Monday there as well, going up on both evenings to the rock above the house which gave a wonderful view of the valley and the hills opposite, a practice Ena and I indulged in until she became too frail for it. After her death I would go up there with Kithsiri, to remember fondly our days with her.

On the Tuesday I went to the Matale and Kandy RESCs and the university and the Education Office and then had lunch at Derrick’s before seeing Jean Arasanayagam and then going to Nuwara Eliya to stay at the Collingwood Hotel. Next morning I went to the RESC and the Education Office and then drove down to the Eheliyagoda RESC before getting back to Colombo with dinner at Nirmali’s.

The following Monday after work at the UGC I was on the road again with Kithsiri, getting to the Araliya Hotel at Aluthgama for the night. It had a gorgeous view of the sea at sunset, which we enjoyed over our beers, before watching cricket on television. Next morning we went via Southlands and Mrs Nizam in Matara to drop books at Tangalle, getting back to the Polhena Reef Hotel for more beer by the sea and yet another cricket match. We dropped books at the Matara RESC next morning and saw our Coordinator at Southlands and then left books at the Kalutara RESC before getting back to Colombo.

Then on Thursday after the UGC I went with Kithsiri via his home in Karandana near Ingiriya to Belihuloya for a Faculty meeting, and there I met Nirekha Weeratunge whom I had known as a little girl in Moscow in 1975 when her father, father-in-law of my cousin Kshanika, was ambassador. She was now head of the department of Social Studies and had got me involved in preparing a curriculum for the new intake of regular university students. This was to be based on a Major/Minor concept, which Somasundara had proposed, a remarkable initiative on his part which gave us great flexibility. F

I got back that evening, going home for dinner now that things were easier there, though getting back to the flat for the night. I worked in Colombo then until the end of November and then went for meetings of the Council of Asian Liberals and Democrats, with Christmas abroad with friends, , getting back to Colombo only on Friday December 27th.

Rajiva Wijesinha

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