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A self-indulgent rationale

I found when I was continuing with the series on ‘Travels with Kithsiri’ that the material I had with me on this new computer ran out suddenly, and I will only be able to resume the series when I am back in Colombo, perhaps only when my old computer is restored to me.

I wondered then as to whether I should worry about continuing with posts of this blog, for I realize that very few people look at it. But, apart from the fact that these posts help with the books about memory that I keep producing in these days of coronavirus, I would also like to fulfil the commitment I made to myself when restrictions began. This was to provide reading material of different sorts in the two Facebook pages I was responsible for, as well as my two blogs. And while clearly the world now seems ready to move on, I feel it would be good discipline to continue with this endeavor for the first thousand days of coronavirus. Assuming things are clearly better then, I will relax, but until that day, let me enter once more unto the breach, with a new series. But, having failed to post yesterday, since I woke on a houseboat where there was no internet, I thought I would for the next week or two confine this post to every other day.

Over half a century ago, when I was learning French, I read a collection of stories published by Penguin which carried the original French text in parallel with an English one. This was supposed to help students of the language but I cannot recall spending much time on trying to translate without looking at the English and then using it to check if I had understood.

I had not thought about the book for years until I came across a copy in Roshanara and wondered whether that was the copy I had read all those years ago. But it clearly was not, for its publication date was 1975 and the price was given in decimal currency, so what I had read before going to Oxford was an earlier edition.

Though I had not thought about the book for years, I did have the fondest of memories about the first story in the collection, by Alain Robbe-Grillet, which I thought the epitome of what a tone poem should be. But looking up what the term refers to, I find it is used rather about music, such as for instance Debussy’s ‘Afternoon of a Faun’. And when talking about prose, the term used in a prose poem, whereas to me what Robbe-Grillet produced in this short story, ‘La Plage’, ‘ The Beach’, was of a genre which I saw too in Virginia Woolf’s ‘The Waves’ and which I tried in those distant days of childhood to reproduce. One such effort was published in the College Magazine, and though no one I think understood what I was trying to do, my efforts at this stage were sanctified since I had just got an Open Exhibition to Oxford at the age of 16. This seemed incredible to my peers and the authorities, and it still seems incredible to me, not that I do not think I deserved it, but because it seems to me now sheer effrontery to have tried.

What I thought was a tone poem in prose was something that used language rhythmically, often with repetition that reinforced a description, to create a scene not necessarily of beauty but of memorability. The prose had to be rhythmical, which is something I have always thought important, and which perhaps led to what I feel is the most telling comment even about serious political papers I wrote, that they were always elegant.

The first picture here is of Alain Robbe-Grillet, but the next is a taste of what this series will really be about, sunrise over the lake behind the first hotel I stayed in Alephuza, an instance of where the new name is more melodious than the old one, Aleppey.

This post continues with the saga of Ranil’s 2001 government, when I heard from his by then great admirer Ilika Karunaratne as to why he had sidelined the senior members of his party.

But then I have to stop because the rest of my account of what happened, over 2002, is locked up in the computer now given for repair.

And since I am travelling posts may be irregular over the next week.

The death of Gamini Athukorale

The two most senior members of the party, Karu Jayasuriya and Gamini Athukorale, had been given unimportant Ministries and she told me this was because Ranil could not trust them, since they had been involved in trying to replace him as UNP leader. So, though it had been expected that they would be given Finance and Defence, those were instead given to parliamentarians appointed on the National List, whose sole allegiance was to Ranil, and who proved disastrous.

On the 31st I was again at the Ministry, also seeing the head of the General Education 2 World Bank Project, into which the Materials Production component had been subsumed. Then in the evening, having dropped in at Anila’s, though before her party began, I went to the cottage where Kithsiri and I welcomed the New Year with drinks and chocolates.

That was the night Gamini Athukorale died, very suddenly. Mangala Samaraweera, devoted then to Chandrika Kumaratunga, charged that Ranil had been responsible for his death, which seems far-fetched. But it is possible that the LTTE, preparing to run circles round Ranil, eliminated him as the only person who stood between them and domination of the government.  

This post gives the reason for Lalith resigning, but also explores more about how Ranil functioned. His capacity for revenge was unlimited, and his Minister of Education also suffered as did Lalith. And so did other senior members of the party, as I found out on New Year’s Eve, though details of that must wait.

The seeds of failure

Lalith’s reason for leaving the Ministry was based on a simple point, that the new Secretary was someone who would not take decisions without heaps of supporting signatures, and indeed this diagnosis was confirmed some time later by Mr Wijayadasa who had been President Premadasa’s Secretary.

I upbraided him for having appointed Nanayakkara, for I had been told he had been on the selection committee. He said that had not been the case, but he know the man: he had come as a youngster to the President’s office and had been told every morning what he should do, and in the evening he had reported on the reasons why he had not been able to do anything. It was not long before Premadasa and Wijayadasa got rid of him.

The next day, Saturday, was Christmas, and we had the 5th Lane cousins for lunch, including Ranil. Kodituwakku had not been made a Minister, but was simply State Minister of Education, and he had two other State Ministers supposedly under him, for School Education and Higher Education. Both of them were Ranil’s favourites whereas Kodituwakku was supposed not to be in his good books, a fact which some years later Ravi Karunanayake explained to me. When I asked Ranil why there was no Cabinet Minister for Education, he said that had been an oversight, and it would be remedied.

But I do not believe it was an oversight, and the remedy was actioned only a couple of months later and by then the other two had entrenched themselves, and Kodituwakku felt sidelined, which had doubtless been Ranil’s intention. Later he told me that he spent most of his time at the Ministry of Cultural Affairs, which was also part of his brief, and where he did not have Ranil’s acolytes throwing their weight about.

In the evening I dropped in at the parties Nirmali and my sister had and then went to the cottage for the night. Next day I went to the university to teach, with a Faculty meeting in the afternoon, and then got back to the cottage. Next day there was a workshop at the NIE about the Colleges, and then I went to the Ministry to see the Educational Publications people, and then went to the Council for an EASL meeting. Nirmali and Neomal and I then worked on the books, and the next day was much the same, work on books and at the Ministry and NIE. The next day, Saturday, was only an NIE workshop, and I also prepared my work report for December, a practice I had started which had helped both Tara and me to measure progress.

On Sunday the 30th I prepared papers for a couple of conferences I had to get to in January, and that night had dinner at my cousin Kshanika’s. That was when Ilika Karunaratne, now firmly behind Ranil though she had been scathing about him when she was involved with Lalith Athulathmudali, revealed how paranoid Ranil was.

This continues with the sad saga of what happened at the Ministry, though I note too much other work, for the university and the Council for Liberal democracy, and for myself. And I still have fond memories of the teacher I met at a little school in Kalutara who was so very keen about English medium.

The picture is of the book I produced with Priyantha, proceedings in three languages of the CLD seminar series, the first trilingual publication I believe.

Keeping English medium going

After seeing Lalith that day I went to the NIE, and then saw Harsha and then worked on the CLD book. The next day, Saturday December 15th, I went after a Liberal meeting to the NIE for a workshop and then marked papers and had dinner with my father and Ayra who had come with him from Kandy. On the Sunday we had a workshop on the English materials, though where this was I have not recorded, and it may have just been our team preparing for a workshop for teachers. Then I finalized our Faculty minutes and met Priyantha about the CLD book. That evening my cousin Tekla and her husband Walter joined us for dinner.

On Monday, a holiday, we had a Materials workshop at the NIE for teachers, both morning and afternoon, and then I went with Kithsiri to buy paint and took this to the cottage. I cooked dinner that night, and then early next morning we went to the university for a day of administration, followed by classes next day after which I got back to the cottage. Next morning, having paid workmen, I went to the NIE where I met the science teachers, who we thought would have a tough time, but they were raring to go, and indeed one – in a small seaside school in Kalutara – told me that she had done her degree in English medium but had begun to lose the language and was delighted that now she would have a chance to use it again.

That afternoon I went to the Ministry, and found Lalith in increasing despair, for there was no work on what was happening, and though he had been offered a secretary post by another Minister he preferred to stay on at education which was something he loved. That night I worked on my articles and editing, and then next morning I was back at the NIE for a workshop, going on to the cottage, and then to the university where we had a Council meeting. Next morning I went to the Academy where I met Sameera and also Ruwan, and then I went to Yala to join Ena, but it was only for one night. Next day I saw Upali and Jothini together with Anuruddha, a contemporary of Ranga whom I had recruited to teach there, and then I took a class at the Radiant, saw my uncle and aunt, took another class at Madola, and then went to the cottage for the night. Next morning I went to the Ministry and met the new Secretary whom I found most unimpressive, and then I spoke to the Minister, and to Lalith, who I think then told the Minister that he would not stay on.

After ten posts about university work earlier in the mid-nineties, I return to my later work with Kithsiri, going into the aftermath of the General Election of 2001. I deal here with the problems that beset both the Ministry of Education and the English medium programme when Ranil Wickremesinghe became Prime Minister. Though his Education Minister Karunasena Kodituwakku was supportive, Ranil was against the programme and wanted it stopped. He also decimated the Ministry by ignoring his advisers who wanted Lalith Weeratunge appointed as Secretary, purely because of a personal grudge dating back to the days when Lalith had been a personable youngster in the Ministry of Youth Affairs which had been Ranil’s first Ministry.

Coincidentally the Daily News today carries my review of Tara de Mel’s book about her efforts at reform, and the challenges they faced, though she is too proper to name names about those who destroyed so much good that she did. I shall reproduce today that review, which makes clear who the enemies of promise were, on the literary blog literary blog http://rajiva2lakmahal.colombo.wordpress.com/

The pictures are of Lalith and those he claimed were his mentors, Charitha and Ranil, the former still registering his worth though the latter was incapable of this.

Ranil’s vengefulness

Next morning I went to the NIE and then to the Ministry where the new Minister, Karunasena Kodituwakku, assumed duties. I had known him and he seemed delighted to see me, and when I told him about the English programme and asked if he wanted me to continue with it, he said I certainly should. His next comment about it was to ask why so few schools had taken it up, and why we had not involved his old school Royal College. I told him that Royal College boys were not my first priority, but that they seem to have suffered because the Colombo Zonal Director had not favoured the project. Kodituwakku promptly remedied this, and whereas we began the first term on 2002 with just under 100 schools, by the second we had over 400. And throughout his tenure, he was solidly behind the programme – unlike the Prime Minister who, he told me, had surprised him by telling him he should abandon it. I continue grateful to him, as the country should be, that he did not give in, and English medium has thus far continued, though not as successfully as it would have done had Tara continued in charge.

I went on that day to the exams department and again the NIE and then back to the Ministry, and was back again there the next day – having first gone to the UGC to leave records, I presume for Arudpragasam – and was sad to find Lalith in a state of uncertainty about his future. After the election I had called up Charitha Ratwatte, Ranil’s right hand man, and suggested they keep Tara on but he started gabbling, which I knew meant he was not positive. I had thought this likely since Tara was identified with Chandrika, so I then suggested Lalith, and Chari said he thought it would be a good idea. In fact the committee to nominate secretaries, which he belonged to, did recommend Lalith but for personal reasons, spiteful ones, Ranil ignored them and appointed a disaster called V K Nanayakkara.

Instead Ranil brought in someone who President Premadasa’s Secretary Wijeyedasa told me later had been a pain. When told to do something, he would look up Administrative and Financial Regulations, and then say that it was impossible to act as instructed. 

Coincidentally the Daily News today carries my review of Tara de Mel’s book about her efforts at reform, and the challenges they faced, though she is too proper to name names about those who destroyed so much good that she did. I shall reproduce that review today on the literary blot

Ranil’s vengefulness

Next morning I went to the NIE and then to the Ministry where the new Minister, Karunasena Kodituwakku, assumed duties. I had known him and he seemed delighted to see me, and when I told him about the English programme and asked if he wanted me to continue with it, he said I certainly should. His next comment about it was to ask why so few schools had taken it up, and why we had not involved his old school Royal College. I told him that Royal College boys were not my first priority, but that they seem to have suffered because the Colombo Zonal Director had not favoured the project. Kodituwakku promptly remedied this, and whereas we began the first term on 2002 with just under 100 schools, by the second we had over 400. And throughout his tenure, he was solidly behind the programme – unlike the Prime Minister who, he told me, had surprised him by telling him he should abandon it. I continue grateful to him, as the country should be, that he did not give in, and English medium has thus far continued, though not as successfully as it would have done had Tara continued in charge.

I went on that day to the exams department and again the NIE and then back to the Ministry, and was back again there the next day – having first gone to the UGC to leave records, I presume for Arudpragasam – and was sad to find Lalith in a state of uncertainty about his future. After the election I had called up Charitha Ratwatte, Ranil’s right hand man, and suggested they keep Tara on but he started gabbling, which I knew meant he was not positive. I had thought this likely since Tara was identified with Chandrika, so I then suggested Lalith, and Chari said he thought it would be a good idea. In fact the committee to nominate secretaries, which he belonged to, did recommend Lalith but for personal reasons, spiteful ones, Ranil ignored them and appointed a disaster called V K Nanayakkara.

Another death in this post, and then politics when the President and the Prime Minister stymied the effort of the UNP Secretary to stand by the commitment President Premadasa had entered into with him. In retrospect it was ironic that Ranil should thus have stymied Premadasa’s legacy, whereas his family had been complaining that this was precisely what Wijetunge had done in bringing Gamini Dissanayake back into the party. The pictures are of that strange quadrilateral, and its victim Chanaka.

Towards the 1994 General Election

In this time of constant bereavement I went next morning to the little Mirchandani house in Wellawatte for Teku Mirchandani had died. He was the elder of two brothers we had known well, who had run Himalaya’s near the Savoy where we had got lots of clothes tailored and bought all our childhood suitcases. Teku was not married but my father had got the only child of his brother Ram into S. Thomas’ where he had done well, including as an actor along with Chanaka and Richard and the Ponniahs.

Then it was the UGC and Nirmali’s and then classes at the Ministry before getting back to Nirmali’s. I worked that day and the next, July 1st, on proofs of the Ordinary Level book, while on the latter day we had a meeting at the UGC of ELTUs. The following day there was another funeral, of my cousin Channa’s wife’s father, and then the Liberal Party met about nominations for the election, after which I worked at Nirmali’s, going that evening for the homecoming of Diamanthe Wijetunge, one of the three girls we had taken on for the first GELT book project over five years earlier.

Sunday was a quiet day at home, when I wrote out the objectives of the GELT course for the UGC, and also thank you notes, I presume after the funeral. Then on Monday 4th July work resumed with a trip with Kithsiri. Back in Colombo after almost a week,  I had a class at the Ministry and then lunch then with Anila, whose friend Shanthi Ranasinghe was visiting, and then I went to Raymond’s to collect my grandmother’s ashes which we interred in the family grave. Then I went to the Council for the memorial for Bill McAlpine we had arranged, with an Emergency meeting of the Liberal Party to follow. Though it had been agreed by Premadasa that Chanaka would be accommodated on the National List, and though the Secretary of the Party whom Wijetunge had appointed had confirmed this, Ranil persuaded D B Wijetunge to renege on the agreement. He was bitter about Chanaka having been critical of J R Jayewardene and told Wijetunge that he should not promote someone who had also criticized him. So we ended up in an alliance with the Muslim Congress which pledged to put Chanaka into Parliament.

I got back to the Council after that for the end of the party that had followed our event, and then worked on proofs for the Ordinary Level Book. Next day, after work at Nirmali’s and the UGC I was off again with Kithsiri, getting back on the Sunday when I worked on the USJP external syllabus. Next morning I had classes at USJP with work at the UGC and Nirmali’s in the afternoon, followed by a Liberal meeting and then more proof correction.

This post ends with the death and the funeral of my grandmother. She had been ailing so it was not a shock, but it was difficult to register that the powerful personality was no more.

And I describe too another death, of someone I hardly knew, but which was unexpected and tragic.

The picture is of my grandmother and my aunt Lakshmi, at my sister’s wedding in 1986, the last picture I have of her dressed up. She was always a grand figure despite her small stature.

The death of my grandmother

Regi spoke at the Council that evening and then I called Palihawadana about what was happening and found that he too was worried about the future of the AUCs. But given the prevailing political uncertainty it was difficult to know how to proceed, and in fact the following day the President dissolved parliament, with an election fixed for August.

I worked at Nirmali’s that day, also preparing for my paper for Leeds, and then next morning, after dropping in at the UGC I went with Nirmali in her van to the Ministry to pick up Rapthi. We dropped in that afternoon at the Hanwella and Ruwanwella GELTs and then drove up through Ginigathena to the Hatton Resthouse where we spent the night, with cards after dinner. Next morning I dropped in at the house of the Talawakelle Coordinator and then at the Nuwara Eliya and Bandarawela RESCs and then went down to the Moneragala GELT but found it had finished early. We then went to an English Day at one of our project schools, left books for Mrs Siriwardena with her husbamd, and stayed that night at the Victory Inn where Nirmali and I had stayed for our first teacher workshop at the Buttala SIDA Centre.

Next morning we went to Girandurukotte and observed and took classes and went to Mahiyangana Resthouse for the night. I was shattered to find that one of the waiters who had looked after us so well on previous visits had died, swept away when waters had been suddenly released from the reservoir, when he had been bathing in the river.

We had classes again next day at the centre and then we drove back to Colombo, taking the boys also with us. Early next morning my mother asked me to look at my grandmother, who had stopped eating a couple of years ago. She had indeed died, and though she had been fading it was sad to see that once vibrant figure curled up lifeless on her bed. It was a merciful release, for her and also my mother who had had to care for her alone with all her brothers dead, even while her own heart condition was deteriorating.

I stayed at home that day though Siron dropped in for books, and in the evening I went to a requiem for Merle and Glen Perera. The latter, who had stood by me steadfastly during the problems at S. Thomas’ had died suddenly a few years back but her husband had survived though shattered by her death.

Next day I had to go to the UGC for a seminar we had arranged, but was back for the service at home before another service at the Cathedral and the cremation. Early next morning I went with my cousin Shan to collect the ashes, and then worked at Nirmali’a and in the afternoon at the UGC, with a quiet dinner that night at my sister’s.

This looks at yet another programme, initiated by Nirmali, and also describes gathering clouds when Dorakumbura turned hostile.

The second picture is of Prof Mendis Rohanadeera.

Another Ministry to support, and problems at USJP

Next morning I had classes at USJP and then at the Ministry of Plan Implementation, arranged by Nirmali. She had done this at the request of her old friend Wickrema Weerasooriya who was now back in action in Sri Lanka, having stayed away in Australia while Premadasa was in power. But he was now part of Gamini Dissanayake’s team to get him the leadership of the UNP, and since President Wijetunge was keen to balance between Gamini and Ranil he gave Wickrema prominence, through a leading role at the Ministry of which he had been Secretary under JR Jayewardene’s government. Its Secretary was a man called Maliyadde, who took up Wickrema’s suggestion that he get Nirmali to run English classes for his staff, and she roped me in for this as also Rapthi, who had been such a success on the Girandurukotte programme, and proved as effective with adults.

After that I was at the UGC and then we had a Liberal Party meeting. On Wednesday I taught at USJP where we had a saff meeting, and then worked at the UGC before a CLD seminar at the Oberoi. And then I briefed Dinali and Rapthi and one of our USJP instructors about the Ministry work.

I went to an Exhibition opening next morning at the Council and worked at Nirmali’s before an anniversary dinner for my parents at my sister’s. The next day, June 17th, before I went to the UGC, Ruby called to invite me to a seminar the Peace Corps would have in Manila the following month, ample consolation for learning later that I had not been selected for Anuradhapura, the position going to Prof Rohanadeera who had been so bitter about Dorakumbura’s appointment as Vice-Chancellor at USJP.

On Saturday I worked at NIrmali’s, and on Sunday too, after speaking at a seminar at the Oberoi about the presidential system. Earlier Paru had called about Dorakumbura asking her to take over as Coordinator at one of the AUCs but I said I would talk to him about it. Monday and Tuesday was USJP classes in the morning and the UGC in the afternoons, with a lunch on the Monday given by the new teachers at the ELTU. On the Tuesday I spoke to Dorakumbura and found him very hostile, claiming that I had been very critical about him. I wondered whether this had been Ratnasiri putting the worst construction possible on my worries about what was happening with regard to the AUCs but, though she was not very bright, I do not think she was nasty and the problems were probably more to do with Gunasinghe.

I think I held off interference at this stage, but soon she was appointed to another of the AUCs, without any consultation, and I realized she could not continue to cross him. But I was glad that he obviously had confidence in her, for her own commitment boded well for our programmes even if he got rid of me. And while Rahangala was still problematic, with different hopeless directors, Bamunuaarachchi at Buttala was a decent man with full confidence in Mrs Siriwardena and there was no reason to worry about the programme there.

This post records an interesting workshop at a RESC, where I slept on the floor along with the teachers, with Nirmali and other resource persons coming during the day to contribute.

The pictures are of Prasad and Oranee, there sadly being none available of delightful old Mr. Rajapakse.

A workshop at the Eheliyagoda RESC

It was USJP classes as usual on the next two mornings, with the UGC in the afternoons, but NIrmali took me to dinner on the Monday night and my father had several nieces for dinner at home the next night. Before that I had seen Prof Palihawadana who was also worried about how strangely Dorakumbura was behaving.

On the Wednesday I went with Kithsiri to USJP for my class and to check then on progress on the External Degree which the Senate had approved, and then dropped in at the NIE to leave the new book for A J Gunawardena, since he had initiated it, with the manuscript left by Ranjith Goonewardena. The rest of the journey with Kithsiri has been already recorded.

I got back after several days for classes at USJP on two mornings with the UFC on the Monday afternoon. That evening my former Peradeniya student Vijita Yatawatte came to see me with her husband for she had been appointed Director of the English Department at the NIE. He found that awkward and they were thinking of both moving into the AUC system, but I told her they should stay where they were, for that was much more important in terms of the impact on the country.

Then on Tuesday afternoon I was off again with Kithsiri, having to stay that night with his girlfriend’s family since there was no room at the Teldeniya Resthouse, which we reached after nightfall. Some days later Kithsiri dropped me at the Eheliyagoda RESC, run by one of David Woolger’s favourite students called Prasad Kodituwakku, where the Ratnapura Director of English Mr Rajapaksa had arranged a workshop for GELT teachers in the area. I was startled to find that we were all expected to sleep on the ground in the hall, and there was just the one bathroom, but everyone was very deferential and it proved a pleasant enough stay.

The opening session was that evening, and next morning after a couple of model sessions Dinali and Nirmali arrived and took classes. I had a session Grammar in the evening and then the ladies in the group gave us some songs. The workshop continued next day, and Oranee too turned up. I think Nirmali must have brought her for I do not think she had stayed the night, and we all went back with Nirmali’s husband Mervyn, who had had some work in Ratnapura. And that evening there was a party given by the Asia Foundation.

On Monday I worked at the UGC after dropping at the Council which was sponsoring a trip for me to a conference at Leeds University. I also faced an interview for the post of Director of the Anuradhapura AUC since I realized USJP was closing up, but since Dorakumbura chaired the selection committee that seemed a non-starter. That afternoon I slept and went to see Ian with Gillian and then worked at Nirmali’s.

This describes my last long journey with Jayantha, perhaps indeed the last. He was not in Kithsiri’s league at all, for the idea of staying overnight in Mutur frightened him so he left me and went back to Trincomalee. But once again I had a most instructive time in Mutur, this time seeing the simple homes of some of the AUC students.

Then I note my first visit to the delightful old house on the Peradeniya Road into which Jean Arasanayagam had moved, a great setting for her ebullient vagueness, captured in this picture. And I end with the publication of the book I had produced for A J Gunawardena, as a tribute to his former colleague Ranjith Gunawardena who was Oranee’s brother.

Another workshop in Mutur

I was at the UGC again next morning and in the afternoon Siron turned up, to talk about another workshop she had arranged in Mutur, which of course I could not refuse to run. Saturday was work at Nirmali’s and then on Sunday I went with Jayantha, my last trip with him I think, to Trincomalee where we had an Examination Board meeting at the AUC before going to Fr. Leo’s for the night.

Next morning after a Board of Study meeting I went to Mutur on the ferry with three AUC students who came from there. After lunch I went to the Education office and visited the GELT Centre but then Jayantha, who had come, said he was not too happy with the place and took the ferry back, to stay at the AUC. But then the students took me to their houses, which was a fascinating experience for a couple were simply thatched huts, where the boys had had to study by the light of oil lamps. Interestingly, their very smart friend who was at Colombo university came from a marginally more affluent home.

The teacher’s seminar took up much of the next day and then I was given a military escort to the ferry. Jayantha met me on the other side and took me to Fr. Leo’s where I had a swim before correcting proofs. Next day I worked on the Grammar Handbook and then went to the Trinco GELT after lunch and also then the Kinniya GELT, after which I returned to Fr. Leo’s.

Next morning I headed back, calling at the Matale and Peradeniya RESCs, with lunch at the Peradeniya Resthouse. Then I visited two Kandy GELT Centres and also the Poramadulla one, getting to the Hanguranketha Resthouse for the night. I saw the Centre Principal next morning and then went to see Jean Arasanayagam at the old family house on the Kandy Peradeniya Road into which she had moved, a wonderful old setting for her. Then there was a workshop at the Peradeniya RESC, after which I went back to see the Hingurakgoda and Polonnaruwa RESCs, spending that night at the Polonnaruwa Resthouse.

I was at Girandurukotte next day to take a class and check on exams and conduct some interviews, and then I went to Colombo, working next day on the Grammar book and much else at Nirmali’s and taking delivery of Studying Literature and Society.

Rajiva Wijesinha

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