Thursday, December 30, 2010

First in the batch...!!! - by E/81/214

“You have come from the second best school of the country to the best engineering faculty…”, the lean figure paused to clear his throat, “… and you have no excuse (for not knowing how to write Thevenin’s Theorem without a single mistake). Go to the library, refer a good text book and show me the correctly stated Theorem in the NEXT lab class!”

This event took place in late 1982. I was a second year student in his first Electronic lab class trying to measure a cell using a multi-meter and was unfortunate to be randomly selected by "Gunda" for his ill-famous questioning routine.

My “guestimate” of six volts for the cell we were going to measure using a multi-meter was pretty wrong.

That’s when the real questioning started.

I knew the theory of the Wheatstone’s Bridge and the operation of the Ni-Cd battery correctly but not the exact wording of the ill-famous “Any two terminal active network …”. Even if I had answered that question correctly, I knew that the quiz-master could continue until, eventually, I fail.

After all, I was just a second year student who was facing his day of judgement in front of the professor in electronic engineering by a mere coincidence.

Becoming the first person of my batch to have been thrown out of the electronics lab gave me a great satisfaction. That’s because I had just passed the first hurdle of becoming a celebrity; someone graduating with 16 subjects, some one coming back to the faculty in the Jeep in the “tourist season”, someone making the numbers of 600+ who sit the second year exams each year. Wow!

This was an important day in my university life neither because I learnt that the best school of the country is Mahinda Collage, Galle but not Ananda Collage, Colombo, as I have been incorrectly assuming, nor because I learnt the exact words of Thevenin’s Theorem by-heart. But more importantly, it started to become clearer to me that my selection of Peradeniya over Moratuwa had been a mistake, at least as far as academic work is concerned. But fortunately, studies were my least concern when I opted for Peradeniya in 1981!



  1. I also had the same experience ! I did not know , until now ,that u were the 1st person to be chased away by Gunda for not knowing the Thevinin theorem . Any way, the so called tourist season has become the thing of the past as the pass rate is well over 95% since the introduction of the new assessment and exam system . Prof Weerakoon, Dean said in his speech at our 25 jubilee party

    CMG Chandrasekera E/81/036

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  3. In 1981 there was a huge excalmation: "You get out of my lab!"

    It was so, so loud that nobody (including the instructors) did not know to whom it was meant. Basically, everybody felt it was for them, they all may have been on the verge of leaving. Looking around, it became clear to them. Well, it was for me. Unfortunately, because of me, my dear groupmates too had to leave. We picked up our belongings and left. The instructor Rathnayake watched in sympathy.

    Reason: the same intellectual matter ... Thevinin's Theorem!

    Darshi De Saram E/79/027

  4. Damn.. I am from the best school in the island. Didnt know. :)

    E-81-044 (I think)

  5. Ananda Piyatilake (E-81)October 5, 2011 at 5:29 PM

    I was chased away not for subject matter but for wrong English. I had written 'Priliminary Report'. Prof G asked what the error was. In my hurry I got it all confused and wrote 'Prileminary'. He laughed the typical laugh. I immediately realised and corrected it. But he calmly said 'you are not really sure' 'So go to the library. There is a book called 'dictionary'. Refer it. Learn the correct spelling and come back next day'.

  6. Very Interesting.......

  7. I am Mod and I was Asanka Perera's batch.I was expelled from the elctronic lab by GUNDA for a silly mistake. I had similar encounters with Prof. Sivasekaram in the thermodynamics lab and with Pathirana in the mechanical workshop (when I was a temporary instructor). The dictatiorship I underwent during my time at the E-fac drives me mad even now. But my batch mates were superb and that was the best part of my life.

  8. I was chased away from the Elect lab for not answering the question 'What is power?'. Then Prof. G asked me to go to the library to find the answer.
    Then I also had to visit as a tourist for a long period.

    - Chandanie - E/80/127

  9. Wonder which one was the best school Dr Guna had in mind as my school of JHC was the best in my days which sent the highest number of 15 out of 150 to new regulation 4 year engineering at Efac . I still got the daily news paper cutting of 1967 with me?.I was the top maths prize winner and came within top 5 percent among 250 which entered both Peradeniya and kattubetta tech for dip in eng.,

  10. I am a graduate from Moratuwa but heard many stories of Professor Gunawardane. I think he had some error in his brain

  11. Cream of the country studied at Peradeniya and not Moratuwa and Prof Gunawardane gave the impression of an eccentric genius who taught my batch as well .Reminded me of Nobel prize winning quantum physicist late Richard Feynman of Caltech famed for Feynman Diagram who wrote a book with title: What do you care what others think?

  12. You mean baby cream, right?


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