Tuesday, January 4, 2011
JUST BEFORE THE STORM - PART 6: Soo it was all over! - by E/81/214
PART 1: First in the batch...!!!
PART 2: Everything was going on so well…
PART 3: Student Clashes
PART 4: Rough seas
PART 5: Final year
Soon it was all over!
As we left the E-fac for the very last time, it was getting ready to greet President JR with a new colour wash and a face lift to the buildings. There were 252 of us when were started in 1981. We lost about 35 at the first year hurdle. A similar number would have left us for studies abroad after the 1983 riots. Finally only 90 of us completed the exams in December 1985 and graduated at the convocation held in December 1986. I am sure that apart from a few who really don’t need that damn thing at this point of time in their otherwise successful careers, all would have added the BScEng title to their business cards by now.
I once asked senior student councillor HHJ Keerthisena about reasons why so many Peradeniya students fail their exams while the failure rate at Moratuwa was so much lower. The “malle-pol” answer I got sounds funny but is yet another eye-opener.
Apparently, when the Moratuwa University started, they could only attract those Peradeniya E-Fac graduates with less impressive results, while Peradeniya retained those with superior results! As a result, in our days we were seeing graduates with super results from Moratuwa and less impressive results from Peradeniya!! In this context, it was not surprising that Peradeniya took ages to replace the slide-ruler with pocket calculator and took about eight months to release final exam results.
We spent the most energetic, innovative and brave years of our lives at Peradeniya and I believe that how you spent the university days would decide what kind of animal you would finally end up being in the society. There is no doubt that during our E-Fac days, we always did things that we thought were the best in the best ways possible. There is also no doubt that if given a chance, we all would do certain things a bit differently! At least this much is clear. If JA Gunawardena ask me again, I would say that the voltage of that cell is around 2 volts.
We all still cherish our memories, sweet or otherwise, of the undergraduate days with great nostalgia. If anyone asked me about the best experience I gained during my four years at the E-Fac, I would say without hesitation that it was the close association with fellow students from other ethnic groups that makes the life at Peradeniya unique. You cannot get any closer than eating rice cooked in the same pot, ie, “eka-heliye-bath”, in the Akbar Hall and you only have to speak to someone from another university to learn how lucky we have been to have that great experience.
Finally, let me explain the title I have chosen for this article.
What we experience was only just a breeze. The storm came fist to the faculty and then to the whole country a little while after we passed-out. The second year course work issue ended up with a student clashing with each other and some sustaining physical injuries.
Later, when the hearts took over the student leadership from the brains, blood was spilled and many lives were lost.
The storm may long be over now, but from what we see the destruction is still seen everywhere and reconstruction and rehabilitation is carried out at a dangerously slow pace. Or has the storm damaged everything beyond recovery?
(written in 2000)
Await - the next article "Its time"