When I came back in 1975 in between degrees, Lakmahal was as full as it had always been, my sister and her friends still at university, my brother engaged to be married. By 1978 however they had gone away. My sister was at Cornell after having done a year at Oxford, my brother was still there, mainly to work towards his FRCS but, given my father’s keenness that all his children get Oxford degrees, I had also managed to persuade my old College to give him a place for an MSc, which he duly obtained.
My father’s enthusiasm for the old English universities, which he had not been able to attend because of the War, was not on behalf only of his family. He had previously sent to University College both Gajan Pathmanathan, one of our neighbours on Alfred House Road, and Chanaka Amaratunga, the College accepting them without interviews on his recommendation and mine. Gajan proved a model student, Chanaka not quite that, given his devotion to the Oxford Union. Also, he had only done Arithmetic for his Ordinary Levels, and his Economic Tutors found his ignorance of Mathematics difficult to deal with. I spent much time therefore promoting his case with a History Tutor from Prussia, who approved of his cut and dried view of the world, and the Chaplain, who had a heart of gold, and in the end he was able to obtain his degree. There was no question but that he was enormously able academically, provided subtle calculations were not required, and he went on to obtain a doctorate from the School of Oriental and African Studies in London.