Hilary Term 1975 was when I had decided to settle down to study, and I did make an effort. I took a bet with the Senior Tutor that I would get to breakfast four days a week, which I succeeded in doing, but that proved counter-productive for I would then fall asleep in the morning. As can be seen my social life continued apace, and I also had the pleasure of being the principal confidante of the Union President.
In reading about the vacation before that, I was struck about the common friends I found during my stay at the Brentons. Renee Wickremesinghe was the wife of a brother of my grandfather, and she had left her husband after the war and gone to England where she married someone, though not I think the naval officer she had hoped to. She was alive when I got to England, but sadly died before I could meet her, though I got close to her children, two of whom were settled there.
Tony Brenton, who subsequently became British Ambassador in Moscow, turned out to have known Indrajith and Tara Coomaraswamy – the former being Gajan Pathmanathan’s cousin.
The letters have more material than I recall about my attempts to find a place to do postgraduate work, but I suspect this is because my father was very concerned about this. I cannot now understand how I could even have thought of going to East Anglia, let alone the United States.
14th December 1974
Re scholarships – regrettably, the Corpus one isn’t on offer next year; hence greater need for the other one, though I am toying with the idea of taking a year off, possibly working, and waiting to apply next year. Having gone through the American things again, the prospect appears even dimmer; occasionally I feel it would be better to return at once rather than go there. However, I shall persevere, though it might be wise to see about Foundation aid as well such as Ford and Hay. As regards the Cornell application, I’m not quite sure why ‘years of a foreign language’ got the answer Montreal 1958 – if you have any spare application forms, please send them on, else I shall make do with these. If you think the application for aid is too complicated as well, I shall send off the form to Harvard demanding $10,000 over 2 years. The whole prospect is so ghastly, I begin to feel you were right in requiring concentration upon Oxford prospects – however, it’s been an interesting experience. I can’t really see myself being awarded an American Scholarship – the Oxford system simply won’t stand up to their demands for progressive course marks et al – which would solve a great problem, as to what to do if I got an American Scholarship and not an Oxford one.
Having bored you sufficiently about my future – I’m back in Oxford, having had 4 delightful days at the H.C., punctuated by fascinating stories from Colvin about the BLPI (Bolshevik Leninist Party of India) etc. Continue reading