"Ajith Jayasekara was a respected and greatly loved physician who practised in Colombo for many years. He was a couple of years junior but was known to many of us. His untimely demise left many without a sincere, good friend and a respected advisor. Dr. M. Mahendran who was one of his best friends has written here a touching, heart felt and sincere appreciation which we are privileged to publish".
I was asked to say a few words about Ajith at his funeral. Few words and Ajith just do not go together!! He may have many attributes but has never been described as a “man of few words”.
I was privileged to have Ajith as a friend for 40 years and this tribute as a celebration of his life comes from the heart. What I plan to write is a modification from the eulogy I gave at his funeral.
BAS graduated from Colombo in 1978.
Ajith was committed to his family. He was a very private man, who always did what he felt was best for his family.
Wherever he worked, he gave his all to his patients and they in turn respected him. He had very little desire to expand his wealth, his little Maruthi car was an example of his attitude towards money. I have been a passenger in his car many times and it certainly was basic, but he took great pride in it. He was so very excited when his Maruthi was challenged by the car park attendant when it was parked in the Consultants car park. Reminiscence of Lieutenant Columbo and his old Peugeot from the detective series Columbo.
He looked after parents and siblings of several Doctors in Colombo, including my own. We all remain grateful for his help. There were numerous patients who have expressed their gratitude.
His work as a physician could be divided into three distinct phases. The first was in Colombo. He then moved to Dundee. His third and final one was again in Colombo.
When he took up his post in Dundee, I asked him why he was moving so far away. In his typical style, he said far from where? Dundee is the same distance from Colombo as it is to London. This was his unique style of justifying his argument and wining the round.
During his last days, many of us wished that he was living closer to us.
During his spell in Dundee, he trained in gastroenterology and was respected as an excellent physician in colonoscopy. He was passionate about the concept of “time restricted feeding” and metabolic syndrome. He carried all the evidence for this concept on his mobile phone. He delivered a fascinating lecture which was mixed with humour and science at our last batch get together. It was extremely well received.
He had two separate stints in Colombo. His first one was as a Private Consultant Physician , soon after he obtained his M.R.C.P. in 1983. He had meticulous notes kept in files. A novel concept in private practice at that stage. A few Patients with no health problems, went to see him in order to get a “file opened”.
The second, was as a mature physician, spending time with patients and giving them ample opportunities to discuss their problems. He was also involved in monitoring quality issues at Asiri Hospital.
His main love in medicine apart from patient care was teaching. In Dundee, he worked at Ninewells Hospital, a popular teaching hospital. His teaching skills were rewarded by the immense gratitude of the students, both at undergraduate and postgraduate level. This evolved into publishing. He was the author of two books. “ACES for PACES” for M.R.C.P. candidates and then “Keys to Success in Medicine”.
His fame spread across the seas, and he was regularly invited by middle eastern medical schools for M.R.C.P. course teaching. He had a 100% pass rate among his students in the middle east.
To me, he was a great friend. We met every time I visited Colombo and he had so many anecdotes to share. It was a highlight of my visits.
He enjoyed an occasional drink. An example of his determination was when he suddenly stopped drinking all together when his son who was 4 years old asked him “when can I have some of that yellow liquid”. Ajith was never even a moderate drinker. This exemplifies his attributes of determination and sensitivity.
One lesser-known fact is his sporting achievement. He was proud of this. He played one game for the St. Thomas’s first 15 as a hooker. He never pursued his rugby career after that.
His wife Lesley and the sons did everything possible to make him comfortable in his last days. He passed away peacefully.
He was a devout Buddhist.
He will be missed by everyone who knew him.
Dr M Mahendran