From the hospital to the news room
By Darshani Abeyrathna
It is said that each individual is born to this world clasping one talent to serve a purpose. Yet, there are many instances where individuals have proven this ancient belief wrong and have excelled in many fields at the same time displaying many talents. Dr. Pramitha Mahanama is also an individual who falls into that latter category.
By profession he is a medical doctor but he has caught many hearts with his passion - being a News Caster.
His roots are not in Colombo and go back to Walasmulla - a Southern village.
"I received my primary education from H/Walasmulla Primary School and had my secondary education at Ananda College, Colombo. I entered the Faculty of Medicine, University of Sri Jayewardenepura and am currently practicing at Avissawella Hospital," he said while opening up about how he balances two entirely different careers.
Dr. Pramitha who is the eldest in his family has two sisters and considers his parents as his greatest blessing and pillar of strength.
"Working in the broadcast industry is quite a challenging task; you teach yourself how not to dwell on problems and how to overcome challenges. It needs a lot of concentration to work as a News Anchor and it has helped to sharpen my knowledge as well." he noted.
Commenting on how he ended up being a news anchor at a reputed national channel he said;
"I did not want to become a professional News Presenter in the first place. Yet I was engaged in compeering and debating at school.
However at the university, I followed a course at the Sri Lanka Television Training Institute and became the top scorer in both news presentation and programme presentation categories. As time passed I realized that I was good enough to be a news presenter. It all started with Siyatha TV News crew and then I joined Hiru TV News from its very inception. This required so many factors. Being focused is not the only strength one requires but also the ability to put personal emotions aside in order to communicate professionally."
Pramitha's passion for news presenting also extends to anyone who is smart enough to get the best out of him." I won't say I'm the best person in the field, yet I always try my best to be diligent in what I am doing. Therefore, it is the choice of the onlookers to judge whether I'm the best person or not." he said.
With his extremely professional and focussed outlook, he demands that everything should be neat and tidy." News Anchors appear to have cushy jobs, with their backdrop, clothes, hair styles and make-up. But these are small rewards, bearing in mind the personal sacrifices we have to make during the journey. Yes of course I do work under pressure; I wouldn't have come this far if I failed to absorb pressure." he added.
However, Dr. Pramitha acknowledges that everyone makes mistakes. It happens. They are simply inevitable even at the professional level. "I have made mistakes too, yet I keep my self confidence up and it helps me to overcome my mistakes as well as obstacles in the field. We were all born with confidence, and we can all get it back if we learn to be confident with what we are doing." he enthusiastically added.
Although his education is in medicine, one could really say that Dr. Pramitha knows what he does. He shares his views on the role of a News Presenter. "They should have the proper voice and updated knowledge on what's happening around the world as well as language ability. Especially the particular person should have established his own way of presenting, rather than imitating others." he says.
According to his opinion, the most important quality is the ability to be smart enough to respond well in any unexpected situation.
"You can't let the intensity of the situation shake you and you need to deal with all the intensities." he said.
Apart from being a Doctor and a News Presenter, Dr. Pramitha also relates how he always speaks against injustice.
"As a result, I have put myself in trouble too. I'm fond of reading books and I fall in love with dogs rather than girls," he laughed and added that amongst his interests lies dancing too.
"I'm a man who won't think twice to hit the dance floor, if you play good music. Apart from that, I played Hockey for the school team and at the university." Commenting on how he handles the workload he said that "As I'm engaged in two professions (Doctor and News Anchor), I have truck loads of heavy work to accomplish. Therefore, I always make a priority list, in that way, I manage to do everything without hesitation."
Recalling his most precious moments he said; "There were two occasions. A few years ago was my first experience on live election telecast and I did it well without any hesitation. The second one was when I had to do an instant interview with the student who became the first in the island for GCE O/L and her Principal, while I was on air live. I wasn't informed earlier, yet eventually it turned out really well."
Commenting on how he would describe his job to a kid he came up with an amazingly beautiful notion "Imagine that you see Wolverine walking towards your home, and you want to tell it to your mother before your other siblings. That is the initial task of a News Presenter"
When he walks down memory lane he said that Grade 10 and 11 classes at Ananda College have been the most memorable classes in his life as he got to meet the craziest bunch of friends that he has ever met in his life.
He also said that he has been away from his family way too much; from Grade Six. "I had to be away from my family since my childhood and that made me worry a little too much. The love of a family is life's greatest blessing and my family is everything to me."
Commenting about difficult news he had to present he told Ceylon Today "While I was at the university I presented News regarding a university students' rebellion, and sometimes I have had to present News about doctors' strikes and being a doctor, I feel bizarre when I have to read such news out."
I do want to balance both careers as much as I can. I feel blessed to be able to do both these professions at the same time. If you do your job properly you surely will learn a lot from any role you do. I also want to mention the fact that you must be happy and love what you do. I like my jobs simply because there are not many professions where someone in the town will give you a pat on the back and say Hi! to you." he added.
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