Monday, December 31, 2012

The Man for all Seasons

Kadalay of Royal

Kadalay, the gram seller who sat on the block of concrete at the entrance to College with his rectangular shaped glass box filled with various flavors of gram, of Royal, was a man for all seasons known to every single Royalist of that time as a friend, colleague, supporter, and most of all, a fantastic cheer leader at all Royal sporting events. He was ever loved and cherished by Royalists from so many generations during his famous sojourn at College in the sixties through eighties. His dark skinned demeanour, clad in white shirt and sarong with the bright red pottu ornamenting his forehead, was always a very pleasing sight for all the students who walked past him on the way in to school. During school interval times he used to move into the west wing lobby area so that the boys could take a peck at his delicious rata kaju, pori kadalay and bola kadalay.

His biggest and best performances were always seen at the annual Royal-Thomian Battle of the Blues cricket Match and also the two legs of the Royal-Trinity Bradby Shield encounters played in Kandy and Colombo. He also never failed to attend almost every single sporting event where Royal participated, even if he had to travel to far off places in sunny Ceylon, then, and Sri Lanka later. How many times have we seen him boarding the Kandy train from Colombo Fort Railway Station to join the rest of the gang at the upcountry leg of the Bradby? How many times have we seen him lying silently on the grass at the Oval after a days play of the Roy-Tho, immersed in stupor and splendor, after a long days event of cheer and beer?

His charming swagger, smile and sentiments will always remain the hearts and minds of all Royalists, young and old, who knew him and cherished him as someone truly special, in their hearts.

Like other collections of people and history, The Kadalay of Royal blog makes a sincere endeavor to collect, collate and publish all available history of this wonderful man called 'Kadalay" and some of those wonderful gestures and statements that he has made from the past.

Kadalay will always live on as an integral part of every single Royalist of that time. His life story and anecdotes will certainly live in the memories of those who have 'learnt of books and learnt of men and learnt to play the game'.

Born, Thangiah Ponniah, to a simple Tamil family from Slave Island, Kadalay was always seen as a mascot at all College events, be it sports or otherwise. He passed away in 1990.

This blog attempts to capture and portray the many wonderful stories that took place around Kadalay during his era, no doubt the man for all seasons.

Kadalay of Royal by Eardley Lieversz

Please send all information, pics, stories and events to for publication on this blog.

Managed by Royal College '59 GROUP
RC '59 Group
Royal Thomian Cricket

Friday, July 13, 2012

Snippets from the Past


RITA - what can one say of this SOB....

I used to visit Ducky  quite often .He was occupying De Saa Bandarnaike's office.

This is a story related to me by Ducks.

The principal of DS Senanayake the Rt Hon RITA , had gone to the grade 5 classes about 2 weeks after the Royal entrance test , and asked all students who sat for the RC entrance test to come to his office, as the results had come. This was a rouse by this SOB, to actually find out who had sat for the Royal entrance.

When the boys rushed into his office , he took down their names, amongst these students was also the son of the DS VP., these boys were ostracised after that. Finally when the boys who were successful in passing the Royal entrance test went to him for leaving certificates, he refused . That was the reason why the Dept of Education issued a ruling that one could use a Grama sevakas certificate, if they are unable to get one from school.

I was also told that when parents bring their kids on the first day of school, his speech to them commenced with the usual lines "if you intend to put your children here only to mark time for the Royal entrance exam, please take your kids and get out. We only want children who will continue to stay at DS".

Sad thing is that kataya , who was another SOB supported RITA. When RITA tried to get the cops de-badged (read article below)Kataya was the only master who supprted him. In 1965, Kataya proposed that cadeting should be given a place in the games committee.

Danton Obeysekera, got up and told Dudley, as usual EC is talking nonsense, in that case why dont you get the Woodwork Society also in the games committee. Knowing that the chips were down for EC, I stood up and demanded that the radio club be also enrolled if Mr.Gunasekere wants the cadets in. This was my opportunity to fix EC & RITA. (RITA was not at the meeting, he was using EC to get access).

I said the only contributon the cadets made was to march up and down screaming Wum, Duk, Wum Duk while the Radio club contributes by doing the sound system for assembly, the college carnivals.

This irritated Dudley,who said lets scrap this silly idea and move on, cheered by Danton Obeysekera and a knowing smile from Belleth who was the secretary of the committee. I turned to EC and gave him one of those" Gotcha Looks" he was fuming.

PS i was a Jnr & Snr cadet, and got sacked from the Snr cadet corp by RITA.

Came across this interesting 'quip' (below) you made to this forum, nearly 5 yrs back.

I uploaded the link to '57 Group Website for its anecdotal values; Not of RITA.

Perhaps you have a bit more time now to 'expand' on similar values, if I'm not asking too much.

Thanx to consider, tx even otherwise.

Warm regards,

How true your words are.... he was a perverted mind who relished authority.
Just summarising some of the things he did.

1. Metal work acting master.

2. 4th form....inquired from the class if anyone has drunk beer."pls dont be afraid nothing will happen to you" and Shaw puts his hand up. Immediately, he pounces on Shaw "what Beer have you drunk" Shaw replies "Ginger Beer". Shaw gets kaneyed.

3. No master in class, class is unruly and suddenly PJ de Silva, shouts "Sshhh Dudda on line, Dudda on line" RITA passes at this moment, hauls PJ out of class, takes him to the Principal's office, waits for Dudley to return and goes in to make a big complaint against PJ. He then walks out with that Musala stare he gives, Dudley
calls PJ in "Yes Silva what happened" and PJ says "Sorry sir, I called you Dudda"  Dudley responds "thats okay,  you are Silva, and I am Silva, besides we too had nicknames for our principal, when we were in college.

4.  1964 head cop Botejue does his rounds in the lower school, finds the monitor is more unruly than the rest of the class, Botta puts him on the form and appoints another monitor, to keep the class quiet. Botta hauled to the Principal's office, as the master was RITA and the monitor was appointed by him. So RITA complains to Dudley that Botta is a HOM, put his favourite as the monitor, while the master is insulted coz his appointee is now punished. Accusations go on and on and insisting that Dudley de-badge Botta. Dudley, then inquires, from Botta what happened, and when Botta explained, Dudley tells RITA, Botejue is the head prefect and I have full confidence in him, if you dont like it then leave Royal.

5. 1965 Royal Trinity cricket match, tea time Bella tells the cops, feed yourselves and also feed the visitors. So our pockets are stuffed, mouth is stuffed and while the visitors are being served, RITA comes along with a pen and paper (A raid by the vice squad) what is in your mouth, puts his hands into our pockets, pulls out the patties, rolls etc and puts them back onto the dish and writes down the items he has recovered from being devoured by
us. Also in this mess is Turner Scholar, Hemal Jayasurya . A petition is then sent to Dudley to de-badge the whole lot for stealing patties and cutlets etc. This was signed by him as the Secretary of the Staff Guild,
without consulting the rest of the Staff. When we asked Bella, Conner, Thamba and the rest of the elite Royal teachers they were shocked, cos they did not know. (the only exception being the other crank Katey Puss, who responded "Good"). For 2 weeks Dudley ignored it, but this pervert kept inquiring everyday, whether Dudley had taken action.

Finally at the cop meeting when we asked Dudley about the petition, he said rather embarrassed", God helps those who help themselves, lets drop this foolish thing and move on."

Lots more , but I 'll stop here.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012


Kadalay by M V Muhsin

As many highly spirited revellers and others spirited highly, made their way through the early hours of this morning in Colombo, they surely would have recalled with reverence memories of the Rugby Greats from Royal and Trinity enshrined in the Bradby Pantheon.

Unfailingly, on each anniversary of the Bradby, there is one sportsman - I would say an Icon- who gets particular mention especially at the Royal re-unions.

He is neither a captain nor a coach.

He is neither a forward, a three-quarter nor a full back.

He is Kadalay, the gentleman gram seller who through half a century of association with the school, was Royal's flag-bearer; or for want of a better description, Royal's Mascot.

If Kadalay belonged to Royal, it is equally safe to say that Royal belonged to Kadalay.

If that is a stretch, then one needs to explain why he was honoured by being the subject of a special Editorial in the Daily News of April 4, 1991 under the heading 'Kadalay of Royal' when he passed away.

The Editor was the respected journalist Manik de Silva.

One can hardly recall any head of school or staff in our time being honoured in this manner.
Suffice to quote the editorial: This humble man who sought little of the good things of life for himself, was synonymous with the sports that Royal College play-particularly cricket and rugby football.

He followed not only the matches but also the practices, acquiring an unbelievable expertise both of the sports and the players.

Royal's victories were his triumphs; and defeats mattered not-as long as the boys, who were his friends, played the game as it should be played.

Kadalay; knew of Royal's tactics

Yes, Kadalay had the inside track of the strategy and tactics of Royal's rugger teams.
And here is first hand testimony:

The year was 1964, when Royal under Keith Paul had beaten the more fancied Trinity by 3 points in the 'first leg' in Colombo.

Your columnist was travelling to Kandy for the 'second leg' on the 'Udarata Menike' express train which had been commandeered by the Royal cheer squad.

Kadalay was 'master of ceremonies.'

We engaged him in rugby talk and the likelihood that Trinity, on form, will win the return encounter convincingly given that their Captain Mohan Sahayam will surely dazzle the crowd with his 'specials'.

Kadalay says:
Dorai! We know in Kandy we play not only Trinity, but we play against the entire crowd! You have 'SahayamSpecial' and we'll give 'Royal Special.' Just wait and see!

And it was worth waiting for that Special which came in dramatic, unbelievable fashion.

In the first few minutes of the game the Sahayam Special is delivered in style.

The Kandy crowd erupts and the cheer leader Cortal of Mahiyawa delightfully runs into the field and pays obeisance to Sahayam and to as many of the team he can spot by touching their feet in a sweeping movement!

As the match progresses and Trinity dominate, the most phenomenal feat of drop goal kicking by Royal'sLakdasa Dissanayake from 30 to 40 yards out against the run of play takes place.

Lucky delivers Royal victory

The crowd is dumb stuck as Lucky delivers to Royal a delightful 14-6 victory, the Bradby Shield and, of course, the 'Royal Special' that Kadalay, with amazing prescience, predicted.
Not in a period of 50 years have we seen such a brilliant repertoire of drop goals in one match.

Lucky was one of Kadalay's most beloved players, who in later life was a doctor treating cancer patients.

He met with a tragic death when he was drowned at Bentota while attempting to rescue a friend's son.

If there was drama in his rugby, compassion in his professional life, there was more than a share of courage, bravery and sacrifice that this super ruggerite displayed.
The Royal teams' visits to Trinity often give the school's authorities a mighty headache.
At times 'Disce Aut Discede' (Royal's motto: Learn or Depart) is invoked in spirit and practice, more often the Discede part:

Such was the case in mid 1950's when the Royal team had left the premises and heaps of cigarette butts and empty bottles of refreshments of dubious origin were found.

Royal Principal strips team of colours

Trinity Principal Cedric Oorloff, a Royalist himself and a stickler for discipline, was furious.
In those days cigarettes came in tins, so tins of butts and a crate of empty bottles were sent to Royal as evidence.

Principal Dudley de Silva decided to strip the whole team of their colours at the school assembly- an event that drew muffled boos from the students.

It is reliably learnt that the Principal's son Daya was one of the protesters!

But how does this incident relate to Kadalay?

Well, Kadalay took it personally as a failing on his part to prevent such an incident and thenceforth made sure that during every visit of the Royal team to Trinity all bases were duly covered.

Kadalay attended all practices of the Royal team.

Once at the Royal cricket grounds, after practices were over, 'Gunman' challenged - known full-back, to a bet that he will not be able, from 40 yards out, to hit the arms of the clock that towered over the field.

When Karu performed his act, the face of the clock was smashed into smithereens.
A cold shiver went down the spines of Kalu and Karu with the likelihood of disciplinary action being taken.

Panic set in!

But Kadalay was at hand and had a great friendship with Ana Wimaladharma whose family were the premier dealers in clocks.

The services of the Wimaladharma crews were secured and the clock replaced overnight.
And Royal had secured their Captain and Full Back!

Kadalay thrilled 'starts' picked

Karunasekera, Kaluaaratchi, Manik Jayakumar and Keith Paul were selected to play for Combined Colleges.

Cheerleader Kadalay was overjoyed of the achievements of his 'charges'.

So, he invited then to dinner at the Nippon Hotel where he treated them 'right royally' to the choicest of food that included bites of Parrippu Wadia, Eral Wadia (Prawn Wadai) and then of course Bola Kadalay and Konda Kadalay.

Toasts were proposed and seconded, some say with soda while other suspect it was with a spike of lemon!

Many years later, Kadalay was regularly selling gram outside the Ladies College gate down Flower Road.

Keith Paul would come over to pick up his daughter.

And there was Kadalay, introducing Keith to the young mothers who had come to pick up their daughters:

'Ah! Madam, Keith is our great Rugger Captain!" and the young ladies would look at the dapper Keith with the glint in their eyes!

One suspects that the wing forward who observed the dictum 'observe without being observed' returned the compliment!

More reminiscences will of course take place between now and the Rugger Ball that follows the 'second leg' in a fortnight.

Stay tuned!

Sunday, September 06, 2009

RC 1955 Group

1955 GROUP



Saturday, March 15, 2008

Bailas, verses and boundar line heroes

Sunday Times Mar 9 2008

Oh! Bailas, verses and boundary line heroes

(Dedicated to David, Royal’s respected ground boy of yore; Noor, his onetime able assistant, who later took over from him; the legendary ‘Kadalay’,who was eternally flitting about the Royal Boundary Line like a benevolent spirit and the many others ,who have so ungrudgingly served the cause of Royal Cricket from the Boundary Line)

From the boundary we always cheered our heroes. (Pic by Saman Kariyawasam)That joy and glory has been most heart-warming for us, watching cricket, especially Royal cricket, from the boundary line.Apart from pretending to wield the willow and polish the cherry, once in a while, in the dim, distant past, our life, had been well spent, we should say, indulging in that pleasant pastime of watching Royal cricket for well over 50 years-watching not only the Royal-Thomian but the other games as well played by the Royal First eleven.Indeed, if colours were to be awarded for watching -consistency, then quite a few of us like Devaka Rodrigo, Rohan Hapugalle, Ranjit Jayasekera, Chrysantha Perera, Jeiya Ranasinghe, R.J.(one time known as Rakshana Janashakthi) de Silva, Dr. J.C. Fernando, Nimal Dias Jayasinghe, to name a few, along with yours truly, would surely be deserving contenders!Those days the Royal Primary School (RPS), now known as the Royal Junior, though very much Royal in spirit, was a separate entity ably led by that great Headmaster, Saa Bandaranayake. RPS was never given the Friday half-holiday enjoyed by the students of the College proper, whenever matches were played at Reid Avenue.

Both entities were in double session during our time.Consequently, we, at RPS, had to adopt surreptitious means to sneak through the RPS Tuck Shop, situated then adjoining the old, College Hostel, during the afternoon 2.10 interval, highly motivated as we were to get a glimpse of our cricketing heroes. (They were our only heroes then!)- the Van Twest brothers Desmond and Brian, looking crisp-white and elegant; Nirmalalingam , the immaculately stylish opening batsmen, the diminutive Lalith Hewavitarane; ‘Frecko’ Kreltsheim, with his magical wicket-keeping gloves; Ubhaya and Ranjit de Silva, two fine allrounders ;Turnour Wickremasinghe, the left arm spin artist, perhaps so named at birth by his progenitor, sensing a future spinning prospect; the wily Wignarajah, another left arm spinner, quite elastic just before and at the point of delivery; the two Seneviratnes, mysteriously (for us) known as ‘Ata Gemba’ and ‘Gadaya’. ‘Ata Gemba’, in particular, will be well remembered for his peculiar stance at the crease, which both interested the observer and confused the bowler. He gave the impression of a rather tallish soldier, crouching in question mark fashion, marching on the same spot, in this instance the batting crease, waiting to hammer the enemy out of sight! It was a peculiar form of footwork which began even before the bowler commenced his run up. Little as we were, it was not difficult to recognize him not only because of his idiosyncratic stance but also because the enterprising cheering squads announced his arrival with well-orchestrated strains of “‘Ata Gemba’………………. croak, croak!’”Regular rejoicing Apart from the cricket at the centre, one couldn’t help being moved by the regular rejoicing on the boundary-line ,mostly with innovative ‘Bailas’ (each season churning out a new one ) sung by the many Royalists, senior and junior, who thronged the boundary , push bikes, flags and all, to hail their cricketing heroes, with the juniors proudly joining in chorus (quite unlike the dull mortuary lull one experiences at Reid Avenue these days- hardly a bike, a flag or any cheering –only vacant spaces policed by College prefects in tie!)Among those innovative, enterprising groups were the “Bucaneers”, a rollicking cluster of Royalists, living up to their self-proclaimed label, one of whose gang was one time a prominent and industrious member of the Sri Lankan Cabinet. He may or may not have had a premonition then of things to come, when he lustily joined the rest to sing about – “Lakmavage ekama putha,Kothalawala mahatha....”along with, Summa Amarasinghe (father of the 1983 winning Royal captain and current Royal coach), ‘Honker Nana, Jehan Raheem, Ponnasamy, Jayantha Jayaratne,’Kapoor’, Magha-lingam,’Pibba’ Perera, Abey-singho to name a few, intermittently asking the inviting question,“Oh, what will you give me….if I show…you the….?” or the more serious one ,“How are you Baldsing dear, how are you…….?”or the unmistakable assertion,“We are boys of Royal College, Kollupitiya South,………..followed by an important and rhyming bit of information,Have you heard of Bundi Belleth, fat, short and stout” rather accurately describing one of our dear, respected masters of yore; or the ‘Abeyratne Anthem’, so fondly dedicated to the female cadres of the ‘domestics’ fraternity,“Abeyratne kivvama than kauda nodanne,Visheshayen ilandari soyala balanne…..”None of these bailas was ever written down as such. It was simply the oral tradition –or better still an oral-aural-oral tradition. And it was very much on the job training: standing, listening, imbibing (ever so readily!), singing. We also knew that sooner or later we had to be very much a part of that tradition and contribute our share, which we did more surely no sooner than we hit the Third Form at College. A quick, string hopper, ‘pol sambol’ and beef curry lunch, all for Rs1/25, a la Saranapala, at the Tuck Shop, situated then next to the Old Lab and off we crossed to the happy plains of Reid Avenue. We used to occupy one of the wings of the Old Pavilion – that magnificent edifice of character, sadly no more, demolished by insensitivity and insensibility. We had our place reserved there every Friday and Saturday, whenever Royal played at Reid Avenue-Kalu and the Merry Band – (so the papers of the day reported it), with Anura Rajapakse and self on button accordions, the late Anwer Thassim (‘Thassa’) on bongos, Thosai Para (now known as Dr Waran), Gane Weeravagu, the two Fernandos, ‘Ura’ and ‘MRS’, ‘Chester’ Ratnatunge, ‘Gamit’ Ameresekere, P.B. Madurapperuma, (Madhu), the late ‘Rana Betta’ (B.N. Ranasinghe), Rudolph ‘Rowdy’ Wiiliams, ‘Ombi’ Sivalingam, ‘Mahasona’ de Silva, O.K. (Omar Khayyam) Raheem, to name a few, all joining in unison in between overs and muting their efforts before each delivery, so as not to disturb any batsman of either team. Omar and ‘Rowdy’ in particular were real assets, well -versed in the oral tradition handed down by their elder brothers Jehan and ‘Alfy’ respectively. It was from them that we really got the yen and feel for the seniors. Omar, in particular, was a real treat. At times he led the way and reproduced in his own inimitable style what he had picked up aurally from his elder brother! So for Omar it was,“Hona iting (for Onna Ithing)Pata…gatha( for Patang gaththa)Bahila selema( for baila sellama!)”or “kusi hama Sehera (for you know what!)Such perennial favourites as ‘Thanakola Peththo’, with the intriguing prologue,“…..Pasyale cadju kalaa,Beire wewe wathura beela,Wheel-barrow eken yanawa vel balanta….” or “..Kalamediriyo –o, mokoda kapothi…” were very much up in our list.We had our own share of innovations as well, such as, “….Aney ‘Navva’ mehata warenko, Mage langing waadi weyanko…” sung to the tune of a famous Hindi favourite of the day ‘Le Mama le Manamali’, ‘Navva’ being a tender reference to a dear class-mate of ours.At that time, watching our cricketing heroes, little did we realize that our own classmates would in turn take on that mantle. In fact , seven of the RC ‘54 Group went onto play in the Royal-Thomian between 1961 and 1963 and win their cricket colours, to wit, Darrel Lieversz and late S.S. Kumar, who captained in 1962 and 1963 respectively, S. Thyagarajah, Padde Withane,’Kota’ Jayaratne (who still holds the Royal-Thomian wicket-keeping record for most number of dismissals in an innings ), Neil Crozier and ‘Cuckoo’ Rajaratnam, the latter being the progeny of one our respected masters, who himself played for Royal in his time and continued the good work while on the staff by assisting Royal cricket on the field ,and ‘thrashing’ resounding ‘sixers’ off it, as any of his students would readily assert. ’Kota’ and Kumar were almost inseparable on and off the field. When at the wicket the two were an absolute delight to watch: polish and perfect understanding.But there were others in our time, also classmates, who should have played for Royal, if not for unfortunate circumstances. Of these the late Sarath Kodagoda and Geoffry Assauw were notable certainties. Sarath, that scion of a famous catering clan, who, but for a nasty injury sustained in the revived Royal-Zahira rugby encounter of 1959 (a fearful suicide expedition from Zahira’s perspective) would most certainly have adorned any Royal side. In fact, Sarath was a brilliant cricketer, a batting marvel moulded in the shadow of such cricketing greats as Mahesa Rodrigo (literally and figuratively in the shadow, so to speak, for they were neighbours then). Sarath was cited by a former Royal College master, with cricketing insight, Elmo de Bruin, “as an outstanding example of a complete cricketer.” Sarath lived, thought and loved his cricket.Real treat Watching from the boundary line it was a real treat to listen to Sarath regaling us with a ball by ball ‘Test’ commentary, very much in the manner of a Rex Alston and then giving us a resume of the day’s play with the crisp likeness of a Johnny Moyes. One had only to close ones eyes to be immediately transported to the ‘Test’ atmosphere at Lords or the ‘MCG’. Sarath captained every Royal team at every age group and was well on his way……until that unfortunate injury which put paid to what would surely have been a rewarding career for him and for us. Geoffry Assauw, a brilliant batsman in the classical mould also would have adorned the Royal team if indiscretions had not got the better of him, which placed him at cross purposes with the establishment! Reliable information has it that later on he had been selected to play in a trial for Victoria and thence, perhaps, to achieve greater glory, but for his own carelessness. Geoff never turned up for that trial for Victoria for reasons best known to him!Watching Royal cricket may or may not have made us as fanatical as that electrician, who, when asked what ‘DC’ stands for at an interview for promotion to the position of Foreman, promptly, confidently and loyally responded that ‘DC’ stands for Denis Compton, of course!Joy and pleasureAt least as far as he was concerned he had not got his circuits crossed!

Yet , it was from the Royal boundary line that we derived so much joy and pleasure-the type of pleasure only a series of scintillating centuries and a 99 in the ’56 season from the enchanting willow of wicket-keeper batsman Selvi Perimpanayagam could provide; or the sheer joy only the crafty fingers of an artiste like ‘Mynah’ Wijesinghe could offer. Who could forget that memorable effort, when the artiste grabbed four wickets in four balls, (in rapid succession, of course!) in the Royal-Ananda game of 1957 at Campbell Place, thereby earning for himself a warm niche in our hearts, (which has not lost its warmth to this day) and a cricketing memento from that great scribe S.P. Foenander- a gift of a set of books on cricket presented by Foenander himself at the College General Assembly amidst resounding cheers. Who knows the donor may have intended the young recipient to join his tribe in time to come! Who could forget the instance, also at Campbell Place, in 1959, against Nalanda, when Daya Sahabandu, sent in as the night-watchman ducked, on sweet advice proffered by skipper Sarath Samarasinghe, batting at the other end, that the next ball was going to be a bouncer, only to be hit on his neck and thereabouts by a pretty ordinary delivery, nearly getting himself declared neck b.w! Who could forget ‘Kota’ Jayaratne being carried away, horizontal, with his private parts in total disarray, after being hit by a snorter from Brian Perumal at Reid Avenue in the 1961 Josephian game. This was reminiscent of the Wesley game at Campbell Park in 1954, when A. Rabindran had to be carried off after getting his nose cracked trying to hook a bouncer off Adihetty. Who could forget the many refreshing innings played by Jagath Fernando (the one at Campbell Park in 1969, being particularly so,) culminating in that devastatingly delightful century in the 1971 Royal-Thomian, which broke Ronnie Reid’s series record for the highest score or the polished elegance of Sumithra Warnakulasuriya, who, after many a hundred for Royal, lived up to his promise in the Royal-Thomian of 1980 by scoring the highest in the series -197 runs so immaculately compiled.

Decisions based on personal acrimony rather than merit prevented a promising star from representing his country with distinction.From the boundary line one could recall at random other memorable performances by Royalists- performances that spelt character, courage and assertiveness. For instance, in the 1963 Royal-Thomian, Vijaya Malalasekera sent us literally reeling with joy on the Oval Green with a cracker jack innings of 112 not out, his hundred coming off a power packed drive, so powerful that it deflected off the hand of a writhing Roger D’ Silva to the boundary (As a former sub-continental commentator might have said: the ball went scoo-rr-sching mothe-rrr ea-rrr-th to the rr-a-a-a-ps!). It seems that Malale was seeing the red cherry like a football after lunch. What he did at lunch to improve his vision is anybody’s guess! He literally pulverized that ball and was rumoured to have been admonished by his ascetic father, a respected and avid proponent of ‘ahimsa’, for causing undue harm to both the ball and to ‘outstation’ sensibilities!Indelible mark More recently in the 1992 Royal-Thomian, Gamini Perera made an indelible mark with a remarkably brilliant, match saving hundred. Given the circumstances, it was sweeter and far more rewarding than winning any match. By that innings, not only did Gamini bring honour upon his school, his team and himself, he also prevented an unique bit of history from being made. For, had the Thomians under Suresh Gunasekera, won that year, (which they most surely would have, if not for that century, Harin Samarasekera’s breath-taking half-century and Nalliah Rajan’s dogged innings), it would have been the first time (perhaps the only time ever) in the series, when a father and son would have led either side to victory, Suresh’s father the late Premalal having led the Thomian’s to victory in 1964. The wonder of Gamini’s memorable innings was that the night before, when it was all panic in the Royal Camp, he had promised his coach that he would get a century!Whirlwind partnership What of Jothilingam’s hundred in the 1956 Royal-Thomian under high-fever conditions or Royal skipper Michael Wille’s identical score of 121 in 1957.What of Skipper Nirmalalingam’s scintillating sixty-nine runs in the 1954 Royal -Thomian, who, but for an unfortunate run out, would surely have got a brilliant hundred. What of the whirlwind partnership of 106 in 40 minutes by tail-enders Vidda (Vidanage) and Harsha (Samarajeewa), better known for their bowling prowess (the latter affectionately identified by a similar sounding nomme de plume then) in the Peterite game of 1960 at Reid Avenue, mostly against the attack of the firey Anton Perera and the wily Le Mercier; or Darrell Lieversz’s and R.C. de Silva’s glorious effort in routing the Peterites, comprising, inter alia, the famous Heyn brothers, Richard and David, at Reid Avenue in 1962.The two panthers, Darrell and ‘CD’, the one breathing fire and the other smoke, shared between them the twenty wickets,12 and 8 respectively, running through the Peterites by early Saturday, thereby enabling us to make it to the matinee show quite comfortably; or Ajit Devasurendra’s patient hundred against the Peterites also at Reid Avenue in 1980,in a valiant, yet futile , bid to save the game for Royal; or Ranjith De Silva’s mighty six in 1954 over covers at Campbell Park onto the ‘Mara’ tree, which was on a higher elevation on the main road, a truly ‘Mara’ six ,so to speak; or Sarath Samarasinghe, irrepressibly and dangerously slashing outside the off-stump to send the ball sizzling to the boundary; or his acrobatic wicket-keeping accompanied by that resounding ‘howzaaat!’ with or without the ball in hand; or young Chandana Jayakody’s back to the wall innings (thank Heaven that his back was to the wall!!!) with eleven hungry Thomians literally breathing down his neck and legs, to save Royal from certain defeat in the Royal-Thomian of 1984; or Thotuwilage’s two delightful innings (95 and 108) at the Royal-Thomian of 2001, where he missed creating a record of scoring twin hundreds – these were only a part of the salacious menu dished out over the years for us on the boundary line.Hovering patiently on the Royal Boundary Line all these years has been a very pleasant and rewarding experience, indeed!

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Viji Recalls

Memories of Kadalay

My memories of Kadalay hark back to 1939, when I entered Royal as a student at Form I on promotion from the former Royal Preparatory School, and to the 40 s during my school career. Kadalay started his unique association with Royal as the acolyte of Kadaley Aachchi, who was the "official" gram ‑ vendor of the College at that time, and was called the Wadai Boy because his wares (probably an ancillary trade to Kadalay Aachchi's and under her aegis) were "parippu" wadais, which in those halcyon days, when the humble copper coin was indeed legal tender to be reckoned with, cost I cent each, 2 cents for one a little larger and flatter with a smattering of maldive fish and 2 previous day's stale wadais re‑fried to a brown crisp for I cent ‑ cheap, but food for the gods!!

I well remember the benevolent and rotund old Kadalay Aachchi seated under the Reed Tabebuia with her basket of assorted grams such as "bola" kadalay", "rata" cadju and konda kadalay of which 5 cents would buy a pocketful. She always sat on a small metal trunk, which we thought probably contained, all her worldly possessions, and next to her stood our Kadalay, then a mere stripling, with his tray of wadais supported on a make‑shift trestle. Credit was the order of the day and Kadalay Aachchi was accorded the exclusive privilege, personal to her alone, to go round the classes and beard the culprits in their dens to claim and extract bad debts.

Then in the 60 s Kadalay Aachchi died, plunging the College into a dense pall of gloom and so, by a most logical and equitable line of descent, Kadalay inherited her trade and was thereafter known by that name to the end of his days. Unfortunately, in the 80 s he fell foul of the Powers that Be for some misdemeanour and was banished from the College precincts and sold gram outside the boundary walls but his heart was not in that sort of trade and he languished before our eyes. However, he was not left out in the cold for long because an Old Boy (whose name I dare not reveal on pain of dire penalty) took him under his benevolent and expansive wing and employed Kadalay in a sinecure that kept him solvent and going till death claimed him.

Nobody knew, or as far as I am aware, knows to a certainly, what Kadalay's real name was, what his antecedents were or whence he came, but in process of time he evolved into a Royalist to surpass Royalists in loyalty to the Best School of All which is Royal ‑ despite the vociferous claims of Trinity!!

Even now I see Kadalay before my mind's eye, clad in his immaculate and characteristic white as he sold interim sustenance to the chaps or as he led the cheer squads from the front on any grounds where Royal fielded a team which no doubt stimulated effort and thus accounted for many a Royal victory. His opinions ‑ be they on cricket, rugby, athletics, boxing or what have you ‑ based on a rare insight and assessment of capabilities and potential of sportsmen, were voiced loud and clear and many were the Captains, Coaches and Masters in charge who went by what he said and found almost invariably that he had been right! Wherever Royal went for any sport or any game there went Kadalay forsaking his trade and at his own expense to watch and cheer the Royalists and the school he loved so much.

Hardly anyone knew when he died and the final rites were performed as it was during a long school vacation that the fateful event occurred thus depriving generation of Royalists of saying their last farewells and honouring one who gave not only his heart and soul but all of himself to Royal.

"This was a man ‑ when comes such another?

Viji Weerasinghe
Royal College
April 2006

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Achchi, Kadalay & Quarter Soda

Stealing Kadalay

Dear Chaps,

Sinhala New Year holiday period has just started. We are closed till 18th. It's driving me crazy. Children have left the nest. Only the two of us are at home. Could have gone somewhere to spend the holidays, but all those places are filled to capacity. I hate when there are too many. Life has to go on.

Achchi died by 1960/61. First Kadaley was her assistant. But the man soon started on his own. He was always there to help her.

Quarter Soda (QS), used to steal small packets of bola kadalay from her. At the 10.20 interval they both come to the WW lobby to sell. Kadaley sold under the arches while Achchi was seated on the left corner, inside. Kadaley always had an eye on Achchi. I can remember one day as QS closed in on her, Kadaley shouted Kallan! Kallan!! (hora! hora!!), meaning "thief, thief.

Achchi soon got up with a broken broom stick. QS was hiding behind a pillar shouting, "Achchiee Pochchi", making gyrations at her. Pol Tokka Samararatna, who was waliking to the staff room saw this and took QS by the ear. Just then the bell rang. QS returned to class after a good canning from Cow POX Abeysinghe (Head Master).

More when time permits

April 13, 2006

Language Lessons

Sinhala & Tamil

Dear Fellows,

After wishing everybody Happy New Year I thought, how Quarter Soda wrote his name in Sinhala will bring back some old memories. After the fight I had withhim opposite the GYM he wanted to be very friendly with me. The following dayin the 2B class he came to me with that famous innocent smile andsaid, "Appuarachchi, you teach me Singalese, I teach you Tamil,OK?" "Ok, Shall I write Appuarachchi in Tamil".

I said go ahead and gave him my Geography book. He wrote "Appuarachchi" and asked for the initials which he added after the name.

Now it was my turn.I wrote Sabaratnampuka. I couldn’t hold back laughter, but with the greatest difficulty gave his exercise book back looking the other side. Unsupecting QS took the book to Sella Amarasekera to show-off. Sella biting his nails showed it to Nangi (Sunil) Abeysinghe (Bamba Flats A Block), who burst out. I can still remember the look of hatred QS had. If looks could kill? Hapu would be no more.

He said "You bloody s**t, you wait!
More later
April 14, 2006