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

Saturday, April 08, 2006


Daily News Editorial
Thursday, April 4, 1991

Kadalay of Royal

Two appreciations of ‘Kadalay’ as the gram seller who plied his trade out side Royal College for several decades was popularly known to literally tens of thousands of schoolboys published recently in the Daily News would surely have evoked feelings of warmth as well as a sense of nostalgia among a multitude of Royalists who without exception held him in great affection.

He was truly an unforgettable character who was fiercely loyal to the school with which he had developed special bonds through a very long association. Those who knew Kadalay as well as those who did not know him, would have got a feel of the man if they had read those appreciations.

As was rightly stressed by the two Royalists who write of Kadalay, this humble man who sought little of the good things of life for himself, was synonymous with the sports that Royal College played (and still plays) – 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.

We write all this to say that there are many humble people all around us who are remarkable in their own way who, though often unrecognized do their work and serve a multitude of institutions with a loyalty and dedication that men and women in the higher stations of live would do well to emulate.

It was some months ago that we commented about two persons who were extra ordinary in every sense of the word in character, dedication, skill and above all humanity, that this country and their families had to tragically lost. One was Dr Lakdasa Dissanayake, the cancer surgeon whose may fine attributes became public knowledge only after he drowned at Bentota trying to rescue a friend’s son who was being carried away by a current.

The other was a man called Arul of the Wild Life Department who was killed by the terrorists. The Daily News was privileged to carry a knowledgeable account of the many facets of this man who was a lover of nature and the wild.

There are others of their ilk around us and it would do all of us good to look around and recognize them, even for ourselves. Having done that, it is important that we should try to emulate those good examples. Life gives each and everyone of us umpteen opportunities of doing good. It is not only with money that people can be generous; they can also be generous with time.

We, who live in a country blessed by the doctrine of the Buddha, too often forget some of the virtues that are not difficult to practise. Kind speech or ‘priy vachana’ is one of these. Too often do we hear that envy is a trait that is deeply ingrained in many of our people. This is most unfortunate, for Buddhism has extolled the virtue muditha or taking pleasure in the happiness or achievements of others.

We wrote about Kadalay of Royal because he, by his enthusiasm particularly for the sportsmen of Royal College, his team spirit and his loyalty to the school, had been able to win for himself a place in the hearts and mind of countless Royalists who learned and departed from that school.

He would surely have sensed this, and would have been cause for some satisfaction. It would be cause for more satisfaction if all of you could recognize and emulate the virtues of the humble people around us, instead of only seeing faults and focusing on the negative.

“Kadalay” – Cross Country
by Richard Dwight

Much has been written and said about Kadalay and it is therefore not the intension here to state what has already been made known to may. But there lingers in my mind a witty rejoinder that he made during a rugger match which merit recalling. He had the ability to liven up any schoolboy party, with his inexhaustible fund of jokes and homespun anecdotes. He repartees and rejoinders were apt and seldom failed to miss the mark. It was the low country up country rugger match when one of the spectators yelled, ‘Kalalay, what are you, up country or low country?’ Kadalay stood in his tracks looked at the spectator straight in the face and said ‘father up country, mother low country, son cross country’ and the spectators roared with laugher, that was plan and simple ‘Kadalay’. He parted with his gram liberally and had the gift of making others laugh. He moved with the lowest and highest with ease, devoid of inhibitions. He had easy access to those boys who were doing well in life but he never abused the privilege. He never aspired for big things, to him small was beautiful and lived each day as it came.

Yes indeed, there would be no more gram selling for him, no more shouting of R-O-Y-A-L for his vibrant voice has been stilled, he has verily crossed over to the land of eternal bliss.

‘Kadalay’ is no more

Selling gram was his occupation for well nigh 5 decades but his pre-occupation was the well being of Royal College. Yes our much loved ‘Kadalay’ moved over to the realms beyond last week.

Kadalay was an institution with an institution. Though his was a humble profession his acumen and knowledge of men and matters at Royal was profound. He could ably predict as to who would be included in the annual Prefects List. He would read a wicket and estimate the flow of runs or the haul of wickets on a given day. He would before hand indicate the moves to be made by various captains. He would well know the workings of the minds of wily Mahinda Wijesignhe or the aggressive Vijaya Malalasekera. The strategist of Kadalay would proffer advice to captains and players and we are all too aware how seriously such advice was acknowledged and accepted by budding national stars. Cricketing & Rugger treats at Royal in the good old days made it a point to include Kadalay in carrying out post mortems after the encounters.

Kadalay would give his life for the cause of Royal. Clad in spotless white he would accompany teams on their outstation itineraries though at his own cost. In Colombo he was the sentinel who kept at bay those encroachers hostile to the cause of Royal.

Kadalay even to his last days was very child like. He wanted Royal to win and would even weep at defeat. Royal wins and the school boys and old boys win free Kadalay from this staunch Royal supporter. Kadalay not only gave Kadalay to Royalists but even dedicated his full three score and ten to the cause of Royal.

By virtue of his sincerely and long connection with Royal , Kadalay knew the high and mighty of the land from Lalith A & Anura B to Thilak de Z but never thought of soliciting comfortable employment and thereby forsake his one and only love. He preferred the Royal or the Hook Royal Hook in the scorching sun or the pelting rain to a comfortable pavilion seat. He was the motivator of the cheer squads and whenever Kadalay was at a tend the body would be at their vociferous bet.

Kadalay was also a gentleman par excellence. Not for him the ribald rhymes for the student shad to be nurtured well. He frowned upon those school boys who attempted to tarnish the image of the school. For those playing truant Kadalay always had a word of advice dwelling upon the need to act Royal and live Royal

Nether cheap popularity nor lucre could lure him into things bad. Kadalay was humble but Kadalay was upright -literally and metaphorically. Though not an old boy very much a Royalist. Such men are rare. When comes another? Should we not think of a monument tin Kadaly’s memory at Race Course Avenue?

May his soul achieve the Bliss of Moksha
Nimal Dias Jayasinha

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

The big fight

Half Soda & Kadaley

1960 - 2nd Form. Every Tuesday the last period was DRILL. We had to fall-in opposite the Gym. Kota Silva was the master in charge. Half Soda was boasting to KS as to how he challenged boys down the lane he lives. How they shivered seeing HS coming home after school.

Knowing HS and his capabilities, Kota Silva looked at me and back to HS, "Can you fight him?", "Simple", HS said, looking sideways at me. KS nodded, "OK, go ahead". I can still picture HS coming at me with clenched fist and boxing steps, hatred written all over his face, saliva drooping from a side of his mouth.

One Polladi put HS on all fours. I jumped on the poor bugger and was getting ready for the kill, KS was shouting, "Stop! Stop!! that is enough". We parted with HS muttering under his breadth "You wait Ok, You wait.

Days passed by and I had forgotten about the fight. That Friday we had a cricket match being played on home grounds. College was over at 12 Noon as always.

At about 2.30pm, me, MHS, KAG(Gemba), SJWA and two 60 groupers were on our way to see the match. Kadaley was also going the same way, chatting with us about Belleth's movements for the day, Half Soda the great with a gang of six boys (outsiders) was coming towards us.

HS pointed at me and told something in Tamil we did not understand. Kadaley sensing trouble shot back in Tamil. All the outsiders were taken aback. What Kadaley said must have been "if you have something against Hapuarachchi, settle it between you two. Don't bring these outsiders, PODA!PODA!!.

All HS reinforcements retreated. HS didn't want to loose face.He came at me to receive the same sad ending. At last Kadaley took the fallen hero to his waiting father at college staff room.

Whenever I passed Kadaley after that He used to say, "Hari Chandiya Nedha?"

Kadaley protected us from many hot spots.

What a great man he was?

April 4 2006

Under XV Rugby

The Under XV Rugby game against STC - 1974


When you talk of Kadalay so many fond memories crop up. I thought I will send you just a small incident but signifies the essense of Kadlay.

The Year was 1974.

After three months of training, we, the under XV Royal Rugby players were to play STC Mount Lavinia on their grounds.

Those days the under 15 had only two games against STC and Issipathana. The Game was at 3.30 PM and played in the blazing sun as the more important under 17 and 1st XV had to practice and needed the grounds by 4.30 pm.

Royal was Captained by the Late Raba Gunesekera gathered under the front Porch, at College, at 1.30 pm all eager and anxious, as, for 95% of the players it was their first
match for Royal.

To our dismay we found that there was no one available to take us to the game or even accompany us.

We were just the measley under XV team. So what the heck?

Sharp 2.10, Kadalay walks in, in his immaculate white sarong and shirt, with rattle in hand and says, "lets go boys and teach those Thomians a lesson".

We could have hugged him as he was the ONLY person who accompanied us in the bus to Mount, and, thereafter, amidst about 200 hot-blooded Thomian's, paced the grounds up and down cheering us and advicing us and giving us that extra little bit that means so much in such a significant event in our lives.

"Kadalay whereever you are, I salute you dear friend. You were an inspiration to us."

Iqbal Hassen, Colombo, Sri Lanka - Mar 14 2006

Monday, April 03, 2006

Lessons from Kadalay

Kadalay . . . something I learnt from him.

My parents sentenced me to two years RI at the RCH run by Warden Cecil Edgar Belleth. Having said that, I must also say I was privileged to serve two wonderful years at the Hostel. Pocket money in those days was Rs. 1.00, doled out every Monday, by the inimitable “Bella”. Having a sweet tooth, most of my pocket money was invested in minute stocks of ‘Becks’ caramel toffees at the, then, princely sum of 5 cents each, from Kadalay. As time passed the greed for Becks grew so fast that by Wednesday there was no pocket money and no Becks in my pocket, either. I decided to have a chat with Kadalay towards getting credit facilities. The interview took 5 seconds and I had to explain that I was a hosteller who received pocket money only on Mondays. I must have sounded convincing because he readily agreed to my request for Becks on tick.

I vividly remember happily walking away with the toffees only to hear Kadalay shout in his gravely voice “D o r a y . . . . Monday aah!” All this whilst looking straight into my eyes and holding up the index finger of his right hand for more effect. Monday came and the previous weeks toffees were duly paid for. All he said was “OK Doray” as if he was fully aware of exactly how much I owed him. This then became a ritual with my gradually getting more credit over a period, because he knew I respected his trust.

Needless to say Kadalay must have done this for so many other young Royalists without even knowing how much credit he gave any one of them, at any given time. I, for one learnt what ‘trust’ and ‘honor’ was and am proud to say it was taught to me by none other than 'our Kadalay'. I like to think that the line that goes “learnt of books and learnt of men” in the college song also refers to what we learnt from great men like Kadalay. Wherever you are Kadalay may you always be blessed.

Nihal Canagasabey, Colombo, Sri Lanka

Sunday, April 02, 2006

The Cry Babies

Stealing Kadalay

Dear fellows,

The Year was 1960. We were in the 2nd form - 2B Ruperty's class.

Being in the RC Hostel, away from home and loved ones, we were a bunch of homesick cry babies. To be very frank I was one, too. We the Cry-Babies got together in the evenings and sometimes tried to trace the tyre marks of our parents vehicle which used to drop us off at the Hostel after the weekend sojourn at home. Some said Oh! my fathers car drove over these popped up roots of the huge MARA tree etc.etc..

Kadaley was very sympathetic towards the hostellers. (PAW ANEY, KEMATH MADI, HADENA LAMAI NE?).

He would always give a bit more kadaley if we finish the 5 cents packet in front of him, and look hard at the empty gotta. One of our bastards, taxing the poor man on his kindness, used to do this on a daily basis. He used to go to Kadaley and tell him sad stories about home and sometimes cry in the process. The good man, Kadaley, always sympathized.

Later, this bugger, used to come to the RCH and relate, laughing, how Kadaley was taken for a grand ride. We thought this should stop, and probably, we were also jealous, for all of us had to survive on Rs.1/- pocket money given on Monday morning by CECIL EDGAR BELLETH, Hostel Warden. By mid week all the money was gone. To be very honest, it was jealousy that made us, sneak on THE PRETENDER.

A delegation of six went to Kadaley and rolled out the whole sordid story from A to Z.

Kadalay - Oya atthamada. Boru kiyanna epa. Hondai Balamu.

Three days later THE PRETENDER tried again. Two of the sneaking delegation were close by for a box office view of the scenes to follow.

Kadalay - Ha Kohomada. Kadala oneda.
Pretender - Ne. Ratakadju denna. (Finishes his packet, looks hard trying to cry. Sobs
Kadaley - Me Doray, Boru epa.Yanna, meeta passe enna epa. BORU KARAYA.

The Pretender came to the RCH,was looking straight in our eyes.We could not face his staring eyes. One idiot could not hold any further and started laughing.The Pretender then pointed a finger to all of us and said,"hitapalla mama paana pattu karanawa."(meaning I will curse you lot)

Nothing came off the pahana (curse).

It was a jealous satisfaction of having saved Kadaley

April 2 2006

Smokers Corner

The Cycle Shed Puffers

Can you all remember the two cycle sheds adjacent to the Tennis Courts at College? It was sort of a deserted and lonely place. I am referring to the one on the left side when you face the tennis courts adjoining Racecourse Avenue. The place was not used and had overgrown Gandapana bushes et al.

In the RC Hostel, one of the famous "Tobacconist" was Solomons (’58 Group) flicking cigarettes (B&H) from his father's stock and selling to us at 10 cents per fag. He used to walk up and down the junior study with fags cupped in both palms and displaying them to all potential buyers (Sri Muruga Ratnasingham, SJW Ambe, UCJ, Luki Welikanna, DERH etc were some of the regular customers)

There was a papaw tree at the furthest corner. We used to go there and sit on the cycle stands and enjoy a good puff. That particular day we had spent 20 cents on the forbidden stuff and had to share between four, UCJ, Muruga, SJWA and DERH. We had two matches in the box and both went susurrus!!!! Ambe nearly burnt himself in the process. Cursing the match manufacturer, I came out, went round the cycle-shed, to see Kadalay seated at his usual place, with his wood/glass kadalay box. I pretended to walk past him, and stopped, as if suddenly remembered something.

DERH - Kadalay ginikoorak thiyanawada.
Kadalay - Mokatada
DERK - Data haranda

(Kadalay pulled out the box from his shirt pocket, gave me just one match)

I joined the waiting smokers in no time, and we were really enjoying. All of a sudden who appears behind the Gandapana bush Kadalay. "Ade, mekai data haranawa kiyala karanne".With that he came to us."Doray, you leave school, Go university and smoke. If I catch you again, I report.OK. Go! GO!! Go!!!.

Later he told me how he caught us. At the further end of Cy.shed,and where Kadalay is seated at the entrance is only a wall away. He smelled the ciggy smoke coming from a strange place.Whenever he sees me thereafter, he would wave the index finger, "No smoking Doray".

More when time permits,

Edward Hapuarachchi
April 1 2006

Saturday, April 01, 2006

At the Roy-Tho

Flicking Flags

1961 - We were 3rd formers. It was a heroic thing to flick a thora flag at the big-match. During the tea/lunch intervals we were, usually, strolling the grounds looking for prey. Opposite the thora junior tent, was a sweet little chap with a checked blue/black flag. Our forward platoons ignored the podian, (Damn sin!, Not done no Machan!! et al), but there were black sheep in the best of pastures.

No sooner the flag was flicked the poor chap started crying and KADALAY appeared like a ghost, "GIVE THE FLAG BACK DORAY" was the command. The flicker was reluctant. KADALAY sensing the next move (bolt with the flag for life), caught the flicker by the shoulder, forced the flag out, and gave it to the sweetee.

I can never forget the look of 'THANK YOU" on the little fellows face.


We did exactly that.

What a classy chap Kadalay was?

Edward Hapuarachchi

Mar 31 2006

The PunchiNona Story

Kadalay the Romantic

Hey Guys,

Kadalay, from wherever he is, must be watching us, with his red hot flashing eyes, smiling face, and approving nod, I am sure?

I joined RC from Greelands at form 1 level. Attending Kota Silva's class - 1F.But all my three brothers, Gunapala, Wijepala and Abeypala, joined College from RPS.

We were accompanied by an ayah (Punchinona) who lived with us till her death. She too was very dark in complexion and tall. She wore the normal Redda/Hatte Sinhalese dress and was a very proud woman.

As the older brothers were boarded in Colombo, ayah continued t travel to school with the younger ones. Later she used to comment, had she followed classes starting with Gunapala, she could have ended up at the University, herself!

We used to travel a distance of nearly 20 miles from Bandaragama to College (no bloody 2 mile radius law then) either in our own lorry (transporting rubber to Colombo) or by public transport. Either way, we had to pass Kadalay at the entrance to College. I can still remember how he used to comment.

Kadaley - Ah! Punchinona, ada mokada eka baba.
Punchinona - Anik baba ledin.
Kadalay - Yanna, yanna, bell gahawwa.

After school we had to wait sometimes more than an hour for our transport. We waited with Kadaley. Punchinona had long chats/arguments, all friendly and in good faith of course, on current topics/politics/weather/ etc.etc. Sathasivam Murder case, Queens visit, 1956 Elections, were some I could remember. Punchinona was a diehard UNP'er. Kadaley used to tease her..

Kadalay - UNP paradai mesere.
Punchinona - Kadaleta pissu
Kadalay - Ha Balamu, keeyada ottu, Kadala gottak!
Punchinona - Kadaleta pissu.

It went on and on. Now, when I recall and come to think of it there must have been some innocent romance between the two wonderful human beings, for they both were of the right age and disposition. (Pardon me, Kadalay & Punchinona, it was just a fleeting thoyght in my mind only, with no disrespect to you both, whatsoever, for I am ever thankful and grateful to you two for what I am today).

More later

Edward Hapuarachchi

Sent on Mar 29 2006

The Mustang Tent

Heard at the Mustangs Tent during the 127 Battle of the Blues - Mar 2006

- at the Royal Wesley cricket match some years ago - we were losing badly and being jeered by the Wesleyites - at their Borellagrounds - ole Kadalay took about all of the humiliation he could and then gave them this priceless one in return (it sure sounds much better in its original Singlish!)

"Orl right , Orl right - you fellows shout and make a heck of a noise like bloody Jackals now, but lets see what happens in four years time - all the Royalist cricketers will be Doctors, Engineers, Accountants and Lawyers, but all you Wesleyites would be only driving trains or being guards for the CGR !! "