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


Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home