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
Nihal@slt.lk

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