Extension to Cambrian Kollo and Princess of Wales Kello
In response to my piece on ‘Cambrian Kollo and Princess of Wales Kello’, my good friend, Sepala Munasinghe, who is enjoying his retirement in South of France, has written to me since he had been an old Trinitian. Sepala excelled in the West as a prominent Barrister at Law and has helped Sri Lanka in many a legal matter from London. Having read my recent article in the Island, he responded thus:
“ Read your piece on Cambrian Kollo and Princess of Wales Kello. Nostalgia, takes its toll! I have not seen the original article on Trinity Kello, but if I may add an extension to it, I will have to mention about the Vice Principal Jonathan David’s (“Jontha”) pretty daughter who was in the 6th form when I first joined Trinity College Kandy; The Principal at that time was C.E.Simithriaratchi. In the sixth form she was known as: “Kella”. Much later there were two other Kellas, one of them was Matron Wadsworth’s daughter Catherine and she was a beauty!!!”
“Boys at the time did not show any interest in other Kello, save ‘ Cath’, all of them were quite matronly. However, all these girls ended up at the 6th Form prior to their University Entrance. The chap who wrote about Trinity Kello cannot be expected to know what went on at Trinity College Kandy during the latter part of the forties!
Apart from my friend Sepala, a few of my old Cambrian contemporaries who had read the Island, have written to me suggesting to write about the Cambrian Kollas and exceedingly admirable teachers we had in our days.
In this respect, I could remember the late Mr Eric Perera who was the middle school mathematics master. His robust masculine appearance, the streamlined moustache, hair combed backwards and pasted to the pate with Brylcream reminds me now of his resemblance to the Western thespian and heart throb Clark Gable in the film Gone with the Wind.
Mr Perera always entered the classroom with a stern look and fetched a piece of chalk and went straight to the blackboard, drew an Isosceles triangle saying stridently: “ABC is a triangle which has two sides and opposite angles equal”, then he turned towards the class room and started dictating questions where the boys had to struggle with mathematical theorems.
Period of doldrums
It happened to be an ominous and rainy day where not many students turned up for lessons. Consequently Mr Erick Perera decided to inspect graph books of the few students present in the classroom and summoned the first boy to come up with his book.
“Genave neha, Sir” (forgot to bring) was the boy’s answer.
“Yanawa Gedara , gihin aran enawa Potha . (Go home and bring the book), the teacher ordered.
It appeared that not many students had brought their graph books to college that morning. So the pattern continued where boys in a row admitted that they had not brought the Graph book to college that day. After few boys started leaving the classroom heading towards their homes it was the teacher’s son who had to face the same music when he pronounced that he too had not brought the book to school on that day.
“Ko Oyage Potha”. (where is your book.)?
“ Mathaka nathi una (forgot)!
“Ouath yanawa gedara, gihin genawa Potha” (you also go home and bring the book).
Mr Perera suddenly called the Monitor of the class and said in a silent aside …
“Lamaya duwala gihin ara gedara yana lamainta apasu enne kiyanna”.(child, quickly run and ask those children who are going home to come back).
The happy lot while returning to the classroom thought they would get a reprieve because of Mr Perera’s son who was also in the same boat, but it was not to be.
He commanded the Monitor once again:
“Mage office ekata gihin vewela aran enna” (go to my office and bring the cane).
The ultimate result was that everyone except those few boys who had the graph book with them got a good spanking to their bottoms, thus showing the impartiality and fairness displayed by another professional teacher at Prince of Wales College.
Once there was a ‘powerful’ peon nick named, 'Vice Principal’, because he appeared to persuade the then Principal on some issues like rubber stamping the principal’s signature on teacher reports by him rather than allowing the Principal to waste his valuable time on such a mundane task.
Once when this particular peon went from class to class, showing a notice to all class teachers, signed by the Principal and requesting all class teachers to ‘forward student reports to the Principal for signature,’ Mr Perera took the pun out of it by commenting:
“The reports must reach the peon for rubber stamping and not the Principal”.