Royal Primary School 1953 & Royal College '59 Group

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Snippets from days of old

The Soda’s (1/2, 1/4 & 1/8) of Royal and related stories

From Nihal:

5th April 2006

Dear Hapu,


I can fully understand your remembering ayah Kamalawathie . . .  . but to remember all the others so lucidly is truly great.  Can I ask you what your diet is??  A lot of us can do with a few more memory cells. 


Half Soda sure had a lot of oomph resulting in "the urge to merge", often. If I remember right there were a lot more bottles in the family, and I think someone did mention that either 1/8th or 1/16th died tragically after being run over by a car.  In fairness to the car driver it may not have been his fault as all Soda's were prone to bouts of absolute madness!!


I fully endorse Prasanna's line about most people not responding to mail, normally I would not have either. I responded so fast because I enjoyed it thoroughly and did not want it to stop. 


Great stuff machan, keep the press rolling.  I am sure we are in for some good episodes in the future.  Hope Faz can cope with all this . .  websites,  writings on Kollupitiya, Bamba, keeping his full complement of 4 wives content . . grandchildren etc.  etc.






From Hapu:

Dear Fazli,Prasanna & Nihal,


I really admire the speed and spirit you have shown in responding. Thank you very much for the kind, encouraging  words.


It is a good idea to have another blog for RC & RCH staff and not forgetting the minor staff. I have a lot to tell.


In those days of glass bottles for areted water, soda came in two sizes, full and half.Considering the similarity in hight and shape, some far thinking Royalist named Mr.Sabaratnam - HALF SODA. Nihal, you are right. If father was half, son has to be quarter, that is simple logic. Thank you once again. If I remember right there was a third Sabaratnam, younger brother of our mad bugger. Wonder if he was known as 1/8 Soda?


According to what I heard, about changing Bella's clock, many of people suspect Niki Kum. Opinion is divided whether Niki did the job solo. In my view, Niki must have had a team of dare devil 59ers such as UCJ, NC, MHS Anil K, together with some seniors. But Niki must have gone in to bell the cat. Lets give full credit to Niki.


Jayasinghe was the old cad. Dovan Singho was the squint eyed darkie. Curly haired peon without a portfolio was Piyadasa.


Principal's peon was Kulatunga. Lab boys were Dabare and a darkie clad in National suit. I forget the lab asst. name. I owe  a beaker.


RCH had head boy (50 or older) William, Piyasena, Sugathadasa.etc.etc. Matron, Ms Ratnayaka, ayahs - Podinona, Roslind, Kamalawathie (dark beauty) etc.etc.(lots of stories)


Ground Boys- David and Noor (both bastads) story later.



Apr 4 2006


From Prasanna in OZ:


Machang oo quarter soda neda?  Ugey pappa the master ne half? 


Also still mystery who changed Bella's clock.  Niki Cum thama suspect...


Jayasinghe was the older of the two peons.  The younger, darker chap? 


Then the ground boys:  David & Noor no?  During a speech, I mistakenly ref'd to Deen here. 


Your rasavath memories can go on.  I enjoy them as they are short & sweet - and you write like a short story writer rather than Martin Wicks or WA Silva !   Very funny spirit - glad to see the boy has kept up his school spirit.  Most people don't respond to any email, so just ignre their silence and keep until your mind's empty.  Upto them to tell you.  Your em's are not a nuisance ....... donta wurry U.

Prasanna Mendis

Apr 5 2006


The Third Reich

From Nihal

Dear Hapu,
There are so many stories on the exploits of 1/4 Soda.  I remember R S R telling me one day that he was on duty at Katunayaka Airport when S L refugees who went to Germany were deported back to Sri Lanka.  Apparently R S R was the senior officer there with instructions to bring everyone back and remand them. When the refugees came in escorted by German police officers he heard someone shout "Hullo R S R", yeah you are right it was 1/4 Soda who was one of the refugees.  Needless to say R S R, in his own  peerless style saw to it that all, except for one refugee who somehow was smuggled out of another doorway, were remanded. And 1/4 Soda escaped to perhaps even have another attempt at crashing into the 3rd Reich all over again. That was the way the 59 groupers helped each other.  Great isn't it?

I remember hearing the story about 1/4 S getting a kick from the father, I was in 2C, Soda's class and I remember how scared he was of the father. One thing is that 1/2 S was very consistent . . . every one got the same kick irrespective of whether they were offspring or otherwise.

Wasn't Emma Fernando, the Vespa scooter master, WW Art Room, who had a rather unusual Musto,  the one who was fixing Malani Saranapala from the Canteen?

Wonderful days Hapu, our children do not have time for fun, its very sad.

Look forward to hearing the next episode of 'Happenings from Hapu'


Apr 5 2006


From Hapu:

Dear Nihal,Fazli and Prasanna,


Isn't this a storey to be sent to all 59 buggers PLUS all Royalists for that matter. RSR, wherever he is, must be smiling with that slanted face and famous wink. This shows to what lengths we buggers could stretch ourselves when a friend is in need. I can imagine the look on QS's face, having come out of the airport. Wherever you are RSR, BLOODY WELL DONE.MAY GOD BLESS  YOU.


Tears are in my eyes, when I think of the great man, I met last at the Schipol Airport on his way to The Hague.


I must stop now.Can't  see the screen or write anymore.


Apr 6 2006


From Hapu:

Dear Nihal,
Can you remember the bombshell from somewhere in Gampaha. I am sure some seniors  had a soft spot for her? So close, but yet so far. There was something going on ,I can't remember between a pantry boy or a student.


Quarter.Soda led a very sad life. He came for the first  ‘59 Group meeting and following day visited Preman Soysa at Havelock town. Long story how he got married against the wishes of the elder Soda's, how he got chased out and all.


Purpose of the visit was to borrow 2500/- (short) for him to buy next door mans drawing room suite which was going for 5000/-. Rs.2500/- was only half a load of coco husks for Preman the philianthropic. I have not seen Saba since.

Sometimes when masters-in-charge were absent, one of the boys  was asked to "look after the class". Once it so happend,1/4 Soda volunteered. (Who listens to 1/4 Soda, anyways?). We were having a merry time, playing football ,some shouting etc.etc. Art Master, Mr. Emma Fernando (who died in Canada), walked in, "Who is in charge?" 1/4 Soda put his hand up. "Get up on the form" was the order. This happend in the West Wing 3rd.floor 2B Ruperty's class. Next small class was 1/2 Soda's. By some misfortune, 1/2S had gone to the WW lobby canteen under the stair-well, to get his cuppa. He was walking very carefully not to spill any tea. Telepathy must have awakened the alfa rays, he glanced sideways to the left and carried on deftly. I can still picture how 1/4 S shivered like a chic that was to be slaughtered. Back came 1/2 S., Upturned left palm and crooked index finger was giving the order. One good ‘Kaney’ on the cheek, one good kick on the running offspring.10:30 interval. 15 mts. rest.
More when time permits
Apr 5 2006


From Hapu:


The year was 1960.Junior Cadets were drilling like mad for the prize giving. The place was the triangular opening between the hostel and west wing lobby. From the hostel dorm B we could see the cadets below. Seibel was incharge of the platoon.

UCJ, Ambe, Sri Muruga, SY Sam (RIT's Bil), DERH etc.etc were watching the platoon below. Seeing Seibel commanding, we decided to have some fun off him. He was a man with a short temper. So all of us" 1! 2!! 3!!!, Ado Goo Seibel". This went on for about 3 or 4 times. What we did not see was Mr.Wickramaratna (Music Guru) under the hostel lean-to-roof below. He came round and caught us red handed.1000 lines "I will not disturb the Cadets, and behave myself in future".


Half Soda, Mr.Sabaratnam had a habit of chasing the rascals in his class out followed by a kick on the back. One day Thaleysingham, the cricketer, was chased out but knowing what would follow Thaley didn't turn back. Soda couldn't kick him on the So Soda was furious and shouted "YOU IDIAAAT,turn". But Thaley was the wiser one.


More when time permits.


Edward Hapuarachchi

March 29 2006