The Sunday Leader

In Appreciation Of Trinity

By Kanchana Ratwatte – LLB (Colombo) Attorney at Law

About six months ago I had the opportunity to visit Trinity College to hand over an invitation to the principal to attend a function. When I walked in, I found this place full of little kids who had come to face interviews for admission. I had to explain to Gnane that I had not come to admit my son but to hand over an invitation. Border and immigration formalities over, I attended to my business and came down and stood in front of the hall.

My memory took me back almost 39 years. I vaguely remember coming for an interview at the Trinity College Kandy (TCK) Principal’s office sometime in 1971. I was shown a few colour pencils and asked to name the colours and thus my fate was sealed.

A few months later I was dropped at the matron’s dormitory with a trunk full of things and my life at Trinity started. We were welcomed by Julius, Jayasinghe and Sirisena and the Matron Mrs Janz. Tom, Gunaratne and Simon too need honourable mention here. I remember Roger, Prasad, Gehan Ramanayake, Sahan, whom the school authorities had figured out had come to school one year too early, Mark, Tyronne, Ramesh, Raymonds, Berman, Patrick, Shirley, Kalyana, Jadis, Moorthy, Udeni… 20 or 30 of us kids in that group. The following morning when we attended classes, we realised there were the day scholars as well. Gehan, Anuruddha Hiranjan, Intikab, Roshanka, Rajeew, Rajeewa, Sanjeewa, Royce, Salman, Robert, Alister, Anura, Nalin, Manoj, Nafees, Dharmalingam, Amalan, Rukmal, DJ, Pawas, Nithyananthan, Nanthakumar, Badri, Sean, Periyasamy, Ravichandran, Thahir, Roshan, Mahesh along with three girls Gimhani, Heshani and Lalani.

Unfortunately by the time we got our act together, they had left for Girls High School. This talent pool was enhanced over the years with the inclusion of many others who joined us from there onwards. Sanjaya, Jayanthasiri, Upul, Manik, Srinath, Gota, Nanny, Anton, Sajith, Lalindra, Jeewa, Suresh, GB and Juhardeen

From the junior school to the upper school it was such an enriching experience. Ours was one unique batch which produced Lionsmen in almost all the fields. Cricket Anurudhdha and Gehan, Rugby Ikram, Hockey Prasad, Cadetting Anura , Basketball Anton and Shirley, Boxing Udeni, Sajith, Ikram and so goes the list. Many more coloursmen were also produced.

Our lives were not restricted to books and the hectic schedule that our kids go through today in order to face the challenges of globalization and open economy.

We were inculcated with the best of gentlemanly qualities. When we walked out of this hall after the final assembly, we were ready to take on the world. We were fiercely competitive but not to the extent of being unfair or brutish. Many an employer has stated that we were too gentlemanly at times to face the rough and tumble of it all. They say that we play too much by the book: that has not by any means let us down.

This is the school that produced two giants who challenged the highest in this land. The late Hector Kobbekaduwa and the late Gamini Dissanayake gave the presidential stakes a good run. Two other Trinitians who strode the globe like titans had the mettle  to take the world on. The Late Lakshman Kadirgamar ran for the Commonwealth Secretary General’s post and Dr. Jayantha Dhanapala for the Secretary General post of the U.N. Trinity, thou ought to be proud of your sons!

We as a batch have done fantastically well too.  Srinath is a successful medical practitioner in Urology, Ayodya too a doctor, Sanath Thahir and Pradeepan  successful  engineers, Rajeewa an academic at Peradeniya with a PhD, Prasad, Uminda, Punchi, Sanath and Manik holding top level positions in the logistics field (the next boom to happen in Sri Lanka), Upul, Kalyana, Manoj, Upendra, Jayanthasiri and Sampath successful entrepreneurs, Gehan and Udeni top posts in the insurance field, Sumith a farm manager with the golden touch in agriculture, Naleen, Sanjeewa and Gota top bankers, Sahan, Suren, Patrick, Sanjaya, Sajith, Kumar, Mark, Sumane , DJ, Jadis all senior planters, Intikab in the export trade, Salman and Naushad in the import trade, Anura and Royce highly decorated officers in the defense establishment, Tiru the engineer at ADB and then out of the overseas ‘85ers Rajiv, after his successful Princeton and Harvard days, a COO of a multinational US pharmaceutical giant, Ravi, Kanishka and Roshanka engineers in Aussi and the Netherlands, in North America Anandaraja a doctor, Amalan a software engineer in the US, Dharmalingam, Nathan and Nande three doctors out of the 15 Batch ’85 doctors in North America, Rukmal, Roger, Hiranjan, Suresh, Ramesh, Roshan, Lalindra, Nafees, Nalindra, Shirley, Tyronne all helping the global economy stay afloat   and the list is far too long for me to elaborate. Be it in Sri Lanka or the US, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, England, India. We have guys from all fields: all over the world.

Years after leaving school some time in the ‘90s I happened to travel to Toronto with an official delegation. Travelling from Colombo on those early morning flights after 11 or 12 hours one lands in London. Six to seven hours of transit and six and a half hours later we landed in Canada and were driven into the Westin in Toronto. There I heard a voice I hadn’t heard in almost 15 years but which I recognised the moment I heard it. To my pleasant surprise it was a master from TCK. We hugged each other and the person related his story. He said he was living like a king at Trinity and how much he missed all that.

He told me that he was drawing at least 50 times over what he was earning at Trinity but never has he found a place on the globe like Trinity. It was such a closely knit family and he went on to explain how he had come to the  Peradeniya University and how he had fallen in love with this lady from Kandy and how he found employment and stayed back. If there was another chance he would not leave this place for all the money in the world. These are the legendary figures that enhanced the true spirit and flare of education at TCK.

Mr Jeyaraj, Mr Ariyasingham, Mr and Mrs Kulatungam, Mr Theo de Silva, Mr and Mrs Percy de Silva, Mrs Rodrigo the sick room matron, Mr and Mrs Fonseka, Mr Alahakoon, Mr Chandrasiri senior and junior, Mr and Mrs Weerakoon, Mrs Pathirana, Mrs Seetha Perera, Mr Hastings, Mr and Mrs Herathge, Mr Daniels and Mr Daniel, Mr Gnanapragasam, Mrs Navaratnam, Mr Asoka Weerasinghe and the Pilimatalawa sisters all spent the better parts of their lives at TCK. Unfortunately people speak of the Frazer era but not all the teachers are recognized in the same spirit.

It is with deep gratitude to this institution that we as the batch of ‘85 have been doing a few things to say thank you TCK. Over the last few years we were able to assist the U 18 rugger team in our own small way. That was a contribution that we were able to make as a batch with contributions coming from all over the world. We had a bigger reason to make the contribution, as our batch mate Manoj was involved with the side on a voluntary basis . On a few occasions we have come forward, providing meals at times while the team was in Colombo. We have provided energy drinks and some members have provided assistance with boots to certain players.

Then we also identified a good, talented player at a very young age from Dharmaraja and sponsored his admission to college who is going great guns and is playing for the U 16 side this year. Then we also made our best effort through our batch mate Anton to provide technical services for the basket ball court construction with a generous contribution from the Washington DC OBA which was also suggested and negotiated by us. However with many trips to college, this has not yet gone through.

Our main contribution which will be for posterity is the Middle School IT lab project. The sheer magnitude of the project required a humongous effort on the part of the IT Committee with Srinath, Sanath, Uminda, Manik and Naushad all contributing in great measure in time and money for the successful completion of the project. This will be a living monument for generations to come as a contribution made by the ‘85 batch.

This is not a monument the size of the college hall donated by the A.H.T. Soysas nor is it  the Asgiriya stadium of the late Gamini Dissanayake. This is the small way in which we could say thank you Trinity for everything you gave us.

I would fail in my endeavour if I fail to mention the sacrifice made by all our parents to send us to this great institution. Out of the many options they had of spending their money, they decided to invest on us. In conclusion let me say we are today what we are because of what Trinity gave us. It gave us the self confidence to stand up to any situation.

4 Comments for “In Appreciation Of Trinity”

  1. Kandyan

    Great article Kanchana! The last paragraph is so true to life.

    Hmm…forgot to mention Para did ya? Sure must not have got your ears pulled out by him…ha…ha…

    Trinity has been and is iconic. Let’s hope it will stay that way in the future.

    • Premin Arnold

      It is definitley the best school of all wthout a doubt. I am overseas now I belive it is the eduction, disclipine, and just being able to carry your self in society that we were taught at TCK is holding us this far.

      Trinity is the best school of without a shadow of doubt and I am true grateful to my parents for sending me to that great institution.

  2. 79batchJob

    What a great article, you made tears come to eyes. It is the best school of all!! Definitly the current set teachers who have silently upheld the tradition and contributed their life to school. They deserve huge PAT IN THE BACK.

  3. Rumey

    Great read. Those names rang fond memories though I am from the 91 batch.

    “We were inculcated with the best of gentlemanly qualities. When we walked out of this hall after the final assembly, we were ready to take on the world. We were fiercely competitive but not to the extent of being unfair or brutish. Many an employer has stated that we were too gentlemanly at times to face the rough and tumble of it all. They say that we play too much by the book: that has not by any means let us down.”

    So true…

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