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The Tale Of The Beer Bottle Stopper And The Markowich Cigarette



by Dr. Nihal Jayawickrama

Recent contributions to the Sunday Island by my school friends Godwin Perera (Remembered Yesterdays) and Gamini Seneviratne (Disce aut Discede) have brought back memories of the simple, uncomplicated, halcyon days of the nineteen fifties. Those idyllic schooldays were rudely interrupted, as far as I was concerned, by an event to which Gamini has referred in his article (November 8, 2020).

The return Royal-Trinity rugby encounter marks, I believe, the grand finale to the rugby (or rugger) season. In 1956, that match was scheduled to be played in Kandy. I had no interest whatsoever in rugby, and I cannot recall having spent even one hot afternoon watching a school rugby match in Colombo. However, all that was to change. One Friday afternoon in July saw me confined within a close cramped railway carriage bound for Kandy. All but two of my fellow passengers were the members of the Royal College Rugby Team. The two non-players and I were the Royal College Debating Team, travelling to Kandy for the annual Royal-Trinity Debate which was scheduled for that weekend in the Trinity College Hall. I cannot now recall who the other two members of our debating team on that occasion were, but our six college debaters that year were B.P.M. Peiris, L.A.D. Williams, Godwin Perera, Percy Wickremasekera, K. Shelton Alahakone and me.

The visiting Royalists were provided hospitality and accommodation in a section of the Trinity College hostel. On Saturday afternoon I watched Royal defeat Trinity on the Bogambara grounds and returned to the Trinity College Hall for the annual debate. Sarath Amunugama was the leader of the Trinity College Team. That night, in our quarters in the Trinity College hostel, the Royal rugby team celebrated their victory. They were joined by our Head Prefect N.Rasalingam and the other Prefects who had travelled independently to Kandy to watch the rugby match. We returned to Colombo by train on Sunday evening.

Monday was a normal quiet day at school, except for expressions of jubilation at having twice defeated Trinity that rugby season. On Tuesday afternoon everything dramatically changed. There were no teachers to take our regular classes. Rumour had it that an emergency staff meeting had been convened by the Principal, Mr Dudley K.G de Silva. There were no classes on Wednesday. The staff were attending an all-day staff meeting summoned by the Principal. There were wild rumours afloat on Thursday of a deadly missile from Kandy that had landed on the Principal’s desk. By evening, it all became known – at least to the twelve College Prefects, of whom I was one.

Mr Norman Walters, Principal of Trinity College, had written a letter to his Royal counterpart. In it he had congratulated Royal on its performance at the annual rugby match; confirmed that boys from his school would be visiting Colombo shortly for a combined schools rugby game; and expressed the hope that, as usual, Royal would accord them accommodation and hospitality during their stay in Colombo. Below his signature, he had added a PS: “I am returning something that your boys had, perhaps inadvertently, left behind (a Beer bottle stopper and a Markovich cigarette). Don’t worry. Our boys will bring their own supplies. In any event, they cannot afford these expensive brands.”

On Friday morning, the five Prefects who were officially in Kandy on that weekend – Fritz Crozier, Lionel Almeida, Suranjan de Silva and Loci Guneratna (members of the rugby team) and I were summoned to the Principal’s office. We were informed that, by our conduct, we had disgraced the school and the office of Prefect. We were removed from the office of Prefect and asked to hand back our Prefect’s badges to him immediately, which we did. At the general school assembly that followed a few minutes later, the Principal repeated what he had told us, and informed the assembly that the five of us had been removed forthwith from the office of Prefect. I believe the members of the Rugby Team were also denied “colours” despite their brilliant performance that year.

At the end of that year, when it was time for me to leave Royal, I wondered what the Principal would write in my school-leaving certificate. Mr Dudley K.G. de Silva was very magnanimous: “Jayawickrama has made a very substantial contribution to the general life of the College in many fields. He has a cheerful and kindly disposition and has always proved himself to be loyal and efficient. In all work entrusted to him he has displayed diligence, zeal, and conscientiousness. His conduct and character have been very good.” I was pleasantly surprised to note that he ended his comments thus: “He was appointed a Prefect”. That was characteristic of that warm-hearted gentleman with whom I later associated closely in the United Nations Association of Ceylon.

Reflecting on this episode there is little doubt that Mr. Norman Walters would not have expected his letter to be taken seriously. It was banter between two principals, one an English public school boy and the other a relatively new school head from a bureaucratic background.


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Hair Growth and Thickness



LOOK GOOD – with Disna


* Oil:

Oiling is an old home remedy for hair growth and thickness. Oiling is also used for the strength, shine, and length of hair, from ancient times. The use of coconut oil, especially, is very effective when it comes to the amplification of hair health. Additionally, there are many essential oils for faster hair growth which you can use, too.

* How to Use: Generally, hair oiling works best when applied overnight. You could use this therapy every night, or after each night, then wash your hair, in the morning, before heading for studies, or work.


* Aloe Vera:

Aloe vera has long been used as a home remedy for hair growth, thickness, and treating hair loss problems It contains vitamins A, C, and E. All three of these vitamins are known to contribute to cell turnover, supporting healthy cell growth and shiny hair. Plus, vitamin B-12 and folic acid are also included in aloe vera gel. Both of these elements can keep your hair from falling out. Aloe vera plants can be easily grown indoors. A leaf can be plucked, occasionally, and cut open to reveal its gel. This gel needs to be applied on the scalp, basically, to provide nourishment to the roots.

*  How to Use:

Rub this gel on your head properly, leaving no area dry; wash after half an hour or so. Keeping this massage as a part of your weekly routine will eventually make your hair thick and long.


*  Green Tea:

Green tea is often consumed as a home remedy for weight loss. Surprisingly, it has many other benefits, including hair-related benefits.

* How to Use:

Consuming green tea once every day can add to the strength and length of your hair. If your body is extremely comfortable with green tea, then you may even consume it twice every day.


* Onion Juice:

A bi-weekly application of onion juice can relieve you of your tension, regarding hair health. The smell can really torture you, but divert your attention in doing something else for a while, like making a puzzle or washing the dishes. From an early age, onion juice has been used as a home remedy to control hair fall. Research has shown that onion juice has been successful in treating patchy alopecia areata (non-scarring hair loss condition) by promoting hair growth .

* How to Use:

Take half onion and blend it. Apply the mixture on every nook and corner of your scalp and let it sit for some 60 minutes, or so. Shampoo it off when it’s time for the hair-wash.

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Fun-loving, but… sensitive



This week, my chat is with Nilu Vithanage. She is quite active, as a teledrama actress – having done four, already; her first was ‘Pavela Will Come In The Cloud, Mom’ (playing the role of a nurse). Then Came ‘Heavenly Palaces’ (student), ‘Black Town’ (a village character Kenkaiya), and ‘Wings Of Fire,’ currently being shown, with Nilu as a policewoman. You could checkout ‘Wings Of Fire,’ weekdays, on Swarnavahini, at 7.30 pm. Nilu is also active as a stage drama artiste, dancer…and has also been featured in musical videos.

And, this is how our chit-chat went…

1. How would you describe yourself?

Let’s say, I’m a bit on the playful side, and I like to have a lot of fun. But, I do find the time to relax, and, at home, it’s dancing to music! Yeah, I love dancing. Oh, I need to add that I’m a bit sensitive.

2. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

I get angry quickly. Fortunately, that anger doesn’t last long – just five to 10 minutes. But I wish I could get rid of anger, totally from my system!

3. If you could change one thing about your family, what would it be?

Nope, can’t think of anything, in particular. Everything is fine with us, and I’m proud of my only brother, and I feel safe when he is around. Or, come to think of it, if I did have another brother, I would feel doubly safe…when going out, in particular!

4. School?

I did my studies at two schools – C.W.W. Kannangara Central College, and Panadura Sumangala Girls’ School for my higher studies. Representing my school, I won first place in a speech competition and dance competition, as well.

5. Happiest moment?

When my husband comes home, or talks to me on the phone. He is stationed in Hatton and those calls and home visits are my happiest moments

6. What is your idea of perfect happiness?

I really find a lot of happiness feeding the fish, in ponds. I love to see them rush to pick up the tidbits I throw into the pond. That’s my kind of happiness – being close to nature.

7. Are you religious?

I would say ‘yes’ to that question. I like to go to the temple, listen to sermons, participate in meditation programmes, and I do not miss out on observing sil, whenever possible. I also find solace in visiting churches.

8. Are you superstitious?

A big ‘no.’ Not bothered about all those superstitious things that generally affect a lot of people.

9. Your ideal guy?

My husband, of course, and that’s the reason I’m married to him! He has been a great support to me, in my acting career, as well in all other activities. He understands me and he loves me. And, I love him, too.

10. Which living person do you most admire?

I would say my Dad. I truly appreciate the mentorship he gave me, from a young age, and the things we received from him

11. Which is your most treasured possession?

My family.

12. If you were marooned on a desert island, who would you like as your companion?

A camel would be ideal as that would make it easier for me to find a way out from a desert island!

13. Your most embarrassing moment?

One day, recently, with the greatest of difficulty, I managed to join a one meter distance queue, to withdraw money from an ATM. And, then I realised I didn’t bring the card along!

14. Done anything daring?

I would say…yes, when I ventured out to get involved in teledramas. It was a kind of a daring decision and I’m glad it’s now working out for me – beautifully.

15. Your ideal vacation?

I would say Thailand, after reading your articles, and talking to you about Amazing Thailand – the shopping, things to see and do, etc. When the scene improves, it will be…Thailand here I come!

16. What kind of music are you into?

The fast, rhythmic stuff because I have a kind of rhythm in my body, and I love to dance…to music.

17. Favourite radio station:

I don’t fancy any particular station. It all depends on the music they play. If it’s my kind of music, then I’m locked-on to that particular station.

18. Favourtie TV station:

Whenever I have some free time, I search the TV channels for a good programme. So it’s the programme that attracts me.

19. What would you like to be born as in your next life?

Maybe a bird so that I would be free to fly anywhere I want to.

20. Any major plans for the future?

I’m currently giving lessons to schoolchildren, in dancing, and I plan to have my own dancing institute in the future.

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Snail-napping sets the stage for CGI road trip



The SpongeBob Movie:Sponge on the Run

By Tharishi hewaviThanagamage

Based on the famous and one of the longest-running American animated series that made its debut on Nickelodeon in 1999, created by marine science educator and animator Stephen Hillenburg, ‘The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run’ is the latest addition to the SpongeBob movie franchise, coming in as the third installment after ‘The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie’ (2004) and ‘The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water’ (2015).

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