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Old 29-01-17, 10:29 AM
sriyanj sriyanj is online now
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Default On becoming a Thomian by Anura Gunasekera

There are teachers whom we talk of still, with both amusement and respect. Some were great teachers, some great eccentrics and a few combined both qualities. In retrospect, it is clear that they, individually and collectively, contributed to our development. They are too numerous to be named here and to recall a few and leave out the others would be disrespectful to their memories. These dedicated men and women, possibly never adequately compensated, created a tradition all by themselves and that even the academic non-achievers, such as I, recall them with affection and respect, is a clear indication of the role they played in our lives then.

Whilst I have no great school accomplishments to speak of, I still recall with great pleasure, most of the things that I did in school, in the company of contemporaries with many of whom I have formed life-long friendships. I loved the college library and over the years read most of the books available, even the ones I did not quite understand. I learnt how to interact with a wide spectrum of personalities, with disparate points of view, representing possibly all the ethnicities and religious denominations in the country. We interacted with lasting harmony and what friction that was generated, had nothing to do with what we were or where we came from. There were bloody fights from time to time, the aggression being generated, invariably, as a spontaneous reaction to what any one of us was engaged in at that point of time.

In College, I came to appreciate the lasting richness of comradeship, the unquantifiable pleasure that comes with successful team effort and the soothing value of the commiseration of fellow Thomians in defeat and failure. I learnt that to obtain an unmerited advantage for oneself was to disadvantage another fellow Thomian. I learnt what it was to accept punishment stoically and, through trial and error, how to break the law and still stay out of trouble. I also learnt the value of unity in adversity, especially in the face of the wrath of authority. I also learnt that there were ways and means of questioning authority, when appropriate, and that it was possible to fight it, successfully.

The contours of life in a boys’ school must be very different now, but the values that constitute decent human conduct and that which should govern a just society, the concepts of integrity and honourable interaction and the easy acceptance of human diversity, much of which, I realize in retrospect, is what one learns in school, should not be any different to what they were in my day. They are part of this Thomian tradition that we speak of and that which must be fostered through each generation.

This is what I wish for Divesh - and for his younger brother Tarun when he becomes a Thomian - that he will emerge from College, having absorbed the best values that it will impart, having experienced all that it has to offer, the pleasant and the unpleasant and, that in retrospect, on mature reflection, he will tell himself that he is happy and proud to be a Thomian; that he appreciates the wealth of his inheritance, that he has become a member of an exclusive fraternity, which many aspire to but to which only a few gain admission.


The author was in Stone House, was a good Rugger player in the mid sixties and won 1st XV colours. Later in life he rose to be a very respected Senior Planter.
Many Thomians will not be familiar with this building, It is where the pre school is and standing, on the premises where Warden Davidson and Mr Oville Abeynaike had their official residence.
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Last edited by sriyanj; 30-01-17 at 12:02 PM.
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