To your “Almamater” Sing !!

GAYA FERNANDO

Thomians young and Thomians old
Thomians staunch and true
Rally round the College Flag
The Blue, the Black and Blue…

134th-royal-thomian-battle-of-the-blue-tI think I may have been around 4 years old when I first heard those strange words Alma Mater… I thought it was Almamater … “To your Almamatersing… ” that was the phrase… and some of you will know right away where that comes from! Sort of like Radiant Way’s Sing Mother Sing but not quite. A beloved phrase to many…

Later I realised what it all meant but discovered it bit by bit: old dusty souvenirs stacked on the bottom shelf of the book shelf, flags taken out and aired and hat collections made for the Big Match from elder brothers, fathers…

I was lucky to have four elder brothers; one Royalist and three Thomians. The Royalist got into Royal by accident, the eldest son of a Thomian 😉 but my father had no qualms. He got in and thanks his lucky stars that he is a Royalist he says. Do I wanna be a Thomian ? Are …you… crazy? He replies. “To miss out on the BRADBY?” Never. So there it was.

Mustangs: nothing to do with horses. A tent. And its not a circus either.
Colts: ditto. A place where two-legged gentleman gather to cheer the schools they grew up into men in. Or stayed forever boys at whichever is true. Or both.

Papare: Indispensable… lyrics that are not polite to reproduce about allapu gedera are etched in the memory of those dusty, amazing carnival days.

Percy: An institution.

Kosso: Side show entertainment.

Strange language and somehow an exclusive tradition but one that stands apart. To those who went to the two schools who will meet tomorrow for the 134th yearly encounter the following 3 days are circled in BLUE BLACK GOLD AND BLUE !! A tradition second to only one other annual school encounter in the world in Southern Australia or somewhere.

So here’s to all you Old Thomians and Royalists all over the world who didn’t take that flight back to SL this year, to that drink and memory that flies back on the EVE of the big match to a certain Quadrangle where it all began, a Chapel, a cycle parade, a BIG Match Fever for which there is no pill!

There is no point in mentioning those who flew back for the Match cos they WONT be checking FB tonight!!

Raising a glass and a first cheer to a time-honoured tradition. Keep things safe guys, keep politics and thuggery and everything despicable at bay and to that multi-ethnic, happy forever young family of Royalists and Thomians young and old, play up, play up and play the Game !

Esto Perpetua !

Postscript :

Disce aut Discede… Royal Win ! My brother in Bangladesh must be drowning his sorrows. My brother in Colombo drinking with classmates to victory. Nothing is straightforward in Sri Lanka: One man’s win, another’s defeat 😉 BUT all are partying on from what we hear and celebrating lifelong friendship imbibing and behaving like fools 😉 To a tradition in a land like no other !!

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