I consider myself an old school guy. And I mean that kind of literally.
You see, I went to an old and very strict all-boys school in Colombo during an era where teachers were free to give you a beating to remember.
And despite poor little Dilshan being a good student, even he has got his ass whooped. Again, I mean that kind of literally.
So before we get into the Sinhala learning part, I thought I’d do something weirdly cathartic and share my favorite memory of one of those beatings >>>
The year was 1989. Little Dilshan was 9 years old…
Folks, the mathematics teacher I’m about to talk about is someone I really am fond of. I’d genuinely be delighted to run into him today.
He was this cool and young guy who had a great sense of humor.
But at the same time, he would slap the crap out of your baby cheeks if you misbehaved.
He was also very adamant that we knew our multiplication tables better than we knew our own names.
So he’d give us a fair warning that he’d be verbally testing each of us the next day (there were 40 in my class) and if we made even the slightest mistake, we’d be punished. Standard punishment at that time was kneeling down in the corridor outside the classroom for the entire world to see.
Here’s the format of the Q&A:
He’ll rapidly shoot out a series of questions like “What’s 2 x 7?” and we needed to respond in lightning-round fashion.
I was not worried at all. We had to know all combos until 12 x 12 and mathematics was my forte.
Fast forward to the next day…
15 of my fellow comrades who had messed up their answers are already kneeling outside. My turn came and so I stood up.
He started off with the 6x and 7x “piece-of-cake” multiplications and I smashed them out of the park.
He then sneakily threw in 12 x 13 despite it being outside our scope. But I matched his sneakiness and added 12 to 144 and smugly gave him the answer.
So far, smooth sailing for little Dilshan
And then it happened.
He asked me, “9 x 11?”
Now, you know that the 11x multiplication table is one of the easiest. They’re all just identical double-digits like 11, 22, 33 etc.
I don’t know what happened at that moment. Maybe it was over-confidence, maybe my brain had an ephemeral diarrhea moment, I really don’t know what happened.
I confused it with “11 x 11” and answered “121”…
Dun dun dunnnnn!
Man, did he smile! He knew he got me. And no matter how much I pleaded and immediately corrected myself, he had that “nope” look on his face.
And so I had to join the 15 other boys outside.
I can’t remember how long we were kneeling for. Could’ve been 20 minutes, I think. We were fine. A little uncomfortable but overall fine.
He then said he was going to call us in. We tried to hide our joy of knowing that we got out of this easily.
But he quickly added “Come in one by one” as he walked towards the teacher’s cupboard.
“One by one”? We looked at each other puzzled. Why “one by one”?
That’s when we saw what he took out from the cupboard.
The cane. The terrifying cane.
Turns out, the kneeling was merely the “entrée” to the main course that we were about to taste.
So the first guy went in, faced the wall, and stood straight.
Whoooooosh! Whoooosh! Whoosh!
3 swift lashings of the cane on the guy’s bum. The dude was grimacing while the rest of the class (including us outside) were in fits of giggles because of the way he squirmed (I swear even now I’m smiling while remembering it).
The class continued to laugh. Our giggles quickly died down when we heard him say “Next!”.
When my turn came I remember mustering up all the courage a 9-year old could and bracing myself for 3 nasty jolts on my backside. And as I turned to face the wall, I may have even closed my eyes.
Whoooooosh! Whoooosh! Whoosh!
I did it! I looked around. I’m still alive. Yay!
But you know the weirdest part? I didn’t feel whoosh #2 and #3 at all!!!
Because my bum went completely numb as soon as I got the first whoosh! I could’ve easily endured a few more after that.
I remember going back to my seat and having to look down and make sure that I am indeed seated since my “bum nerves” were momentarily on a break. The adrenaline that was pumping even made me giggle quietly.
Look folks, as weird as it sounds, the story I just shared with you is obviously something I consider a “fond memory”. It just is.
I’ve been told that today things are different in Colombo schools and such beatings don’t take place. And I’m happy about it. In no way, do I condone it.
However, it does take away an opportunity for a future blogger to share a good “beating” stories with thousands of his followers.
And more importantly, even while I’m sleep if you ask me “9 x 11?”, I will never ever get that wrong again.
… And they lived happy ever after. The end.
Let’s now go to the Sinhala learning part:
Structure Of This Post
- The Sinhala word for “classroom”
- People in a classroom (4)
- Furniture in a classroom (4)
- Fixtures in a classroom (5)
- Stationery in a classroom (9)
- Books in a classroom (3)
- Other things in a classroom – which I don’t know where else to put (4)
- The SCARIEST damn thing in the classroom (1)
30 Things In A Classroom In Sinhala
1. The Sinhala word for “classroom”:
1 FYI, “class” = pan∙thi∙yȧ; “room” = kaa∙mȧ∙rȧ∙yȧ
- Go into the classroom = pan∙thi kaa∙mȧ∙rȧ∙yȧ æ∙thu∙lȧ∙tȧ yan∙nȧ
- Which is your classroom? = o∙yaa∙gé pan∙thi kaa∙mȧ∙rȧ∙yȧ ko∙yi é∙kȧ∙dhȧ?
2. People in a classroom (4):
2 Another word for “teacher (male)” = ‘gu∙ru∙thu∙ma’
3 Another word for “teacher (female)” = ‘gu∙ru∙thu∙mi∙yȧ’
4 Another word for “student (male)” = ‘si∙su∙wa’
5 Another word for “student (female)” = ‘si∙su∙vi∙yȧ’
- The teacher (male) is inside the classroom = gu∙ru∙vȧ∙rȧ∙ya pan∙thi kaa∙mȧ∙rȧ∙yȧ æ∙thu∙lé in∙nȧ∙va
- The student (male) is not coming today = shish∙yȧ∙ya a∙dhȧ én∙né nǣ
3.Furniture in a classroom (4):
6 Another word for “desk” = ‘li∙yȧ∙nȧ mḗ∙sȧ∙yȧ’
7 Another word for “cupbaord” = al∙maa∙ri∙yȧ
- The teacher (female) is sitting on the desk = gu∙ru∙vȧ∙ri∙yȧ mḗ∙sȧ∙yȧ u∙dȧ iňdhȧ gan∙nȧ∙va
- The student (female) is opening the cupboard = shish∙yaa∙vȧ “cupboard” é∙kȧ a∙ri∙nȧ∙va
4. Fixtures in a classroom (5):
|wall clock||bith∙thi o∙rȧ∙lō∙su∙wȧ|
|world map||lō∙kȧ si∙thi∙yȧ∙mȧ|
|map of Sri Lanka||lan∙kaa∙vé si∙thi∙yȧ∙mȧ|
8 Another word for “calendar” = dhi∙nȧ dhar∙shȧ∙nȧ∙yȧ
- The teacher (male) is erasing the blackboard = gu∙ru∙vȧ∙rȧ∙ya ka∙lu lǣl∙lȧ ma∙kȧ∙nȧ∙va
- The student (male) is showing us the world map = shish∙yȧ∙ya lō∙kȧ si∙thi∙yȧ∙mȧ a∙pi∙tȧ pén∙nȧ∙nȧ∙va
5. Stationery in a classroom (9):
|piece of chalk||“chalk” kǣl∙lȧ9|
|ruler (1 foot ruler)||a∙di kō∙dhu∙wȧ11|
|coloring pencils||paa∙tȧ pæn∙sal|
9 Proper Sinhala word for “piece of chalk” = ‘hu∙nu koo∙rȧ’
10 Proper Sinhala word for “duster” = ‘hu∙nu kot∙tȧ∙yȧ’
11 Another word for “foot ruler” = ‘a∙di “ruler”
- Can I borrow your pen for a little? = ma∙tȧ o∙yaa∙gé pǣ∙nȧ pod∙dȧ∙kȧ∙tȧ gan∙nȧ pu∙lu∙wan∙dhȧ?
- He stole my eraser! = é∙yaa ma∙gé ma∙kȧ∙nȧ∙yȧ ho∙rȧ∙kam kȧ∙laa!
6. Books in a classroom (3):
- The child didn’t bring the book = la∙mȧ∙ya po∙thȧ gé∙naa∙vé nǣ
- My textbook is very old = ma∙gé ach∙chu po∙thȧ ha∙ri pa∙rȧ∙nayi
7. Other things in a classroom – which I don’t know where else to put (4):
|school bag10||poth mal∙lȧ12|
|flower vase/pot||mal pōch∙chi∙yȧ|
12 Another word for “school bag” = “bag” é∙kȧ
- Her school bag has gone missing = é∙yaa∙gé poth mal∙lȧ næ∙thi vé∙laa
- He is throwing the pencil in to the bin = é∙yaa pæn∙sȧ∙lȧ ku∙nu baal∙dhi∙yȧ æ∙thu∙lȧ∙tȧ vi∙si kȧ∙rȧ∙nȧ∙va
8. The SCARIEST damn thing in the classroom (1):
- Even now Dilshan shivers when he sees the cane = vḗ∙væ∙lȧ dhæk∙ka∙mȧ Dilshan dhæn vu∙nath véwu∙lȧ∙nȧ∙va