Obey or depart: The school in a right royal mess
“Thaaththa,” Bindu Udagedera said, “I want you to become a minister…”
“Why?” Percy, Bindu’s father was startled, “why do you suddenly want me to become a minister? Is it because some of the provincial councils have been dissolved?”
“No, of course not,” Bindu said, “who wants to be a provincial minister?”
“What do you want me to become, then?” Percy asked.
“I want you to become a cabinet minister,” Bindu said, “and if possible, even become a government spokesman…”
“There are so many cabinet ministers and so many government spokesmen, so it shouldn’t be that difficult…” Percy observed.
“Then you must try your best to become one…” Bindu pleaded.
“But why, Bindu?” Percy wanted to know.
“Why, thaaththa,” Bindu said, “it would help me immensely…”
“And how would my becoming a minister help you?” Percy was puzzled.
“Why, thaaththa, I could then do anything I want at school…” Bindu said.
“How can you do that?” Percy demanded, “in any school, there are rules and regulations; you can’t just do anything you want and get away with it…”
“Yes, thaaththa,” Bindu said, “there are rules and regulations but those will apply only to other children…”
“And what exactly do you mean by ‘other’ children, Bindu?” Percy demanded.
“I don’t think those rules and regulations apply to ministers’ children, thaaththa…” Bindu explained.
“How could that be?” Percy was annoyed, “rules are rules, aren’t they?”
“No thaaththa,” Bindu countered, “they definitely aren’t…”
“And what gives you that impression?” Percy inquired.
“Why, thaaththa, a leading minister is supposed to have gone to a leading school and asked the Principal to revoke a punishment given to his son…” Bindu pointed out.
“And what happened then?” Percy asked.
“When the principal refused, he had been offered a transfer to the North…” Bindu replied.
“How can you be so sure?” Percy asked, “maybe the principal was due for a transfer anyway…”
“It didn’t seem like that all these years…” Bindu recalled.
“Or maybe the minister was trying to help the principal with some other matter…” Percy proposed.
“He certainly was…” Bindu agreed.
“Why do you say that?” Percy was curious.
“He was trying to reduce the principal’s workload…” Bindu said.
“That is what I thought,” Percy said, “but how did he try to do that?”
“Why, by requesting the principal to stop all disciplinary action against his son…” Bindu said.
“But that is not a good thing to do, Bindu,” Percy advised, “that would only harm the boy in the long run…”
“You would have to tell that to the minister…” Bindu suggested.
“Well,” Percy said, “this whole incident looks like a right royal mess to me…”
“Unfortunately, very little can be done about it now…” Bindu observed.
“Surely, at least something must be done about the minister…” Percy said.
“Yes, we can do something about that…” Bindu said.
“And what is that, Bindu?” Percy queried.
“Why, thaaththa, remember the other minister who used to go around defending his son’s actions?” Bindu asked.
“Of course,” Percy said, “who can forget him in a hurry?”
“Well, they gave him a doctorate and called him Doctor Dutugemunu…” Bindu remembered.
“So,” Percy asked, “what do you propose to do about this minister now?”
“Maybe we should give him also a doctorate and call him Doctor Kehelmala…” Bindu said.
Percy didn’t quite know what to say to that.