1950 onwards

For the first five years of my life I was surrounded by women. My grandmother, spinster aunts, my mother and sister were all the family I knew, except of course for my mother’s elder sister Maggie and her children. At that time in Ahmedabad, I was put in the Kindergarten at Mount Carmel’s School where my youngest aunt was a teacher. Then one day I just walked out of the school and was presumed kidnapped or lost. That was indeed my first contact with my gaurdian Angel, who held my hand to cross broad streets and led me home nearly ten kilometers away, which by myself would have been impossible. When I eventually reached home, my mother was hysterical with worry and terribly angry with me.

So I got my first belting with her new stiff hair brush. I think that did it for her, because she spoke to Father Lawrence our Parish Priest who recommended boarding school. My mother promptly contacted her brother Henry Scott in Bombay who was once a boarder in St. Stanislaus. He in turn made haste to find me a place, and before I knew it, I was a boarder. Well now you may understand that for a small five year old surrounded by women to be immersed in a boarding surrounded by nearly 200 males was a shock. Thus I missed my mother so bad that I would often cry and be comforted by Brother Fonseca. Then I also caught every little germ that put me in the infirmary very often. There was Joe and Brother Tott, both of whom were really nice and of couse the food in the infirmary was just superb.

Then came the climax to all these infirmary stays, I finally managed to get double pneumonia and was carried by Brother Tott to a doctor outside the school in the middle of the night. That saved my life and when I opened my eyes, there was Mom who was sent a telegram to come immediately from Ahmedabad. The Doctor’s advice was to take me to a hill station to recupperate. So off we went to Mount Abu in the middle of the term. That’s another story, but when I returned to school after a very long holiday, I found that I had to repeat the fourth class naturally. Well anyway I was real fond of cowboy teacher.

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