Life Back Then
My wife and I were visiting our son Gaurav and his family at Ahmedabad in 2012 for a few weeks. One fine Sunday morning, out of the blue, I announced that I needed a haircut.
Before anyone else could react, our DIL (daughter-in-law) Poonam took control of the situation. She immediately suggested "Papa, why don't you soak in some new experience?"
I joined St. Xavier High School, Jaipur in 1957 in Class Prep B, and left in 1966 with the Indian School Certificate high school graduate degree. The school Principal all these years was Reverend Father R. J. Pereira, S.J. (Society of Jesus.
I enjoyed my school days thoroughly.
My late father, Khem Chand Ji (1911 -2004) joined the Indian Administrative Service soon after Independence. He, along with a few others, was selected through a special recruitment process. He was the first Collector and District Magistrate of the newly formed Alwar district after Independence, which became part of United States of Matysa, and then was merged into Rajasthan
I was eleven years old when my father decided that my English was not English enough. So, he decided to send me to St. Paul's School Darjeeling to be groomed into a gentleman in the best of English public school tradition. In those days, St. Paul's was rated as Eton of the East, served by Scottish matrons and Irish nurses while Oxbridge graduates were tasked with ‘educating' young Indians for higher aspirations in life.
Mandalai, where I was born, was a quaint village fringed onto the outskirts of an equally small town in rural Bengal. Pandua, the nearby town, has a claim to connections with epic heroes of a bygone era. The Pandavas, according to legend, passed through it in their sojourns. Ruins of an old monument, rebuilt several times through its history, stand testimony to this tall claim of local residents. It’s a somewhat miniature version of the Kutub Minar and cannot be missed as the train approaches Pandua. Mandalai is only three miles away from Pandua but it’s a world apart.