8 September 2022

How these folks became my friends to begin with

This time I met a dozen of my St. Xavier’s School (SXS) classmates in three different settings. All that within the 2 days that I was in India!! There is an interesting story about how they almost never became my friends to begin with. This involves Father Wautier – the best principal I have ever had in my life, my own dad and my brother.

In 1971 December, SXS had admission test scheduled on one Friday, Saturday and Sunday over a weekend. My father, having figured that all kids will be interviewed first before results would be declared, went to visit his mom in Debipur village on Friday. Came back on Saturday and took me for tests on Sunday. Only to be told that all seats had been filled up.

My dad was terribly crestfallen. It was his dream that I would go to SXS. I do not think he ever forgave himself for that.

I went to Benachity Junior High School (next door to SXS on Mirabai road) instead. Every December thereafter, my dad would take my report card to Fr. Wautier and plead “e bochhoro first hoyecche. ebaar-e niye nin”. (This year too he has stood first – you have to take him now). But Fr. Wautier always sent him back.

Fast forward to 1976 December. My brother now had to go to school. Dad took him to interview in SXS. No points for guessing which day he took him there of the three day options. I remember being in the room with the whole family when Fr. Wautier interviewed my brother. I distinctly remember he asking him to narrate a poem.

For some reason, my brother froze up. Fr. Wautier was incredibly warm and comforting and gave him some encouragement. And like summer tempest came out “Baa Baa Black Sheep” from my brother’s mouth like he was waiting to throw those words up all his life.

On Monday, results were out. My brother was in.

Dec 12, my results came out.

Dec 13, my dad went on his annual pilgrimage to Fr Wautier.

Same old “e bochhoro first hoyecche. ebaar-e niye nin”

Fr. Wautier: “Congratulations, Mr. Roy. But there is no vacancy”.

To hear my dad say it, he pleaded a couple of times. With no result. And then he put down his trump card…

“But his brother got thru this time”

Fr. Wautier was nonplussed. “His brother? What is his name?”

“Chiradeep. Chiradeep Roy.”

Fr. Wautier went to those metal folder racks, fished out some paperwork and asked my dad if that kid whose papers he was holding was my brother.

“Yes, father. They are five years apart”

“Bring Rajib’s report card tomorrow. He will be in our school from January”.

My father, well prepared as he was, promptly fished out my report card from his pocket.

A few signatures and some admission money later, I became part of these guys!!!

Never got a chance to say good bye to my friends in Benachity Junior High School 🙁

Had it not been for my brother…

Posted September 8, 2022 by Rajib Roy in category "Vacations

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