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Sunday, October 21, 2001
Article

Not good enough for a matchless girl!
Karam Chand

IT is universally believed that there are basically two questions one has to answer in life. One, what is one going to do? And two who is going to be the mother/father of oneís children? In todayís world, closely related to these two is the third one ó where are we going to school our children? Our peculiar situation and circumstances combined, personally speaking, the latter has weighed more heavily on our minds than the first two put together.

Why are we so particular about the choice of a school for our children? Before we try find an answer to this, for a while; letís move to London.

I was a young, dashing bachelor. Reading for the Bar at the Inns of Court School of Law in London. (The year was 1976). Inner Temple, as you know, is one of the four Inns of Courts where one could read for the Bar. The popular saying is:

Inner for the rich,

Middle for the poor,

Lincolní for the Commonwealth

And Grayís for the Whore!

 


"If thou has tears, prepare to shed them now" (Julius Caeser). To crown the disaster that was waiting to happen, I was in love. Love with a beauty, who was tall, slim and had silky hair. She was of devastating charm and was not just gori (white) but a show-stopper. Her parents were both English and wealthy. She lived in prosperous South countryside. But as husband and wife, the parents were poles apart. Her mother was a graduate from Cambridge University. She had a cool, calm and composed persona. Less well-educated, her father was an engineer by trade. Tall, assertive, successful and with a merry heart, "enjoying a continuous feast". So insular was he that he didnít relish being referred to as British (whichíd include Wales & Scotland, too) Interestingly, he was also the proud reader of the Daily Telegraph that was read by the old-fashioned conservatives.

He was obsessed with England and its imperial glory. He thought that colonising was to benefit the colonies, not the coloniser. India for instance was a backward geographic entity until the English turned her into one nation. I had nothing but contempt for his all-time favourite topic. I would remind him T.S. Elliotís

"History has cunning passages

and contrived corridors......

Sure, The Romans came, saw and conquered and colonised England. In just a matter of days, not through the devious East India Company in over 200 years. Itís just a slice of history.

I would, at all times, maintain a studied princely posture. The sort of spirit that Alisha Chenai was to celebrate later in: Made in Indiya...

To be fair to him, he was a very affectionate and generous person.

He would offer wine and dine me, taking me to the best of trendy bars and restaurants that London had to offer. But there was a problem. Though he was quite happy with our friendship, he opposed our intended marriage. Between our "writing on the trees" and "sighing like a furnace" episode he was an irritant.

My patience could not be everlasting. Enough was enough! I decided to confront the old man. My friend suggested I should see her mother, instead. That instantly appealed to me. In a casual summer dress and with my "no-less-than-thou" attitude, it was in Regentís Park that we met. She was very pleasant and all smiles!

She talked of the gorgeous weather and how students should make the most of it. Good weather or bad weather, she broached the subject even before I could, She maintained that her husbandís opposition to our intended marriage had nothing to do with my colour or creed. She stated that he was quite fond of me.

Even admired me for in spite of the fact that I had been brought up in an obscure Indian village, I was doing exceedingly well in cosmopolitan London. But he loved his daughter fondly and dearly. "No boy in the world is good enough for his daughter"said she in her reflective voice.

Similar is the case when it comes to the schooling of our own children. No school in the world is good enough for them!

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