St Xavier’s College owes me 15.5 million dollars. Now don’t get me wrong. It continues to be my favourite educational institution by a long way, but fair is fair, and the great college still quite clearly owes me 15.5 million dollars.
Before I get into the story, let me first introduce St Xavier’s to those who’ve never heard of it, namely B.Com students and Hungarian tourists. St Xavier’s is a unique college in South Mumbai, unique because of the fact it has both an entrance and an exit, two separate doors. This luxury is unheard of amongst other South Mumbai colleges, thus setting the institution apart.
That, and the fact that students with pig tails, are still available on the campus. Now that you’ve gained an in-depth knowledge of the grand educator, we may proceed with my story, which is loosely, but not entirely based on a play by Punjabi poet and rapper, Harmeet Singh - The Merchant of Venice.
I entered St. Xavier’s in the June of 1988. This was a long time ago as can be told from the fact that Viv Richards was still the best batsman in the world and Aamir Khan was actually playing college students in his films, who were just a year older than his actual age then. Staggering. Well, be brave. Courage man, courage... er there’s more.
On the first day at college, free from the mundane school life that I was forced into, caught in the quadrangle amongst a sea of girls one prettier than the next, I developed a severe case of whiplash and recurring neck and spinal pain. The constant looking and gawking was too much for my upper vertebrae to handle though I must say my lower vertebrae coped just fine.
This has caused me continuous pain and suffering that has recurred through the last 20 years, the damage for the pain suffered cannot be quantified. However, since you insist that quantify we must, then the figure that seems fair is around 5 million dollars. (These figures were arrived at after consultation with all the leading accounting houses like Arthur Anderson, Reuters, Barnes@ Noble, Rupa Paperback and Dr Sitaram Yechury.)
Day 17 at St Xavier's was another milestone. For some reason, I broke my own cardinal rule never to enter the library. Sadly, the steps leading up to the library, are each, nine metres high. On attempting the arduous climb, I tore a ligament in my knee. This ended my fast bowling career. Thus once again proving Chairman Mao’s eternal quotation, “The pursuit of education is often overrated and highly dangerous.”
As a fast bowler, I would have earned, if we quickly do the math, 7+2-4+11x26 = 7 million dollars. The debts continued to pile up. I had two relationships in college with women (not to say the rest were with men) but both proved to be futile.
However, the cost of those relationships to my mental health, physical well-being, not to mention 800 litres of petrol, 2007 movie tickets, 166 train tickets, 100s of vada pavs (two of which were wasted), 198 plates of curry rice and 2708 litres of kala katha, adds up to another 5 million dollars. The total, my friends, now, is 17 million dollars.
Now I seem to have puzzled you. Quite rightly, you bring up the point that I profess — the college owed me 15.5 million in all.
Allow me to elucidate on the matter. Let it not be said, that Cyrus Broacha St Xavierite batch of ’88-93 is not generous. Far from it! I’m generosity personified. Generosity itself, not to mention humility, magnanimity, and slightly portly.
St Xavier’s College is in need of repairs. Reconstruction of various facets is on the cards. That requires money and donations. I hereby dedicate the sum of 1.5 million dollars (from 17 million owed to me by the college), to my favourite institution.
Yes, 9.5 million dollars!!!! Do I see tears in your eyes? Don’t be surprised. After all, this is what Xavier’s taught me - compassion, generosity and altruism to all. I’ll end with the Xavier’s song written by Sunil Gavaskar and Milind Rege.
“St Xavier’s, wherever you are,
St Xavier’s, why aren’t you in Sunshine Bar,
St Xavier’s more is the pity,
If you fail at first, remember there’s always A T K T.”