After five decades, I visited Xavier’s on18th Sept 21 when I was in Jaipur for a family function. The glorious façade – a landmark in Jaipur- with its unique architecture drew me in and the first port of halt was the library.
As shared in my post ( A Search Engine with a Heart)...Xavier’s library has a special place in my reading journey. It was here that I made acquaintance with the Hardy Boys, Nancy Drew, Ken Holt, Billy Bunter and Williams. It was here Father Hoss, with his scary cane, brought the gimlet eyed Quelch of Greyfriars to life. It was here I reveled in the Adventure of Dick Varley, dipped into the Treasure Ahead, had my mountain adventure with Ian Serailler under the crisp Mme Francis with her twist to the English Literature and her Wren & Martin!
The guard at the gate asked me- “who did I want to meet?” And I responded ” the School”…The first port of halt – the library – lay as it was left 50 years ago. I met the new librarian and discovered that the old classic book section was moved to the extension that they had created at the expense of the old IX B class. Most of the earlier titles had been lost across the old decades- replaced by newer collections.
The current librarian, Mr S Sabharwal, was as sweet as Mr Hari Ram Ansari – the librarian I referred to in my post. During the conversation, I learnt that Mr HR Ansari was the younger brother of the famous comedian actor, Govardhan Ansari ( of Sholay Fame) …and that he had retired in 2005. I was also sad to learn that he had passed away a few years back – and is, no doubt, managing God’s own library up there. A special epitah for him – he was the original search engine – with a heart! He encouraged me when I was enthused as a reader, guided my enthusiasm and definitely was a wonderful part of my Xavier’s stint!
I had taken the school’s permission for the visit – but I had reached after 1pm and the school had closed. I walked across the building, deep with emotion, recalling the young sixth graders run across the hallway….climbed the stair to the first floor and looked at the school auditorium where I had seen my first westerners, 101 Dalmatians, the Golden Arrow and numerous other English movies every weekend! It was the place where I got my taste for the English movies – this was the temple of learning that molded my life.
I changed 7 schools in my life as my father’s transfers took him to different posts. All the schools were wonderful and shaped me.
However, this post is for Xavier’s.
To this amazing institution, to Mr Hari Ram Ansari- librarian and life-guide- and my teachers, I dedicate this post with all humility and affection….
Anna Damini – in the year of the Lord – in the name of the Lord….a service unparalleled!