* * * Xavier Labor Relations Institute was founded and run by American Jesuits from the Baltimore province, with priests on loan, like Father Arroyo from the Jesuit Gujarat province, a missionary project of the Spanish Jesuits; as well as Mangalorean Jesuits from the India’s Karnataka Province. “Great, great,” Father O’Brien patted his shoulder, walking on, quite obviously not having heard a word.
(The Jesuits, like the Catholic Church, were an early and great multinational! When we were invited to dinner at the Jesuits’ house, peacocks strutted, manifesting their radiant plumage–both pets, food, mewling alarm-raisers (and alarm clocks! Heart-meltingly sweet caged rabbits provided free and delicious meals, and the house was guarded by beautiful pure-bred Alsatians, parents of our Brutus.
Teams from all over India competed for a few frenzied days of music, debating, and drama competitions. When I loved a play, I’d get my father to ask the students for the script, and take it up to boarding school where I directed them as fundraisers for our Social Service League—Moliere’s has feral shadow selves voice their thoughts, while the social selves shallowly smile; it shaped my perceptions of social life: the scowling shadow self behind the smiling face.
Unusually in our recently colonized country, XLRI’s library was well stacked not only with Jesuit and Catholic writers, but American classics, absent both from the local Club libraries and from my school library which had, almost entirely, British authors. Eliot for the first time, there because he was American, enchanted by the rhythm and resonance of the words long before I worked out the meaning.
My father’s secretary, sorting the mail, snorted “This bloody fool thinks he can draw green hearts on the envelope and get into XLRI.” “Show me! And then, shyly, “It’s my daughter.” Attempting to assert my individuality at boarding school, I used brilliant inks: turquoise, emerald, bright pink, and magenta, idly covering the envelope with hearts.