Everyone should have a Brother Eric D’Souza in their lives. He was a rockstar at St Columba’s and I was fortunate to have him as one of my teachers. Dad wanted me to go to St Columba’s in Delhi and Mom wanted me to go to Modern School. I am so glad I got into St Columba’s — not only was it one of the best schools in Delhi but it was probably the best thing that ever happened to me. If you excelled in studies or extra-curricular activities, St Columba’s was a great place to be and I excelled in both. I was in the quiz team, the swim team, the table tennis team and in the top 10% of my class.
Brother D’Souza invested a lot of time in understanding the potential of a student and unlocking it. Being the youngest, he was brimming with new ideas, so he was in charge of a lot of the extra-curricular activities. I will always be grateful for the two things he instilled in me early on in life: one, discipline was above all and two, the relentless pursuit of excellence.
I was in my 10th standard. Our pre-board marks had just come. I remember Brother D’Souza called all of us to the auditorium. He had a cane in his hand. He said, “Today we are here to congratulate those who have done well, compliment those who have exceeded their own expectations and chastise those who did not.” Names were called out one by one with the marks scored. Those who didn’t do well got whacked. That was another thing when you studied in a Christian Brothers school in those days, you got caned whenever you slipped up or broke the rules. It was either your hand or your butt. And boy in winter, you couldn’t sit when you got whacked on your butt nor could you tell your parents about it! Brother D’Souza said, “Last but not the least, we have a special prize for this student” and he called out my name. I was the last one to be called on stage. I had done well scoring 99 out of a possible 100, so I happily went up on stage. Imagine my shock when he pulled out the cane and gave me a nice whack! Ever