I was studying in Bellary and secured 1st class in SSLC, which was an exceptional achievement during those days. 1st class passings were rare. My dad encouraged me to go for the best possible education for my bachelor course in commerce. I applied for admission to the best of the colleges in the state, St Joseph’s College at Bangalore.
I was called for an interview. Father D’Souza, the principal of St Joseph’s College, didn’t take too long to approve my admission to the college.
The college had a large student hostel which was very difficult to get an admit to. Normally the hostel authorities didn’t even entertain inquiries for hostel admission. Exceptionally, of his own accord, Fr. D’Souza asked me if I’d like admission to the hostel.
Fr. D’Souza: Do you need admission to the college’s student hostel?
Me: I don’t know, Father
Fr. D’Souza: Why? Oh, you have arrangements to live in Bangalore?
Me: No, father. I don’t know where I’ll live.
Fr. D’Souza: In that case, take provisional admission to the hostel before it is full.
Me: I cannot afford it, Father.
Fr. D’Souza: Then, where will you stay?
Me: I don’t know. But I know I cannot afford the hostel, Father.
Fr. D’Souza left to go to the next room. I was worried; had my uncertain answer deprived me of an admission to the college too? After about 5 minutes, he returned with Fr. Colaco, the college Vice Principal and Dean of the Hostel.
My head was low with slight fear as they both looked at me.
Fr. Colaco: We don’t have any policy for free boarding seats in the Hostel
Fr. D’Souza: But we have a proposal for you.
Fr. Colaco: The teaching faculty of the college gets free boarding at a hostel closeby. However, they share the mess expenses. As a very special case, I can allot you a room in that hostel.
Me: Thank you very much, I am obliged Father. But, I may not be able to bear the cost of the mess expenses either.
Fr. D’Souza: Then, is there a way we can help you?
Me: Yes Father. Please let me live there and waive me from having to join the hostel’s mess.
They looked at each other and maybe they signaled.
Fr. Colaco: That is possible. We can give you just a place to stay.
Fr. D’Souza: How will you manage food though?
Me: I will manage with some economical arrangement outside.
Fr. Colaco: But you will not get good food outside.
Me: Father, my intention is to get the best of education here. Food doesn’t matter much.
Fr. Colaco: Ok. I will send a note to Victoria Hostel. God Bless You, my son.
Fr. D’Souza: God Bless You.
Me: Thank you Father (D’Souza). Thank you Father (Colaco)
When I came out of the Principal’s room, I had tears in my eyes reflecting my happiness. Why they had tears, I do not fully know.
I carry those blessings to date.
I arranged for food on monthly coupon package system with an Udipi Restaurant, located between the College and the Hostel.
I was living in a hostel where I could associate and interact with some of not only well-known Commerce professors but also of other faculties. This I guess is what they call, a blessing in disguise.
Written by Badri Baldawa
Edited by: Meeta Kabra