“The Penniless Pensioner: Misaligned, Maligned but Marvellous” : Chapter Two: Growing Up

Perhaps some hypnosis or magic mushroom guided tour could help me remember my early years. As I am not afflicted with multiple psychiatric difficulties perhaps those early years were fine. I am told by my mother and father I liked playing in the dirt alone with my dinky toys. I could play for hours undisturbed. In addition to a passion for dinky toys apparently I had an equal passion for toast and jam which I consumed with copious quantities of cold milk purchased at the British Officer’s Club. Juanita being Welsh had been reluctantly admitted as a member to that club perhaps because she was a regular performer at their Friday night “Limey Bash” wing ding.

The formative event of my childhood if not my life was the untimely death of my father Paneer Gurdeep. He had been hosting a delegation of South African mining executives at his goldmine. On a tour of the main mine shaft a South African visitor lit up his cigarette and the flame mixed with some coal gas resulted in a deadly explosion killing all the South Africans and my father. So my sentence I had to serve for this fatality was to foray into life without any father figure. My father had amassed quite a fortune and after Juanita sold the gold mine we were set up for a life of luxury. My father had said if anything ever happened to him it was his wish I go to a British school where they would make a man out of me. Obviously he had never read “Lord of the Flies”.

At the age of 10 I attended the “King’s School for Young Men” which was an exclusive boy’s school in the British quarter of Bombay. Being half Indian was better than fully Indian thought the school administration. The students all sons of wealthy British “colonialists” called me a “Dirtiy Mixie” and made my life miserable for a time. The teachers were British veterans of WWII and most suffered from post traumatic stress disorder unable to cope with life let alone teach young men. All of us were beaten and abused in the old British private school tradition. Of course in Canada there has been a big explosion of dirt and scandal about the residential school system for aboriginal children. We did not have nuns and priests making our life miserable just mentally scarred war veterans. It was bad. Real bad. I suppose after the Brits were tired of needling and bullying me and focused their abuse on Punja, the son of a lowly Hungarian tailor I sort of fit in but was never accepted and included but rather ignored. I stayed at King’s School for Young Men until I was ready to attend university but there was one event that changed my life and gave me a totally new perspective on life.

Published by Robert K Stephen (CSW)

Robert K Stephen writes about food ,drink, travel, film, and lifestyle issues. He also has published serialized novels "Life at Megacorp", "Virus # 26, "Reggie the Egyptian Rescue Dog" and "The Penniless Pensioner" Robert was the first associate member of the Wine Writers’ Circle of Canada. He also holds a Mindfulness Certification from the University of Leiden and the University of Toronto. Be it Spanish cured meat, dried fruit, BBQ, or recycled bamboo place mats, Robert endeavours to escape the mundane, which is why he has established this publication. His motto is, "Have Story, Will Write."

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