Thursday, December 15, 2011

Experiences in the seminary

I was happy to be in the minor seminary for two reasons: There was  enough food and we could play a number of games during the intervals. But the rector was a stumbling block in eating enough and in playing to my heart's content. In the refectory, we were seated in a row and more food was served at the first seats(that of the prefect, procurator, and their deputies who managed the servants) and the quantity dwindled in proportion to the distance from the head of the table. As I was towards the end of the row, our plates would be half empty. Our rector, Father Joseph Panappilly would be around for breakfast, lunch and dinner inspecting how much we ate.He had some chronic stomach ailment (he was frail and thin) and he could nor eat much. He did not want us to eat either. If I asked for another serving he would stare at me and in a few days I learnt to end up (breakfast, lunch and dinner) half-way and rose up  half empty to avoid his stare and displeasure.
There  were other problems too. The seniors teased and mocked  us whenever they could. I joined late as I had my leg problem and the entire ire of the whole lot of them focused on me. My belongings were substandard and cheap.  Many of the seniors used to look at them and smile sarcastically. During the recreation time they would swarm around me, ridicule and make fun of me so severely that I was on the verge of crying on many a day. Thomas Narikulam, was a tall, fair and handsome guy liked by the  rector and the bishop.  He made my life an ordeal. My head has a small backward elongation and he would hold the portion with his long fingers teasingly whenever he happened to be near me . This was most irritating in the chapel where we assembled for prayers. If he was behind me he would hold there (he was supposed to be praying) and giggle. He knew I would be sad and irritated; he enjoyed it with sadistic pleasure. With all his mischievous acts he knew how to be in the good books of the rector and the bishop. (He had the looks of course). He would come earliest into the chapel after waking up. After each lecture or study hour he would run to pray; he knew our rector would be observing everyone. He was average in studies but they all liked him so much that he was sent to Rome for higher studies! I heard later that he had a chance to become a bishop!
There was another guy who made my life a hell too. He knew how to rag me to tears. He is now a renowned priest managing a parish a hospital and a school. This guy was also tall and fair and in the good books of the rector.  I had noticed that  the rector liked fair and good-looking aspirants from better families. The dark, not-so-good-looking ones were always in the bad books.  

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