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Thought i'd mention ,to all those who might have read it , that my piece "In the Beginning", although a work of fiction , does indeed draw upon incidents from my early life.

Growing up in Calcutta in the late fifties and early sixties ,I was fortunate to attend an excellent school that had been built by an Italian priest who won the fabled Irish Sweepstakes in the early fifties.For many of us ,those were truly halcyon days -filled with much fun , laughter ..and above all ... music and singing.

I have tried ,in very small measure, to repay the immense debt of gratitude I owe them by writing my story "The Irish Sweepstakes ' which is being serialised here.

It was around this time ,that Mother Teresa had begun her ministry that ,many years later, was to pass into legend.

However in those early years ,she needed all the help she could get .

And the Italian Salesian priests who ran our school ,were absolutely unstinting in their support of her fledgling ministry.This support must doubtless have taken many forms we were not aware of then ; but what i have vivid and very fond memories of are ,of us rolling hundreds of bandages for her ,from time to time.

Many years later ,i embarked upon a career ,and as luck would have it ,my earliest job was working in a Bank where Mother Teresa 's order maintained their main accounts. Over the one year that i spent at this Bank ,I did indeed get to meet and speak to Mother Teresa on a few occasions -and I can't even begin to describe the deep impression these encounters made on me.

Some of these incidents might well seem serendipitous ,and perhaps verging on the scarcely credible.. All I can say is that ,looking back, i do feel privileged and deeply grateful for these fleeting and all-too-brief encounters.


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