I LOVED THE smell of the cotton cloth measured out from bolts that made a soft, slapping sound as they were unrolled: white for half-sleeved shirts, navy blue gabardine for shorts. I enjoyed being measured out for two sets of the uniform at the tailor’s. It was fun trying on the black Naughty Boy shoes at Bata, with white cotton socks; picking up a navy blue silk tie fastened with a rubber band; filling a brown canvas satchel with books and copies, and pencil, eraser, ruler. How sweet the bouquet of the new books, how exotic the coloured illustrations, how musical the crisp rustle of paper at the stationer’s. None of the other boys in our locality were experiencing such exquisite delights; I was the only one who had been admitted into an English-medium school. Looking back, I identify it as the defining moment in my life.