Sesquicentennial…( 28th July 2009)
It took a while for me to grasp the word…prior to that all I was blabbering was 150th…you know 150th..you know..and stuff. I had just been bumped off, actually refused boarding on the late flight from Guayaquil Ecuador to San Jose Costa Rica all because of a lack of a Yellow fever Certificate. Is that if a monkey gets frisky and bites you…(did anyone of us Cottonians experience that in Simla?) So first I was seething…and then after cooling my white cells I decided it would be best if I hitched on a jaunty jalopy and worked my way to La Paz in Bolivia and eventually move further South to Santiago de Santa Fe, Chile where Senor Carvacho resides. When I first met Juan Carvacho he really was a man of leisure (as most of us Cottonians are; having achieved nirvana by the tender age of 19 and spending time in bed, chilling, golfing and then opening the single malt just as the sun set, all shimmering over Chandigarh’s lake); later he was growing marijuana ‘for medical purposes’ on his finca* in Los Andes…then uvas* for export to Estados Unidos* and now a much respected Abogado*. The guy was suave, sophisticated, cool and rich. In the finest eating establishments in Vina del Mar, he always paid by cheque; his signature was flamboyant as he flayed his hands resembling the second maestro of the Valparaiso Philharmonic; his OnotoPen more magical than the baton or the wand of the witches in Macbeth. I always stayed on the edge and preached St. Paul’s to him until he realised I was the only Cottonian south of Volcan Aconcagua* Juan always nursed a barker* in his leather satchel for people who dared to cast an eye on Ximena* or Adriana* or Lilliana* or las otras* and now Pia* He was magnetic but the least! What a start to this one no? Hej Gov’ner. Instead I went back to the Hotel Oro Verde* in Guayaquil and met Senora Graciela who runs this amazing seafood restaurant south of Quito, El caracole de azul* She had spoilt me rotten two decades ago as she fed me congrio en salsa decognac* and later took me to the dance floor and showed me how to meringue. She still looked radiant as I compared her beautiful face (and body) to her first assignment withVogue. She was raven haired and as Thai International says..’smooth as silk’ . So as the night wore on and a million stars twinkled over oceano pacifico* I knew how truly Blessed I was.
I remembered my years in School.
My walk towards St.Xaviers..
Bunty Bhullar, Manvendra Singh, Anil Chopra (Heavy Cottonians) through the mists of time..in Port Sudan, Bombay, Jakarta.
Mi hermano Krit Tippakorn (Heavy Cottonian).
My younger Brother-Heavy Cottonian.
My wading through heavy floods in Chalna.
Me avoiding the muggers in Brooklyn (and the generosity of a Vietnam veteran).
Ann-Sofie from New Orleans to New York to London to Kathmandu to Paris to Stockholm till now….
And again and again my time in School.
The 150th Chapel Service at Founders day: 28th July 2009.
Vivek Bhasin addressed the congregation:
‘ It takes Geet PreetSingh’ School Captain, a Sikh to read his heart out ‘ Do not overcome of evil but overcome evil with Good’
‘Roy Christopher Robinson feels Blessed that he is Headmaster at this historical juncture’
‘It takes me to reiterate, that it is not your birthright to be in Bishop Cotton School; Thank your parents, the staff and all who are here to guide you. Thank John WhitmarshKnight. May you go from strengthto strength, gain great knowledge of the world, be benevolent and give back. As you debate and act on the stage of the Irwin Hall; as you walk though those magnificent doors remember to help each other. And as you act on the stage of Life. always stand four square throughout your lives to every wind that blows’
29th July 2009: A day later…at Naldhera Golf Course:
Deep C.Annd Esq., – Col. Wendy Dewan – K.C.Anand Esq-yours truly. The clouds drifted low into the valley….el sol atardacer*…a fog in the back ground…..a chill in the air….Peaceful…calm….quiet. Then the sweet strains of flute drifted through and the velvet voice of a nomad enveloped us…..We never saw him…..but he was there. A shiver ran through my spine. We all stopped and listened, attentively. They said he was a wanderer….all I could absorb was this surreal feeling….an experience to be there…in the Abode of the Gods. Sesquicentennial. Only once in my lifetime.
Vivek Bhasin (Lefroy 1961-1970)
*Finca = Farm
*Uvas = Grapes
*Estados Unidos=The United States of America
*VolcanAconcagua= Volcano Aconcagua on the Argentine/Chilean border
*Barker: A Smith & Wesson
*Ximena= Juan’s first squeeze
*Adriana= Juan’s second squeeze
*Lilliana= Juan’s third squeeze
*Las Otras= Juan’s many more….names have faded over time.
*Pia= His wife
*Oro Verde= Green Gold
*Caracole de Azul: The Blue Shell
*Congria en salsa de cognac: Crabs in Cognac sauce
*Oceano Pacifico= The Pacific Ocean.
*el sol atardecer= Sunset at Naldhera.