OCA [UK] Spring Newsletter 2014

OCA UK NEWSLETTERAnother year and the silent roll call goes out to all our members and guests – come and share the afternoon Reunion luncheon at our favourite venue The Bombay Brasserie on SATURDAY 28th June.

May I now take the opportunity to thank you for your Christmas cards and good wishes, and all your letters and correspondence keeping me in touch?

The southern Britain and especially the coastline has taken some punishment from the fierce Atlantic weather blowing in with much flooding and disruptive high winds.  In Surrey many areas are still under flood warnings.  Whyteleafe lays in the Caterham Valley where streams join the River Bourne and one such runs through a culvert that gurgles away under the perimeter fringe of our bungalow lounge.  Before reaching us it flooded the gardens and seeped into homes that lie on the left hand side, three times water washed over into our first lawn.

The third, Valentine’s Day was the worst – rapidly rising up over our patio, hastily I opened the rear and front garage doors, flooding our front garden and allowing it out into the main road.  The A22 the main route that is our Godstone Road, into Purley and Croydon has been closed completely for some time.  I did read somewhere this is the Chinese year of the Horse and they predict a drought!!

The ocean white horses have blown high 40-foot waves along Devon and Cornwall as we watched on TV, sad for poor souls in the Somerset levels.  The deep snow covering North America has caused loss of life and hardship.  California is suffering drought weather and the record hot temperatures Downunder – does it not tell us global weather pattern has altered by carbon emission causing climate warming.  Universal drastic measures immediately should be enforced or we shall all call for Noah and his Ark!!

Before I move on there are some dates of some interest for your diary…

Saturday 3rd May OC’s are invited to late Bobby Reed (R 41-47) wife Sheila’s “Day @ Home” – Watchbury Cottage, Barford, Warwickshire

Wednesday 28th May The Himalayan Hill Schools Reunion at the Clay Oven. ALPERTON.

Wednesday 25th June Maggie & I will host our final “khana on the lawn”.  Just to remind you – if you can make it, or not been before – you will not be disappointed.  Please let me know?

Recently I was talking with Secretary Gursant Sandhu who informs me that new BCS school leavers to the UK is drying up.  This is direct Government stricter visa sanction to colleges and university and increased enrolment fees.  Will this see the demise of OCA UK chapter that begun in 1928?  My ears herald the words an elderly OC years gone by disclosed ‘Old Cottonians do not die, they just fade away’.  Or as Lumboo Evans used to say – “we must carry on dancing!”  So I am looking forward to seeing many of you in June. Napinder Singh Chahal rang me on Christmas Day to tell me of a celebration party for his grandson (17 years) who had conquered Everest earlier last year.  This appeals to my youthful conscious years at Patina.  Always marvelled at seniors trekking down the khud and up to the summit of Taradevi and back in time for Sunday Evening Chapel.  I did not mature to a senior leaving at 14 end of 1947.  Astonished at the young generation who are groomed and encouraged by their schools to embrace such undertakings.  My head and heart begin to rejoice whenever memories come flooding back from Simzy.  Those lovely nature walks down through pine-woodlands.  I am reminded listening to birds chirping in our garden, an endless source of re-countable memories; count myself lucky my parents, choosing to send me to BCS.  It was not only the classroom education but also the all-round instruction of discipline, good manners and behaviour, honesty and courage with other development for our future.  Taught by dedicated masters who were remarkable individuals and I pray BCS still abide by the age-old traditions.

With these endearing thoughts I shall begin the countdown to JUNE when we shall all meet again and exchange our news, share and evoke old memories.  Wishing you all a cheerful happy good 2014 Barra Salaams!

Yours fraternally,
Peter Stringer (Lefroy 1943-47)

Dear Old Cottonians

I have continued my efforts with the Pupil Exchange Programme between BCS and Marlborough College. Two Marlburions Douglas Seaton and James McPherson, spent a month in BCS – having quite an adventure getting there, as the road to Shimla was blocked by snow and they had to spend a night at a hotel. Sadly, the two BCS boys – the School Captain and House Captain – both Rivazites – keen to perform to their House Motto ‘Sirvamus’ were unable to make Marlborough. It was decided by Marlborough, with BCS agreeing, that last year pupils, would be unable to let boys back at school have the information and experience related to them, as they left school without returning for another year. It was thought it better if 1st year VIth Formers went, starting maybe next year. Meanwhile, the BCS Headmaster would spend some time at Marlborough and would then be able to plan future trips.

Meanwhile, we hope Mr Robinson will be able to take up the invitations, issued by our Chairman Kuljinder Singh Bahia to join us at our Annual Lunch.

Older OC’s are still meeting with others in smaller groups as at Mrs Sheila Reed’s house. We hope our younger leavers will find time to join us at our Annual gathering at the Bombay Brasserie.

With best wishes to all OC’s around the world.

Best regards.

Yours sincerely
Hon. Life President

Dear Old Cottonians

I am sure that all OC’s are looking forward to our June 2014 reunion. I was fortunate to meet Mr Niblett twice during his recent visit in March to London, and Mr Stringer kindly invited me to his home in Whytleafe for an afternoon of “gup-shup” and tea – also in March. The initial meeting with Mr Niblett was also attended by our chairman, Mr Bahia. Several issues were discussed in our meetings, and I have been requested to summarise the main issues, which are listed below for your information –

  1. There was a general fall in numbers for our June 2013 reunion. Like previous years our reservation at the Bombay Brasserie was for 80 people, but the turnout was a much lower figure. OCA (UK) had to dip into its savings, to pay for the extra covers which were stipulated. I would be most grateful if you could confirm whether or not you will be attending this year.  An acknowledgement slip accompanies this newsletter. However, you can also intimate your attendance or non-attendance, as the case may be, by sending an e-mail to gs@notarypublicgs.co.uk; call 07788716525 or send a text to the same number.
  2. Bombay Brasserie will charge us £28.50 per person for food.
  3. This year we will have to purchase our own drinks from the Bar at the Bombay Brasserie. We believe this would be the most cost effective and a fair manner in which each of us in charged. The following should give you an indication of the cost of drinks, but please note that this is for indicative purposes only.
    1.      Bottle of house white / red wine – £24.20
    2.      125ml glass of house white / red wine – £6.60
    3.      Beer – £6.60
    4.      Soft drinks – £3.30

However, to kick start and warm up our reunion, Mr Niblett, our Chairman Mr Bahia, and younger OC’s will pay for 10 bottles of wine for all the OC’s to enjoy.

  1. Mr Robinson, the current Head Master and Mr Bhardwaj Acharya who is a Hindi teacher at BCS have been invited to attend this year’s June reunion.
  2. Mr Niblett carries on with this tremendous and great work in respect of the student exchange programme between BCS and Marlborough College. Mr Niblett has also mooted the idea that we should invite two students from BCS for the next year’s reunion, one being whosoever is the top sportsperson and the other the top academic. This would no doubt be subject to permission being granted from the Head Master, the boys’ parents and visa being granted. This was endorsed by Mr Bahia, Mr Stringer and I, as we believe that it would be motivational for Cottonians to perform well and also beneficial for the school.
  3. I would be grateful if you could check towards the end of April 2014 with other OC’s in your circle/contact as to whether or not they have received this newsletter.  If you become aware that anyone has been missed out, then please let me know.
  4. The winter reunion was attended by 20 OC’s. It was an enjoyable evening and the attendees of the 2012 and 2013 winter reunions will no doubt spread the word as to how good these were!!! Lots of food, wine and dancing!!!
  5. Our newsletter with details of the next winter reunion will be sent to you by end October 2014, and the reunion will be either on 6th or 13th December 2014. Time and venue will be confirmed in due course.

With kindest regards.

Gursant Sandhu

When I Look Back
(By Mrinal Vijay)

As I lay back now to reflect on those twelve precious years that I spent in Bishop Cotton School, Shimla, I become more conscious of how important this place or institution has become in my life. It was truly a great experience to have been able to study at a hundred and fifty four year old school.

Being part of this institution (1993-2005) was the biggest achievement that I could have earned in all my twelve years of schooling. Everyday used to be a great sense of responsibility and accountability. I learned from everything I did in my last year of schooling, from day to day, from class to class and from person to person.

The life in school is the most unforgettable parts in any individual’s life, which leaves an indelible impression on one’s life. A recollection of memories built in school is cherished forever and talking about them always tend to bring a smile on both the narrator and the listener. School days are indeed blithe days without any worry for hearth or home. There is only one work to do, and that is to study and then play, makes friends and indulges in all sorts of pranks. The exploits done during these years are a delight to recall in later life.

Discipline, punctuality, dress and decorum are the other hallmarks of school life. Though at times one has to bear the force of their ruggedness, they leave an ineradicable imprint, by making one more convivial and disciplined in life. The punishments for a group or individual misconduct or mischief are also happy experiences, which one cherishes and recounts with nostalgia in later life. That is the euphoria of the moment, that even in punishment one finds joy and amusement.

Apart from academics, there is time to cultivate the friendship, which last a lifetime. One learns to appreciate the spirit of brotherhood and teamwork, which are the essence of school life. This is amply demonstrated in the playing field. The worst of enemies turn out to be the best of friends at the end of the day. School life teaches one the importance of teamwork and inculcates a sense of loyalty and devotion to the group.

My school will always be an important place because,

The school has been a Friend…….. a Comrade,

A support that I will always have,

Through sunshine and storm, I’ve kept my calm,

A hundred and fifty four years to the rescue,

Day and night we carried on,

And in return, I was the carried one.

In the days of valette……………

Time was ticking like a countdown clock, and……

There have been twelve years of love in my every tear drop.

Hundred and fifty years on our shoulders IT rested,

Twelve years on ITS shoulders I rested.

This is why the school is not a preparation of our lives……….It is Life.

In the end, all good things must come to an end, in the hope for better things to come. And all better things must come to an end too, because the best is yet to come.

One cannot but agree with Robert Frost’s vivid expression of such sentiments when said, “The woods are dark and deep, but I have promises to keep, and miles to go before I sleep.”


Details of our 2014 annual reunion are as follows –

Date      28 June 2014 (Saturday)

Time     11.00 am onwards

Venue   Bombay Brasserie, Courtfield Road, London SW7 4QH

The closest station is Gloucester Road.


One thought on “OCA [UK] Spring Newsletter 2014

  1. Jagat Aulakh

    With best wishes for an enjoyable reunion. Sorry I won’t be there as I’m stuck in NZ.

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