I have a mail from K S Dugal, who is currently in the US, that Mr B R Roberts passed away yesterday, Thursday, April, 12, 2018.
I have just received another message with the obituary notice which is sent as an attachment to this mail.
There are many memories of this warm and affectionate teacher. He was House Master, Lefroy and he meant a lot to so many of us. I will write more and in detail as more and more memories pour in. Right now the shock of his passing away is hard to bear. Leaves you empty.
I am trying to find more details since I am sure some of you would like to contact his family.
May his soul rest in peace.
From: KS Dugal
Sent: 13 April 2018 07:39
To: Vijay Khurana
Subject: Mr. Roberts
Mr. Roberts passed away on 12th April. Haven’t got any more details yet.
He had been n Pune since early ’80s as principal of Bishops School here. He retired several years ago.
MESSAGES added on 18th April :
I refer to my mail below.
My apologies but I forgot to conclude the message. Importantly, I failed to mention that there was an acknowledgement from Jean Innis, daughter of Mr & Mrs Roberts. I also had the opportunity to speak with Mrs Roberts and expressed our deepest sympathies.
Arun Jolly kindly reminded me that the Roberts, like the other house masters would host guys from Shell to VIth Form, by rotation, for a cup of cocoa or coffee with chips post dinner over the weekend. Usually relaxed and happy session with the added attraction that the Roberts had just acquired a new record player. The music was a bonus. Lovely days and lovely evenings.
I am also reminded that Mr Roberts had a terrific (a word he loved to use!) creative streak. He often put to verse humorous aspects about people that he knew and we had one such experience when he had us in splits describing the Class of 1960 in the Irwin Hall. His observations were keen as he described each member of that class in rhythmic verse.
Mr Roberts, like Mr J D Williams was from Allahabad except that the latter was an exceptional football player!!
After the end of the year dinner, House Chew, we the Lefroy class of 1963 were invited by Mr Roberts to make our farewell speech that year. None of us from the departing class had the courage to utter a word. We were all so heavily choked with emotion. Mr Roberts realised our predicament when he saw our faces and quickly diverted the subject savings us the tears and any emotional outburst that may have followed!! A relief!! I still say “thank you” for saving us the embarrassment.
Finally, Goodbye, Mr Roberts!!
On 13 April 2018 at 12:40, Vijay <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
I have received several messages condoling the passing away of Mr B R Roberts, some of them were addressed to me personally but they should be, naturally, offered for wider circulation and forwarded to Mrs Roberts and the family. So I am placing them together in a single mail. It represents our tribute, our feelings and our respects on a single platform.
Some of us would have liked to attend the funeral service that was held in Pune yesterday but time constraints made that difficult. However, we did send flowers and I am attaching a picture of the wreath that was placed on our behalf. The florist happened to a former student of Bishop’s School, so handling and delivery was not an issue. He knew exactly where to go !! The wreath was accompanied by the following message:
RIP …. MR ROBERTS .
You were a Great Teacher, House Master, and a Friend ……
You inspired us and influenced us.
You shaped our lives.
Your passion to teach was matched by your compassion for your students.
Thank you for having touched our lives.
With our gratitude and our love
Bishop Cotton School, Simla
(Message adapted from the condolence text Badal wrote. Acknowledged with thanks)
I reproduce the various messages that were received, in the sequence that they came to me:
Sorry for this late response as I have been travelling, but I must pay my respects to a great dedicated teacher and compassionate soul.
In school, he once chided me for lagging behind in the class, and it made me feel so guilty, I had to buck up immediately.
He taught us Chemistry; and after school, as I prepared for the IIT entrance exam, I found Chemistry to be my strength, as he had covered the entire syllabus for Senior Cambridge so well. Because of him, I had no problems in competing with students from the top Delhi schools such as DPS and Modern School. In other subjects, I had a lot to catch up on, but in Chemistry we were right up there with the best.
In 1975, I called him in Pune, and he invited me home where I also met Mrs Roberts and their daughter. It was heartening to be able to say thank you to such a wonderful teacher.
May God give strength to his family to bear his loss.
His memories will live on with us for a long time.
Sohindar (thats what he called me)
Sudhir Kashyap (Rivaz, 1961)
Thanks Vijay for conveying this sad message. I am also deeply saddened. I remember Mr. Roberts was our Fourth Form Class teacher and I remember him as a truly good and fair person. Please convey my condolences to the family as you would be closely associated with them.
Rishi S J B Rana (Rivaz 1963)
Great guy Mr Roberts. Fond memories. Whenever I visited Pune and called on him he said “how are you 880. Could not remember my name”.
Rakesh Chopra (Curzon, 1963)
RIP …. MR ROBERTS .
You were a Great master , a Friend , & House Master ……
My Respects and sincere condolences to Mrs Roberts,
Children , & Grand children …..
I’m sure you All will make him Proud , as he watches over you from Above .
Badal . 🙏
Inderjit Singh “Badal” (Lefroy 1963)
Share and echo your sentiments and feelings.
Extremely saddened to hear this sad news.
Robbies as we fondly called him was a wonderful person. He guided us in our impressionable years and taught us fairness and good humour.
Remember he and Mrs.Roberts as they coached us for the house Dramatics and setting up for house chews.
Yes, it is incredible how small things stick on in memory and always bring a smile. For one house dramatics he taught us a rhyme something like this:
Aaa gaya halwa walla aa gaya——. The context was some vendor in the play. And PS and I would rhyme it when he would come for his night check up rounds.
Suddenly someone would shout-shut up Robbies is here.
Really, owe a lot to him and his wife for the values they taught us. And those values have helped us so well and so much in life.
Share in the sadness of Mrs.Roberts, his family and all who knew him.
May his soul rest in peace.
Vijay when you get the family’s contacts please let me know.
N K Akers (Lefroy 1964)
Very sad news. Our prayers, God Rest his soul in peace. Condolences to the family to bear this loss.
R L V Nath (Rivaz 1962)
I told Umesh about Mr. Roberts’ passing away and he asked me to convey his condolences to the family whenever you get in touch with them. On a personal note, though I have no idea who Mr. Roberts was, I am, as always, so touched by the love, respect and the sentiments conveyed by all of you who knew him. That is one of the things I admire so much about all the OC’s I have met and known for so many years. It always gives me a very reassuring feeling that no matter what life brings, at least Umesh and I will have the love and support of you guys. Bless you all.
Love and Light
Ranjana & Umesh Dutta (Curzon, 1962)
Part of our childhood goes with these wonderful teachers who cared, taught and shaped us. BCS made me who I am and that was thanks to the likes of Freddy, Robbie, Goldy, Tuli (si!)
RIP Mr. Roberts… you were very respected and loved.
Randhir (Bittu) Sahgal (Ibbetson, 1963)
The class of 1963 will recall a day hike with Mr Roberts to Kufri and back. The rain came down hard on us, and drenched we skipped back a large part of the way, with arms linked, across the entire road, singing the songs we all knew so well. It was downhill all the way with Mr Roberts.
And when it was uphill to Mount Chhor, Robbie was out in front inspiring us to conquer the peak.
A great teacher.
Govinder Singh (Ibbetson, 1963)
RIP Mr. Roberts, condolences to Mrs.Roberts & children. May God give you all strength to overcome the tragic loss.
N K Agarwal (Toti) (Lefroy, 1962)
We were saddened to hear of the passing of our friend and colleague, Mr. Bonnie Roberts. He has been in my daily prayers since I heard of his horrific bicycle accident a few years ago. I always wondered how he was doing and can only hope he recovered nicely and enjoyed a healthy and happy life in the remaining years. May his soul rest in peace.
Yvonne and I spent a day with Mr.and Mrs. Roberts when they were in England in the late 1960s and they graciously hosted us when we visited Agra in 1970. We have many fond memories and would be much obliged if you would convey to Lorna and her family our deepest sympathy on their sad loss. I am writing from Bali on a brief holiday with our Australian relatives.
Ronald Goss (BCS 1956 to 1964)
My earliest memory of Mr Roberts goes back to the first class in mathematics he gave us in Third Form in 1959. He was prolific with his speed of communicating the subject and equally prolific in the homework he left us to do during prep time. I struggled until slowly I began to get a grip of the situation but the experience would have been otherwise been traumatic had he not been a compassionate man. It would have been a mental storm but he would sit with you and explain the method to be followed. Make you do it again if you did not understand. Persistent and perseverance. Most devoted.
His compassion expressed itself in so many other ways. He remained disturbed for days after hearing about the death of an old student from Sherwood in the 1962 war. He had spent several years Sherwood before coming to BCS. His feelings were transparent.
However, one incident stands out. It was a few days before our final board exam. I was unwell that day. After lights out, Mr Roberts as House Master, came to make his usual rounds and found me wide awake. “What is the matter.” he asked. “Not well, Sir. I have a fever,” I replied. He touched my forehead. “Yes, you have a slight fever. Did you eat anything?”, he asked. “No, Sir,” was my hungry response and he went away. Half an hour later, Mr Roberts reappeared with edible but burnt omelette sandwiches. To this day I have not forgotten the taste of that burnt omelette. I realised Mr Roberts lacked proficiency in cooking but not in his feelings. Trust and depend on him you could.
He gave my younger brothers love and support when they joined BCS in 1964 under somewhat difficult circumstances. They have not forgotten and we often talk about his concern and his affection. Mrs Roberts, we are always grateful and a lot of it would not have happened with your support. Thank you.
VIjay Khurana (Lefroy, 1963)
I called and spoke to Mrs Roberts and Jean, their daughter after I received the following message:
Thank you for your kind words.
I am honoured and blessed to have been the daughter of such a wonderful and honourable man . No words would be sufficient nor do justice to describe what he meant to our family .
We are proud of the way he touched , hundred and thousands of lives, and left a lasting impression . He has left us a legacy . Now although a huge void has been created by his physical absence he will live on forever in the hearts and minds of his old boys, staff and others whom he met He is now at peace, in heaven with his heavenly Father .
My mobile No is 9823180808
My mother has been amazingly strong by Gods Almighty grace .
Jean Innis (daughter of Mr & Mrs Roberts)