A Very Biased Christmas Letter from a Cottonian to the family of Cottonians
‘In transition… with a package*’
..Good Day ye family of Cottonians, new, old and those who are yearning and may be privileged to become…
Through raging storms whilst crossing the tempestuous Atlantic Ocean, working his way from the Ivory Coast to Walvis Bay Namibia, shooting past Singapore, rolling hard in the South China sea on ships from various lands, this Cottonian started compiling his thoughts and realised with absolute no compulsion, with no external influences, no pressure, no artificiality, no pain killers, no hypnotic trance that Cottonians are Numero Uno! Yes we singly, individually and collectively are simply the BEST and that is what we offer India and the whole world. We just are!
It is time to sing from the Roof Tops of the dorms, from the Ridge, from the spires of Christ Church and Jakoo temple, ‘Yes we are the Best’….be it in discipline, in etiquette, in soft skills, in knowledge, in the way we walk, talk, dress and RESPECT…. A Cottonian stands apart from the rest and this has been established by this Cottonian who soon hits a score times three. There is a way of proving the same ( but that is for another time…)
It did not start in the Chem or the Bio lab but in a far distant land called Argentina where on his search for the perfect vineyard he hit upon a wonderful group of tourists**. They hailed from Canada, the United States, England, Australia, New Zealand , Brazil and the Windward Islands.
The Canadian couple worked with Bombardier, the aircraft company that specialises in Lear Jets whizzing billionaires from New York to Patagonia.
The Americans were related to the Rockefellers-old money, old wisdom and very profound. They not only owned the Chase Bank but also a huge fleet of container ships trading between China and Europe.
The English Lady and Gentlemen owned fifty six percent of Burberry Clothing and spent the summer on their private yacht with Jamie Oliver and Nigella Lawson; well the need to locate wines to complement the food whilst docked at San Tropez.
The Australian pair lived on a sheep ranch outside Sydney and were part of Broken Hill, a mining consortium, wishing to compare their own Cabernet and Syrah against the Mendozan Malbec. Sharp distinct noses that preached more than the just the Gospel, but the Gospel of Wine.
The New Zealanders were rich bankers too, having financed the movies ‘Lord of the Rings’ comparing their New World with the New World of Mendoza.
The Windward Islanders were real estate developers and had built the home of Sir Richard Branson, Sir Mick Jagger and Bruce Springsteen.
…and then there was he, the Cottonian, without huge sums of money nor fame nor fortune of these souls, just part of the entourage. Oh, he forgot to mention the Brazilian, the owner of an iron ore mine near Sepitiba having a ranch the size of Portugal.
The wine tour lasted 90 minutes followed by vine tasting; there was a certain way to sit, a certain way to conduct and a certain body language…this was a walk in the park for this Cottonian because this comes naturally to one who has spent his founding years at the Great School. Whether he discussed the stock market, the changing economies of the world or a rock concert at Madison square garden he did it with style and flair, experienced knowledge ; the basics he learned at Bishop Cotton School and the rest he picked up along the way. On the Big Ships, when on shore leave, when walking down Pall Mall, when understanding the customs of the local Red Indians at ChiChi Castenago, when at Chatham House and with his peers. He developed fast and absorbed the best customs, the confidence and ability to sit within a motley crew, laugh his hat off and then give them a serious discourse on searching for the Belt of Orion and the Great Bear in the Sky. He could sit in an orphanage with complete humility and play with suffering children and then later discuss the changing face of India or the origins of Alfred Nobel, walk past miners on the sands of Antofagasta; he developed the tact to barter with local head hunters off the Isla de Eden when anchored at the Straits of Magellan, as his crew lowered coffee and sugar and heaved up the Big Centolla-the King Crabs in fair exchange ( yes avoiding them taking his scalp as a memento). A lesson from 106 countries and still counting.
At this time of Christmas our Beautiful Bishop Cotton School having gone past its 155th year history, this humble Cottonian wants to expend some energy towards his brethren, his family of Cottonians and urge them to stay tall, stay united , help each other and remain proud of their heritage. A Cottonian needs no badge on his chest, nor a swagger, nor the need to boast…His presence would be enough for others to acknowledge, that this wise gentleman hails from the Best. An institution up in the hills of Simla: Bishop Cotton School.
….As another year rolled by and the world grasps with some horrible events that unfolded and some that made the world cheer, this Cottonian Wishes Ye all…a Merry Christmas and a Fabulous New Year.
So with the Christmas Cake laced with Jameson Whisky, almonds and cherries Light up that flame…!
Vivek Bhasin-Old Cottonian, Class of 1970
* The package…was an oil painting of wild rushes and flowers this Cottonian picked up -now hanging on his wall at Garden Estate. Gurgaon.
**The group he met at the wine tour had studied the subject and knew the history behind Robert Parker’s wine advocate rating system, the points he gives for example 96-100:
An extraordinary wine of profound and complex character displaying all the attributes expected of a classic wine of its variety. Wines of this caliber are worth a special effort to find, purchase, and consume. However, there can never be any substitute for your own palate nor any better education than tasting the wine yourself. Just as a Cottonian needs to taste life on his own terms.
The Private Wine Estate of Vina San Esteban
in the pure of the purest Los Andes Valley, Chile