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Mirrored Reflections and Reflections of the Soul

Mirrored Reflections and Reflections of the Soul

From the very instant I arrived in this world way way back, yesterday felt like yesterday.
Many I met along the road were mere travelers and others with whom I cemented relationships; at least I tried to, but heavy landings on the runway did bring cracks which again need repair, patience and hard work to bind together.
Reflections do sharpen the Brain as now you would capture the essence on your iPhone but during those misty years, the camera roll stayed within your head and now the urge to speak out..

  • From chipping rust on rotten decks off at Tripoli Libya and the scorching sun 52 C.
  • Hiding behind curtains –something like a stick in the school dining hall with Mum in panic.
  • Eating Shark Meat with that lady Security Guard on a full moon at Hamilton Bermuda
  • Obliged to a Vietnam veteran who saved my ass at Brooklyn
  • Stunned at the flash of green at a Caribbean sunset.
  • Dancing the Salsa at El Rodadero Colombia
  • Watching Van Halen Rocking the House at Madison City Gardens
  • Taking the Greyhound from Baltimore to Washington with a sneak at the White House
  • Feeling the house shake and tremble at San Jose Costa Rica
  • And later sitting under a Guanacaste Tree at Guanacaste
  • Sampling vino at Los Andes Chile
  • Buying my first pair of Levi’s in Las Palmas
  • Hearing the sound of Led Zeppelin Houses of the Holy that made me a Rocker.
  • Negotiating the Panama Canal and anchoring at Gatun Lake in transit.
  • Meeting the High End executives at World Trade Centre NYC with my wife
  • Slipping through and attempted mugging at Rotterdam
  • And another at Defence Colony Delhi
  • Visiting our small plot of land at Bishnupur with my Dad-abound with coconuts
  • Smelling the smoke fires at Bursa Turkey
  • Dancing with Russian Devooshkasa on a summer’s evening at Kherson USSR
  • Hearing Michael Jackson’s ‘Don’t stop till you get enuf’ at the 40 Thieves Club
  • Taking the Children to grill sausages in off the Vanern Lake Karlstad
  • Buying my First Opel Ascona and visting Bunty Bhullar at Cardiff.
  • Breaking my first golf club at the Golf Course in Jamshedpur
  • And watching 2 elks staring at us as I played gold at 0100 with my Father in law on Midsummer Sweden
  • Going Fishing off the Coast of Sudan
  • My first cufflinks at Aden
  • Eating Shrimp at Maputo with a rich Indian Dude whose sister had to escape from the clutches of Adi Amin
  • Having Dinner with the Joud Brothers at their palace in Lattakia Syria
  • Reaching Nagarkot with 2 Swedish damsels and my Mum!
  • Seeing the biggest biggest sunflower fields on the train from Buenos Aires to Rosario, Argentina
  • Safely making the Valhalla exchange between Guatemala and El Salvador
  • Taking refuge south of Nisos Psara as my ship was getting hammered by tumultuous waves and swell.
  • My Mum teaching me to drive in my Dad’s immaculate Fiat 1100
  • Watching my Dad ship handling mine as we worked our way from Sandheads
  • Walking from Southlands to Weybridge Station, Surrey
  • Sailing over London on the London Eye
  • Eating the best bread, cheese and ham at Burrough’s market, London
  • Walking with Sam Aas through Hempstead Heath.
  • Watching my daughter releasing white pigeons at Neemrana
  • They found their way back to Bishop Cotton School.
  • The Albatross guiding me like a sentinel through the Straits of Magellan
  • Getting even more inclined towards Hard Rock
  • Having a Picnic with my Brother and our Grand Mum at Council Rock
  • Taking my Mum to Wagah Border
  • Buying 3-dimensional stamps at in Bhutan
  • Having the best grub at a family stall in Singapore
  • Buying my first Italian jacket in Genoa, Italia
  • Walking marble sidewalks in Marina de Carrara, Italia
  • A tricky situation in the Straits of Messina, Sicily
  • Watching my daughter performing in a Midsummer’s Night Dream, Karlstad Sweden
  • Sweden teaching me respect, tolerance, organization and genuine nobel peace
  • Watching the monsoon clouds rushing into the valley at Mashobra
  • Looking at West Berlin from East Berlin and the Berlin Wall
  • Taking a stroll with the family in Barcelona, Esopana
  • Enjoying Lamb Chops with Gay Niblett at Valdemossa, Mallorca
  • Getting a compliment from 3 ladies off the Imperial War Museum London
  • Handing over the realms of the OCA (UK) to TOP DUDE Kuljinder Bahia
  • Getting hammered on my left outer thigh by mad golf ball at Naldhera
  • As that lost intoxicated Lover played his flute amongst the pines
  • Walking through Tea Plantations at Sangsua, Assam
  • And helping Senor Marino Urena with his coffee cosecha at Santa Maria de Dota, Costa Rica
  • White water rafting at Reventazon Costa Rica
  • A flying kiss to M.V Santa Marta from my M.V.Cartagena off Guantanamo Cuba

I THINK I WILL CONTINUE WITH MY REFLECTIONS …AS I ENJOY THE COMPANY OF MY TWO YEAR OLD GRAND DAUGHTER.

As Mr Bob Marley said:
‘’..don’t gain the world and lose your soul
Wisdom is better than silver or gold..’’

I thanked my Mother for giving birth to me as I turned 60 yesterday.

Vivek Bhasin
Lefroy 1961-1970

….the treasure hunt to find my lost cufflink* (The Mitre)

Vivek Bhasin ( Class of 1970)

Back after a leave of absence on past recollective mode

….the treasure hunt to find my lost cufflink* (The Mitre)

Being a wanderer, a Ziginare all my life, it’s been rather difficult for me to peg my tent into a concrete block of cement and stay fixed in one place. Now I have to wait patiently for the change in weather and do not have the liberty to take wings and ‘ like a Bat outta Hell’ when the sweat trickles down my back.

Having packed my stuff from Weybridge I flew back to Sweden reuniting with the family. It felt rather easy to just leave the old country after 13 years though I knew the need to come back would always be poking me in the ribs. Dropping off my rental car at T:5 and nonchalantly entering departures. For mereflecting on the past sees a rapid fire of stills that click past my eyes as they come in waves rising to crests then dipping down to troughs and making a swooshing sound as they fly over my head. I the gypsy had made England my temporary home where I kept some of my belongings but most of the time I changed memories that I could hold in my hands placing them in Gurgaon, sometimes in Mashobra, sometimes in the ‘Old Swimming Pool’ where I park myself in Karlstad, and sometimes bringing them right back to Weybridge.

Being a loner I kept busy within myself. Even if I walked into Borroughs Market at London Bridge on a heaving Saturday, I had the ability to shut the noise and in complete silence watch the world walk by. The crowds that came by were weekenders wanting to taste fresh produce be it iceberg lettuce or a mince tart, country cheese from Devon or Dover sole with a glass of Pinot Griogio from the Tuscan region. They were enjoying the weekend. The directions to Borroughs Market are very simple from my point of view. The SW 0624 from Weybrige via Clapham Junction brings me in to London Waterloo at 0702. I step on to platform 3 and make a run for the exit gate my radar homing in to the Jubilee Line (it’s the grey one). Taking the escalator and continuing to walk down at a rapid pace I head for the platform with its final destination Stratford; you jump off at London Bridge.

Just as the SW train is rolling in….damp sweet sophisticated and trendy London beckons to me, demon of the blues, my blood is lined with Rock’s heaviest genre and my heart thuds to the sounds of Entwhistle, Page, Myles Kennedy, Slash , Foo Fighters and The Answer…this never ending little place off Shaftsbury Ave where I used to slime in and purr over vinyl and music that sweetened my soul with flashes of the peaceful and silent walk of Mashobra! a sudden flash right there ( a micro jolt), then nowhere and then back here…whilst that dude in dreadlocks and heavy black leather with heavy chains stared at me as I picked stuff that only a few knew…just him and I. All in complete silence except the smoke of Cuban Cigars. We knew each’s space. He controlled the shots, I paid for the stuff and rolled outtowards the Mean Fiddler..Henry Rollins.

On that particular Saturday I felt in the mood to shed my gypsy attire and dress more like a dandy with all the accessories of a gentleman. The London Met Office called for partly cloudy skies, a southwesterly wind at 5 miles an hour and a very comfortable 24C. And that called for me to dress in an off- white pair of cotton trousers, a striped maroon , white and green double cuffs shirt and a gabardine slim fit coat that bespoke outfitter Sanjay had formed around my wide shouldered physique even if my gut was a state-in-gaunt. And my Italian sued and leather boots from Livorno.

Jumping off at London Bridge. Looking a bit out-of-place within the motley crowds I nonetheless squeezed past to a stall that grabbed my attention. My attention of them. Yes it really wasn’t the fare of cheeses , radishes and celery looking so fresh, and rolls of Yorkshire ham, English Mustard, Strawberries and Cream, but this young couple tending to their stall dressed in fandangled colours, beads, nose rings, sky blue velvet, bottle green silk and orange satin, leather boots, tassles , long hats with pheasant feathers and the lot that attracted me to them. Their little daughter with beautiful long hair all plaited, with green eyes, a long soft yellow summer dress and boots with her teddy bear clutched under her arm, the other outstretched with a plate of sampling cheese and olives…. . The sounds of Jesus Jones ‘Right here Right Now, is where I want to be’ completed that total ambience. A flash on the ocean hit my optic nerve and then it was gone.

”Would you like to try some Sir, its free” said the little lady and I reckoned she would have barely been five and a shade more. She looked straight up at me as I looked down at this lovely little child and flushes of home sickness invaded me. Maintaining a straight face I reached towards the plate and spiked a piece of Cheddar..’Thank you so much’ before tasting the same. Masticating the piece ever so slowly I turned towards the couple who were now staring at me quite intently and smiling. The must have been in their 20’s late-ish I suppose and with the crowds mulling around with a cacophony of sounds I had to pitch up to get them heard… ”You the Captain who picked us up on our drifting boat in the Sea of Marmara, right?”

I stop right there, my memory had stopped playing tricks, and for once focused…

Did it matter then, now does it matter? all questions asked do not need answers
for days that were,  seemed clear and vivid  to give an answer now is to fool one self.

I smiled and reaching out, touched that Lady’s hand looking at her fingers…soft gentle and the soil of the earth in them, knowing just then that I had to enjoy that moment, savour every second, every little note of a song, the melancholic gush put aside. Concentrate on just being there amongst the melee, be part of the wave and absorb the enduring notes of that lover’s ballad, the closeness of this divine couple and their little one offering another…’Would you like to try some Sir, its free’.

It was time to move on.
And walk a path less travelled…

On the South Bank, London England.
Reflections
The Summer of 2014

Note: *The cufflink with ‘The Mitre’ of BCS was finally discovered deep down in the right pocket of my trench coat, six months hence.

(I was going to miss the genius of those bands that rocked my soul and kept me aligned in Virgo…)

Politics and the Works, alongside our Love for Bishop Cotton School

Dear OCs,

Another winter in the plains of India is now past and gone, but the crispy winter freeze still holds its grip up in Simla. Today being the 28th of February. Every year at this time my Mum and Pa led us to their old 1100 Fiat in Calcutta and slowly drove us to Howrah Station. The Howrah -Kalka Mail awaited as we unloaded our Trunk, Bedding Roll and Attache Case. Cottonians travelled FIRST CLASS on that prestigious train.

Three months just flew by and at the age of 6 it was too fast in one sense and the 9 months ahead a bit too slow for a young boy. The 2 day journey a blur of sorts.

But what we​ surely reminisce is our end of year.

How the trunks were all packed in the corridors and Choru the tailor painstakingly sewed cloth around the locks sealing them with wax( the poor chap could hardly see through the broken rims, yet he diligently went on with the task) did we not take him for granted as he mended our shorts designing new lands in different colours of patches and threads on the worn out bottoms!

The trunks were sent ahead in advance of our School Party,  Sharat and mine to Calcutta. A shiver ran down our spines as we knew we were heading home from the hills to leave ‘Goldie/ Goldstein’ to his own thoughts as he sat on his private bench near the Grand Oak tree with his cocker spaniel gleaning hard at the tara devi gap seeing our train entering the last tunnel before we vanished on to the other side for three months. What do you think he did during those dark  empty and freezing days? Did he still stand on the First Flat with his immaculate self and hear the echoes of our screams and shouts? Did the Bugler still sound his sentinel, our School Flag flying with Rivaz and Ibbetson colours and the Mitre or did he too yearn for his Lady Love whom he never married? Did the gong hammer the bell ? Did he go to Chapel all by himself , walking to the alter and speaking to all of us down in the dusty plains and far away? Once I did  press my  ears against the Chapel Walls a few years ago and heard his talk of that hand of brass gripping the bolt on those doors- to remain steadfast in your life!

It is when I am rushing through airports or stuck in an incredible traffic jam in Delhi with my driver Ram Bahadur at the wheel I sometimes close my eyes and reflect upon that Sanctuary of ours .. Bishop Cotton School .. And as another OC said ‘ I have seen many mountain ranges, be it the Rockies, the Alps, the Andes.. It is The Himalaya that conquers all with it’s immense power and strength, cradling with constant care our Alma mater’.

So its not a political stage that I wish to stand on but to take in the best of those fantastic years and give back more than I received.

Vivek Bhasin
Lefroy House
1961-1970

A Very Biased Christmas Letter from a Cottonian to the family of Cottonians

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

The Mitre, issues from 1956

A letter from Vijay Khurana, and some of the email exchanges as a result of :

Dear All

Our mother passed away about two months ago and that process of clearing her belongings is still in progress. Among her papers is a small treasure of letters and other bits which were seemingly inconsequential but have now taken on a whole new meaning. They pertain to the School. The file has correspondence confirming my admission as a boarder, my first evaluation by my class teacher who judged me to be a slow learner and poor at spelling, school bills, circulars / notifications and the like which may not possibly hold wider interest. There is one note from Mr F M Brown inflicting on our parents a monthly sum of Rs 10 as charges for the new hobby of carpentry which was introduced in 1956. That would probably revive memories of Mr Johnson with our dear friend Al Stokes !!
What I felt was historically interesting were issues of The Mitre for that year. They did not possess the printing technology that exists today so printed sheets with the mast head of The Mitre in blue were used and the text cyclostyled on to them. These accompany this mail as attachments.
This, cyclostyling, was also the method in which the examination papers were printed for larger circulation resulting in a hunt for discarded carbons from the waste paper basket that stood in the school office near the cyclostyling apparatus. The exam papers greatest in demand were for the subjects of hindi and mathematics. Those who had access to such question papers often huddled in small groups on the benches outside the Headmaster’s office (of all the places!!) trying to solve the complex questions but invariably giving themselves away by their surreptitious manner and odd behaviour. In executing such endeavours, even the greatest enemies became chums glued for the briefest period of time that demanded huge discretion. However, boys can never keep secrets and most of class knew the contents of the question paper before they entered the examination hall. The ones who never got to know were the brightest sparks of the class because every body else felt that intellectual calibre had a natural and somewhat unfair advantage and must therefore be excluded !! If such advance information were disseminated to them then it would affect the handicap on offer. Besides, the carbons had been paid for from a limited pocket money allowance and could not be allowed to further boost or encourage the more intelligent student’s results!! Some of these nerds could not be trusted to report a leaked examination paper to the school authority or the teacher concerned !! They were wisely abandoned in all such a dishonourable ventures!!
So much for obsolete technology and its application about 60 years ago but let me come back to these valuable copies of The Mitre – and history. These issues are in excellent condition having faded but a wee bit. The paper does not tear easily and has almost retained its original quality. Our mother was a gifted keeper and I often told her that she would have been an asset to any museum !! She preserved so much and she did it in the most extraordinary manner that books on embalming, pickling, and salting may have to be written again !!
The contents of these issues offer an interesting insight in to the changes that were beginning to occur and of which we had not the slightest inkling. For example, Rev Dustan visited the School in April / May 1956 though he became Headmaster only much later in 1958. He did scout the place !! (read issue of May 1956!!) Raja Virbhadra’s daughter was born in 1956!! These issues of The Mitre are more informative and intimate. The carried news about OC’s and their progress in the world outside unlike the issues that currently emerge from the School!!
Parents were more involved with the School and their donations were recorded. A lot of familiar but forgotten names came alive. The changes in the class rooms and the general surroundings were noted to give BCS a “new” look! Arun Basak will remember his Bruce Reading Prize and little did we know that A S Dulat was a religious scholar having won the Irwin Divinity Prize !! Gosh, God must have felt spooked!!
One of the issues mentions Mr Carter’s birthday but the editors must have been more prescient (and polite!), even though wished him on that occasion, because his innings at BCS were rather short. Does any body remember Miss Roberts, the piano teacher or Mr J Asrani, who left that year to go to the UK ?  Mr Asrani finally and eventually left BCS forever a few years after returning to the School, offering his school badge after dinner one evening (Mickey – Kapurthala family promptly collected it!! ) What about the tough Mr S C Cowell, who taught mathematics with a bite and a bark ? So we gave him a nick name!
There is lots more to read about and you will also recall that we saw Alfred Hitchcock’s “I Confess” that year. I recall 1956 as a good year and it brought back lovely memories again. I suggest you read these issues. You will be amused and nostalgic just as much as any one of us!! “Life is about the acquisition of memories” !!
Curzon won the Cock House Shield that year!
Cheers
Vijay

Responses
Ravi Rikhye:

Miss Roberts was attacked one year by a robber outside the school gate. She was of diminutive size but she refused to give up anything. He then grabbed her small gold earing and despite her struggle he ripped it off, tearing her earlobe. That didn’t stop her from giving her usual lessons that day. 
 
I took tuition from her and though she did her best I didn’t have any real talent compared to Tara Hall, Auckland House, and St. Bede’s girls. I made it through some London exam or the other, proctored by Ms. Roberts and a couple of stern English ladies, one from England if I recall right. That was the end of my piano endeavors.
 
Miss Roberts lived with a friend, another English lady, in a Tudor half-timbered house between Chaura Maidan (Cecil Hotel) and Ballygunge. This style was, of course ideally suited to our earthquake prone zone because it resembled local construction, i.e, wood beam cross framed walls filled in between with rubble and faced with plaster. The house was amazing because it had a typical English garden, masses and masses of flowers from one end to the other. I visited Miss Roberts for tea in June, I think, so the garden was spectacular. 

Neel Mehra:

Vijay, you’ve done it again brought back so many memories. I was in lower two in 1956 but still remember many of the events. I recollect most of the seniors some of them were heroes to us. Carter and his hunch back. These are certainly priceless. I also recollect Rikhyes accoount of Mrs. Roberts incident. I wish we could have more of such archives of the time when BCS was at the zenith.

Billy Gill:

I wish we could clone you and send one Vijay to all the OCA chapters all over the world.
I am reading mitres month by month..!
All I can say at the end is bless you.

Warmest Regards to all who are reading this.

GILL 1 CURZON 1961.

Bittu Sahgal:

God! I hated the damn marathon! I was a cricketer, not a runner and the Green Garages slopes were my undoing! All these memories and more come flooding back… including the ignominy of being nabbed by Paulie at 11.30 at night as three of us were trying to sneak back into school after seeing Tees Saal Baad, with fffing ‘Solan No. 1’ pints in hand.

How about the 1960 onward Mitres?

Bittu

Gill:

Bittu marathon!!!
In our last year Marathon started from Sanjauli. We started with heads held high chests out …!!! As we passed St.Bedes…woosh! !!!
Green garages. …nightmare..!! Passed Sukhis and then Aruna it Rai ‘s houses half bent over (where was that inflated chest seen at the gates of St.Bedes..!!)
REGARDS TO ALL
GILL 1
Bittu:

Of course those two other reasons for running slower than normal marathons: 1. Peering longingly to catch sight of a St. Bedes girl, and those hot Matti Ka Kujjas of milk with dipped jalebis at the Green Garages.

Bittu

BM Singh:

Great to see old memories come flooding back at the initiative of Vijay Khurana sending copies of old Mitres. I propose to take an initiative on behalf of OCA(India) to get these copies (or copies of copies) retained and archived for future observation. We have to request others who may have interesting and valuable contributions to contact us and ideas regarding their storage and upkeep would be most welcome. In this effort I think there would be no better person than Vijay to be the point man for this project. Awaiting your inputs,  BM Singh

Badal:

Hi BM …….. Who would … or …..  could have more material than the School itself …… Or do they burn and  Destroy all the records ,pics, and diaries ….. all evidence of screwing our brains up during our helpless yrs at BCS …. Instead of looking for point men …. and awaiting INPUTS  for this Great and arduous PROJECT  …… Maybe you who have the capacity to do so ……. should ask the Camp commandant at auswitz ……. to provide you with this info …. And if they don’t have it ….. May be CHIPPU can fill you in ….Also there was a PHOTO STUDIO on the MALL run by the Suds …….. They took thousands of photos thru the yrs  …. VR sud studied in our school for 25 yrs  (as a Student)   ….He might Still be there…..Find Him…… He can help you ….. Also ask Ravi how she maintains her schools historical records ……. You Were in CURZON HOUSE  Right ?? That explains your being so Slow ……………… Cmon khurana ….. Help this guy …..

Baldev Singh:

This is dynamite. Pour out your hearts. BCS was not that idyll that we now the lions in winter will remember.
Did BCS make us, or fake us???
Jai Joshi:
I could not agree more with Badal (Ref our classmate BM Singh)

instead of looking for point men and awaiting INPUTS  for this Great and arduous PROJECT  …… Maybe you who has the capacity to do so …….

All of us in your class, BM, had such great expectations of you when you were appointed to your preasnt position, but all we have seen you do so far is get in bed with the current Headmaster with plans to issue OC’s admission visas to visit. Like the Sheikh of Qater, King Juan Carlos of Spain and Pope Benedict …. you should adbicate your throne to Vijay Khurana
Jai Joshi MD

Milo Dhanoa:

I don’t think you will remember the mid 50′ when we had the greats of Amar Singh,Dulip .Singh,Jal Boga,The Murphy Brothers,they made us proud with their school spirit & sportsmanship.Nanavati(L)son of Mrs.Nanavati taught me to a great athlete & boxer.In 1959 finals,Podgy TKO’d me then started to cry.Great courage!!Remember getting caught making eggs the dorm by Mr.Curzen (Lefroy House Master).Instead of punishment ,we got away with a warning .I met Panwar in 2009 Chandigarh reunion.More later.Thanks

Vijay:

I just missed those names by a year or two. I joined School in 1954 but they were legends when I arrived at BCS. I recall the Murphy brothers visiting school and got to see Mr Jal Boga only very much later.
I remember the boxing incident rather vaguely though Badal, whose memory is sharp, referred to it in one of his interventions and these are always welcome!!
Eggs in the dorms. We continued to do that well after you guys left. On once occasion, Mr Surinder Singh, I think (not sure) caught us preparing the meal and then sat down to join us for a feast of eggs, burnt bread and much butter!! Robin Aurora was the cook and keeper of the stuff. He was a lovely person and one of the most gentle people that I can recall. It is a shame we met only once after school.
In 1959, my bed was next to Podgy’s and that was quite a neighbour to have. He was a house prefect as well. So, I had to assist, being the dog’s body, in keeping his bed tidy. I refrained from touching his locker. It contained sweat ridden stinky underwear, jogs, house jerseys, shorts and the most offensive smelling green stockings. Thinking of the smell that emanated from that locker makes me want to puke even today!!
Podgy was deeply embarrassed when Mr Varughese who was handing over to Mr Goss as housemaster and showing him the general surroundings of the dorm, stopped near my bed instructed me to pull out the locker from under Podgy’s bed. Mr Varughese was showing Mr Goss the wooden container in which boys kept their kit. I happily pulled out Podgy’s locker and promptly lifted the lid. Offensive odours permeated the surroundings in quick seconds Mr Varughese signalled immediately that the lid be promptly placed back – pronto.  Podgy, standing behind both these gentleman, bleached under that beard with his forehead wreathed in wrinkles! He was unhappy, very unhappy. “Why did you pull that dam thing out?” he howled. “I was just following instructions,” I responded with a bit of delight and more in my mind.  However, Podgy generous hearted as always, forgave my infarction very quickly!!
Being Podgy’s neighbour in the dorm also resulted in my sitting next him in the dining room that year. So, it was often my chore to go and fetch a cup of ghee from his cupboard. In return for this labour I was, and a few of the those who surrounded him at the table, offered a table spoon each of this fabulous ghee. The remaining ghee, which still was almost up to the lip of the cup, because Podgy distributed very little, was then mixed with solid chunks of meat. Podgy picked the choicest pieces of mutton, systematically squashed each bit till the fibres were separated, mixed the ghee and sent a large full soup plate back to the kitchen for further treatment. The mutton came back garnished and tender. The smell of the ghee moved with the plate from the kitchen door past the Ibbetson table and was then firmly placed in front of Podgy. He eat it with delight and not a morsel was ever shared!! We watched with envy but then the ghee was his and he was, of course, a prefect !!
I remained in Podgy’s good books for a while only because he believed that I had a svelte looking cousin at St Bede’s. Where he extracted that information from I do not know but I did have a cousin who finished from St Bede’s in 1956. I led Podgy to believe she was still there and never did I tell him that my cousin did not possess any good looks that could arouse an iota of passion in him. However, he continued to believe otherwise and there was a regular exchange with him begging for her name and I declining to divulge any such secret. This went exchange went on for quite a while and I discovered that I could extract two table spoons of ghee by promising each time to give him her name. I never did because she was never existed in Simla any more !! This went on for a while until Podgy reduced the disbursement to that limited one table spoon!!
In my mind Podgy remains a delightful character though I very much doubt if would remember me or my tale. His attention span on all such mundane matters was much too short and he delighted in being a sporting person, soccer being his favourite game !!
I also know that Podgy and you are related.
Gurpratap Sahi:
My apologies for this delayed response to your wonderful initiative and effort. First things first, let me convey my deepest condolences on the recent loss of your mother. That is,without doubt,ones biggest loss upon earth. She deserves a special salute from us Patina fellows for her devoted preservation of the very valuable school material you have been able so easily to access and then disseminate onward to us. God rest her soul in peace.
Now,as presumably dear Aunty Khurana would have put away bundles of Mitre issues of your time, I’m personally grateful to you for picking out,for first review and action, the ones concerning the Class of 1956. That being the year our Batch graduated from BCS, memories were awakened,both General and the Particular. Two performances could claim comparison with the “Brightest of all time” :
1. Four Open Prizes in one Year, plus Soccer & Hockey colours, won by my very dear friend ,
    Inderjit Singh – 56  ( August and other issues )
2. The Sanawar ( Ist XI ) Cricket Match ( May issue ). This shot me into local fame with the
    best Batting & Bowling average for either side, the name figuring in all the four innings.Pity
    the Man of the Match concept had not taken birth ! There is a temptation to get gassy !!
    Freddie Brown introduced me to some visitor as the “boy who won the Sanawar Match for us
    Single handed”. The HM ( Mr Carter ) had me called one evening from Prep.to his house to
    show me to his visiting friend from Sanawar as “the boy who was responsible for Sanawar’s
    Humiliation”. Mr. Cuzen our Cricket coach noted in the Cricket column in the 1956 Cottonian
    Magazine that “…………….. might one day yet do for India what Laker has done for England”!!!??
    Same summer, Jim Laker had set his fabulous world Test record of 19 wickets which still
    stands.All of this is certainly memorable,and followed up with the Open History Prize,enabled
    my name going up in both the Big Halls of the School.
All the guys,please forgive the Gassing!! You do know it’s in short supply !
    Yes, Vijay, if you are parting with the originals, I would like to have the May & August issues. If.
    not ( may be needed for the Archives ) I would be quite happy with photo copies. Just as you
    wish. By the way, can you help with the “Cottonian” of 1956 ?
    Also,unfortunately,your “Attachment Mail” has vanished somehow; please repeat this for saving.
    More again. With renewed thanks and all the best.
    GP
Vijay:
Thank you for your mail.
Thank you for the kind words about our mother, Mrs Bhumitra (my parents dropped the surname “Khurana” and so did my younger brothers! Good reasons but long story!!) She would have loved to know that she received so much mention on any exchange involving BCS. I only wish the circumstances had been entirely different and that she had been alive to have known about it!
I will certainly retain the copies you requested and have them delivered to you soonest. I am currently out of Delhi and will only get back at the end of the week. I will also send the mail that you refer to when I am back home.
The original file began in 1954 and seems to have petered out in 1956 when my father, after the initial enthusiasm of sending a son to a boarding school, felt drained by the constantly large sized bills !! My mother had a historical bent but more of an instinct to preserve just kept the papers even after our father died 50 years ago !! So much for the origin and care of these papers!!
Your narration of your achievements in that year are there in my mind but your account of the details now explains why you were such a favourite with both Mr E A Cuzen and Mr F M Brown, more so the latters since he was also your housemaster. Both very fair minded people. None of them were spectacular scholars but excellent at moulding and nuturing talent.
I recall your were a spin bowler and a very steady bat. I think you came up early in the order. The other person I recall is A S Dulat kitted in his blazer and that lovely cricket scarf. Believe it or not I can even recall P S Nat on the cricket field because his batting stance was an unusual one. He never grounded his bat and held it high over his shoulder while waiting for the ball to arrive. Wendy Dewan was another person who was an excellent wicket keeper and whose injury on the nose I recall. His game in 1954 against Sanawar did not go too well and that was unfortunate !!
Human memory is selective but I am informed that recall is also greatest for the early events in your life. That appears to be the case with me. Some events are like a photograph in my mind covered with warmth and emotion!!