Once again our Secretary, Gursant Sandhu requested me to send in an account for his Winter Newsletter. Collecting my thoughts and reminding you the Spirit of BCS still dwells within and my passion continues for dear Patina and the fraternity.
Indubitably we have enjoyed a glorious dryer summer after the previous awfully wet years. Remarkable events and performances scattered over the months of 2013 deserve high recognition in each of our own historic diaries and will long be remembered.
Sovereign Queen Elizabeth gracefully achieved a milestone for Britain’s Monarch of history. Meanwhile OCA (UK) encourages us to attend the Reunion after another successful occasion. Remarkably again the younger OC set outnumbered the old guard register as fewer veterans rally to support our very unique social chapter and may it flourish in the new life. Andy Murray finally captured the British Wimbledon Victory the nation has long waited for. Chris Froome the second Brit to win the French Tour after Bradley Wiggins last year. Winning the Ashes now does make the Aussies look upto us. What better to round off Britain will one day again have a King George, as the media have driven everybody crazy before and after the birth. Bless Him!
Moving on and into the Cottonian circle one must believe and engage the The Association, as we come together in closer fellowship. I have found over the years my contact with OCs here and abroad has brought much joy. Sadness too as OC lives have expended. This year, Des Sardar (R45) in New Delhi and my dear friend Ken Richards (L 38-45) Wiltshire in April. I truly miss the fellow, as our friendship grew after the connection made through Marlborough College. We shared many happy hours here at Fairlands and Ken’s home in Oare. Together we travelled to New Delhi, Chandigarh and upto Simla and returning via Patiala and renewing old acquaintances. Ken kept us entertained, capturing hearts along the way, with endless acting, he truly was a showman singer, charming and delightful character.
Unfortunately I did not attend his funeral and fully respect his family’s reserve of commitment. At the invitation of his wife Nikky, for OCs to come to the Special Tribute Day for Ken and his life, Maggie and I accompanied by John McLaughlin attended. Around 50 relatives and friends gathered at his home on a lovely afternoon, 20 July. We will always remember him.
Johnny McLaughlin (I41-48) who lives in Williamston Michigan was unable to attend the Annual June Reunion. Earlier regrettably Helen his wife fell over and broke her upper right arm. As Helen slowly recuperated and returned from re-hab gave John his chance to fly over. The two weeks break fulfilled a dual purpose. His elder cousin Jack Creswell (BCS Bangalore) and his wife live in Australia and visit their English home each summer. Last year the Creswell’s could not make it. John felt it imperative to meet them and stay with his other cousin Margaret Christie who lives near them. Staying with us for the start, he tells me he did enjoy our undivided company and hospitality. My main concern at the time was the debilitating severe pain in my right hip. Thank you John for your kind consideration and the time we spent gathering old memories. John dropped me a note telling me he was off to Toronto, 28 September. Jerry Godhino was pulling OCs together again, after completing advance studies in financial planning. What news?
Reminding of late OC tributes Sheila Reed faithfully held the family open house meeting for OCs on 4 May, entering the seventh year of Bobby Reed (R41-46) passing. Daughters Caroline and Jancis doing the honours of looking after nine OCs and seven wives. Maggie and I usually stay over from the Saturday. Kindly Sheila drove us over to Sue and Bambi Mujamdar (I56-59) suburb of Birmingham on the Monday for a late lunch on a beautiful summer afternoon. Starting with sipping champagne in the sunshine and dining on good food and wine. Great hosts, another great day!
1 June I attended a Sherwood College Reunion, held in a church hall in East Croydon. Having attended quite a few over the years made familiar acquaintances, our meeting link threads with Indiaaah. Recounting and exchanging the many similar experiences and tales of happier childhood days. Remarkably a much younger ex-scholar expressed his thoughts to me, in words to the effect, life in India during our era must have a wonderful place as he listened to shared memories, how refreshingly true. I must say the Sherwood Reunions are rather informal and really a meaningful mixture of the meeting both in minds and personalities that share in a unique background. A common heritage we cherish with sincerity and admiration for the education we received and the respect we were taught and above all the love our parents gave us. Just to attend this annual event all that is expected is bring a dish of Indian nosh and perhaps a donation gift for the raffle, if you wish to oblige. Believe me the buffet table when laid out (about 20 feet) has a truly delightful choice of mouth watering khana. If you like alcohol, bring your own other refreshment were plenty.
Our Fairlands khana on the lawn was well down on OCs, still did not deter us from the enjoyment of the assembled good company and the weather held out. One must be prepared for the falling numbers. Well She or won’t Maggie support my School chums Whyteleafe meeting new year?
I am still in awe from the morning, many weeks ago I took a call from Napingder Singh (C43-50) in Patiala. Nappy’s grandson who is a student in Sanawar and only 16, had that morning at 4.20am, first of his six accompanying peers to ascend the summit of Mount Everest. Absolute incredible, when as boys, we up in Simla, it was some feat to khud-walk down from school and hike up Taradevi Hill.
I received this years School Pictures Calendar, the month of April printed in bold, Bishop Cotton School Shimla The First School in India to introduce scuba diving. Amazed how outreaching advances schools are progressing and I marvel at youth today, the world at their feet and how swift they are mastering the computer age. IT for me is moving too fast for mu capability as I can just about cope tapping out this letter on my computer.
Nap’s younger brother Joginder Chahal (44-50) and charming wife Dorothy dropped by on the way from an Aunts 99th Birthday celebration to meeting a friend in Hillingdon, middle of August. I listened with interest as Jog (an agnostic) explained involvement in Dorothy’s local church. Telling me the church warden, away on holiday and the lady Vicar, strict on her time limit appearances, why, he unwittingly drafted in, coped with the Church event. My latent answer was that he was a good BCS boy! I also received an e mail message passed to Chris Kishanan (ex La Martinea) from Vivek Bhasin to say his daughter has made him a grandfather. Congratulations and welcome to the special club!
Gay Niblett (R40-47) is cruising the Med after fostering encouraging closer relationship for BCS with Marlborough College. Doctari Allan Bapty (R36-44) keeps contact over the telephone from deep Devon. Arthur Jones (L42-49) has settled into his bungalow after much refurbishment. Vinny Nanda (L58-66) chats with me over the phone and tells me he sometimes meets up with Anil Bhasin (C62-69). I also get a call from Rajah Lamba (L49-59) sometimes and also hear from Paddy Singh (C53-59) in Wiltshire. I often chat with my old school captain Clive Hardie (L40-45) or his charming wife Shirley. John Phillips (C39-44) rings and brings me up to date. Pete Travers calls from Woking to gather news. Another school captain Jal Boga (C45-53) is presently spending a holiday in Karachi from his home in Canada. Albert Morley (I42-47) an old cam padre lives in Western Australia was visiting his sick sister, who lives in Banbury. He stayed with us for a few days. We met up after leaving school in Calcutta. Albert was working for his father, who ran his own water well drilling company. Al persuaded his ole man to take me on as an apprentice. Always very thankful for setting me off on my feet and moving on in the drilling business that started with Albert in East Bengal, on to Bihar, UP the Punjab, Iraq, Iran, Libya and the UK. Thank you Albert as we reminisced of school life and our early working years together, vivid memories that do not fade with age!
The falling leaves tell me 2014 is fast closing in, before closing this epistle let me wish you all A MERRY CHRISTMAS and PROSPEROUS HAPPY NEW YEAR and adding , that whatever is good for you gets better.
Peter A Stringer (LEFROY 43 – 47)