Tag Archives: Vivek Bhasin

….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

SOUL WARRIOR

SOUL WARRIOR

A Cottonian who saw it all.

( A poetic lecture on the realities of life)

..and down the road you see him….

Amidst the destruction that happened all week long…bands of wasted souls wanting to find, search, seek and destroy the fine tuning of Mother Earth..some even searching for love amidst the madness, some searching for other’s souls amidst the rotten greed …

..suddenly today melted away to the  past and yesterday’s happenings were a distant memory in the gutter of past dreams…

His trench coat wrapped around him, he’d seen violent scenes from the Bronx to San Jose, from Dakar to Abidjan and would  see tomorrow’s new more aggressive cities burn and smelt with the rage of inbuilt dirty ambitions…

In his own inner circle which meant nothing to others, he knows the gravity and weight of being there.. part of the wastelands. Away from the inner destruction and hell’s hole that beckons the weak hearted.

He stands at the corner in his week old growth as his life flashes by and explodes into smithereens…

..people pay the price for actions not forgiven, stuck to the memory of laughter, false joy  and happiness. And then pain and horror.

He sees it all . He saw it all. Crystal clear.

Reminiscing about the bandit and that crazy gitana, both wandering through the wilds, through hills and valleys with zebras in tow. In pure love immune to rusty jeeps strewn across the badlands. The rush for life now abandoned by the desperate, the weak and the foolish who claw and crawl, now camping out in the oasis of hope, waiting for a milagro, a miracle.

He remains at where it all started and realises time is nigh. The hour of dawn, amanaser will be  when the peace arrives. If they smoke the pippa de paz, the peace pipe that is, as  he stares into the never ending alley of hope and despair. With his Warrior Soul.

Judgement Day..The frikin judge must have barely skimmed the post of Commander on the tip of his toes and decided such heavy responsibilities were for strong minded men, no not him. He would rather come tumbling down the gangway and land on his head  ashore, to become a land lubber of the weakest sect from his high end ghetto,  assisting large multinationals get rid of claims from their employees even if they had given their lives to the company. Fattening his own purse with bullion even if he died like a mule whipped to sorry strife on shattered knees. This complete mierda, this dung of the lowest order. He pities the poor mule if the mule was real, that poor beast of burden, NOT this spineless  cowardly  guttersnipe who says he reports to Her Royal Majesty. Utter-utter crap. Pure Horse manure. What a bunch of sorry shits, losers, wasters and bile. The best words described would be ‘failures deep in the gutter of never ending scum, sum scum’.

No, never could he associate with vermin scum like this as what they really want is a free loading passage to everywhere.

From stale foul smells, to bad breath and cheap ideals these sad persons were supposed to live within each other’s selfish means and not get better, not one bit.

He knows what his path is. His path is sure and straight like a burning arrow finding its mark.

He respects those who understand logic, reason, compassion and humility. He loathes those who know nothing, learnt nothing and remain selfish arrogant  fools and suckers through their journey. He prefers to loathe them from a distance and knows soon enough they will reap their own rewards in the kingdom of purgatory. They came from rotten backgrounds and as time passes become even bigger rotten scoundrels and charlatans. They are the dreaded disease.

How could he even dream of being a part of them?! His dream weaver worked with beautiful wondrous stories of great passion for life, great passionate love and great passion-humane.

For he is a warrior and a do-good doer and his trail of fire will be remembered for all the good things he did. With his Warrior Soul.

Not will an iota of goodness be remembered from those weak who hide behind their concubines petticoats and ‘hope’ all the sorry mess created by their own incompetence, impotence and fear of responsibility will miraculously disappear and they will continue to have so called job security. These greedy and heartless fools who thrive on seeing others unhappy only think about how much they have stashed away in their mattresses so when they die like maggots, their material wealth will be buried with them in the catacombs of hell divine.

But the warrior knows his inner strengths. His talent, his background and his ability  stay intact in spite of making momentary contact with this breed of maggots. He was educated with the ideals and passion of Bishop Cotton School at Bishop Cotton School. Yes he the warrior cherishes and loves his own and they him, for now, for yesterday, for tomorrow. Forever.. From the morning mists to the deepening sun over the hills of Guachepelin. Finally atardeser, dusk over the horizon, to the west at Punta Arenas with rayos de esperanza de oro, rays of golden hope.

Just as the mermaids swim home to their lovers at night.

ITS CALM AGAIN.

 ……………Excerpts taken from the mind, the soul of El Ziginare, El Capitano, El Amante, The Nomad, The Wanderer, The Captain, The Lover who still sits and waits at the water’s edge with the Albatross. Off Tierra del Fuego…… knowing,

His time will come.

Their time will come.

Just waiting, with the zillion keys on the river bed of the Seine…

Waiting.

With his Warrior Soul.

(Durante el verano del ano  2012 / Around the Summer of Year 2012)

Vivek Bhasin
Lefroy 1961-1970
True Cottonian.

 

 

From the wine country of Bordeaux to the Pillars of Hercules . . .

”from the wine country of Bordeaux to the Pillars of Hercules,
on the autopista desde Gibraltar hasta Malaga”

…The month of November in Sweden is a month of darkness, and for some, time to reflect on the setting of autumn and the onset of winter. It is that time of the year when the windows of every home are still shaded with curtains and but a flicker of candle light is seen in the Bedroom where some gentle lady prepares for a night of slumber, waking up yearning for the first snow flake and then Christmas, Navidad, Jul ! Her Mariner shooting the stars off  Bordeaux, with the Belt of Orion and Venus shining with the passion and intensity of a desperate lover. Crisp, Calm, Chilled.

For it was in November when the packing started and all what was left of your check list, mainly rags, holed gym shoes and no towels, as they were whacked by the seniors in the Lefroy House dorms. The chill running down the spine signaled it was time to leave…the Bishop Cotton Kalka special leaving Simla had to leave on time if not earlier as both the Engine Driver and Guard were fully aware that these Cottonian Sa’abs on board meant trouble, late trouble, very late, as fire crackers, water balloons, chain pulling, jumping off and running south before jumping back again..meant a complete cock-up on the entire Northern Railway grid as all trains heading to Bombay, Delhi, Calcutta and Madras out of sync.

The Desperate Mariner spent time reminiscing about those heady days as the ship gently swayed and rolled her elegant stern the way that damsel in distress had taught him how to sway to the sound of chanting, the chanting of the Guatemala Indians at the village of Chi-Chi Castenango.

Rounding the last bend the ship settled on her westerly course as the Gironde Pilot wished him Adieu, Bon Voyage and worked his way to the winching area.Within 3 minutes the chopper swooshed down, hovering above the hatch cover and in one go swept the Pilot off his feet hoisting him clear, heading home to his Madam and his Glass from ye ole world…the Bordeaux Reds, so exquisite, perfume of the Gods. The Desperate Mariner smiled, conjuring up his own fantasy of the oncoming evening searched across the bows for that perfect french speaking oo ‘la ‘la Mermaid. At this time of the night, the stillness and radiance of the sea was too perfect for his trivialities.

His last job on a ship was amazingly different. She was ”a miracle she is still afloat”. Parts of that old lady were like ‘entering an inferno, the gates of hell, the need to get down on your knees to  seek redemption’ for a desperate sinner like him, a roving bandit, a light and dark blue Old Cottonian.

0800 hrs-Sunshine, the Portuguese coast on his port side, he felt becalmed (with a dab of L’Occitane) descended down the ladders to be greeted by the Table Captain in a starched white shirt, maroon bow tie and cummerbund, escorting him to the Captain’s table. A bevy of six  English Ladies, Chief Guests on this voyage to the Pillars of Hercules excitedly waited to have ”Breakfast with the Captain”. With his widest, cleanest freshest, whitest smile he presented each one a Fresh Bulgar Black Rose lying on a silver tray held by a young smart waitress…”and how are all my gentle ladies this morning..? Good Morning to you all, looking so elegantly beautiful”.   Mrs Sarah Chamberlain, her radiant face, sharp aristocratic nose and sumptuous lips, a faint whiff of Imperial Majesty* reached out and gently holding  his hand…”Captain, with you in Command everything…I mean everything is simply puurrrfect”. Her perfectly manicured hands squeezing his with ‘I must say a shade more than formal, of things yet to come? – I say old chap now isn’t this just what the doctor ordered!( shades..I mean shades better than School Doctor Mukund Lal ‘The Butcher’ trying to hold you ”down there” like a lamb to the slaughter saying ”cough-cough”)  It’s a hard life out there on the oceans, no place for slips, good rogues! Refining your skills, your stance and your body language to make them gentle ladies know, ”It wasn’t Eton Ma’am, just a notch higher…it was Bishop Cotton School’

*The most expensive perfume in the world costs $215,000 for a bottle! Clive Christian’s Imperial Majesty Perfume has a unique scent which is a mixture of jasmine, cardamom, carnation, lemon, bergamot and benzoin but this incredibly high price comes from its diamond crusted bottle. The bottle comes with a dazzling white diamond embedded that could be worth alone about $215,000. Due to its impressive price, only 20 bottles of Clive Christian Imperial Majesty’s were made, 10 for men and 10 for women.

(from the memoirs of a Roving Mariner,an Old Cottonian. Vivek Bhasin.Lefroy 1961-1970)
09 Dec 13