The Great Himalaya
No other range can match the lofty grandeur, the immense heights and the diversity in flora and fauna from the foothills to Kanchenjunga , to Mount Kailash to Mount Everest to
Bishop Cotton School….. which is at a mere 2300 metres or so but its perch, its architectural and geographical position were set to get maximum strength from the Sun God, pay obeisance when he sets across the Tara Devi Gap and a million stars appearing and the Moon illuminating the school, setting the 2nd and 3rd flats on a silver blaze. Besides Sports and Academics emphasis was on the pure Himalayan air, the smells of pine that was tonic to our growing years.
As a Third Former I used to creep across to the benches and strain my eyes and ears towards the gap wanting to know if my Mum and Pa thought of me every moment the way I did about them.Far away in Calcutta..
Having sailed the seas and touched every continent, driven across the Andes, The Rockies and the Alps my final return was always the Great Himalaya. Here New Monasteries, Temples, Pagodas, Mosques and Churches have come up yet I know our School Chapel stays unmatched in beauty and splendour. Being a Saprano in the Choir I had Adams, Dehlvi, Singhs, Bhasins , Tippakorn and Pandit all singing in unison to the hymns and psalms everyday.
Our School touched our lives and has stood entrenched in the soul of the mighty mountain range. It is there waiting with open arms for every Cottonian to come back today tomorrow or whenever..
We Cottonians are Blessed to have merged our soul with the Great Himalaya.
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.
Congratulations to Ruskin Bond (class of 1952) on receiving the Padma Bhushan award. All OC’s should feel proud of his remarkable achievement. This follows a Padma Shri award that he received in 1999.
Photo from “The Indian Express”
I had written a novel “They don’t kiss in the movies“. It talks of my first two weeks at BCS in 1948. The book is self-published and is available only through me.
Here is chapter I. The book is a love story, set in India in the early 1950s. It was a time of innocence and the newly-independent country was young. Most of the action occurs in Solan – there is the romance and there is much discussion of God and the scriptures, both pro and con.
Some of the chapters are autobiographical, such as the 1947 riots and chapter I, and some are biographical, such as the war in Burma. The rest is fiction with a big dose
of wishful thinking. The book is a serious attempt at tackling God and atheism.
Gurdip S. Sidhu, MD
[Editor: Gurdip Sidhu (Sidhu II) was at BCS 1948-1951 in Lefroy House. A pathologist, he lives in Harrington Park USA]
Hoisting skis to shoulders, we walked back the five hundred odd yards to the inn. Yesterday’s storm and today’s warm sun had conjured up a skier’s dream – two tired bodies now reveled in the most desirable languor. Showered, dressed, they sat an hour later in a dimly lit, hospitable, warm dining room. Outside, the neon sign glowed in the lowering fog. “The Inn At whiteface Mountain,’ it said. Red, green, empty wine bottles shone dimly along the windows, logs crackled in the fireplace, and soft voices drifted across from other tables. Love and magic hung in the air. My gaze drifted past red liquid in wine glasses, losing itself in limpid, brown womanly eyes casting irresistible spells from across the table . . . she was an apsara, I was sure – one of those heavenly nymphs who entertain the gods – or a houri straight from Paradise. I had chased her all day down the snowy slopes and would follow her again soon to the room. But she had other plans . . . slowly, hypnotically, such are the ways of apsaras and houris and the cruel lure of the past, I was drawn ever back in time, back back back, tumbling through memories long forgotten, to a time when life was melancholy, and I was just a boy in India. Red wine, evening magic, limpid brown eyes, crackling firelogs, drifting voices, they all conspired and I yielded: memories arose from the depths, unfolding relentlessly. More wine, more eyes, more magic, and . . . I was revisiting history. Continue reading
Partap Sharma [Curzon 1950-54] passed away on 30th November 2011. Known as the Golden Voice of India, Partap was always warm, encouraging and inspirational. The world will be sadder without him but greater for his contributions.
A Touch of Brightness: Biography of Partap Sharma
Partap Sharma born December 12, 1939 is an Indian playwright, novelist, author of books for children, commentator, actor and documentary film-maker. A gifted writer, Sharma covers a wide range of subjects and perspectives, and as a master craftsman delivers intricate ideas simply. Like Mahatma Gandhi, the subject of one of Sharma’s most applauded plays “Sammy!” Sharma found that uncovering the truth was not always popular. In Contemporary Authors Sharma explains: “Stories are perhaps a way of making more coherent and comprehensible the bewildering complexity of the world. I learn and discover as I write and I try to share what I have understood. This began with me when I was a child, before I could read, and when I needed to deduce a story to explain the pictures in a book. But that is just the technique; the aim is to uncover an aspect of the truth. The truth isn’t always palatable. Two of my documentaries and a play were, at various times, banned. The High Court reversed the ban on the play; it is now a text in three Indian universities and has been the subject of a doctoral thesis in drama at Utah University.”
Sharma was born in Lahore which was then part of India and is the oldest son of Dr. Baij Nath Sharma and Dayawati (Pandit) Sharma. Sharma’s father was a civil engineer who served as Technical Advisor to governments in Ceylon, Tanganyika and Libya and later retired to their ancestral property in Punjab as a gentleman farmer. This colourful Punjabi village forms much of the backdrop of Sharma’s novel, Days of the Turban. Sharma’s early education was in Trinity College, Kandy, Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) and then at Bishop Cotton School, Shimla. Sharma received a triple promotion and completed school at 14 before going to study at St. Xavier’s College, Bombay mainly because all other universities in India required a minimum age of 16. He is married to Susan Amanda Pick, they have two daughters: Namrita and Tara. Tara is, of course, known to many as the beautiful Bollywood actress, Tara Sharma. Sharma’s association with the Indian National Theatre, Mumbai, began in 1961 with the production by it of his first full-length play “Bars Invisible” and continued till the eventual production of the banned “A Touch of Brightness.” While working at his writing, Sharma freelanced as a narrator for short films and newsreels. In due course, he also directed a few documentaries for the Government of India. He was TV host of the popular programme “What’s the Good Word?” produced by Television Centre, Mumbai. One of India’s leading voices heard in narrations and commentaries on film, radio and TV, he has voiced many national and international award-winning documentaries and short films. He is known as the golden voice of India, and has often been referred to in the Press as simply ‘The Voice’. He is the voice on most of the Son et lumière shows produced in India, including the one still running forty years later, at the Delhi Fort, in Delhi.
- The Surangini Tales
- Dog Detective Ranjha
- The Little Master of the Elephant
- Top Dog
- Days of the Turban
- A Touch of Brightness
- Zen Katha
- Begum Sumroo
- Brothers Under The Skin (1956)
- Bars Invisible (1961)
- A Touch Of Brightness (1965)
- The Word (1966)
- The Professor Has A Warcry (1970)
- Queen Bee (1976)
- Power Play (1991)
- Begum Sumroo (1997)
- Zen Katha (2004)
- SAMMY! (2005)
Documentaries and Films
Partap Sharma has directed some outstanding documentaries, as independent producer and for the Government of India’s Films Division, and Channel Four Television, U.K. His film credits include:
- The Framework Of Famine, 1967, an investigation of how nature’s devastation is compounded by human corruption and inefficiency; banned for it’s “ruthless candour” then released after other documentary-makers protested.
- The Flickering Flame, 1974, a study of the mismanagement of the energy crisis and its effect on the suburban housewife; banned and never released.
- Kamli, 1976, a short film depicting the status of women in rural Indian society.
- The Empty Hand, 1982, (co-directed) a prize-winning audiovisual about the art of karate.
- Viewpoint Amritsar, 1984, co-directed a film about the Golden Temple and environs in the aftermath of Operation Bluestar.
- The British Raj Through Indian Eyes, 1992, a documentary series telecast in 1992 by Channel Four Television UK.
Part I: The Uprising of 1857.
Part II: The Massacre at Jallianwallah Bagh 1919.
The museum of the British Empire and Commonwealth, in Bristol, now has a permanent section entitled The Sharma Archive consisting of 30 video and 67 audio tapes made by Partap Sharma. Interviews and footage of Indian nationalists, freedom fighters and writers. Indian perspectives on the Raj. Some transcripts available (CDs, Videos and Cassettes).
- Sailing Around The World And Discover America Yachting Rally, two video programmes directed by Sandhya Divecha and produced by Sharma’s Indofocus Films Pvt. Ltd. British Raj Hindustani Nazron Se, 1995-98, A Hindi TV Serial.
- The Case Of The Hidden Ear-Ring, 1983
As an actor Sharma played a role in the Merchant-Ivory film “Shakespearewallah”. Other films include the lead role in the following Hindi films:
- Phir Bhi (1971)
- Andolan (1975)
- Tyaag Patra (1980)
- Pehla Kadam (1980)
- Nehru – The Jewel of India (1989)
- The Bandung Sonata (2002) Filmed in China, Sharma played Nehru in this international film which was subsequently re-titled for release in China as Chou-en-Lai in Bandung.
Awards and Honours
- Sharma’s literary genius was recognized at an early age, and he won numerous first prizes in school and university in debating, elocution and acting including first prize at the All India Inter-University Youth Festival, Delhi, in 1958.
- 1971 National Award for the lead role in the feature film “Phir Bhi” which also won the National Award for the best Hindi film of the year.
- Cleo Award U.S.A for best voice.
- 1976 RAPA First Prize for best voice in radio spots.
- 1992 the “Hamid Sayani” Trophy for a lifetime of all-round excellence in radio and television.
- 2000 Ad Club of Mumbai Award for Lifetime Contribution to Advertising.
- 2004 the “Dadasaheb Phalke Award” with the citation ‘the voice of India’ on behalf of 35 associations of professional cine workers representing all branches of the Indian film industry.
- India Who’s Who, Infa publications, India.
- Contemporary Authors, Gale Research Company, Detroit, U.S.A.
- Asia’s Who’s Who, Asian Publishing House, India.
- Dictionary Of International Biography, International Biographical Centre, Cambridge, England.
The real complete man.
Malavika Sangghvi / Mumbai December 03, 2011, 0:42 IST
Partap Sharma, who died this week, was a polymath: author, playwright, documentary filmmaker, anchor, actor, voice-over artist and more. His titles were many, but it is for other qualities that I would like to remember him today.
The first is courage. When his award winning play, A Touch of Brightness, was prevented by a regressive state from leaving India to perform abroad, Partap, refusing to be cowed down, engaged Soli Sorabjee to argue his case. They won the case — seven years later — and the play about a woman in Mumbai’s red light area went on to get international success and recognition.
That should have been ample evidence of Partap’s grit: nine years ago, after he was struck down by a debilitating attack of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and emphysema which left him wheel-chair bound and in need of a constant supply of oxygen, Partap once again refused to allow circumstances to dictate his story. He went on to record Macbeth, Julius Caesar and The Merchant of Venice in his famous voice, enacting all the parts — even the female ones!
More inspiring was the fact that this man, struggling to breathe, began to sing! “I always had an ear for music, but when I was told that it would be therapeutic for my lungs I started learning it seriously and the result was a series of songs for my family which have been collected as ‘Home Songs’.”
If courage was his anthem, humility was his calling card. Partap wore his achievements and accolades (a Dada Saheb Phalke, a National Film award, a Thespo lifetime achievement award) lightly. Struggling to speak from his hospital bed while receiving yet another award (this time from Dr Vijaya Mehta) it was edifying to hear him say, “People should look for the affirmative in every creative work that they critique, so that the creator gets encouraged.”
Partap himself was nothing if not encouraging, his lovely home by the sea was open to all: celebrated litterateurs along with struggling poets, confused writers, footloose students and hungry neighbours.
If these qualities were enough to make him larger than life, it was his swashbuckling sense of self-actualisation and adventure that made him a hero to many. He was a black-belt Karate expert, a rider of bare back horses, a solver of neighbourhood crimes with his famous Alsatian Ranjha of the “Dog Detective series”, the owner of a magnificently restored shiny black Mercedes-Benz, an above-average chess player, an aficionado of books and ideas, and a lover of Mahabaleshwar where he would disappear for long writing spells. I could go on. But suffice to say that the copywriter who came up with the “Complete Man” sign off, could well have had Partap in mind. But that is not all. Above all, it was for Partap’s qualities of decency and grace that he will be cherished, His human qualities outstripped his considerable material and creative success. It is fitting that he died surrounded by his daughters, the lovely Namrita and Tara, and their families, his many friends and in the arms of his devoted wife-comrade-companion and champion Sue. Two days before he died, I met her at his bedside in the ICU. I remember thinking that she had gazed at him and stroked his face with the tenderness and love of a young bride.
Every man should aspire to live and die like that.
[Vijay Khurana adds: For those of you have lived or know Bombay, Malavika Sangghvi is the daughter of Mrs Khanna who ran Samovar at the Jehangir Art Gallery at Kala Ghoda. Partap’s daughter Tara Sharma is the well known actress.]
The Biography is an extract from http://www.partapsharma.com/, where you can read more about this great man.
EDITOR May 28th 2012
Here is a letter from Tara, Partap’s daughter :
Thank you so much for your kind words about Dad. As you can imagine it’s devastating for us but I truly believe Daddy is with us always and it is only the body that is resting. Words cannot express how much Daddy means to me and us as a family and how inspirational, brave and loving he was and is. He touched so many lives and his rich legacy continues to do so. I write about Daddy often on my blog www.tarasharmashow.com and am grateful he got to meet both my kids and he knew my sister Namrita’s baby was soon to be born. On behalf of my Mum Sue, sister and our husbands and kids thank you and do keep writing your thoughts on Dad to me, it helps me keep him alive.