Tag Archives: writer

“They don’t kiss in the movies” – chapter 1

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 – Biography

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: playwright, author, actor, director and commentator.

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
  • Sammy!
  • Begum Sumroo

Staged Plays

  • 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.

Children’s Film

  • The Case Of The Hidden Ear-Ring, 1983

Feature Films

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.

Biographical References

  • 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.

Warm regards,


Karen Ann Monsy interviews Ruskin Bond

Karen Ann Monsy interviews Ruskin Bond [Bishop Cotton School 1943-1950 Ibbetson House]. As published in the Khaleej Times WKND Magazine of 9th December 2011 reproduced below. The original article photos and can be read here.

From Ruskin with love
By Karen Ann Monsy

Sixty years on and with pen firmly in hand, Ruskin Bond proves he’s still as capable of enchanting readers as he was when he first began.

of screaming fans in a tent packed beyond seating capacity. That an audience could 
be just as captivated today by the man whose storytelling first fired up their imaginations as little children decades ago was a testament to just how popular an Indian author by the name of Bond — Ruskin Bond — could be.

With over 300 short stories, essays and novels to his name, it has been his irresistible signature of unassuming wit and simplicity more than anything else that has forged much of the bond between the Mussoorie-based novelist and his readers. Considered an icon in literary circles, the 77-year-old of British descent was recently declared due to receive the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Delhi Government. To his cheering fans at the Sharjah International Book Fair last month, he stated simply: “Without readers, there cannot be writers. If I’m famous, it’s because of you.”

Continue reading

The Collins English Gem (Pocket) Dictionary . . . .

. . . . (Latest Print  1967)* and ‘The People who reside within it’ *
– By Vivek Bhasin

On Page 209 ( Fray through fret)  lives one Cuneyt Erturhan: year 1995
This Johnny was a sprightly young Turk who made sure that whenever my ship sailed into the port of Gemlik, Turkey he was there to process all documents and clear us inwards. He was a genuine piece and very sincere. Gemlik is situated south of Istanbul and many long evenings into early mornings were spent in the city of Bursa, enjoying Kebabs , Raka and those wispy belly dancers swaying to infectious sounds. Coming back on board in those early hours I would smell strong coal fires; this was the winter of 1995 and the range of mountains in the distant were covered with snow. Cuneyt lives on and works his pretty ass off, a good human being; sadly he never came back on to my ship as when we sailed we never returned.

On Page 243 (heaven through heliostat) lives one Mohammed A.S. Jubair: Year 1994
Mohammed  Jubair was Vice-President of Jubair Trading Company that was established in 1923. The company owned  Pomegranate Soft Drink,  Zingy  Soft Drink,  Great Whale Transport and purchased 100 forty foot containers of Bananas every week; Bananas that my ship bought in to the Port of Lattakia, Syria. The Bananas were further transported by land to Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and even more far off places deep into the Middle East.  If ever there was a kind hearted soul it was Mr. Mohammed Jubair. Every two weeks when we arrived he sent his Mercedes ( Stretched ) to pick me up and take me out to Dinner. Fresh Red Snapper was my favourite and we enjoyed many evenings looking over the sandy beach into the stillness of the Mediterranean. And though that was not enough Mohammad always invited me home to meet the family and his beautiful wife.  Opulence is a tame word if one has to describe the Jubair Mansion. Arabian Nights and much more. With Chandeliers specially manufactured by Swarovski, the softest of carpets made from Pashmina, the beautiful oil paintings that he had won at auctions from Sotheby’s London and this exquisite life size painting of his wife. Gold plated faucets, mineral water from Hawaii and Coffee, pure Jamaican Blue Mountain. To further rock my senses he proudly showed me his own private Zoo.  Gorillas from Africa, Pythons, Lions, Pandas, Macaws, Peacocks and Pumas and yes two crocodiles from India… .’ I love them all very much, Captain Vivek’. I bet he did as I always jumped up from bed when the sea was rough and remembered those ‘snappers’!!

On page 275 ( inveigle through iridium) lives Manvendra Singh : Year on Year on Year
True Cottonian. Now based in Mumbai, he works for Air France. In fact I spoke to him yesterday; he was in Delhi. The last two times we met were when he accompanied my brother and me to Hardwar in May 2008 with my Father’s ashes, and  when my daughter got married on April 04th 2010. But regardless the connection is instant, never loss of recognition but a joy to hear each other again.

On Page 307 ( lorgnette through low) lives Carlos H.Ochoa: Year 1990-1995
A man of leisure. Loads of Moola, Doe, Cash. Monte Cristo Cigars, Courvoisier Brandy, Gucci shoes, Creed Cologne and a beautiful wife by his side who flies to Paris to get her hair in coiffure every fourteen days. She has an hour glass figure just as Don Carlos is rotund and lumpy but the way they glide and slide on the dance floor, be it the salsa or meringue, they sure do turn each other on and me!. Carlos owned the biggest boat docked at the Cartagena Marina and invited all his other (Rich) friends for a spin of Blue Marlin Fishing. A true Colombian he has invited me a zillion times to travel through that amazing country and see the sights of so many beautiful widows; their ferocious husbands all wasted by the drug cartels of Medellin, Cali and Bucaramanga. Boy do I love Colombia!!  He promised I would be safe in his armour plated Hummer. Carlos I am told, now shuttles between Key Largo, Coral Gables and his beloved Cartagena.

On page 411 ( proportion through protect) lives Capitan Odd Viste (Year 1990-2003)
Odd still lives in the Collins Gem, although he is no more. A Dane by birth he navigated the oceans; married, had children, sent them back to Copenhagen to study and get a better life ( his wife died before him); so just as they all do, he married a slender smashing Air Hostess twenty five years his junior. She is Ecuatoriana so what option does a man have when tropical lush Ecuador beckons. He built a house in Guayaquil and became of a collector of Guns. From Uzi to AK 47 he collected them all, from Lugers to Smith & Wesson’s were his wife’s passion; she really was a pistol packin’ senorita. They always took me to El Caracole Azul (The Blue Shell) restaurant famous for its Fish, more so for its famous Chilena owner. I never got into his hobby of becoming a Gun Collector ( though the thought of becoming a Bounty Hunter did excite me when I saw ‘Last Train to Yuma’) I remained content with my possessions of Ecuadorian Panama Hats and a beautiful Oil Painting that hangs on the wall in Mashobra. God Bless Odd Viste’s soul.

On Page 503 ( stalking-horse through star) resides Capt. Ronald Dull: Year 1990-1994
A pilot on the St. John’s River leading up to  the Port of Jacksonville, Florida where my ship docked every two weeks. Jacksonville, largest city in the United States and I visited that port 85 times during the years from 1990 to 1994. Ron-Dull always looked forward to taking my ship in; he was as young as me and kept me updated on the events at the weekend. My emphasis was on Hard Rock Concerts and many I have witnessed in the flesh out there.    David Bowie, Blue Oyster Cult, Steppenwolf, Deep Purple and Peter Frampton. Well if Ron Dull is my age, he is still there. Clambering aboard those giant ships approaching the eastern seaboard of the US, safely guiding them in. Though I am not sure if the Captains on board ask him the latest Rock News .

On Page 549 ( tricolor through tritium) lives Gulay Gonen: Year 1995
Her card states CEO of a company called ECG Bilgi Islem, based in Bursa Turkey. She was an IT expert and worked and updated our ship’s computers. I could always get a whiff of her presence even before she arrived on the Bridge; she smoked the strongest Turkish Cigarettes and those days smoking was not an offence ( just as it is today off New Delhi railway station). She was a wonderful and kind hearted lady and revealed a secret that must stand between her, me and us Cottonians. She was a member of the Masonic Lodge……. Nothing more can be revealed.

*Business Cards discovered in Vivek Bhasin’s Collins English Gem Pocket Dictionary that was given to him by his Mother in February 1968 when he entered Class SHELL. She wrote Vivek C. Bhasin, Bishop Cotton School, Simla-2 on the first page.  The dictionary that has travelled with him since then and now lives at his bedside in Weybridge, England.  ( 9th September 2011)