Monthly Archives: October 2008

Chronicles of a Ziginare……Gypsy……..Explorer…Bandit

…lets come straight on to the locale. S-S-Shave-Shampoo; all done, with Tuscany splashed across my back, I step into the melee of Manila.

One has to be careful here as I negotiate bends, curves and blind alleys..who knows when  fleeting shadows becomes a real band of street kids…they can descend upon you in packs of 20’s…pin you to the ground and like a buzz of piranhas unclothe you and hi-tail away with all your many splendid things….the only way to stay street smart  is to have a microchip under your skin..a new wave thing from American Express Black cards, or possibly a killer seductive smile to open doors to wine, food and ..Hum….yes the works of art, be they oil, acrylics or warm and tender succulent…Y.K.W.I.M

(You Know What I Mean!)

The two legged damsels here, most of them so sweet and tender and fragile, though are lurking behind and sometimes in their lizard’s skin bags a Chihuahua or two snapping at your heels. So it’s best to wear heavy denim…..Levi’s 550 and armadillo boots…the sting is but a pin prick.

Strains of Wolfmother’s heavy metal riffs flash past as a bad dude in shades passes by in his metallic purple Hummer….he’s gone…as stray chickens flutter and try escaping from the super wide tyres….leaving the smell of hard burning rubber. Its 2300 hrs and the night is dark above. Down here on Planet Earth I’m still trying to find my way to ‘ Infectious Grooves’….the hottest, meanest, damnest place on the outskirts where an all female band is going to rock the place down…..I try to walk, I try to run but finally hitch on to a Jeepnee….with avant-garde paintings…the driver stretches his dirty paw and I hand him a crumbled 50 pesos note….He knows my destination as he lurches forward and I am flung through the min-bus landing on the swollen thighs of Mama-san…a soft landing no doubt but nothing but snarls and hisses from her and her family of grunting pigs.    My mind flashes by to that lady writer getting on the wrong bus towards Cartagena….that was celluloid. This folks is reality.

We rattle along, as fast as the wind…horns blaring, a thousand moods, no one is spared in our path, and me trying to resemble the innocent.

Reached in one piece..I jump out from the window…the emergency escape, jostling my way past crowds….heaving they are. Ricardo Lopez mi amigo is waiting at the entrance as he plants a wet kiss on my cheek…saliva and pisco sour. I need to do the same. It’s a manly thing. After a quick interchange with the sumo bouncer….we walk into a cacophony of sounds..laughter, shrieks, strobes, sweat, cheap perfume and passionata. The ‘Infectious Grooves’ rocks hard. At 0200 hrs ‘ Mothers of Charity’ come on stage and the crowd hushes in silence and awe….. Voluptuous beauties with the ‘Kiss’ look….the vocalist is slick, the bassist cool, the lead guitarist a Townsend in disguise…the batteria….the gal on skins…Boy she kicks ass.They really are a bad ass band!  I stay safe and drink a San Miguel Lite straight from the botela… No second chances here dude. You need eyes at the back of your head as well.  They rock loud….to whisper is to scream….and Angelina, Ricardo’s squeeze seems to like me too. She seems to be the flavour of the month…..and I’m not barging into her. No way man….Ricardito es mi amigo. He and I go back, way back…a long way back when we crossed paths in Quito……I am alive coz of him. I am here to Rock my ass off; not be rocked by him. Intiendo.

No morals to this one guys….just plain straight…heavy but clean. We killed the night and later ate oysters along the Bay. Angelina looked divine; I tried to convince her she was my sister. She said she would think about it.

A farewell hug, a last parting shot. Ricardo we shall meet again, ain’t sure ‘bout Angelina though! I worked my way back; another day mañana…Yes another day, another dollar… I am off to Tokyo.
Vivek Bhasin
Lefroy (1961-1970)

Footnotes: If you want to enjoy a seductive evening with your squeeze I would suggest you DO NOT venture towards the ‘Infectious Grooves’. That’s a place for sinners like me. For you the place to be is The Lounge after The Hyatt Hotel and Casino Manila. There is a 3 piece quartet AND this absolutely gorgeous Filipina in a slinky red gown; high slits on either side. She wears the highest heels in town and a golden chain on her ankle with a brilliant diamond. That accentuates her legs and her lithe body.   They say she moves like Salome and sings like a nightingale until the crack o’dawn.  So if you are there, give me a call….I may not be too far away.

The DODA Chronicles – part I

Letters from Doda!
(Translated from the original Hindi by the author)
Ibbetson House
15th March 1961

My dear Mummy,

Every Saturday is a letter writing day for us. I am sitting in my class of upper two and writing this letter to you. Mummy this is my first letter to you from school. Mummy, we had to first assemble at Kalka where Mr Advani who every one calls as Adoo was waiting for us to put us in the train to Shimla. The whole platform was filled with hundreds of boys and mummy, they were all dressed in suits and ties talking git-bit, git-bit in English and I could not make out head or tail of what they were talking about. No one was talking in Hindi or Punjabi. I stuck with Naresh who joined his gang of friends. They were all Punjabis but they were also talking git-bit, git-bit in English. Naresh said to them, this is my younger brother who will be joining school from this year. One boy was Vijay Khurana from Bombay and he was telling every one how a gang of robbers held up a bank in Bombay and walked away with ten thousand bucks! Mummy I was just wondering why should robbers steal cardboard boxes. The other two boys JPS Knigger and Jwanda became very excited and they also started telling what they would have done with so many bucks. Jwanda was saying, if I had ten thousand bucks I will enjoy with ten thousand dames. Vijay Khurana is a very smart boy and because he is from Bombay every one was listening to him with great interest. Naresh was asking him all sorts of questions about dames in Bombay and bars and all that type of stuff which any village rustic from Ferozepore can ask. Mummy it was so cold you just cannot imagine with snow lying on the way. The trains was going very slowly and some boys would jump off the train and bring some snow in their hands. It reminded me of our ice factory in Ferozepore. I did not say anything because I couldn’t understand anything. But every one else was talking and shouting and laughing. In Barog the train stopped for some time and I also got down. Suddenly some Chinese looking small boys got down from the next compartment and they were talking in Chinese. As I went up to pick up some snow, one of them made a grab at my snow. So I caught him by the neck and shouted at him in Punjabi. Suddenly he took out a knife. I was daring him in Punjabi to fight with me. It was very funny mummy. He was shouting in Chinese and I was shouting in Punjabi. Suddenly he stopped and said, no English. I smiled and said, no English. Meantime Naresh and his gang came running because some boy and told Naresh that your bra is having a fight. The Chinese boy put back his knife but in the process cut his finger and blood started coming out. He started sucking it. Naresh made us shake hands. Later on Naresh told me these boys were from Thailand and all Thai guys go to Rivaz house just like all boys from Africa join our house which is the Ibbetson house. I keep on forgetting the name of my house. So we got back into the train once again and Vijay Khurana once again started telling his tales of Bombay. Mummy Jwanda and Knigger are Punjabi villagers but Vijay Khurana is a Sahib.
Mummy it is so cold here you cannot imagine. It is just like going into our cold storage in Ferozepore. I will write again next Saturday

Your loving and obedient son



Written by, Suresh Sethi
Ibbetson 1961-66

Amar Rana, no more

With a sad heart, we pass on the terrible news that Amar Rana [Rivaz 1970 batch] passed away in USA the first week of October 2008.

Rivaz1970c1 300x175

Amar Rana, seated 4th from bottom right.

Click the picture for a full page view.

A message received from the family today [15th October 2008]:

Amarrana C

Amar Shumshere Jung Bahadur Rana [1955-2008].


In loving memory of Amar, we are holding a small get-together of family and friends in Delhi.

Please join us for a

Farewell High Tea

between 4 – 7 pm

at B-167 East Of Kailash, New Delhi

on Sunday, the 19th of October 2008.

your presence will be greatly valued.


Shashi Prabha Rana

Kavita Singh

Rachana, Dipankar & Aisha Bhattacharya.

RSVP: +91-9873134944 / 9818052044 / 9871673191