Monthly Archives: December 2008

Good News, Bad News – Things I always regretted not to have done

Good News, Bad News – Things I always regretted not to have done
(the last day of 2008)

Let’s start with, as one of my crazy Chief Officer’s used to say to me..The Good News…….’’The good news you little Himalayan Monkey is that the ship gets in to New York harbour tomorrow…. The Bad News…you little hippie of a monkey with Long Hair and High Energy stencilled on your work overalls is…that your shore leave is curtailed until we get back here….after 90 days’

Groan…’Sangha*, Mierda*’..I groan again. Here I was….a D.A.S* just dying to get myself ashore, pay a dime and go under…in to the vast subway of NYC…..get lost within the boroughs of New York……crick my neck looking at the Empire State Building and feel like Charles Bronson, who whipped some New York muggers in ‘Death Wish’…..Central Park, Delancy, Times Square, King Carol Records(Procol Harum), Fifth Avenue, Hells Kitchen, The Grey Hound Bus Station, Soho, CBGBs, Coney Island, Riker’s Island, the Guggenheim Museum and that lonely dollar bill.  I mean I felt tall, I felt like a man…hell I’d bunked from the dorms, the day before Jhug day…..I knew my way blind folded from the short cut to town even taking sudden death with pure nonchalance. And here this turnip of the Chief Mate….teaching me…. Damn! I just realized I was a Deck Cadet, the last guy in the chain gang, the first guy to walk the plank… name….I was not supposed to be not seen..only  heard off on board.

In the raging Atlantic one evening the ‘Old Man*’ heard me whistling on the bridge wing and motioned to me…..’Cadet, come here’ he thundered like a loco hurricane…’what do you think you are doing?’  I whispered…trying to find my voice and with a terrible squeak responded…’I was whistling Sir’…..’Remember you little piece of cordage’ he bellowed…’Only two persons are allowed to whistle on board….Me the Captain and the other…the wind…you understand….DO YOU UNDERSTAND’…I thought the Old man was going to drop dead with his passionate elocution….but then I really hoped not. If he did….who would be able to sail this bloody rust bucket…..All I could search in the heavens were 2 stars…The Pole Star and Arcturus….I thought that was enough to defy all other theories of navigation.

I never made it to New York in the summer of 1973. El Capitano’s wife Anjali, the sweetest bird on board (though mermaids I later besotted in South America were much more…!) got me back from ashore, a bag of jelly beans and a beautiful smile. That was enough, at  least for the time being.

As I now think back I do remember dancing with a devooshka* in Kherson. A soviet port in the Black Sea. (USSR) We were there for 35 days..I felt like a free spirit; now a Senior Cadet trying to master the sextant and work the meridian passage of the sun.

Was all this the good that happened to me….along with the bad? Like when the cops picked me up off Red Hook Brooklyn at 0300 hrs…I was jay walking with not a soul around, feeling like a New Yorker; they made me realize I would have probably left my carcass ashore if those muggers had descended on me. Hey when you are a Devil at Seventeen and having just witnessed Van Halen performing at Mad Square Gardens..You are King Man! (New York)

…..then it was time for confession…..
Regrets…of having never had the guts to walk on water(Haridwar)
Never tried eating snake stew..or armadillo meat. (Colombia)
Never tried riding a Harley Davidson… (Indonesia)
Never been to a Judas Priest concert…. (Manchester)
Never been beyond Simla Hills to the mountains beyond…. (Himachal)
Never had the courage to ask that maiden for a dance… (Beau Comeau, Canada)
Never wore purple trousers to lunch… (Until I was 52 in Delhi)

But I did take my beautiful children in to the Kilenagarden in the dead of winter…. With temperatures at -15C and they all padded in the warmest….I poured hot chocolate as it steamed..and grilled sausages on an open log fire; tasting the mustard!..out there Vanern Lake was frozen solid and the children were dancing on ice! (Sweden)

We travelled First Class on the train to Jodhpur and having looked down at the Blue City….took the night train to Jaisalmer. I even purchased a silver bell (Rajasthan)…remembering the Pundit at Kali Bari Temple as he swayed and swooned  performing aarti at dusk. (Simla)

..And we sampled Guinness…a tall glass, a heavy sweet brew and ate brown bread sandwiches with Parma ham and rocket (Dublin)

Enjoying a late summer evening..on the agriturismo farm sampling the local vino (Sicily)

Right now, Right Here……something what Jesus Jones sang….
It’s the 31th of December 2008 and -5C outside (Karlstad, Sweden)

This goes out to ye ‘ung Cottonians:

Be patient..
Be eager..
Stay Hungry..
Remain attentive… (Man eaters lurk in the dark)
Be quick on the take…
Good News -Bad News- Regrets…its all part of the game plan.
..and although I felt the way I felt…No Fear….nothing else matters (Metallica)
Remember..The Best Has Yet to Come.

Vivek Bhasin
Lefroy (1961-1970)
• *Sangha= drains (an expletive in espanol)
• *Mierda=S..t (another expletive en espanol)
• *D.A.S=Devil at Seventeen
• *Old Man= Captain, Lord and Master of  the Ship
• *Devooshka=a soviet two legged damsel.

More sad news… Usum Nimmanhamin passed-away Dec 26th 08.

From: Sukanya

Dear Friends,
It is with deep sorrow to inform you that your friend USUM has passed away peacefully last night at 7.30 pm.  He became unconscious about 9.30 pm on Christmas Day and the doctors tried to revive him which actually he didn’t want.  However, I was not there and, of course, the doctors must do what they can first.  When we arrived at the hospital he was already in the ICU and not conscious.  He didn’t regain any conscience the whole day yesterday and his blood pressure kept getting lower and lower.  About 7 pm we chanted some prayers infront of him and just when we finished, he just left us peacefully.  I think he went away blessfully.  The cause of his death can be summed up at heart/kidney failures, diabetic and he lost the will to live.
We had a bathing rite for him this afternoon at a temple followed by religious ceremony.  Hundreds of his friends and colleagues attended.  Tomorrow we will hold another ceremony during the midday and one in the evening again.
Monday morning after another religious ceremony at midday, the cremation will take place at 1 pm.
He is at peace and happy now.  We have done the best for him and judging by the numbers of people attending his funeral, it shows that he is well loved and respected by many.  A great tribute and I think we can be proud of him.
Thank you very much for all your kind wishes and moral supports.  Together with my children, Toto and Tota, we will always remember this and hope we can continue our friendship even in his absence.
Best regards,


Dear Sukanya,
Thank you for your mail.
The saddest news for the year finally arrived. Almost inevitable it did seem. On behalf of all the members of his class and his very numerous friends, we Cottonians, offer our deepest condolences on the passing away of Usum to you, Toto, Tota and members of your family.
Your mails were clear as a bell as to the condition of his health and the direction in which it was headed. We fervently hoped it would be different. Honestly, I would have loved to see Usum standing once again. In my mind’s eye I can still see the shy, smiling and lanky Usum. That is the lasting impression I have of him. I had spoken to Usum a few years ago, and again recently, when he had indicated his poor medical condition. Your mails confirmed all that with the significant difference that the urge to fight and live on had been depleted from his system.
“Vital spark of heav’nly flame,
Quit, oh, quit, this mortal frame!”
Trembling, hoping, ling’ring, flying,
Oh, the pain, the bliss of dying!
It broke our hearts. Some of us called and spoke to him while most sent in mails urging him to get up and lift himself. I guess he had his compulsions. We accept that loss with great sadness.
The world recedes; it disappears;
Heav’n opens on my eyes; my ears
With sounds seraphic ring:
Lend, lend your wings! I mount! I fly!
Drowns my spirits, draws my breath?
Tell me, my Soul! can this be Death?
I have quoted liberally from Alexander Pope but I guess these words aptly would sum up Usum’s feelings in these last few years. It makes us unhappy since it seems like yesterday that we were all together laughing and happily together. We will miss Usum. Good bye, dear friend.
Usum was one of the first boys from Thailand to come to Bishop Cotton. From being seemingly different, they entered so easily and so much into the system that you always expected to see a few Thai boys at the beginning of each school year. Usum was always different for his easy going manner, his affable disposition and his friendliness. A warm individual. He shared what he had most liberally and easily. He gave of himself extravagantly. Usum was the one you turned to for anyone in need ! He gave with abandon expecting little in return. You can imagine what an indelible impression he left on us since I recall these attributes after a lapse of several decades since I last met him. That goes for the majority of us. However, we have confirmation of his genoristy from friends who did venture to meet him in Bangkok from time to time to enjoy your hospitality.
Usum enjoyed our respect and love. There was huge equity that he had created. For your family and you, those feelings will always exist with all of us with the same degree of warmth and affection that was Usum’s due. Yes, we would love to hear from you and will be delighted to remain in touch. Usum still binds us.
Our deepest sympathies, once again.
Warm regards
Vatsala & Vijay
P.S. I have requested, over the phone, several of my friends to send in pictures of Usum since we would like to place them with messages of condolence on the OCA web site. Please be kind enough to forward any pictures you have of him. That would be appreciated. Thank you.

Dear Sukunya,
It was indeed a sad bit of news to end a rather sad year as far as such news is concerned. We all fondly remember him for the cheerful soul he was. He was my house mate and class mate too and we had many interactions both on and off the playing field. I clearly remember the thrashing we gave to KGS school, Chail where after collecting the rebounds I sent long passes to him ‘hatching’ under the opponents basket and he had no problem scoring! The school never lost a match that year in basketball. YPS scored 5 points against us. He had the inter-school meet record in high jump and was a very agile football goalkeeper. We even had to box each other – was too fast for me. There was always the prankster in him. In all we cherish his memories and even though we did not meet after school he is distinct in our memories. With very warm condolences      B.M.Singh & Ravi

I am really sorry to hear the sad news of the passing away of our 2 OCA’s.  May the almighty give their family members the strength & courage to bear this loss? I hope the OCA is sending condolences on behalf of us all to the respective families. In sorrow – Anil Mehra

Very sorry to read the sad news.I didn’t know them but my heart goes out to their bereaved families to whom I wish comfort and peace. God bless the their souls. GPS Sahi  ( I – 1953-56 )


Dear Friends,

May I take the liberty of replying to all your kind notes in one go eventhough I would love to answer individually?  However, the time is not much there at the moment so I apologize and hope you understand.

Thank you very much for your kind words.  My children and I very much appreciate them at this time.  We are sad at Usum’s passing away, however, we are also relieved that he has gone to good place and no more suffering.  He had wanted it so.  Yes, Usum was indeed a good man.  His funeral also showed that he was well liked by many. Despite a very short notice since we wrapped it all up in three days instead of the usual 7 because of the new year coming, over 500 friends and relatives attended his cremation including a member of the Privy Council to HM The King (a relative) and the Prime Minister (because my son Toto works for him at the Democrats Party).  His ashes was thrown into the meeting point of two big rivers in Ayudhya, our own capitol, under the supervision of  5 highest ranking of that province.  We are very happy for him.  Further actions in the near future are that we will hold a 7th day religious rite tomorrow and then plan to bring parts of his remains that we keep to make a 50th day ceremony in Chiengmai and to put it into his family stupa there. Another big ceremony for his 100th day anniversary will also be held in Bangkok so that those who couldn’t attend the cremation can participate too.  We hope that with all these actions will help to secure him a good place upstairs.

The only sad part is that he won’t be able to meet you all again after all these years because he did want to.  Well, that’s life.  So enjoy your great friendship as much as possible while you can.  Pls don’t hesitate to let me know when anyone of you is in Bangkok, I would love to meet you all.  Just email me.

Take care and thank you for your friendship and support.

Best regards,


Here a re few of the photographs of Usum, who was a good friend of us all.The vaccum created by his demise will be difficult to fill up. However, happy memories can still be shared by all. 

usum2w usum6w usum4w usumw
Click the thumbnail images for a larger view.

Dear Sukanya,
I am also one of Usum’s class mates from school. Please accept my heartfelt condolences on the very sad demise of Usum, a very noble soul indeed. May God rest his soul in peace.
We were in the same house in school and our beds were near each other. So I new him very well. He was indeed a very good friend who could be depended upon at all times.
I visited Bangkok in 2006 and spent a few occasions with Usum which was great fun. He was a lovely person to be with. Unfortunately, my wife and I did not get a chance to meet you though we did use your car to go to Pattaya.
Next time we visit, I do hope that we get a chance to meet.
Finally, may God give you the strength to bear this great loss.
God bless you and the family.
Warm regards,


Rear Admiral Rakesh Chopra,



After a long attempt, I’ve managed to forward you some pictures of Usum’s last journey on 29.12.08 at one of the main temples in Bangkok also with picture of our PM and the Privy Council.  Also I send pictures of family at Toto’s wedding too which was held in December 2006.  We looked terribly with make up on which normally we don’t use them, haha.  Unfortunately, we didn’t have much pictures of him lately.

Thanks for being such supporting friends.

Best regards,



Usum's last journey on 29.12.08 at one of the main temples in Bangkok - picture of our PM and the Privy Council Usum's last journey on 29.12.08 at one of the main temples in Bangkok  Usum's last journey on 29.12.08 at one of the main temples in Bangkok  
Usum's last journey on 29.12.08 at one of the main temples in Bangkok  Toto's wedding which was held in December 2006 Toto's wedding which was held in December 2006

Trivikram Singh [Chand] Koti passed-away in Shimla

TV Singh [Ibbetson 1948-1956] passed away at Simla on 24th December 2008. Trivikram was the Rana Sahib of Koti State and is survived by his wife, mother and a daughter and son in law in Australia and a son and daughter in law and grand daughter in Simla.


My friend T V Singh passed away on 24 dec 2008. As you know he was an O C and also Rana of Koti. He lived to be only 68 and is survived by his wife, mother and a daughter and son in law in Australia and a son and daughter in law and grand daughter in Simla. I spoke to Dipi Sen of Green Garages in NY just a while ago and he too had found out only yesterday as his sister had called him with the sad news from Patiala.
Now the craziest thing is that today only due to the Economic melt down in the world I was on the net reading about the South Sea Co. which was the first bubble company of 1724 and I went on to reading the link East India Co and subsequently the link Princely States of India. As a fun thing I went on to look up Koti as my buddy T V Singh is from there and I read that his son was the present Rana. I thought as T V had been keeping ill health he had abdicated and appointed his son the Rana but upon scrolling down the page I was chocked to read he had passed away only four days ago.
I mean there must be a connection, more than a coincidence that I read of him on the net just today. I like to think that I am most lucky to have such lovely friends like you and it must be love between us friends that I was to know of  T V going away and somehow I found out in this fashion.

Anil Prakash


Obituary – Rupinder (Ruby) Randhawa

Obituary – Rupinder (Ruby) Randhawa




With great sadness and deep regret we wish to inform you that Brajinder Mohan Singh (Curzon 1957-63) lost his sister-in-law Rupinder (Ruby) Randhawa in The Taj during the recent incidents at Mumbai India.

Ruby was a wonderful teacher, first at The Cathedral & John Connon School in Bombay and then at the B.D. Somani International School.

“Others remember, with fondness and sadness, people who had touched their lives, like Ms Rupinder Randhawa, a teacher at B.D. Somani International School, who fell victim to the terror-attack.” reported The Hindu. She was a perceptive and innovative teacher who knew how to retain the interest of her class in different and unique ways all the time. .She was a delightful human being. The praises from her students have been extravagant, genuine and heart felt.

Our sympathies and condolences to Ruby’s husband, a pilot with The Tatas, her family and to Ravi & BM.


P.S. Ravi and BM are currently in Delhi. They will proceed to Patiala for The Bhog on Sunday, December 7, 2008.