Vijay Khurana writes about a class-mate, ROBIN AURORA, who he met at BCS during the recent celebrations. We are struck by Robin’s very down-to-earth and special life-style in Rajgarh :
I met Robin Aurora for the first time since 1964, a gap of 45 years, in Oct this year. That meeting in School was brief and beyond exchanging pleasantries, commenting on our physical changes, we said little being distracted by so many friends and faces you had not seen in ages.
Robin called yesterday.
Here is a brief update about a man, changed considerably in physical appearance. I would not have recognised him in any other milieu had Deepak Lamba not made the introduction. He became an orchard planter. He began with apples, moved to peaches but now harvests plums and apricots in Rajgarh. Changing temperatures have compelled him to move from one fruit to the next. Very visible evidence of climate change.
Robin’s father had bought this piece of land in Rajgarh several years go and, being the outdoor kind, Robin decided to cultivate the place which is about 40 miles from Solan. He has remained there for over 40 years. His wife, Neelam is a teacher. One of her sisters, Shashi Tripathi, was Secretary West in the Ministry. She has retired and is a now a Member of the Union Public Service Commission. They have one daughter, Antara who is studying at NIIT and will soon leave her parents in search of further education and opportunities. Robin’s mother is still alive and lives with them. His brother Nagen, most unfortunately, died in an air crash in 1983. He was with the IAF.
I recall Robin as being a gentle person who built small but close friendships. Controversy never touched him. His was not the very visible face but was a person who, when he made up his mind, went at any task with a passion. It could be anything – to the biggest puff (his was truly enormous!!), which his comb, never out of reach, could raise; imitating JPS Kniggar’s foot steps of improving the strength of his wrists by lifting his bed, as he stood in front of it, during morning inspection, or to be the devoted custodian of the omlette cooking apparatus (pan, stove etc) . There was a meticulous manner in anything he did – in the clothes he wore (always “ironing” his trousers by laying them flat under the mattress at night!), his personal habits or simply the way he cleaned his large glasses. He was the reliable person, dependable all the time (also one time partner, to Kniggar’s large comic collection! Montri was a part of this operation which then went on to include an enormous marble horde!!). His spartan habits have continued through life and the personality exhibits no sign of extravagance in the slightest detail. He was the well grounded, earthy individual and so it is today but perhaps more so in a profession that demands toil and patience
Robin was a story teller and his fascination with Jim Corbett was something I still remember because those were the only books he ever read! His fascination for the outdoors would have him recounting tales of the encounter and the bon homie Badal’s father displayed with the dacoits (Man Singh!) who operated in the area near Bareilly. Robin’s father worked with The Dholpur Stone Company for a considerable period of time. He lost his father, a heavy smoker, to cancer. Robin retailed these stories in a matter of fact manner as occurrences that were possibly factual but they added a little adventure to life beyond the school’s boundaries. These were real life happenings to which he was privy and not the stuff from a fiction text. He was not prone to exaggeration and these episodes therefore remained as real life pictures from a credible source.
Robin’s encounters in the class room and the games field complied with the standards that were required to be met, never the extraordinary. He fulfilled his obligations and left no scope for any complaint. His creative instincts lay with the outdoors, an obvious passion, and art. He excelled in painting and like Tilak Raj Pawa and several others was chosen by Sasim Das Gupta, the Art Master, to send in their efforts to the School in London. You got graded for your entry and most of the guys Mr Das Gupta chose received appreciative certificates testifying to their talent. Robin’s devotion and interest in this subject was greater than any in other. He excelled and his pursuit in this hobby continues. He no longer uses water colours, and his pen and ink sketches are of a high standard to warrant their presence at select exhibitions.
Robin cottage is appropriately called Robins’ Nest. He will be more than delighted to have any of his friends come over for a weekend. He told me, “Since you are so much on the net, just bring your laptop and I promise you will have the connection to allow you to operate your activities from this idyllic location” !!
A note from Neel Mehra testifies to Robin’s life style. I think it would be the envy of a lot of us!! This is, of course, minus the Sudden Death incline.
Himachal Pradesh 173 101
Mobile: 98 16 49 46 01
E-mail: aurora.robin3 @gmail.com (he rarely uses it though!)