For me at least, my start and my present journey through my life, my family, my career and friends always and invariably has the umbilical cord connected to the heart beat of Bishop Cotton School. I sometimes reflect on my present juncture and try to tick of in my mental check list if what I am today, what I have done in the past and what sort of a person I have become has the grains of BCS imbibed in me. Possibly yes in many ways.
The English alphabet and children’s nursery rhymes I was taught by my Mother in such a clever way that at the age of Five when I entered School I was supercharged with intelligence that I was given a double promotion to ‘Transition’….I had to work doubly as hard to ensure that when I finished Sixth Form I was barely 15 years old.
The love for American Wrigley’s and Rowntree Fruit Gum , Toblerone and Black Magic chocolates I got from my Father who always returned home after piloting the grand old cargo ships up the Hoogly River with these goodies for my Brother and I.
Nature Study I learnt from Mrs Advani; the ferns, the sweet peas, the dandelions and the rare four leafed clover.
The Beatles Abbey Road and the Red Coloured LP I first saw with Pawan ‘Aku’ Pawa.
English cut suits and patent leather shoes from Homer Gill.
The Love of Hot Bread with Sugar and boiled potatoes from the School Bakery and the Kitchen.
Commerce from Mr Malvea (and the Poetasters of Isphan; the Lefroy House play)
The map of India from Mr Mull who could draw it so beautifully on the black board, blind folded.
The art of beautiful writing from Mr Paul.
The art of crawling from Mr Bharpur Singh
..and the art of never getting caught, sliding down the Anderson Staircase or placing one foot in side the fountain by the Sly Gang: Father Bhasin-Anil Chopra and Prabuddha Singh…
The art of making traps: Michael Banon and Rajiv Pandit
The art of staying young: Krit Tippakorn
To read Shakepeare’s Macbeth by heart ..by Anil Mediratta and Karan Singh who used to rant it talking in their sleep.
..and profound apologies to Mr Bhasin ( and Raja Bhasin); his scooter ventured away from the straight and narrow, losing control finding its way to the Khuds…and we having to lift it on our backs and bring it back; feigning innocence.
The second lady I ever kissed at the age of Five, was Mrs Goss our Linlithgow matron ( before going to bed) who insisted we do so after kneeling down, saying our prayers, our faces plastered with BCS vaseline
…But today with all those memories, tuition and wisdom intact..having visited 85 countries…and speaking 5 languages…feeling at home in Himachal, Rajasthan..England, Sweden, Costa Rica, Chile, Belgium and Italy to name a few, I feel the time has come to give back to my School. To go and show the young men what the world is all about and what they can do about it…. As Cottonians we are part of that exclusive Club….we need to form a Network Club…to pool our resources and help each other FIRST…. The Old Boys Club is an established fact. Our own careers, our own businesses….within the pool we should first seek out another Cottonian and try to help, advise, assist in any way possible. This needs to be done.
…at least for me. When I walk up the gangway on to one of our super container ships, or enter the Board Room of my Company, or shrug down my bespoke suit and Tommy Hilfiger Ties with the green silk patch in my jacket; wash away the suave smell of Tuscany ( that I pinched from my brother)..and take on my Levis 517, a pink double cuff shirt, a paisley bandana, a borsolino hat, Grenson boots, a bespoke white leather belt from DaMilano, gel my hair..sitting behind the mixer console at the ‘Sound of Your Life’ taking the role of a Radio Presenter, playing a heavy track from Rata Blanca ( a hard rock act from Argentina)….changing my voice from the Queens English to A New York twang and then say Buenos Dias y Vaya con Dios* and later Hej sa lange*…or being the MC at the Salaam Balak Trust’s ‘Salaam Rocks’……I AM NOT BLOWING MY TRUMPET.
I AM TELLING THE WORLD WHAT ALL I HAVE DONE AND WHAT ALL I STILL DO…AND WHAT ALL STILL NEEDS TO BE DONE. I MAY BE INDIAN, NATIONAL, INTERNATIONAL AND PROJECT MANY FACADES. HOWEVER I DO HAVE ONE PERMANENT DEPARTURE POINT; ONE PERMANENT BRAND.
…THE BRAND OF BISHOP COTTON SCHOOL….
(Some one needs to play the Chapel Piped Organ SO LOUD that the world gasps in admiration… All Good things should and must emanate from BCS)
* Buenos Dias y Vaya con Dios: Good Morning and Go with God.(Espanol)
* Hej sa lange: See you soon again (Swedish)