Robin Aurora [Lefroy 1953-64] : 30th Jan 1947 – 8th May 2012

Dear All,

Last evening Neel Mehra called to inform me that Robin Aurora had passed away at the St Stephen Hospital in Delhi. This morning was his funeral at the electric crematorium at 5:30 am which Neel Mehra, Deepak Lamba, Tinoo Singh (Lefroy, Roll no 420!) and I attended. The timing for the funeral was so early because the crematorium could not offer any other time slot during the day!

Robin’s departure, I gather, was a result of an absence of sugar in the body accompanied by low blood pressure. That was the medical condition with which he was admitted into hospital and he soon went into a coma from which he never regained consciousness. His passing away was most unexpected because the family was scheduled to travel to Goa this morning to attend a family wedding ! It was the effort and the kindness of Tinoo Singh that ensured he was brought down by car from Solan to Delhi three days ago.

Last night most of us who knew of him and had heard the news of his death slept fitfully. Memories of Robin kept swirling past me right through the night. They came as simple episodes of the most mundane kind. For example, it was Robin who first informed me about Mrs Nanavati, the matron in Linlithgow in 1953, of the lovely person that she was. To this day those who were in her care feel she was more mother than matron !  Alas, I joined School in 1954 and never met her but Robin’s account of her, I still recall, with a sense of the deprived!

Robin was a splendid person. Simple, simple and more simple hearted! It was with him that I went on one of my earliest picnics to the White Temple and its adjoining buffalo pond. It was Robin who was the keeper of the prohibited kerosene fueled stove to manufacture omelettes. He was the one who managed that show and all the accessories required to deliver the goods – eggs, butter and bread. He was never the leader in any group but without his presence that event would never have been the same or even complete. This was the man who knew which gear to move and when.

It was Robin who would tweak my nose to inhibit my terrible snore when he could not sleep even though our beds were separated by another one in between ( JPS Kniggar’s). He was sensitive to this habit of mine and the only one who had the courage to attempt a diversion of air into my nasal passage! It would result in leaving me awake while Robin would then employ the intervening period, till I went back to sleep, to make sure sleep arrived to him before I could return again to a state of soporfic pleasure. He did not always succeed since my window of returning to sleep closed before he could shut his eye lids!!

I have never seen anyone enjoy his cup of coffee or cocoa as much as Robin did. He would curl up the mug in his hands to ensure its warmth lingered for much longer. Every sip exuded pleasure and was a sight to watch. I have, possibly unconsciously, imitated his style from time to time but never has a cup of coffee delivered to me the promise that it held for Robin.

I recall meeting Robin outside the Plaza cinema the year it played “Around the World in 80 days” Even though we were good friends but on holiday and with our respective parents, we just glanced and waved each other since the older folk would not have time for idle teenage chatter. We knew, and so a quick “Hi” was quite acceptable. I also recall the year I met Robin and his mother with Nagen, entering BCS for the first time, at the Old Delhi Railway station on our way to School. This time the greeting was more responsive since their mother joined in the chorus of that recognition. She seemed a tall woman and her boys inherited some, though not all of that feature in full, of her thick set lips. Antara, Robin’s daughter, has a lot of her other features though she is not as tall but a petite version of her grandmother, complexion and all.

Robin was passionate about painting and Mr DasGupta can claim huge credit for the encouragement he gave him. Robin built a huge collection of sketches and water colours which constitute an important component of the memory that he leaves behind for his family and friends. I made mention of this in the earlier piece that I wrote about him and is sent as an attachment to this mail.

Robin was an outdoor person and he turned that part of his character to the life he finally chose. He joined the Dr YS Parmar University of Horticulture and Forestry in Solan and then moved to cultivate the land that his father had bought in Rajgarh. Robin met Neelam his wife through Tinoo, who is also her cousin. They married on October 2, 1980. Antara, their daughter, works with IBM in Chandigarh.

Neelam described him as a gentle, methodical, disciplined and self reliant individual. I, like most of us, can confirm her description. We saw these virtues but she was lucky and fortunate to live with them. Our deepest condolences to Neelam, Antara and the rest of the family.

“He who has gone, so we but cherish his memory, abides with us, more potent, nay, more present than the living man.”

  – Antoine de Saint-Exupery

The Bhog ceremony for Robin will be conducted at:
The Saket Gurudwara, J Block
on Wednesday, May 16, 2012 at 10 am.

The Path will commence from today and will carry on for 7 days at the same Gurudwara.

Vijay [Khurana]

Robin is third to the right in the Marathon picture between Badal and me. He is the guy on my left in the second picture:

click for larger view

POSTSCRIPT: Dear ALL. This is also to inform all [those who knew Robin, especially] that Robin’s mother passed away on earlier this year as well – on March 9, 2012.

20 thoughts on “Robin Aurora [Lefroy 1953-64] : 30th Jan 1947 – 8th May 2012

  1. Vinod Nanda (Nanda 2)

    For two days on the train back home, was trying to figure out who Robin was. Then it clicked that he was Nagen’s elder brother and were cousins of Chikku & Badal. Seem to remember that they were from the Rajesthan area. Remember Nagen very well. Really sad, god bless him.

  2. Iftikhar Malik

    Indeed very sad. May the Almighty bless him and keep him in eternal rest in heaven.

  3. N.K.Akers

    Robin indeed was a true true gentleman all the way in behaviour and demeanour.
    His inseparable comb regularly smoothing into place his glossy black hair and aligning the puff just right into place. I can vividly remember Robin cleaning his spectacles,holding them up-no needs another handerchief swipe and then back on the ridge.
    Robin’s manner never strayed into being pushy. As a senior and prefect I remember him as the logic oriented counsellor.
    Meeting him at the 150th after 45 years was one of the significant moments of the reunion.I would not have recognised him beard and all had not Vijay told me that was Robin. Brief though it was but Robin’s love for what he was doing was very evident as we talked of what we were doing now.

    May God grant Robin’soul peace and Neelam and Antara the strength to bear the tragic loss.

  4. badal singh

    Happens all the Time…. The good die young… God in his infinite wisdom chooses who to take out and when……. guess we all can see that…… we’re losing classmates like flies while our teachers God bless them are hangin in there like they’re defending the Alamo……Ironic…. but phenomenal …… this is just an observation….. think i knew robin well enough to speak my mind…. he was like a younger brother for many years..RIP Robin…. Kiss an angel for me….

  5. Gurcharan Singh Anand

    We were shocked to hear about Robin’s sudden unexpected demise. Please convey our heartfelt condolences to His Mother, wife Neelam, daughter Antara and all his near and dear relatives and friend. Its difficult to bear the separation of the person you loved but then we all are mortals and one day we will have to leave this world for heavenly abode. We pray that God give peaceful heavenly abode to the departed sole and strength to the family to bear this irreparable loss.

    As you described he has lived a good clean life and looked after his family well. This is why they will feel his absence all the more. Good people are very hard to forget and you tend to miss them at any turn of twist in life. Robin has lived such a simple and clean life which shows he was very God Loving and always living to and accepting God’s will.
    With sincere heartfelt feelings
    Gurcharan Singh Anand

  6. ashwani

    Robin being our senior; was never too close to us in school. In 70s I was at one of the booz factory’s guy’s place in Solan who was proudly showing off as to how a fully grown apple was at the broad base of the rum bottle. He refused to induldge the secret. So the Next day we were at this hamlet driving through kacha road near Rajgarh to unravel the mystery. Of course it was Robin’s brainwave. He would tie the bottle to the base of the branch. The seed would form into an apple in the bottle. I had the most delicious peaches ever. He was blissfully unaware of matderialism

  7. Major Balwant Singh

    I left School in Dec 1952 as such did not have the pleasure of meeting him. I would like to offer my condolences to his family. May his soul rest in Peace.

  8. Ravi Inder Singh

    Very sad and sorry to know that Robin is no more. He was a very gentle & a soft spoken person. My deepest condolonces to his family and friends.

  9. Sunil Mehta (Shorty)

    What a tragedy to hear of the untimely passing away of Robin. Nagen was a good friend and it is difficult to digest that Robin too is now gone. I remember him clearly as this quiet, dignified and artisitic senior who never had a sharp word for the juniors. I am sure he is in a better place. My deepest condolences to his family.

  10. Sasim Dasgupta

    Deeply shocked to hear that Robin passed away. My sincere sympathy to his family and friends. He will be always in my thoughts and prayers

  11. ashwani

    I DO NOT REMEMBER TINOO SINGH FROM SCHOOL.. The oca will now remember him with great respect and honour.

  12. Onkar Marwah

    Most sad to hear of Robin’s passing away – condolences for his family – may his soul rest in peace…

    Onkar Marwah

  13. A.K. Mehra

    Please convey my heartfelt condolences to the family our Old Cottonian Robin Aurora & may the almighty give the family the strength & courage to bear this loss.
    In sorrow.
    A.K. Mehra

  14. Ranbir Brar

    My most sincere condolences and heartfelt sympathies to Neelam & Antara at their great & tragic loss. As a follow Lefroyian I remember Robin well though we never became close friends. Rest in peace friend. — They still walk amongst us—Brig Ranbir Brar

  15. ashwani

    God rest his soul in peace. Op told me his ma had expired around 15 days back.



  17. Vinod Nanda (Nanda 2)

    Really sad to hear the passing away of Robin Arora. Cannot recall to much of Robin but certainly do remember Badal & Vijay. My condolences to his family and may god rest his soul in peace

  18. sanjay narula

    its so sad that the end had to come like this but all good things come to an end. The text which has been written is splendid and describes how good Robin must have been and i deeply have my condolences to his family and wish wherever he has gone he rests in peace!sanjay narula{rivaz house}

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