From Vijay Khurana :
About two weeks ago, while on a visit to Bombay, I chanced to meet Lopa Ghai at the Royal Bombay Yacht Club.
Lopa Ghai is the wife of our dear friend Greesh Ghai who passed away in August 1988 of a heart attack. He was 42. He was, perhaps, the first one to go from our class of 1963.
Greesh and his younger brother, Rajiv, were pulled out of BCS at the end of 1962 because their parents were not enthused by the grades that these boys obtained in school. They moved to Cathedral in Bombay and eventually finished their schooling from that institution.
Rakesh Chopra and I saw a lot of Greesh during our winter breaks between 1958 and until I left Bombay in 1985.
Greesh’s father was in the timber business and they had saw mills in Yamuna Nagar and in Darukhana near the docks in Mumbai. Changing business patterns saw them see the timber business dwindle and then fade away. They then moved to a rental income stream by leasing out the large property that they owned near the docks where demand was constant with attractive rates still being available. It was no where near the margins that the timber business gave them but they were content with this alternative where the risks were lower and business enterprise was not at a premium.
Greesh was a generous and warm hearted person. He was a good friend. It is a testimony to his sterling qualities that all his close friends stood by and helped Lopa after his passing away. He had earned their loyalty. Greesh was easy going but committed to any effort when he put is mind to something. While at BCS he excelled at painting and on the games field he was a good short distant runner but his best events were the shot put and the discuss throw. He showed aptitude as a soccer defender and a decent cricket player. Sports was an activity he loved most to the detriment of his studies though he was no laggard. His marks were decent but the parents expected a scholar and that he was not !!
After Greesh’s departure, Lopa brought up their boys, Monty (named after Monty of Rivaz house and whom Greesh greatly admired) and Sanjay. Both boys went to Cathedral and then to the US for their college education. They bear a striking resemblance to Greesh. Monty is currently with BBC Worldwide based in Singapore. He is married to the niece of former film star, Vinod Khanna. Sanjay the younger boy stays with Lopa and is an importer of food products. His wife is well known in the dog grooming business.
Rajiv, the younger brother of Greesh became the victim of drug and alcohol abuse fairly early in life. It took a toll on his personality and his health. He lives in a rented apartment not far from Anand Vihar, Warden Road, the family home. He sustained an injury that has impaired his ability to walk. Lopa has provided him with full time servant help and she supervises his care on a daily basis.
Lopa looks almost exactly when I first met her in 1969. She has not changed much since the time of their marriage in 1970. Life just moved on but she brought stability to the lives of her sons. She is justifiably proud of them.
For some of you to be able to recall Greesh Ghai, I send as attachments to this mail, Rivaz house photographs for the years 1961 & 1962. In the picture for 1961, Greesh is standing in the third row, 5th from the left. He is in between Jimmy Gideon and J L Joshi. In the Rivaz House 1962 photograph he is seated 4th from the right in between Harpreet Grewal and CM Kohli, his dear friend and smoking buddy. RLV Nath was the other smoking companion and therefore a good friend.
I recall some lovely and memorable outings with Greesh during our winter holidays in Bombay. The meals at his home were always superb and his mother (she fell to cancer) made so much of an effort to make sure we were fed well. Her cooking was outstanding. (I loved the raita and the gobi she made!!) His father was a mild manner man and short of stature. He often gave in to the demands these boys made of him all the time. He loved them dearly and his was never the firm hand.
Greesh was an emotional man. He was a warm and caring friend. Despite his size and considerable physical strength he was incapable of hurting anyone. He was averse to a physical fight and therefore served as an excellent prop when you wanted to threaten anyone on the road!! One of those guys who knew he had strength but was always wary to even measure its force, let alone employ it!! A timid giant ? Not really but just a pacifist who was afraid to hurt anyone because at the back of his mind he probably knew that the damage he could inflict would be considerable if not severe!! He was just not the street fighter and that he could never be given his character and gentle temperament.
I miss him.
My kind regards and good wishes, again, for the Coming Year