Though the day of the renowned Indian public school,modeled on the classic English public schools,Eton and Harrow,is now said to be over;even scoffed at by some;yet something of the fire of youth;some fine principles of loyalty,gentlemanly behaviour;someththing about the art of living with refined and artistic reflexes that we internalised at B.C.S, on Simla’s tree topped hill,still remain in our minds and hearts,and it was time to recall and remember,this afternoon when six gentlemen,belonging to the class of 1965, gathered in the hall at Villa Kalighat to raise a toast to our friend from Western India on a visit to Chandigarh,a B grade city that continues with its refrain about being ‘city beautiful’ with classical French styled buildings and things of that sort.
Good old gin and lime, soon let loose a flood of memories spanning fifty one years. In spite of modern trends and predictions about the ‘good’ schools of today—run by Birla, Goenka, Sriram, Krishnamurty, Lovely Sweet House and the like–the Cottonians who foregathered today with no transactional purpose; no reason except to re-kindle memory were, in their order of seating at the high table — Ompi, known artist in avant garde circles in Paris who sat next to Lt General H.M Singh, a decorated soldier, Mr Sarabjit Singh, head of Dunlop India stirred ice cubes for Ravi Inder, an aviator of great skill and standing while I sat and exchanged notes with G.S Gill who rose to be D.G.P of Himachal Pradesh.
What astonishes me, each time I meet a class mate from over half a century ago, is the effortless ease with which we continue life’s journey; as if we left each other, at the doorstep of sunset, just yesterday.
Robin Gupta. Villa Kalighat, Panchkula. 8th October 2016.