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Class of 1969 Reunion

The class of ’69s reunion story actually started two years earlier in 2017 when, sitting in my office one morning and looking at our class of ’69 VIth form group photograph, it struck me that out of a class of 29, 10 of our classmates had already gone to the happier hunting grounds….

Back row: Dinesh Sud – Vivek Srivastava – Anil Gupta – Vijay Singh – Ravi Thomas – Thanasak Tipparcorn – Amar Rana – Gurrinder Khanna – Praveen Sachdeva – Ravi Pawa – Adnani – Sadhana. Middle row: Kanwaljit Singh – Ravi Pandit – Sunil Sood – Robin Nakai – Anil Bhasin – Ravi Charanji – Rajat Mukherji – RS Mehta – Himmat Kahalon. Sitting: Anil Sood – Taranjit Lehra – Paramjit Nat – Manjit Sembhey – RK von Goldstein – Sunil Singha – Blondie – Ajay Sawaheny – Sekhon.

…Classmates with whom we’d spent our childhood growing up, studying (at times), playing, raiding plum and apple trees and then together maturing into our teens and then aging.  In the ensuing years, tied up with work and earning a living I realized that I personally had lost touch with most of the guys.  And so began the exercise of combing through the net which, one step at a time, like putting together a jigsaw puzzle, helped the class to re-establish contact.  Which led to me suggesting that we should all meet before our numbers diminished further.  And what better place to meet than our very own ‘Patina school’. 

Dinesh Sud, with Robin Nakai as has been and continues to be his wont sticking his finger in, worked his charm with the Heady who was most forthcoming.  That led to 15 of us making our way up to Simla and the school in early September of that year.  The 15 were joined by P.S.Nat’s Dad and younger brother, and Satish Singha representing Sunil.

1969 get-together in 2017 at Simla. This is how the 1969 batch looks like after a marathon 48 years .. (and tears …)!! Standing: Arun Bhalaik, Satish Singha, Dinesh M. Sud, Paramjit S. Nat, Himmat S.Khalon, Ravi Thomas, Rajat Mukerji, Jasbir S. Sadhana, Gurinder S. Khanna, Bikram S. Sirsa, Harsimran S. Sarron, Ajay Sawhney, Parveen Sachdeva, Anil Mahajan, Manjit Singh Sehmbey, Ravinder S. Mehta, Robin S. Nakai Sitting: DM Sister (Neena Sood), DM Wife (Meenakshi Sud), Ishita Kahlon, Mrs. Mukerji, Kitty Khanna, Mr. Nat, Sangeeta Sawhney, Sareena Sachdeva, Mrs. Sehmbey, Kamini Mehta.

2017 turned out to be almost like a dry run for our actual golden year reunion in September this year when 14 of us 65+ year olds, along with our respective spouses met up in Chandigarh from where we drove up to Manali for two days of partying courtesy Dinesh Sud.  DM went the extra mile pulling out all stops and hosting us at his resort – The AnantMaya.  Then on to Simla and Bishop Cotton School where the Headmaster, the school Staff, the Boys and Support Staff went out of the way to give us three days of sheer pleasure. 

There was a special Chapel Service which had most of us with a lump in the throat and holding back our tears, followed by a ‘cricket’ (in a manner of speaking) match between the staff and a bunch of lumbering and out of condition OCs making feeble attempts to run and bend down to retrieve the ball (a tennis ball I may add).  The cherry on the pie the next day was the tennis match between a ’69s pair and two school boys which, most surprisingly, was won by Jasbir Sadhana and Himmat Kahlon.  A lunch spread in the dining hall, the like of which I’d never seen in my 11 years at school, followed by 2 dinners over two evenings, one hosted by Mr Robinson in the HMs lodge and the other by the class of ’69 at Cecil, ensured that not only were we well fed, but were also nicely pickled.

   

I would be remiss if I did not add my personal two bits which left me mentally thanking my parents for seeing me through 11 years in BCS to end up as a ‘Cottonian’ in the true sense of the word.  That feeling for me was defined and reiterated by the very poignant chapel service, when sitting in the rear pew in the chapel, I watched the choir walking out singing the recessional hymn.  I for one am not ashamed to say that I had tears streaming down my face looking at young 10-16 year olds, wearing cassocks, holding up their hymn books with their heads held up proudly.  What hit me between the eyes was that about 20% of those kids also had on blue turbans.  To me, THAT one moment is what defines the ‘Cottonian’.  A young boy entering the portals of Bishop Cotton, maturing into becoming a good human being all the while developing a bond ‘as close as ivy grows’ and finally stepping out into the world totally unaffected by any ‘narrow domestic walls’ and far removed from bigotry of any sort.

Could one say it any better that what George Lynch Cotton left us with – “Overcome Evil With Good

⁃ Gurrinder [Indi] Khanna [on behalf of the Batch of 1969]

Diwali greetings!

Monday 28th October 2019, a message from Vijay Khurana:

Dear All,
Belated wishes for Diwali but they come with the same degree of warmth and sincerity had they been delivered yesterday. 
 
These wishes are accompanied by the one thing that we as aging adults will need most are good health accompanied by the capacity for a hearty laugh in the days ahead. I mention that the bit about laughter deliberately since old folks have been known to get grouchy !! So just dispense with that part and learn to smile and laugh a lot more in the new year.
 
I recall Mrs O. Advani narrating to us the story of the Ramayan when we migrated to Lower I in 1955. She assisted us in making Diwali greeting cards which were then posted to our parents. It was actually an imitation of what she drew on the black board. So about 30 sets of parents received almost identical Diwali greeting cards though each must have felt especially proud that their son had applied himself to the first few lessons of art and craft with a measure of discipline!! Besides, their son’s sense of colour, dimension and tradition were being given a bit of a boost. Some of us developed these skills more than the others and went ahead to become reasonably proficient in the subject to Art but the others never went beyond those crooked diyas that they drew for the rest of their lives !! 
 
I stray. I read an article that articulates the beginnings of Diwali which I am taking the liberty of sharing it with you only because it offers more interpretations from the version that Mrs Advani narrated to us. It does, however, include her narration as well with a victorious Ram coming home to the delight of the citizens of Ayodhya. It makes for an interesting read and will also educate you about the origins of the use of sulphur and crackers to a festival that originally was simply built around the use of light and not much about sound and, today, pollution !!
 
The Many Beginnings Of Diwali:-
https://www.livemint.com/mint-lounge/features/the-many-beginnings-of-diwali-11571977592367.html
 
Warmly
 
Vijay 
 Vijay Khurana
Director
DeVats (India) Private Limited
E-4, Sector 8, Noida – 201301, Uttar Pradesh, India
 

More messages, as replies to the email thread started by Vijay Khurana:

Diwali is the day when Rama and Sita arrive in Ayodhya after 14 years of exile.
 
There was a reason why they were exiled. Here then is the real story of Diwali

Jai Joshi MD
The Oncology Institute of Hope and Innovation
Tucson, AZ

Thanks Vijay for the simple and warm memories of Diwalies spent at school..
 
In my mind the vision of bursting crackers on the 1st flat stand out.
 
Greetings for Diwali and the coming festive season to all Cottonian kin.
 
Warmly

Akers

Message from Mr Goss:

Dear Vijay:
Thank you for enlightening me on the origins of the beautiful festival of Devali.  Although belated, may I take this opportunity to wish all my BCS friends in India and abroad a VERY HAPPY DIWALI.  May the spirit of celebration and joy live forever in your hearts and in your homes.
It is with love and gratitude that I cherish and recall my years in BCS.  Always carry our motto in your hearts and live it every day: “Overcome Evil with Good”.
Ronald Goss
(BCS 1956-64)

Gurmit S. Sehmbey’s 1950-61 BCS photo archive

Sending you some pics from 1950 something to 1961 my Dads pics [Gurmit Singh Sehmbey]… more will send later. I think one of them is a wedding at Woodville palace
Sukhminder S. Sehmbey

The photos are from a personal collection, sent by Sukhminder via Arun Sawhney but without details of the year in which taken or the people who appear in these photos. Anyone who can help identify, please leave a comment below [please indicate the photo number so we can add the details/caption to the appropriate pic. Many thanks! OCA Webmaster]. Click the photos below for a larger view. There are 8 separate “gallery” sections: