Category Archives: Spot Light

Jerry Godinho interviews Vivek Bhasin about women and empowerment, among other things:


· Women are the essence and driving force behind men’s existentialism in this world. Emotions, love, tolerance, determination and immense strength come from women · The world is truly beautiful because of women … my mother taught me so much in the first five years of my life ·

I love Vivek’s style of writing, eclectic style of dress, Mick Jagger’ joie de vivre and fathomless, ardent love for his alma mater. We both went to a British boarding school, both of us were Lefroyans, he settles in Sweden, I in Canada, his wife is Swedish, mine is Scottish.

I thought I had seen 30 countries and that was a great achievement. Vivek has seen 110. This interview does not do justice to all his achievements. He has been mistaken for the Indian ambassador to the UK, to being mistaken for a vagabond by the New York cops.  As he leaves the corporate world as managing director of Dole Foods, I wanted to get his perspective on life.

We talk about many things but focus on women empowerment and how women have shaped our lives. Get ready for an international fondue of words, experience from someone who is larger than life.

Vivek, I am a big fan of your writing. Welcome, and please tell me something important about you?

Jerry, I super appreciate your wonderful support in my writing; a passion I developed in school and took it forward in my journey through life.

I was at BCS Simla from the age of five. All this happened 59 years ago, but today when I look back at my life, I can never thank my parents enough. They did the right thing. I learned to fend for my self and became a survivor. I became… [continue to read the full interview at Jerry’s blog]

About an Old Cottonian – Lt. Sharif Khan aka Sharifo

J. S. Grewal [1970 Batch] sent in this very interesting excerpt from a book he is reading “The Frontier Scouts” by Charles Chenevix Trench, in which he came across a reference to an Old Cottonian – Lt. Sharif Khan aka Sharifo . There was an incident [1942] where he [Sharifo] was burying a fellow officer Andrew McKenzie, he mentions the Lord’s Prayer and  how  remembered  the prayer from  his days  at Bishop Cotton School Simla:

Additional reading: Quoted from THIS webpage

In 1944, Khojak Brigade on Baluchistan frontier was disbanded.  In March 1945 Tal Brigade was disbanded and some of its units were assigned to Kohat Brigade.  In April 1946, Indian army Commander-in-Chief Field Marshal Claude Auckinleck presided a high-level conference at Peshawar.  It was attended by Governor NWFP, Agent to the Governor General Baluchistan, British counsel at Kabul and senior military and civil officers.  A unanimous decision was reached to replace regular troops in tribal areas with scouts and khassadars.  It was to be gradual withdrawal in five phases and to be completed in two years.  It was with this background that Pishin Scouts were raised and decision was made to raise Central Waziristan Scouts and retrain Malakand battalion.  Khyber Rifles was re-raised on 26 April 1946.  The nucleus was from war time raised Afridi battalion.  Lieutenant Colonel Muhammad Sharif Khan ‘Sharifo’ (5/10 Baluch Regiment) was appointed commandant of Khyber Rifles.  Khassadars were to be trained and disciplined to make it a reliable partner of scouts.  To achieve this objective, in 1946, a new position called district officer in charge of Khassadars was created.  In 1946, in North Waziristan about two thousand khassadars were put under the command of Frank Leeson.

Spotlight on OC RAHUL GODRA

Rahul Godra

Jerry Godinho interviewed Rahul Godra [Old Cottonian] and has blogged about Rahul’s spiritualism and what led Rahul to startup “Resplendent Soul“:

I realized that a lot of people were looking for the depths of Indian thought, but could scratch only the surface of it. I felt like I could facilitate their outer and inner journeys within India, and then the idea of Resplendent Soul popped up [….] 


The entire interview is available via this link to the Four Columns of a Balanced Life website 

Ved Seereeram – OC in the Spotlight

VED SEEREERAM – Lefroy 1966 Batch and School Captain 1966, fondly known as “TRINI” at school

A documentary video about Ved’s current project “LIFE IN SUGAR”.

Excerpt from the StockExchange Trinidad website:

VED SEEREERAM – Director Ved Seereeram is a Financial Consultant, advising regional governments and corporations on capital market transactions, risk management and credit administration over the last 13 years. Prior to private consulting, Mr. Seereeram worked for Citibank for 8 years and was the Managing Director of Citicorp Merchant Bank. He spent 10 years at Scotiabank managing major corporate client portfolios. Mr. Seereeram holds an MBA from the University of Western Ontario and a BSc in Business Administration from the University of the West Indies. He was appointed to the Board of First Citizens Bank Limited on December 31, 2010 and to the Boards of First Citizens Securities Trading Limited, First Citizens Investment Services Limited, First Citizens Brokerage and Advisory Services Limited and First Citizens Investment Services (Barbados) Limited in January 2011. Approval was received on April 5, 2012 for Mr. Seereeram to sit on the Board of FCCR –First Citizens Costa Rica S.A., and he was appointed to the Board of First Citizens Bank (Barbados) Limited on August 27, 2012. Mr. Seereeram also manages a 60 acre farm with over 35 acres planted in trees and the remainder allocated to sugar cane as feedstock for a small sugar cane factory. In 2013, he received an award from UNESCO for dedicated work to Humanity, Society and Environment.”

Ved’s impressive bio [partial] :

1984-1986 Masters of Business Administration
University of Western Ontario
London, Canada
1975-1978 Bachelor of Science in Management Studies
University of the West Indies
St. Augustine Campus
First Class Honours (Recipient of the Hugh Springer Award)
1972-1974 A levels
Extra Mural Studies
University of the West Indies
1961-1965 Senior Cambridge
Bishop Cotton School
Simla, India
Managing Director – Citicorp Merchant Bank Limited
Country Treasurer – Citibank (Trinidad and Tobago) Ltd
Vice President – Citibank

·   Managed capital market activities including the origination of primary issues and distribution in the local market

  • Originated, structured and distributed over TT$2.0 billion in transactions generating over TT$100.0 million in fee and trading income
  • Structured and placed over USD50.0 million in Zero Coupon Bonds in the local market
  • Managed asset portfolio of over TT$2.0 billion
  • Managed a staff of 7 with responsibilities covering all areas of Merchant Banking and Treasury Management
  • Member of Executive Management Committee, Asset/Liability Committee, Credit Committee and Investment Committee of Citibank and Citicorp Merchant Bank
  • Managed the bank’s liquidity and price risk
  • Recruited and trained staff in the Treasury department in all areas of risk management
  • Recruited and trained staff in all areas of Merchant Banking including financial engineering
1993-1995 Assistant Vice President responsible for Product Development
Citibank (Trinidad and Tobago) Limited
  • Developed and marketed several new financial products for the local market
  • Coordinated product managers, tax consultants, accounting and legal professionals for the development of product programmes for convertible bonds, zero coupon bonds, indexed certificate of deposit, interest rate swaps, covered interest arbitrage, currency options and fx trading
  • Developed several innovative financial products to reduce banks funding costs
  • Spearheaded the development of derivatives in the local market to local clients to manage their interest rate, commodity and currency price risk
  • Successfully executed over USD100.0 million in interest rate swaps
  • Developed the first interest rate swap in local currency
  • Member of Citibank consulting team as consultant to the Duke/Tenneco consortium in their bid for the power generation in Trinidad
  • Lead Citibank financial advisory team on Severn Trent successful bid for the local Water Authority Management Contract
  • Originated and structured a TT$450.0 million bond issue collateralized by the first original issue Government zero coupon bond issued in the country
1990 –1993 Manager – Corporate Bank
Citibank (Trinidad and Tobago) Limited
  • Managed and marketed a portfolio of corporate accounts comprising Government and selected state enterprises in the manufacturing and petroleum sectors
  • Analyzed complex multi- million dollar credits and made recommendations to the bank’s local and regional credit committees
1986 -1990 Scotiabank (Trinidad and Tobago) Limited
  • Managed and marketed a portfolio of Government and corporate accounts covering several industries including petroleum and petrochemical, motor vehicle industry, cement, paint, financial and other manufacturing.
  • Responsible for business development and portfolio growth
  • Managed delinquent accounts to effect collections
  • Supervised and administered credit loan applications from retail branch network
  • Liased closely with Scotiabank International Division in Canada in the execution of duties
1980 – 1984 positions with Senior Account Manager and other managerial
·   Assisted Citibank Philippines in the development of capital market products

·   Assisted Citibank Colombia in the development of capital market products

·   Member of Citibank’s Capital Market Task Force to develop structured capital market products in the Caribbean and Central American region

Respect, for OC Girish Minocha

Jerry Godinho interviewed Girish Minocha [Old Cottonian] and has blogged about his story of success:

I have a deep respect for Girish Minocha. He is humble, down to earth, spiritual, aware of his surroundings and believes in giving back to society.

He started his business, knocking door to door to build clients. He graduated from one of the best engineering schools.

He follows his passion and has converted it into one of the most successful businesses.

He believes in corporate social responsibility, sustainable farming, respect for nature and he hires convicts. Yes, at any given time a couple of convicts serving a life sentence are working at his enterprise….[read the full article here]