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Our very own intrepid traveller, die-hard biker, travelog writer, keen photographer and “live life king-size proponent” Robin Nakai sends in a great write-up about the Lohri festival with history and lyrics to the traditional Lohri folk song.
Happy Lohri to all!


Of the only Indian festival that we never celebrated in Bishop Cotton School , methinks Lohri was the only one where the school mates were not a part of the festivities ! It would be the annual holidays and we would be with our parents and if one was lucky you could have a school buddy close enough to celebrate the Lohri activities .

Lohri , is the only indian festival that does not suffer the shifting of its date of celebrations , as per the varied conditions calendars that are
made every year , by various fundamentals , like Holi and Diwali and others , that always have different dates .

The folk lore of Lohri has many genres and may be found in various legends . The Punjabis celebrate it for the rabi harvest , as sugar cane is harvested in January and yet there is a legend that Lohri marks the end of Winter Solstice and the beginning of Maghi . The changing weather conditions have however , seemingly , put paid to that legend or folklore forever , I think .

Children bring sticks and wooden batons from their homes and a fire is lit and traditional foods are eaten and thrown into the fire . Gur, Reweree, Ghachak, Pulle, Til Ladoos and Popcorn are offered as prasad to one and all , sitting around the fire . As children we would go to the neighbors and chant Sundar Mundriye and be rewarded with a few aannaas (coins) or traditional foods . It was a moment of fun and the cold never bothered us as we danced about the Lohri fire , while the elders sat looking solemn and wise .

The Lohri legend also tells the tale of Dulla Bhatti who was the Robin Hood of his times , robbing the rich to help the poor . Dulla would rescue the girls carried away by the Mughals and then marry them to the lads in the village and often paid for all the celebrations from the monies robbed from the rich . The two famous girls of whom one sings are – Sundari and Mundari!

Sunder mundriye ho!
Tera kaun vicharaa ho!
Dullah Bhatti walla ho!
Dullhe di dhee vyayae ho!
Ser shakkar payee ho!
Kudi da laal pathaka ho!
Kudi da saalu paata ho!
Salu kaun samete!
Chache choori kutti! zamidara lutti!
Zamindaar sudhaye!
Bade bhole aaye!
Ek bhola reh gaya!
Sipahee far ke lai gaya!
Sipahee ne mari itt!
Sanoo de de Lohri, te teri jeeve jodi!
(Cry or howl!)
Bhaanvey ro te bhaanvey pitt!


Beautiful girl
Who will think about you
Dulla of the Bhatti clan will
Dulla’s daughter got married
He gave one ser of sugar!
The girl is wearing a red suit!
But her shawl is torn!
Who will stitch her shawl?!
The uncle made choori!
The landlords looted it!
Landlords are beaten up!
Lots of simple-headed boys came!
One simpleton got left behind!
The soldier arrested him!
The soldier hit him with a brick!
(Cry or howl)!
Give us Lohri, long live your pair (to a married couple)!
Whether you cry, or bang your head later!

Christmas Letter 2019 / Vivek Bhasin

… back inside a little hole in a Fir tree trunk…
Curled like a ball
I struggle
to stretch my neck out
adjusting my shrunk body…

Making it a point to get back in
every year…
to tell myself
you did all that…

…attending OCA luncheons in Delhi, London and Chandigarh..
Worshipped at Kali Bari..
The School Chapel…
The Monasterio de Santiago de Campostela…
Christchurch On the Ridge..,
Talai Mandir Criagnano, Mashobra..
Walking on the path…
On the Ridge…
On the Mall…
Through cobwebs of Gurugram..
Swimming in the Pool at Garden Estate..
Playing Golf at Karlstad..
Looking across London with another soul mate riding the London Eye..
.. slow walk at Notting Hill
.. and the SW train to Weybridge..
Dinner in Mayfair with John Hoare Esquire…
Reading “Walking with Nanak”
.. slow an easy in liquid sunshine in Düsseldorf..
and Schloss Benrath with Lady Pureness.

I sometimes stoop and fall
but stand up eventually ..
to teach wild village boys to respect their women in Lohvan Vrindavan..

and jazz across the catwalk at ITC Grand Bharat..
a kaleidoscope of colours.

Having dinner with
Simon David Weale Esquire..
..showing Class XII Cottonians the way …
And being half the force in India Viking..
Gosh… do I realise stuck in the hole in the trunk of that tall fir tree in a thick dark forest in Karlstad …that I am now 3 score and four… ?

that it’s Christmas Day !…

I stick my head out cautiously
… and see a Moose looking at me, confusedly… “ what is he doing in there ?” Yeah what am I doing in here right now…?

So after the hectic never ending gallop through 2019, I better look ahead …
With renewed strength…
With renewed hope…

Having sung Silent Night – Holy Night in Swedish at midnight mass last evening in Karlstad’s Cathedral …

I just flashed a message to my Class of 1970..
Fact: thirty four of us rascals times ten point five years time two hundred seventy days gives an answer of approximation …

Yes one hundred thousand times we heard the bugler ringing the bell on the First Flat for Chapel…

A hundred thousand times we entered our Beautiful Chapel and prayed from 1961 to 1970…

We came from all walks of life..

Our Moms and Dads sending us on the Howrah Kalka Frontier Mails to become some Scholars, some Bankers, others Lawyers and a few those Military men, some Sea Captains and some Mountaineers , some based in Washington, others in Minneapolis, Chicago and Kathmandu, Calcutta, Stockholm and Bombay, Delhi and others in Madras and Dubai. With our precious Metal Badge and our Four colours… we became what we became.. Good Men..

On this Christmas Day.. I called my Mother in Gurugram … I spoke to her ( as I whispered too to the soul of my departed Father)…. “ Mum Thank You for sending me to Bishop Cotton School… and maybe today I sometimes do get irritated and impatient with you and “seem” to think I know more and know better than you … and you agree ….
Mum …within my heart I disagree with myself …. You sit alone .. counting the days when I will come back to spend that precious hour having tea with you…. it was you and my Father who sacrificed so much to send me away .. so I could polish my own shoes and scrub my own back and become the boy that still stays within the man within me….

so I could keep my ship and crew safe and secure.. so that I could wing away to my closest and special ones… and walk the world being both of you and with the soul of Bishop Cotton…

Thinking of All Cottonians where ever we are… At Christmas 2019.
( from within the trunk of this conifer tree)…

Vivek Bhasin
Lefroy 1961-1970

He is a fantastic & successful Cottonian with the greatest of humility

Taljinder Singh [Curzon 1987]

Quoted from

Tireless Crusader: An Interview with Taljinder Singh, Area Director, Mumbai Hotels & General Manager, The Taj Mahal Palace

“Taljinder Singh, Area Director – Mumbai Hotels & General Manager, The Taj Mahal Palace, walks us through what it takes for the The Taj Mahal Palace Mumbai, to remain at the forefront of the hospitality world, hosting celebrities and dignitaries the world over, even 115 years after it first opened its doors What’s the first name that comes to your mind, when someone pops the question, “Which is the best luxury hotel in India?” The answer conjures up in your mind in the form of an image…. a large brick red Florentine dome, a black-and-yellow facade, and a huge line-up of windows that catches your attention – The Taj Mahal Palace, Mumbai. Today’s Traveller recently caught up with Taljinder Singh, Area Director – Mumbai Hotels & General Manager, The Taj Mahal Palace, who shared his thoughts on the iconic hotel, what the hotel has witnessed and how it has contributed to India’s history and shaped its hospitality culture since 1903….” [read the full article here]

[Photo ©]

A christmas letter to Mrs King sent from a prisoners war camp in Marienburg (Poland today)

Webmaster OCA

I  am sending you a treasured letter from my friend Mike King whose Father Charles King (Ibbetson House, School Capt 1928) a Rector was taken in as POW in Nazi Germany during WWII.

((A very close and wonderful friend of mine based in Baumberg Germany translated the first page. I can also understand my friend’s emotions as she was not born during those days; she is truly a remarkable person Regine Ullrich Zollmarsch who walked the Camino Francis with me on the path to Santiago de Compostela in Spain)).

Many Thanks for your efforts in keeping our website in its finest…
Warmest Regards,

[Vivek Bhasin – Lefroy 1961-1970]

Prisoner of War Post

To : Mrs Katherine King stamped: 4.12.44 (1944) after checking
Destination: Ideford Rectory
Community: Newton Abbot
Place: S. Devon

Checked with Camp Stamp: M-Stammlager

XX8  (5888) Passed  P.142
From: Rev. (Capt. ) C.J.W. KING  C.F.
Prisoner no: 1088
H. Stammlager XXB
Ld Prisoner of war camp
In Marienburg (Poland today), Danzig

My Dear Kate,
I was so pleased to hear from Vera that you and (dated  30.11.44) young Bill had gone to stay at the Rectory. I feel an awful responsibility towards you two now I’m the second head of the family, and wondered how I was going to fulfill my obligations. I don’t know how long you mean to stay with us but I feel that both sides would benefit if you made your home with us. We shall always have houses which will be too big for our needs, and you the problem of company for yourself and Bill while the lad is growing up. But you and Vera must decide that. Things happen Kate, to people big enough to carry them. That is the conclusion I have reached here, where I have had so much time in which to think. The loads are never more than one can bear, however heavy they may seem. Strangely enough too, the load becomes lighter with carrying and one becomes stronger. And don’t my dear, make young Bill into old Bill. You’ll never be able to make anything more than a good copy, and the child will be far more worth to you as just himself. Winter our greatest all round enemy comes and goes. To kill my disappointment I have dug myself into work and am trying hard to improve my own, and other people’s knowledge of French, German and English. I make some progress in each. My headaches fortunately have been very infrequent so far. They have in past captivity winters been my greatest curse. I did hope to be home this year! But I’ll see to it that the extra time is put to good use. Doing an hour’s Physical Training each day. At the moment I feel I am coming apart, but am, nevertheless. Much better for the exercise.
My love to you both, Charles.

The original letter:

[click to see a larger view]

They obviously opened, read and approved it before sending.