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The New Normal at Christmas and Beyond…December 24th 2021

Blue skies over Simla
It’s soon a full moon
Radiating the second flat
As I sit on the benches and look at Tara Devi
The last flickering lights of the train disappear
one last turn a fast bend and into the tunnel and now gone..
to the other side..

life then was simple simon
Less people on the planet
Simla was a small town and
My BCS far away from the madding crowd…

Boarding schools were situated on spurs I said  looking down I see White Temple, Buffalo Pond, the Hutty;  I turned my neck to the left and perched the top of a desolate mountain Pari Mahal..strains of sitar..

Life was simple, the air was simple, the breeze clear and whistling, sunsets too perfect magenta orange and fiery red.

Some voice across from the tennis courts reminds me.. it’s half a century ago .. changes come through decades; the cart road now dust dust and dust; a million cars parked, little rust buckets and half built ugly structures called homes hang precariously on edges;suicidal homes… humanity never stops fornicating; there will be wars; not for territorial expansion but water wars…

I am told a solitary flying squirrel lives on the roof of The Lodge..stuck in a time zone…

2021 is slowly turning the bend
so I need to reminisce on days gone by you know …

I managed and trudged and got my arse into the land of our divine .. my first AZ shot gave me the boost of confidence as they say …

I shot up to School
slept under electric blankets
and dreamt of monkeys riding on zebras sky high in the sky..

I preached and talked and mentored the young ones hearing that old song much popular by Cliff Richard..

I enjoyed Salmon in the hills and
Queso by Francois and his petite esposa
and looked at the washed stars on a perfect night amongst the deodars ..

S&R stayed on course..
Charts laid in ink
through trough and thin
cement wood stones and paint
never too late
It’s barely 162 years
yet energies with synergies
and finally reality..

Whilst I fed apples to wild hare
and heard the bells of cows
I picked up my walk and fed my soul at St. James
at El Monasterio Santiago de Campostela..

I guess I was the only fella
at Bar Escudo del Carmen
in Calle 13
looking at past storms and the Armada
I felt safe in the crowds at Granada with Hermano Antoniocito..

Yet stubbornness prevailed and walking through Benrath
later in Stockholm leaving Karlstad
I came back through the Gates
A perfect morning..

Completely complete
War Memorial
and KC
I shed my garb
and perched on that stone…

…that’s where I still am
As Christmas has arrived
Strange times Strange vibes
The chilled wind
I still sit on that stonez

Wishing you all
Feliz Navidad
and hoping the world will be
a better place a week from
today .. Happy New Year…

Kindest Regards and Best Wishes,
Vivek / Bonnie Bhasin
Sitting elf-like on boundary stone in the cold dark winter of Simla.

X’mas 2021
In SWEDEN yet at the edge of BCS.

Camino Ingles – The English way to the Monastery of Santiago de Compostela … and The Eagle

…Will this ever end
will this never end, the steep climb on hard asphalt between Neda and Pontedeume.. ?

An inner voice plays with my painfully aching shoulders, screams at my knees and pounding feet.. ” Stop! Release your Mochila(your backpack).. It will only get worse as you reach the top of this one, a sharp descent and another steeper climb awaits you..throw caution to the wind and fling that pack into the ravine; then your walking sticks too, your heavy sweat filled jacket,

remove your dripping shirt, your vest all..everything. And now walk slowly to the edge of the forest..
When you arrive you will see a patch of soft green grass still wet with last night’s dew.. Yes it will be cool and fresh! Lay your body down on your back and look up at the swaying branches, the puffed cloud

s sailing across the azure blue sky…the whistling wind will then caress you…it will..inhale, exhale, smile contentedly.. no pain now .. Are you not free… ?”

I stop in thought, trying to fathom what my voice just told me….

Not with anger, not with frustration, not with tiredness nor with the pain and aches…I reach deep down and pull out that “inner voice”.. Holding it in my hand it smiles at me as I look at it with great curiosity…

. ” Yes Yes, it’s the right thing to do…just do it “ the ” inner voice” laughing.

Grasping the “voice’ I walk to the edge of the forest and approach a handsome tree.. I press the ” Voice” against the trunk of the tree carefully wrapping my long scarf around it so it cannot hurt itself not drop…

….nor try to conquer me…

I bid “Adios” to my inner voice and struggle away not looking back.. far up the hill until the last shrilling, protesting and desperate tones of my ” inner voice” …. “why are you not listening ? Heeding to me imploring you……?”……fade away .. my body heavier, exhausted.. yet I…never stop.

Looking up to the sky, I see an eagle in flight… He acknowledges my presence, my determination and swoops in towards me; with terrific speed flies over me, I can feel his jet stream….then he shoots up into the sky and is a speck again..

.. The peregrino(pilgrim) I am.. I just keep walking towards the Monastery of Santiago de Compostela.

I am now that Eagle gliding through the skies and looking at all my Camino Closest as you continue your Camino de su vida( the walk of life ..)

Ultreia et Suseia..
Go Further.. Go Higher

Capitan Vivek ( Bonnie) BHASIN

Good Reading: Bonnie BHASIN

“ Dad” Mahinder Nanda Esq; Global CEO of the Male Shaver’s PLATINUM Guild & SUDOKU Wizard..

As a young boy at BCS there lived amongst us thinnies’n skinnies a couple of hairy rascal gorillas in both the Rivaz & Lefroy Dorms… one I distinctly remember was a chap, short stocky compact with a loaded bristles-forever-face. The dude was sixteen but looked like yes, a mature gorilla with hairy arms that sort of nearly touched his ankles. If his hair wasn’t dark and jet black I could have sworn he was a Gorillorangutan, yes you too may have guessed, his parents “could” have been Gorilla and Orangutan one of each and “could” have met in the tropical jungles when hot-humid-pissing-down-in the rain forests, both seeking shelter from buckets of rain holding huge wild ferns over their heads, sitting next to each other staring ahead into the dark green sweltering heat with dragon flies a plenty…but as instincts call they both turned towards one another and Sweet Hallelujah it was LAFS; simplifying it-it was Love At First Sight, quite a scandal amongst the Gorilla and Orangutan tribes, but who gave a toss of banana scandals… and so the priest , another rascal of a Chimpanzee calling himself “ The Most Reverend ChiChoBonaparte” wed the 💏 couple in love ( thankfully the Orang was a Lady of the Highest Order and the Gorr a Gentleman who was a graduate from the esteemed HSBC, the Harvard School of Baboons & Connivers ( not the bloody bank).

Recollect readers the hairy Cottonian’s parents only-possibly, “could“ have been the two Apes…no?

The chap was a Rivazian and I looked at his face in awe; he was in Fifth Form and I in Upper One, so we were around ten years apart along with the fact his face, a layer of thick blue-green of bristles; we guys were silky smooth something like Cadbury’s chocolate.

Having the courage to ask him one day about his bristles and how they came about etcetra … he appeared smooth as silk too.. baffled! but still I ventured to ask nervously and he…“ I shave twice a day “ .. “Lola” replied with a confident smirk ‘n swagger and just jazzed off like a real star of the bristle brigade into the Tara Devi sunset ..yes Lola and another new fandangled word for him “Jhariaa” or thick bushes with bramble that butterflies-afraid-to perch on was his second nick name.

Many of us wondered what that word “ shave” was all about…

Of course I tried to ask many in Lefroy, even the surdies who boasted Rapunzel hair under their turbans; none had the foggiest about bristles’ n beards and how “Lola the Jhariaa” was ahead of the hairy curve.

Lola passed out from BCS and except for a scant one or two strands emanating from some other dude’s follicles I never encountered another Gollirorangutan passed my ten years in School.

Another year and two passed.. I was going to join the band of gypsies as The Merchant Marine called.. By now a few strands had emerged in my regale chin too and I was told by the Company Superintendent “ report on board with your packed kit bag; a shave every day with a decent hair cut”. ….

The first ablution! Shave! And still I was lost. My Father was away to Sandheads so Mum said she would book a trunk call to Bombay and I “ should speak to Mahinderji who will be able to explain slowly carefully and simply how you should shave 🪒 “
I remember trunk calls during the early 1970’s were a Big Deal; with water and sewage in the trunk line it was required to shout loud and hard as there were 2000 kms between Calcutta and it was important that your neighbours heard you, so impressed by the howls and screams after all this was a Trunk Call not a telegram..

The trunk call was all I needed..

to understand the beard to be weeded

Mahenderji, a real shaving ace

Asked me to feel the contours of my face

Mine was smooth rough low high beard

Don’t fret it will feel initially weird

Now wash your face with hot water

A nice badger brush to build up lather

those days the cream he used was Old Spice

Impressed me do not roll the dice

stick to that cream good advise from the wise

Now a safety razor with seven’o’clock

that I applied, nicked and in shock

Follow the lines of your chiseled face

Long confident strokes you will make

Like the smooth Kalka Simla train

Beware never ever against the grain…

and so my story goes, it was Thanks to Dad Mahenderji I learnt the art of shaving. He was a little skeptic on showing me tricks on designing my moustache since he had a gallant sophisticated bigote and I wasn’t allowed to sport one.
Whenever my ship docked after transatlantic voyages at Bombay, I bounded across to Silver Oaks to meet the Global CEO of The Male Shaver’s PLATINUM guild who studied the fine contours of my face; we heaped praises and plati-accolades on each other’s fine performances most he-to-me in his humble way; I always took copious notes but I knew then I still hadn’t achieved the ski lines or the glowing freshness of DAD’s and had much to learn, to complete many badger-creme-razor voyages before I could shave on a dark night with only lightning striking the palms above in a pouring rainforest…. as a Gorilla and Orangutan madly in love holding hands sat watching me…

.. till date the shaving lectures I received have being ingrained in my memory…….perhaps it was the deafening rock concerts I went to, the roll, pitch and pounding of my ship catching me off balance that I shaved my tuft against the grain too often and Alas! My Beard is amongst the damnedest sharpest roughest the world has ever seen or anyone has felt ( wink ! wink!)

But I remain ever grateful to “ DAD” who continued to impress the Yanks with his mathematical wizardry; fifty years ago whilst visiting Japan Dad met Emperor Shōwa Hirohito who asked him “besides Honda Toyota Kawasaki and Seiko what else could the Imperial Rising Sun give to the world”?

Dad whilst enjoying a plate of salmon sushi and saki smiled and bowing to His Royal Highness … whispering questioning “Royal Highness .SODOKU.?”

Confused HRH Shōwa with a high brow responded …”Please expand Nanda San ….”
… and Dad replied.smiling again …
“ Your Royal Highness…Suji wa dokushin ni kagiru “

And that’s when it all started …

Wizard of Many
Dragon Slayer of Sudoku …..from Easy to Evil.
Global CEO of The Male Shaver’s Platinum Guild

Bonnie ( Vivek )Bhasin
Lefroy 1961-1970
Still Shaving .. imperfectly
Still referring to copious notes..

(Also in memory of Lola the Jhariaa Sharma .. wherever your growth has taken you..Bro 🙏)

08 Aug 2021

BCS 162nd Founder’s Day 28th July 2021

Up in the greens of Simla
on a magnificent spur
is an institution steeped in history..
As young boys we arrived
with some trepidation
some anxiousness and many not knowing then…
time is finally up
through the stone corridors
the dorms, the classroom, the Irwin Hall, Linlithgow, Remove, Main School, the Biology and Chem lab, the flats, the courts, the bakery, the war memorial, the art block, Chipu’s, the Lodge and The Chapel….
walking running singing howling acting sitting grubbing laughing smiling melancholic at so many points on the planet ..
we yearn to be there
even for a brief moment.
Today I close my eyes
and arrive through the global positioning systems in my mind..
like a drone hovering above capturing the entire print of this beautiful place…
I can see ..
we all arrive
in mind body and spirit..
all in congregation
each drone different
each drone uniquely the same..
like mists rising after
today’s sweet summer rain
we inhale the bouquet of the earth , the pine laden wind…
looking down from the skies
we see the young Cottonians
looking up at the sky
pointing at us
smiling from the benches
they shout at us in glee..
our propellers create a whirlwind..
they hold on to their school caps
as their metal badge beat on their chest…
insisting we all land ..
but today ..
not today
we came above
in the sky
to pay obeisance
to our great institution..
on our one hundred and sixty second Founder’s Day
we know …
Bishop Cotton School,
Our School … will be there for us..
F O R E V E R 🙏

Vivek ( Bonnie) Bhasin
28 July 2021
on the 162nd year of my Alma mater.

July 2021 Summer Writings of the macabre-Past Future Tense “ El Capitano? “

Havin’d fcukin enuf of the
sentimentality longing melancholic conundrums including sadness, reminiscing and bleeding cold shivers down his hardened spine ..
He clambered down the gangplank and got his sorry ass on the road towards the high street..
‘Twas a Saturday night on the Caribe Isla“ El Amanacer”, a hot humid summer night as hurricane Matilda had swept past a day earlier having rocked the place like a massive fiery dragon with a two hundred mile long lashing tail, taking away roof tops, shaving palm trees and making the parakeets shriek with jumbled feathers; the slim Bharat Natyam dancer lost her story telling as her jingles broke loose and collared around a lethargic Siamese cat who turned bloody alert hissing , the monkeys howling with chattering teeth fled upon to purple mountain their young screaming , the donkeys collapsed braying and the horses bolted into the raging sea; some married dolphins ..their other hoofed mates were later found grazing at flower pots on pink cottage roof tops ..the storm surge swept across as a tidal wave ..not a blade of grass nor a sliver of Gouda cheese was spared..

…But now….the island was steadily returning to normalcy; cows too had renegaded from the sheds swimming towards a black swirling hole, so milk was scarce……the farmers all a helter-skelter, peacock butterflies and humming birds vanished into the drying their wings and rejuvenated fluttering returning to plush spoilt garden as leaves still trembled gently with echoes of the past screeching screamin’n whistling banshee winds..

This dude was on shore leave ..moisture and beads of sweat formed on his forehead and the rest ran down like big rain drops down his hairy chest and smooth back, his neck was wet, his ruby red italian silk shirt clung to his heavin’ and pantin’( in soft whisper..) even his four-hundred dollar bills stuffed down his socks felt like blotting paper squeaking along with his leather boots.. Bandidos were at large, hungry frikin vultures waylaying kids, sailors, boot leggers and even grandmothers, snatching and grabbing their 100 year bags that had powder puffs and lipsticks from Elisabeth Arden; all who passed through Calle Caliente* the hot street needed to exercise “bien-ciudado” extra carefulness as these low lives slinking in the shadows of broken doors, garbage bins and dung.

The Main Gate of the port was what he had to negotiate before he could venture out to the bar “El Corazon con Piña Colada”
across the street where strains of Blue Öyster Cult’s “Don’t fear the reaper” were on melt down and a quartet of ‘ungfellows came on … Kids callin’ themselves Greta van Fleet; no frikin nonsense, with God’s given grace they hit the deck with Motown Funk #4… this had him now on a banter to get out…to be there.

He thought he’d sail through the iron metal grill that was half open but just as he got closer a woman cop in luminous green uniform and a top hat 🎩 in black ostrich feathers blocked his path and pushed him into the inspection cabin. He tried to struggle but she rammed her baton into his gut and his breath wheezed stumbling, collapsing on to the sugar cane mat.

There were still three minutes left for the funk to taper down as the cop asked for his ID… he dove deep down in his jeans pocket but WTF, the dude had forgotten it in the hell hole of his blistering hot cabin..

“C’mon Ma’am.. the only boat in harbour, and-I-am-he-just-me the you-know-who ( not wanting to pull rank) whose havin’ fcukin enuf and needs to get to the other side, so give me a break; it ain’t no jailbreak ya know, I’ve shed all the soft velvet mushy feelings and even cut my chin whilst shaving with my razor; to feel the burn I splashed whisky on my face-you-can-feel-it…”……

“ I can see you’re pissed to high noon but me gotta see who you are, I need to see your ID” she said.

He looked into her face and saw her eyes, one eyeball ruby red and the other cobalt blue. Her lipstick was coal black and a tattooed crab on her right high cheek bone. She smiled wickedly and her teeth flashed diamond sparklers, her long slender neck had five strings of Mallorca pearls; now don’t you dare question him as to “how’d you know.. them
Pearls n’all ?”… well Mikimoto, Mallorca, Hyderabad whatever, the dude had worked the boats in the Philippines and knew the absolute best came from Pinctada Maxima mollusk as those days it was nine dollar fifty an hour and a bonus if Fagin the Jew accepted the full catch..

… this woman, the cop..she had a barker strapped to her right thigh, a mean SOB with an eighteen inch barrel something like DH*. .. no no .. this gal wasn’t going to let him out without a song, without a passionate plea that …

“ when I was young
muddled and fuddled even with apple juice
fair maiden you looked after me
as I toddled and later hobbled on one foot
resting my other so gently on the grass
the winds of time
did change me
as the arrow flies never arrives ..
I grew older
but you left me in the park
on the swing
and vanished with your little things and my baby socks..
You just faded like an oil painting
bleached on a hot summer day
instead of the beach..
you were to stand still in the Louvre…
never did they show you the door
nor banished..
for I was still sitting on that swing
as you crossed the seas and the oceans leaving me to stare at wild wind blown spaces..”

The lady smiled at him,
within her fertile mind
pictures of the past at last grew more vivid as she remembered that early winter morning when she rose ..
the fog was thick
she could taste it
and then she saw him..
the toddler standing in the corner
with a wild zebra to his left
a timid unicorn to his right
and a black flamingo fluttering above him…
.. she had no choice but to return to her tribe as she walked and got lost in the fog..

“ and this is now how you appear with strong demands to cross the frontier of our lives stories ?” She asked ..

“ I was but a child and you left us”..he says ..”then and even now my mind sways; I have faced severe storms on the oceans and in my tormented soul I have come ashore to cling to that Cherry Tree and become part of the landscape, let me through I plead to you.. you know I am not old and not new to you.. so what ID do you need ?”.. questioning ..

The high pressure system right above has flattened the sea now glassy and Venus will set soon yet striking a sharp light across that ricochets on to both their faces, illuminating each other.

Apologies were emanating from his face and slowly she absorbed the full meaning, the entire truth..
She backed away soft and saddened ….and pressed the orange button…

… the gates gently opened without a sound, the hinges well greased.. his eyebrows all cocked his lashes a flutter and his doe intact in his shoes he walked away no second look .. just straight on .. and then more briskly into a trot; finally speed hit his heels and he was gone, way gone, never to return..

ETD* was at 0500… Shore Leave ended… Pilot boarded but no sign of the bounder… they searched high and low, near and far even in the Bar “ El Corazon..”
but he was no where to be found.. possibly following the tail of Hurricane Matilda..

The Mate was now in temporary Command as he set sail for Bermuda… all what was left in the propeller’s wake were some screeching seagulls and “ The Fleesh” going on low key at the Bar playing their last song “ el jardin *“ as the first rays of the sun hit La Isla Amanecer…*”

*DH Dirty Harry
*ETD Expected Time of Departure
*el jardin The Garden
*la Isla Amanecer The Island of Dawn

Vivek ( Bonnie ) Bhasin
Summer’n Sweden🇸🇪
July 2021