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The  2022  Winter Christmas Letter – someday we will return..

..loads of snow over Sweden
frozen lakes in January..
stubbornly determined long walks over ice I do trying to average around 13000 steps ..10km stubbornly determined
through pines those branches stooping low with the burden of snow ..stunning live beauty far far better than a photoshop postcard
looking up at the sky i see migratory birds in perfect line swooshing south to the wetlands of Africa and Bharatpur India
the ants have hunkered in their hills
Bjorn the bear too has dug deep and now snores gently .. a long winter…the reptilian folk too have sunk in deep … dandelions have withered and are iced !!
A yearly occurrence across yonder where I once grew up or should I say “in transition to Simla..”.. a sort of granted happening  ..a poisonous blanket of deadly chemicals stills and engulfs Delhi NCR with the highest levels of pollution! Debaters rest… Topics dissected yet still it’s blacker than that London Fog…..
Finally an accolade, a trophy, a massive Cup  made of garbage pollutants and acid is presented to the city of Delhi… a man in a black shroud with steam hissing out of his body staggers to the podium where three sparrows now blacked present  him the same as he lifts it up like Sir Lancelot and tries to say something inaudible in his hoarse voice ( later analysed as “ Yes Finally My City is the Number One Polluted City in the world ! Mission Accomplished!)… A Fireworks display !…from everywhere as Trucks Busses Tractors Motorcycles roar  up engines the black exhaust spews out to everywhere ..many vomit out  thick acrid black liquid and a song reverberates ..”Black is Black.. I want my Baby Back …”
is this the 21st century or are we back to a few hundred years ..?
Face masks always donned by the Far Easterners
Face masks during Corona
Face masks during the winter
Face masks during bright blue skies a rarity because then balls of heavy dust roll in from Rajasthan…
Rather confusing but one has to do what one has to do..
The day before yesterday’s generation is now more tranquil reflective and nostalgia a halo around them …
Too long in the tooth…?
Who knows .. but them crazy rocking days have come around full circle …
Crazy in words acts and deeds
Now crazy upstairs isn’t it?
We all did stuff in 2022 for the good the bad the mischievous and possibly the ugly…
January: a cold dark heavy difficult month
February: A golfing delight at ITC Classic with the young guns !
March : the ides of March beware … look around when he tread
April: The Aries .. My Mum turned 90
May: That hot sweltering month with salt loss as i trudged from Lisbon to the Cathedral Santiago de Compostela…heat stroke and possibly “C”.. tough but determined we Cottonians… a bonus was Porto a delightful town that I enjoyed in the company of fellow pilgrims .. 1.2 million steps 800 km
June: I returned to the Arctic Circle – Midsommar as Young fair maidens danced around the Summer Totem pole with flowers in their hair..
July: I met Christine and Gay Niblett at the Sloane Club and the fine gentleman Mike King
August: I returned to my native country and a small reunion at Tonino’s works wonders for the body, tonic for the soul…
September : Remember… I experience the last few drops of the monsoon ..
October : All over is what I learnt as Captain sailing in the Caribbean… All over .. the Hurricane season finally ended as it starts cooling in West Africa..
October was Mashobra and our BCS… The Slater’s.. XVth Anniversary ..*
November: The OCA week.. nostalgia personified..representing my Class of 1970.. Sunny crispy skies – Thank You Sardar Manav Singh.. the doft of pines drifting in through the picture windows.. Thank You Praveen, Dinesh, Rebecca,Rohit, HM John and Director Simon … your warmth and hospitality was incredibly genuine.. The Chapel glowing and I felt the immense vibrations as I spoke in our sacred place…
December: with -21C in 🇸🇪 Sweden saw me with my entire brood .. at Bharatgarh Fort Punjab, Thanks OC Gursagar, Deepinderji Gaurah Maninderji
.. and on to Rajasthan feeding elephants.. and the forts of Neemrana and Tijara..
Heralding in the New Year with deafening ear exploding cacophonous Bollywood unmelodious outpouring ( absolutely deafened.. but the DJ gave a rat’s ass to my request) …the grand babies rocked the night sky over Chomu Palace lit up with bright sparklers … and then it was over ..
January again ..2023
taking long walks along the Klara River that meanders down from Norway.. I reflect on the tides of my life…
It’s so quiet after India …
an occasional sparrow searching for food grain so generously placed in the woods ..
Still too early for the birds to arrive ..though the ducks 🦆 never left ..they always stay..
Young children in thick winter overalls .. bright chirpy an occasional scream … they all look like trolls …
Whatever Whatever
What does it matter
It’s time to glide over the ice
until it melts and the sun gets warmer …
In the meantime we all hope
peace will return from those far places where turmoil rules…
We should all stand on the first flat and see the setting sun
whilst the lights of the hill train go past Tara Devi and disappear into the tunnel…
we all
will return …..

Karlstad Sweden 🇸🇪
Orange skies reflected on the Klaraälven River… last evening
Capt Vivek (Bonnie) Bhasin
Lefroy 1961-1970

Kindest Regards and Best Wishes,

Bonnie/Vivek Bhasin

“Living a Life” – memoir by retired IAS officer Ravi Sawhney, (Lefroy 1959)

Earlier this month, Former J & K governor N.N. Vohra unveiled “Living a Life”, a memoir by retired IAS officer Ravi Sawhney, (Lefroy 1959), in the presence of former foreign secretary Shyam Saran and former principal secretary to the prime minister, S.K. Misra (in 1990, when Chandra Shekhar was the PM. Our best wishes!

BCS is our School – Vivek Bhasin

BCS is our School.. We the boys who went through the corridors , sang and read in the School Chapel, played our part in the Irwin Hall , ate side by side in the Dining Hall, flung our boots on to the rafters in the dorms , played on the flats, ran the incline from Green garages to First Bridge, mugged in Class and occasionally bunked to town on the darkest narrowest short cut ( I believe now sealed by the residents of Knollswood), lifting our school 🧢 in humble greetings …
and watched the setting sun through the Tara Devi gap…
We left in our propelling wake, tradition, respect and strength…
Perhaps some of us created mountains and some remained in the trough of life’s changing waves…
But all in all we were the cut of the same cloth..
We are the Blessed sons of Bishop Cotton School.
Amen  🙏

Kindest Regards and Best Wishes,

Bonnie/Vivek Bhasin

Walking past those who’ve gone before

with such a hot summer here at 60 degrees north past mid way into the Summer of ‘22
the lakes are glistening,
the river flowing with its usual flood, slack and ebb,
the roads dry and hoovered daily
whistling wind and gentle leaves,
I could neither feel nor smell any advance of thunder lightning nor rain … yet the air is clean and clear and exhilaratingly good for the lungs..! But it’s getting heavy hot..England too was suffocating and forests burn where I walked in Portugal and Spain ..

(… like four winter years earlier….. I was walking through a blustering storm that evening.. The wind was howling and crystallised ice stung my face like sharp missiles… My hair dishevelled across my forehead , my trench coat acted like a huge sail blowing against me as I was stopped in my tracks unable to move.. Just swaying from side to side until a bigger blast, beaufort 10 just carried me in the air and flung me against the glass doors of a quaint little store .. now closed with it’s signage for its next opening at 0900 the next morning . I fell hard on the ground and nearly smashed my nose and teeth but some redeeming force saved me..what I saw through that glass door was a childish writing on a small blackboard …’LOVE IS SOMETHING ETERNAL.. THE ASPECT MAY CHANGE, BUT NOT THE ESSENCE’ …..
And that for me was said enough..)

…but not this year nor last …the weather is no longer in control of itself..

( of course I still see some youngster on the green organic train and sections of humanity fighting for change; us humans are inhaling plastic and air with heavy particles and absorbing acid rain … it’s a rage within the youth .. it’s not their attitude … but Gratitude…)though I do would like to tell them as a sailor seaman captain we ensured the seas were clean if not we’d get six of the best .. and rightly so.

Whilst up in Simla, Mashobra and Kufri the weather Gods sent the rain down and the landscape transformed from dry dusty hard earth and brown pine needles.. to lush green .. just like in Kerala where comes vetiver in colognes to that freezer freshness..

…As in past winter years folk trembled with freezer fever wearing more indoors ( than outdoors ) like overloaded elephants in the plains of Chandigarh, Amritsar, Delhi and Jaipur….I’m told.

… but here in July 2022 wearing my linen shirt to look the dandy I was, I cranked up the Toyota and went to pay a visit….

..I arrived at the entrance and looked across the stone wall, that low stone wall and saw them all… those special ones who lay in rest … The Bells tolled and folk all huddled for Sunday Church..

Stepping out of my jalopy I felt those “ special ones” magnetic force envelop me and I floated in like a shy swan…. the winter birds still around as I was; too soon but soon they will wing off and shoot past to the bird swamps in Africa and India and further south; little do they know it’s gonna be a mild winter next .. so they could actually stay.

.. I walked on soft moss and found the path that lead towards them… there was but a dry patch of grass, parts unkempt but then it was still summer and no real whiff of winter…

I stopped right above them…
and heard their whispers questioning all changes above and past since ..
what would the next day bring, pray ..?

I knelt on hard ground answering whispering “ much has changed since you were here..
we wrote letters to each other then with fountain pens and Prussian blue ink…
waiting for replies ,
anticipating good news
sitting on rocks and sand banks .. passing time ..
just waiting … we met at family reunions that we never wished to end, years and tears flowed freely.. we walked hand in hand amongst the trees picking mushrooms and blue and lingonberries..
played golf at 0100 and saw a pair of Moose staring at us in our world of tranquility..don’t you remember? There was no sound, no rattle trap, just sailing clouds and fresh crisp pine air..and the bouquet of arabica and delicious cinnamon buns”

“…enjoying those moment..yes we did” the voices said in unison ..

“…steamers arrived at sand heads.. you shook the German Captain’s hand wishing him calm seas, following winds and a school of dolphins frolicking across the bows..
clambering down the pilot ladder your canvas bag followed you
as you stepped on to the pilot boat, a last wave, a goodbye until…
as you spent two days on the Pilot Vessel “Samudra” playing bridge with your mates, they called you Omar Sharif and the Aga Khan for at dances at the Calcutta Club and Club 100 ( yes members maxed out) you held a fair damsel intoxicated by your charm and flair to glide across the floor…with habana cigars and cogñac and crisp white collars, hand wrapped bow ties; you loved your brogues .. did you not..?”

“ and humans …?”they ask..
..”too many tooooo many” I respond …. “no space only squeeze and packed like sardines is also a new emoji”..

“Emoji.. what..?”
I say “ these are new ugly signs to express in an idiotic way… vocal human affection and warmth no longer exists …there is a small little bit of hell called a mobile telephone that you carry with you and sleep with … no not with your lover but with people called Apple Samsung Sony.. these people have entered our lives our bodies our brain and our mindset….hypnotism ? Oh no… it’s called e-invasion .. they have conquered they have succeeded… Rotary telephones are now perched on stands in forest museums as folk exclaim .. what strange bulky ugly things those were… surprise teardrop … yes that’s the F-ing emoji… 😡 this one is deep soul angry or properly pissed to perfection .

… I was then but a school boy at Boarding on a spur at 7500 feet..

But I grew along the years, along my ears and a long… filling out too…

“ is that a tinkering of some strange bell “ they ask…

“.. yes “ I say..” life is strange and fast and hurriedly stressed to keep distress at bay we de-stress with organic food, yoga and Buddhist chants and sit on mats..and gong ourselves out…”

“.. and the cars? Which cars ply the roads now ?” One* of them whisperingly asked ..
I sigh “ The Big wheels still zoom but fossil fuels are being cut and so El-driven cars abound, the trains are more silent, but on the Delhi-Kalka route the coach still clanks and rattles and surges and lurches forward and I spill tea on my jeans…whilst the X-3000 from Stockholm to Karlstad shoots clean as a whisper… steam and coal engines are now in museums… we go and look at them once a year but we look at our photo albums and remember you all as you smiled and held us and loved us truly… and I at least felt the warmth, your compassion and in your April
the strength of feeling happy and secure…”

“My roots are deep secure and solid
I drive a hybrid .. but if I could I would walk as I have walked about 6600 km in the last + 800 days ; that is a simple stride, a simple walk and all I see in the distance… yonder are the silhouettes of Catedral Santiago de Compostela..”

I hear sounds, melancholic sounds.. someone singing and the strains of a harp..I strain my neck and my ears to see who…
It’s the wind chimes amongst the pines..

And then … they’re gone.

Bonnie Bhasin
No comments on today’s ways of the world.

26th July 2022