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Mike King: Another precious letter

Attached is a letter from Mike King’s father, Charles King, to his youngest brother Noel who left BCS in 1934 to move to England with his parents. He was a Captain in the British Airborne Forces and saw action at the Battle of Arnhem and was actually present at the Japanese surrender in Rangoon in 1945.
Love, terrible Wars…
and then Peace….
Finally a Servant of the Almighty
Vivek Bhasin
Lefroy 1961-1970
[click for full view]

The Suicide Slider Squad ( A Cottonian sees them – unbelievably true )

The Suicide Slider Squad

( A Cottonian sees them – unbelievably true)

… or abbreviated in deadly manner “S.S.S”

where steel hits glass, bumpers mangle , shards fly with burning rubber; often air bags fail to inflate and heads roll, eye balls bounce and teeth shoot off faster than an Uzi machine gun….leaving blood on asphalt and deafening screams like those heard in the dungeons of no return … their echoes ricocheting from pillar to post until the horns of heavy tracks squash them under their bellies as they charge onwards …

Jitendra “Jeet” Singh Balmiki rises from his spunked coir mattress bed at 2100 hrs in the village of Mahipalpur … he stretches his arms and stifles a yawn, scratches his groin and splutters out a phlegm of rust mud and soot.. his eyes are blood shot and his greasy hair sticks to his face that has a weeks growth of pepper and salt whiskers …

He doesn’t recollect last when he bathed, water is salty and he drinks a concoction of tea laced with country booze, honey, ginger and betel nut… and yes salt water .. hot slimy and heavy …

He drags on a pair of grease pants and slips on a dirty shirt, the left pocket is ripped and flaps like a morose dog, tired just as Jeet is…

In fifteen minutes he hears the sputter of a demented motor bike as it nears his little dirty den; living on the upper floor of a three story house, the ground and first are dominated by pimps who trade the flesh of girls they picked up and shackled as the latter lost their ways drifting in to the Big City looking for work as maids, sweepers and even construction workers carrying cement and bricks on their backs for meagre daily wages.. …they never made it that far as they were snatched in to the rotten life and there was no escape…

Jeet and his room mate were offered discounts ! but he was pretty clean in that sense as his roving eyes laid rest on one whose name he never knew … she too lived below .. a dark dusky maiden with thick lustrous hair and deep black eyes… her body was hour glass and she knew her price … never once looking at Jeet as he rambled down… he always looked at her … for him these were the best few seconds of the day… like the taste of rice pudding with shy wisps of saffron and green cardamom.. she was his parfum, his bonus …determined he was day he would buy her out and take her home and marry her…he smiled at her, she from the corner of her eye at-him-with-utter-disgust as he resembled a tramp, a vagabond and a waster she thought.. never realising he was part of the SSS… and he honked worse than a foul smelling skunk…

Jeet worked the Graveyard shift from 2130 to 0630, from today evening to tomorrow morning when hell’s fury was at its best , rampant with those that concealed themselves in the dark, trying their best to avoid the SSS as the latter waited in the dark to ambush those who dared to…. not many succeeded, and for those who tried and never made it … their days were terminated right there …!

As Jeet stepped outside, Jeevan Singh Rathor jumped off the bike its motor running and with a brief nod he rolled the machine to Jeet and bounded up the steps… his shift was over … but no cleansing , no prayers he just dived on to the warm heavy smelling shared bed and was snoring in a jiffy…he was gone into his world of dreams just as Jeet drove away to NH8.

He arrived at his post at 2126,four minutes before taking the bull by one horn as the second chap too arrived holding the other end… the graveyard shift was when the marauding wheelers like Mad Max challenged the strength integrity and guts of the SSS; a sport they played with very heavy bloody stakes…

The air was heavy with heat, his body wet, his lithe body with sinewy muscle, deep gashes and gnarled scars as if a wolf or vampire had set its fangs in his chest, his arms and thighs…all these marks…but amongst the kith and kin of the SSS, these were trophies of headlong encounters much talked about on dusky evenings as they sat all huddled sharing the Hookah, the younger set fascinated with wide eyes, open mouths and baited breath.. as the progression from youth to SSS was passed on just as pilotage of the Hudson River was passed from Grandfather to Son to Grandson…

There was a calm that prevailed for twenty minutes, and then….

six pairs of headlights were picked up by the watch keeper, an experienced elder who had moved from SSS to SS ( “sharp sight”).. he shouted across to the gate keepers….

Six SSS positioned their barricade bulls in tandem bracing for the onslaught… “Sharp Sight” screamed “increased acceleration .. looks like 120 Km and only increasing … these Mothers are not reducing ..”

The headlights grew stronger and the sounds of whining to shrieking engines belching poisonous jet black pollution shattered the peace coming hurtling down …


Powerful lights from the posts shot on to both blind and warn the hurtling machines, their drivers to slow down and stop … but to stop was the work of cowards…

to stop them was the work of the SSS…

300 metres and approaching at speeds of 130 Km…. and a few seconds ticked down to 50 metres … this was when Jeet and his mate, the other bulls too heaved and pushed as three sliders shot out blocking the path of the on coming marauders ….there was no smell of burning rubber …. only the blaring of horns… who would relent ? But one.. prestige, reputation, steel fame and steel rain..the drivers given a bonus “ you do not stop you do not pay toll” otherwise they would be shafted .. a mild word.

… three massive trucks with eight axles each charged into

the steel barricade bulls ramming them like Rocket Locomotives… 

Jeet ducked and flattened himself parallel to the trucks, his partner a millisecond too slow … 

the other sliders managed to jump away but the damage was done … 

Ferocious steel impacted and the drivers lost control… the engines disintegrated against the sliders but inertia carried them fused together with 2000C  heat diagonally across the highway for 200 metres…the oil tanks burst, tyres and asphalt melted and with a huge explosion one disintegrated and the others axles broke away and rolled down the road leaving a trail of molten fire whilst the last rolled tumbled breaking the side barrier, finally ramming a tree spinning on its twenty metre length and  landing on its back…the searing heat of flames like spewing roaring flamethrowers and hissing dragons spread for kilometres…

None of the three drivers made it… no remains were found.. it was assumed they vaporised just as the ISIS when drones melt  and form vapours 

with total annihilation..

The mayhem was over, complete in under two minutes… 

…and a deathly calm prevailed…

Jeet stood up and searched for whatever was left of his mate …perished too he was dragged along with the mangled wreckage of steel ….and totalled.

Jeet walked slowly back to his post where another mate was preparing a bull slider … they nodded to each other positioning themselves…lighting a beedi each they wiped away the destruction from their hearts, soul and mind, hunkering down for the remainder of their shift…

… as Jeet smoked the end of the beedi… his thoughts flashed back to his sultry maiden …

“Soon “ he whispered …”

Very soon”….*

Bonnie Bhasin 

11th April 2019 -0750hrs National Highway 8 

Enroute to IGI terminal 3 New Delhi .. to catch AY122 Delhi-Helsinki 

*true stories dedicated to those toll-post-miserable-men who risk their lives on Indian highways …every minute, every second preventing truckers, public transport vehicles to cross state borders… ensuring they pay entry tax …

or perish in mangled heaps

with mangled steel.

… their pay is pathetically minimal…

S.S.S… or should I say… 

Save Sinner’s Souls🙏

Best Wishes and Kindest Regards
Capt. Vivek C Bhasin
Norra Strandgatan-2
SE 652 24 Karlstad


Came across this poem…. Thought I’d share it..

The heartthrob of the school,

is a man grim and sombre.

That lanky little girl,

is now a weightlifter.

The topper of the class,

is a happy homemaker.

Back bencher of the lot,

is an entrepreneur.

The flamboyant fashionista,

became a dreaded lawyer.

Oft ignored average Joe,

turned a well-known writer.

The one who failed math paper,

is a fashion designer,

And one who often got to stand outside the class, is a respected army officer.

The reunion taught me how,

people came with many layers,

and tell me why should we never,

judge a book by its cover.

Comment: We have seen our fair share of such situations.

Bittu Sahgal become an authority on animal conservation, especially the tiger, though he first started by selling Milton buckets and then entered the printing business!

R S Sodhi became a judge after he could no longer fly planes for the IAF !!

Brandy Gill a corporate honcho who brought Gillette to India (an interesting story there). Tennis, his BCS back ground and his qualifications as a chartered accountant got him there with the aid of a few good women!!

B M Singh, Chairman of the Central Board of Taxes, and his ability to handle people and situations – brilliantly !!

Rajive Sawhney, an ace lawyer he was determined to be. He wanted nothing else and he tore his heart out debating whenever he could. It began early.

CM Kohli, a real estate magnate and smoked every one else out of business !

SM Singh, a brilliant entrepreneur who otherwise was the quietest guy around

N K Akers, a hospitality expert and that affable temperament that fit perfectly. He resides in Cairo and has been there for over 30 years now.

Vinod Pawa, a university professor. Actually that capability would have fit anywhere and done exceptionally well.

Param Inder Singh, vastly successful inventor and entrepreneur in the field medical devices business while he first set out to become an aeronautical engineer

Guljit Kochhar, an expert in the plastic moulding business expanded into plastic products. He currently employs 700 people !! He got into the game only because a programme coordinator suggest he take a trip to see some other parts of the US during a college break !!

Mohit Goyal, became an IT entrepreneur when he flipped a job advertisement page that his father sent him and was attracted to what IBM had to offer on the other side of the sheet !!

Also remember those with warmth and feeling who never really entered life or reached their full potential. Shiv Raj Singh, who died of an anaphylactic shock from an injection straight after school or Ashok Dina Nath in a tragic road accident. May they rest in peace. In a lot of other cases Fate just did not carry them to the destiny that may have awaited them !!

There are so many more. The names listed above are suggestive based on a spontaneous listing and certainly not exhaustive.

Vijay [Khurana], BCS class of 1962.

The Mike King letters [Mike King : the Son of “A son of BCS”]

Mike King a very dear friend of mine based in the UK is a die-hard fanatic of BCS! Even though he could not go to BCS his Father and Uncles did.

Mike regularly attends the OCA (UK) reunions and stays in touch with me regularly, sending snippets of excellent news and information strongly focused on BCS which I enjoy thoroughly. It is Mike and his present family who managed to , over the years retrieve these fantastic gems of letters his Father and Uncles wrote to their parents whilst residing as Boarders in BCS.

Mike King now 70 last April, was educated at Durham School  England.

He Served with the City of London Police (UK) before transferring to the Toronto Police in 1975. Specialising in organised crime investigations, his work was featured in several books. He spent two years with the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) before entering the private sector and then spent 25 years engaged in commercial investigations around the world. He took part in film documentaries about organised crime and acted as a consultant in two separate productions. He contributed a chapter to noted Indian author Shrabani Basu’s book entitled India Revisited in which he wrote about his ancestor’s lives in India and his father’s respect for the great contribution of the Indian Forces in two world wars – never to be forgotten.

As for languages, Mike is modest, and speaks a little French, German, Spanish and Cantonese.

The following boys (all Cottonians)  were the sons of Mr. WH King MBE FRGS who was, himself, born and brought up in India. He was a renowned engineer who built the telegraph line from Gyantse to Lhasa in 1922 which linked Tibet to the outside world.

William King (Uncle of Mike King)  – born in Gilgit. Graduated in Agriculture at the University of Alberta, Canada.  Lt. Col. British Army – killed in action on Normandy landings 1944.

Charles King (Father of Mike King) – born in Bhatinda. School Captain  BCS 1928. Graduated in Theology at the University of Cambridge. Wartime Chaplain to the Forces. Prisoner of War in Poland and Germany 1940-1945. Died in Church service in 1972. ( some fantastic letters/postcard follow)!

John King  (Uncle of Mike King) – born in Poona died in 1984 aged 65. Fl. Lt. RAF – WW2 escaper from Crete and member of the elite Caterpillar Club (RAF Escaping Society).

Hereward King  (uncle of Mike) – born in Mussoorie. Served in the Royal Navy in WW2. Advertising executive. Died 1976.

Capt. Vivek C Bhasin
Norra Strandgatan-2
SE 652 24 Karlstad

The following attachments can clicked to be opened in a full view page:

More letters and postcards from my father and his brother to their parents sent from BCS. It was nearly 100 years ago!
Best regards,

These invaluable letters bring a sense of the greatest elation in me and  that I was one of the privileged sons like all my fellow Cottonians  of BCS.
Best wishes
Vivek [Bhasin]

Part of the Soul Train – by Vivek Bhasin

Part of the Soul Train

One-Six-ZERO ( 1 6 0 )

…is no ordinary number

is no simple number

is not that a complicated number 

is not a serious number 

is not a humorous number.

… it is a number that signifies

something more special than ordinary simpleness complicatedness and seriousness. Possibly with some humour but something more.

The speciality of the number 

may be linked to many things,

like an amazing book written by a world renowned story teller that climaxes on the 160th page, it could be a number of days starting the 1st of January until the 9th of June totalling 160

or perhaps the number of steps I once took at the age of 12 from the Lefroy House dorms to the Chapel door.

In the parlance of old english it is 8-score years is it not? I mean the number 160!

But for you and I, ONE SIX ZERO  is a definitive milestone.

If I recollect the many milestones in my life I can state I was born 64 years ago, the first stone ! I started schooling at my Alma mater 59 years ago, I passed out from my Alma mater 49 years ago and I attained Command of my own vessel called the “ LONTUE” (named after a river in Chile) at the age of 29; this was 35 years ago and so on.

Ten years ago in October 2009  a very special congregation of souls took place up in the Himalayas … on a spur where stands a handsome set of buildings, a gorgeous Chapel, flats and woods. These souls arrived from every corner of the planet to reignite, remember, reconstruct and push back age boundaries. The souls returned to be young again, to feel young again and use slang and jargon which was part of the traditional way one spoke to each other; with nick names that actually should have been registered and stamped into their passports; these names stuck on like magic glue and for many are sacred. Even their wives and girl friends and mothers call them by these names. Yes those names make these souls unique under one breath under blue skies and the bright sun that drenches this Handsome Beautiful Space.

Yes Ma’am, Yes Sir! 

This Handsome Beautiful Space belongs to us souls. It is where our stories started and it is where our stories will continue, never ending ….for there will be other souls who will arrive and understand the magic of our space as they write and weave the myriad patterns from the power of the buildings, The Chapel, the flats and the woods. 

And a sense of brotherhood will emerge…

Ten Years later …

On July 28th 2019, our most sacred space would be 160 years since …

….and yet The Buildings, The Chapel , The Flats and The Woods will not burst into song or tremble with joy and shiver with excitement. No no… they will just be where they are looking at those who’ve gone before, to those who are there and those who’ve yet to come… 

silently they will stay…perhaps a wind will rustle the leaves of the Grand Oak. the Weeping Willows, the Cedars , the Chestnuts and  Pines , and on certain monsoon days the clouds will descend as you brush against them like huge balls of cotton until the rain comes down and cleanses away the pollen; the snow will hunker down over winter and melt away as “our” tears. 

…but then Blue Skies and Glorious Sunshine again…

Perhaps this next Saturday 28th July 2019 I will get down on my knees in some quiet place and Thank You all, 

Thank our Founder 

Bishop Cotton, 

Thank Head Master, 

Thank my Teachers, 

Thank the Bearers, 

Thank my Seniors, 

Thank My Class of 1970, 

Thank My Brother,  

Thank My Juniors, 

Thank My Parents for sending me to my Alma mater,

and Thank the Handsome Buildings, 

The Chapel, 

The Flats and 

The Woods 

that give me that energy, hope and drive to continue my life..

Happy Birthday 

Our Bishop Cotton School !!

Our Sacred Space.

We belong to you,

Just as

You belong to Us.

((Whenever I visit this sacred place I always make it point to walk the 160 steps to the Chapel .. 

I do sometimes tremble and shiver…

But when I look at The Good Shepherd with his flock ..

I feel a calm descending within my soul, a sense of peace prevails..

until my next time ..))

Vivek Bhasin 

Class of 1970

Lefroy 1961-1970