History and posterity will always remember Arjun Atwal, the international golfer from India who now lives in Orlando. Not many know he is the son of Rupinder and Harminder Atwal. Arjun’s father Harminder, popularly known to his friends as “Bindi” passed away on July 27, 2022 after a battle with cancer.
Bindi had a big hand in creating the golfer that Arjun is today. We all know Bindi himself was a winner and he certainly knew how to create one from his own stable !!
In 1957, three Atwal boys joined BCS. There was Bindi and his cousin, Bhupinder. The third, Premjit, was the younger brother of Bhupinder who left BCS at the end of 1959. Bhupinder, the elder guy finished from BCS in 1960.
So, we distinguished between these three Atwal boys by labelling Bindi as “Fatty” Atwal. Physical forms were easily identifiable and of the three he was the most affable, the most pleasant and the most warm. He was also the most easy going with not a care in the world. I recall, vividly, his emerging from the evening showers, wiped and clean but the towel was never draped around his waist. He slung it over his shoulder and nonchalantly ambled past the first entry door (closest to the main staircase leading to the dorms on the right side) to the dormitory at the beginning of a long passage all the way to the cubicles at the end of the corridor. The cubicles were the privileged accommodation for the VIth Form guys. In an all-male environment this brief walk was enough raise a few eyebrows. However, when you look back here was a man who was open, honest and, yes, even naked about anything that he did. Bindi was honest, likeable and easy going.
The Atwal boys travelled every year to School at the beginning of term by train from Calcutta. The family, certainly wealthy, came from the coal mining town of Asansol in West Bengal. Those were the days when parents sent their children from distant cities like Bombay, Calcutta, Nairobi, Singapore and Bangkok because the schools in Simla carried the most favourable reputations for imparting the best all round education. These schools in the hills were the educational establishments of choice for a parent willing to invest in the best education for his child. So that is what motivated the Atwal Family to send Bindi and his brothers to BCS.
Boys from his school days will also remember he possessed a strong arm and was a great shot putter and discus thrower. He finished with the Class of 1961 and was Lefroy House Captain that year.
Bindi was exceptional as a person who fostered and developed lifelong friendships. He was dependable. When bailing out a friend in trouble he would stand by until the crisis had passed. He never walked away.
While, Bindi was born to wealth he was not a man without initiative, drive and possessed a desire to succeed in his own right. He was hard working, had an uncanny knack to develop business and that is what landed him huge road construction contracts in Gaddafi’s Libya. He was discreet, humble and always willing to take on a challenge. He did that with great panache and flair. He celebrated his success and his friends testify to his generosity as a host. Finally, let us not forget his charitable instincts. He was truly a Giver.
A fitting tribute from his classmates, Year of 1961. “ You were an amazing guy and we adored you. Good bye, Bindi “
Photographs of Bindi accompany this note from his exceptional days at BCS
God bless Bindi.
May he rest in peace.
Condolences to the entire family.
1953 – 1958
I had been very close to Bindi and then I met his young son and I was delighted to meet him and got all Bindi´s contact numbers . We have met several times but due to the pandemic we could not come to India . I did keep a close contact with him and That day Badal Called me to say that he is no more . I found a very nice photo of Bindi and Ricky and Badal as usual with his knowledge of Editing a lovely black and white of Bndia . That same day was Rickys birthday .
A great person who fought a very hard battle -and was always positive . I shall always miss him .
Anyone who can give me Arjun´s contact details do let me have it .
All the Best Bindi as I am sure you are in heaven . I am not deleting your number as maybe one day we see a miracle and you call .
Cheers and Our condolences to the whole family .
Bota [Sudhir Kashyp]
Himmat Singh sent three photographs of Rivaz House for the years 1953, 1961, and 1962.
Two observations. With Mr Farhat Paul as Rivaz House Master, all the boys had a handkerchief in their top left coat pockets (see the photographs). He loved these little touches and the expression, “You Fat Cow!!” He bellowed these words and stretched them over a good ten seconds for the impact that he wanted to deliver depending on his mood. His other talents were exceptional but he left in me an enduring interest in history with details of Babur that the Baburnama never recorded !! He embellished every class with fascinating details that made all the Mughal emperors come alive !! He had several other attributes but his large garnet ring, his penmanship, and his well endowed behind I do remember. There was more, much more, to this flamboyant man but I leave that to your imagination.
I see faces and remember with affection Mohan (M.M.) Sachdev, Ashok Dina Nath, Huppy Grewal, the Gideon brothers, Preharan Singh, Motwani, my dear friend Girish Ghai, the body builder who frequented my house in Bombay on so many occasions. His parents (address 69, Warden Road) were always warm and hospitable. There are others who revive memories aplenty.
The photos/pages can be accessed at: The BCS Batch & House Pages
BM Singh, President OCA (India) and his wife Ravi Singh hosted a dinner for the batch of 1961 who will go up to Simla to celebrate their 50 years of leaving School this week. The dinner was hosted at the Deck Suite at the India Habitat Centre
The numbers for this batch have dwindled rapidly but their gusto and enthusiasm remains undiminished. In typical OC style,
Sukhinder Singh, Billy Gill, Adarshpal Singh, accompanied by Ajay Thiara drove in yesterday [17th Sept] morning from Chandigarh for this dinner. The dinner which began early at 7.30 pm concluded almost near the mid-night and these gentlemen then drove right back last night. They were sleeping when Ashok Mulchandani rang to seek some assistance and advice!! What do you expect ? !!
The following other guys from the 1961 batch were present:
Veenu & Jaiwant Gill
Nano & Ricky Sawhney
Anita & Sudhir Khanna
The others present were:
Jyoti & R S Sodhi
Ritu & Neel Mehra
Vatsala & Vijay Khurana
The pictures that Sudhir Khanna took, and sent as a separate mail with a Picassa link, simply indicate what a lovely evening it was. What I am doing is sending some of these pictures with the names of the persons labelled (left to right pattern) so that you can identify the persons in the respective pictures. Unfortunately, the quality of my attachments is not outstanding but Sudhir’s mail will give you a much better idea. Go full screen and a slide show to get the complete effect of what a group with an average of 60 can do and enjoy an evening!
We take this opportunity to wish the 1961 batch a happy and lovely reunion.
[Hover your mouse-pointer on a pic to see the title, click a picture for a larger view]
Bon appétit – OCA Dinner.
September 18, 2011
Five months ago, I was surprised to receive an email from Sukhinder Singh and Vijay Khurana to attend the 50th class reunion. I apologize for taking so long to reply. Firstly, I was in the process of moving. Secondly, since I could not attend, I did not feel I could contribute anything.
Upper II Class Photograph:
I have included the 1956 Upper II photograph originally sent by Brandy Gill. If my memory is correct, the person in the second row behind the 7th person from the left in the front row (the person with eye glasses) is Bentick ( I don’t know if I am spelling the name correctly; I don’t know if that is his first or last name). Minor correction to Sukhinder Singh’s message “we were together in the III form” It should read Upper II and not III Form. I left after completing Upper II, the year this photograph was taken. I joined BCS in 1952 when I was 8 years old and I was expelled from BCS in 1956 when I was 12 years old.
[EDITOR: This is the listing we had earlier from Vijay Khurana when this picture was circulated in April 2011] –
Vijay said: “I can recognise the following :
Sitting first row: (left to right) Gurdial Singh, Brandy Gill, KS Dugal, Sabharwal (Rivaz, left to join Doon), RLV Nath (second from right same row). . . but none of the others .
Standing second row( left to right) Rupinder Singh, Rakesh Sawhney, unknown and Ramesh Suthoo.
Standing third row (left to right) unknown, unknown, Ashok Anand, Ashok Mulchandani, unknown, SM Nanda, Himmat Singh, AK Stokes, unknown, Inderjit Singh (Badal).
Standing last row(left to right): Preharan Singh, JS Rarewala, Hundal, GS Anand, unknown, unknown, A Motwane].”
Graduated Senior Cambridge in 1960:
I considered Upper II as the 7th grade and VI Form as the 12th grade. After leaving BCS, I joined Modern School, New Delhi, in the 7th grade. This did not work out and I did not cooperate. I was in the boarding school. My parents then put me in day school. I was staying with my father’s friend. They thought that perhaps I was afraid of girls as Modern School is coeducational or perhaps I did not like the Hindi medium of instruction. Little did anyone know what upset me. I was only 12 years old and kept everything to myself. What bothered me was why they put me in the 7th grade when I had already completed the 7th grade in BCS. If you remember, I use to be on the top or near the top of my class. To make a long story short, I lost one year doing nothing. In 1958, my father put me in Hyderabad Public School. I insisted that I join the 7th grade which the school accepted. Luck would have it, their grading system was different. Their highest grade was not 12th grade but 10th grade. (On the first day of my class I had my Geometry class. I started with the 49th theorem. Within a few days I started to learn Algebra, Trigonometry and Calculus!) So I gained two years and lost one year. That is why I graduated one year before my classmates in BCS. This is not the end of the story. My father and my elder brother both graduated in Engineering from Benares Hindu University. The only college that I applied to was Benares Hindu University. The university was prejudiced against Senior Cambridge students as it was a foreign examination. I was told I did not qualify for admission. My elder brother told me that I was foolish in applying to one college only. Once again, luck was on my side. The son of the Vice Chancellor of Benares Hindu University was in the same predicament that I was. Finally, the university admitted Senior Cambridge students. In the first year of college I stood first in my class. From then on my mother had complete faith in me. This experience had a profound effect on me. We are taught to think within a box. This taught me to think outside the box.
Uranium Enrichment by Gaseous Centrifugation 1970-1985:
I had proposed to the Government of India for providing nuclear fuel two times in 1970 and 1985. Enclosed is a 1984 article from The Tribune, Chandigarh. Both my attempts were unsuccessful and I gave up on this good idea.
[Click this picture for a full size view, or right-click to save it]
Toastmasters International 1994-Present:
Toastmasters International is a nonprofit organization that teaches public speaking, communication and leadership skills. It has 270,000 members; 13,000 clubs in 116 countries. I have been a member for 17 years. We practice original speeches that last between 5 to 7 minutes.From time to time, I have given speeches on energy in general and nuclear energy in particular. The purpose is to explain in a non-technical the various facets and aspects of energy. I had stated earlier that I felt I could not contribute anything. Then, it occurred to me that this information would be educational to the students at Bishop Cotton School. I have introduced several new terms such as Nugami (portmanteau of Nu for new or Nu from Nuclear and gami from origami) and Hatt (portmanteau of H from Heat and att from Watt). My proposal was based on providing 100% Nuclear Energy. This included both generating electricity and providing hydrogen fuel for automobiles by the electrolysis of water. France has come close to providing 100% electrical energy though they have not gone as far as using hydrogen fuel. They closed the last coal mine a few years ago. So far only Iceland and a few other countries have experimented with hydrogen as a fuel. I had proposed one 1 Gigawatt Electrical / 3 Gigawatt Thermal (in my terminology 1 Gigawatt / 3 Gigahatt) Nuclear reactor for every 100,000 (one lakh) population. The title of my paper is: Energy is almost God… and God said “Numbers do not lie”. I had hoped to complete this paper by now but it has taken longer than I had estimated. Firstly, I had changed from a Microsoft PC to an Apple Mac and had minor software issues in producing the documents. Secondly, some of the documents were done on a phototypeset over 40 years ago. I want to convert these documents into digital format instead of just scanning the documents. As a sneak preview I have included a document “Nugami.pdf“. When you print this, make sure the “Page Scaling” is set to “None” so that you get a full size of the drawing. If printed correctly, the 32 x 32 grid should measure 6.375 inches by 8.25 inches (75% of 8.5 inches x 11.0 inches sheet of paper).
Hope to send the complete article as soon possible. Maybe the students at BCS will find it useful educationally.
Al (Ashok) K. Stokes
EDITOR: Here is an email from Vijay Khurana to Ashok [published online with permission from all concerned!]