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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

“Chicken on the Menu” and “Angle to Angling” – by Indi [Gurrinder] Khanna

Two articles by Gurrinder [Indi] Khanna – enjoy!

Chicken on the Menu

In 1975 at a young 22 almost straight out of University and a Masters in English, I found myself up on Panniar Estate (High Ranges) having been despatched there by the Malayalam Plantations Agents in Cochin. Born and with my entire formative years having been in Simla where the only agricultural produce was apples, planting as a career had never ever crossed my mind. Providence and a long story (for another day) of how I found myself down south. Having been sent for an extension interview to a rubber estate near Trishur (Mooply), the first Tea bush I ever really saw and touched was when I arrived at Panniar, never for a moment realising that this innocuous plant is what my entire life would revolve around so that 45 years later that love affair continues. And thankfully so!

The next morning, on my first day at work, my P.D. Mr Abid Khan who over the two years I worked under him became a father figure for me, told me that for the first three/four months I was not to be given a motorcycle and that I should walk the estate with the conductor, following which words I was duly ‘handed over’ to Mr Balia. A most imposing figure replete with a pith helmet and a swagger stick, Mr Balia (never just Balia) could WALK! And so over the next four months after a very crisp ‘good morning sah’ and a tipping of the pith helmet, we walked and we walked and we walked and then we walked some more covering as much of the 320 hectares as we could.

Panniar being a good one and a half hour drive from Munnar and the High Range Club I was totally dependent upon Abid and Shamim who very kindly, every time they headed that way, would take me along for the evening. On other days, end of day, Abid would come past the muster on his bike and ask me (this was an almost daily ritual) ‘what are you doing this evening?‘ Bereft of any kind of transport there was not much that I could do and so evening after evening, straight from the muster we’d head up to Abid’s bungalow where the three of us would play badminton till it got dark after which it was scrabble while listening to BBC plays on Abid’s transistor. Abid being a rather infrequent drinker, while a drink was offered to me every now and then, Shamim always made sure that I never went back to my bungalow hungry. We followed this lovely ‘habit’ for all of four months till, having worn away three pairs of ‘Bata Hunter shoes’ (all that was available back then) trudging along behind Mr Balia, I was finally made mobile with my Bullet.

About three months into this routine in the Club, two of my senior colleagues from Surianalle Estate (the other Malalayalm’s Estate in the High Ranges) casually asked me that in the absence of a bike, what was it that I did in the evenings. Sharing my routine with them, Raghu and Appu asked me when I was planning to reciprocate and have Abid and Shamim over for a meal. Which casual remark led to my getting down to buying a dinner set, curtsey the Company’s soft furnishing allowance and our Group Doctor who was heading down to Cochin for a weekend. Finally the proud owner of a spanking new Hitkari dinner set adorned with tiny pink flowers, when Abid came past my morning muster it was my turn to ask ‘Are you and Ma’am busy this evening?‘ and so my first grand dinner party.

Arranged for our local Kadai to get me a bottle of brandy from Munnar and had my cook / bearer / gardener / man Friday – Kaliappan buy a chicken from the labour lines. The menu for the grand dinner being Chicken curry, a vegetable, daal and rice – which incidentally was the extent of Kaliappan’s culinary skills. The arrangements having been made, I headed off for the ‘Mr Balia march’ of the day. Walking back from my evening muster, just below my bungalow, I kept hearing a strange repetitive sound of ‘baak, baak, bakka…..’ which appeared to be emanating from under the bushes. Peering down through the bush frames I saw my friend Kaliappan sitting on his haunches with a palm full of rice and intently ‘baaking‘. Having been unceremoniously hauled out from under the bushes he very sheepishly and with all 32 teeth being flashed at me, informed me that just as he was about to knock off its head, our pièce de résistance had managed to wiggle out of his clutches and had disappeared through the pantry back door.

To say that I was upset would be an understatement. With no money to buy another chicken and with it, in any case, being unlikely that Kaliappan would be able to muster up a replacement at that time late in the evening I had to resign myself to that first dinner being a simple and fairly inedible veggie affair. Crestfallen and having showered, waiting for Shamim and Abid, I was thumbing through my weekly supply of Newspapers (we received our ‘daily’ newspaper in one lot, once a week) when I felt a ‘presence’. Peering over the top of my newspaper I saw our winged dinner, likely drawn in by the bungalow light, very proudly strutting across the red oxide floor. In a stage whisper I called out to Kaliappan who, peeping out from the dining room and seeing the fellow, was out like a flash of lightening. He grabbed the hapless fellow by his neck. Should anyone have seen that film, in his deft movement and sheer speed Kaliappan was the embodiment of the Bushman in ‘The God’s Must be Crazy‘. The next thing I heard was a squawk and by the time Shammim, Abid and I had done with our chit-chat, the poor escapee was in my new Hitkari serving dish on the centre of the dining table swimming in a curry!


The Periya Dorai’s (Big Boss) Angle to Angling

After two years on Panniar with my father figure P.D. (Abid), I was transferred to one of the other Malayalam’s properties in the High Ranges – Surianalle Estate.  Despite us being directly on the other side of the valley from Panniar with a clear line of sight and just a couple of kilometres away as the crow flies, most times we never really ever got to see Surianalle.  The reason for that estate being almost always invisible most times is explained by its very name – Surian (the sun) Illay (not there!).  Which is exactly what it was – almost totally bereft of any sunshine.  Every morning one went down to the muster in thick mist which hung over us heavy as a blanket, all the way through to well past noon at which time, as if by magic, the mist would dissipate to allow the sun to stream in (when the sky was clear, that is).  Conditions which allowed all of us to get our daily fix of vitamin-D till about 1500 hours at which time we went back to being Surrian-alle!

I digress, so let me wander back to the tale which needs to be told.

[click for larger view]

My P.D. (the big boss) in Surianalle was a short (all of 5′ 4″) stocky and tough as nails Scot from Aberdeen.  Clyde Lawrence despite all his bluff and bluster (and he had oodles of that to toss around) was at heart a bit of a softy.   All in all a rather delightful teddy bear package.  After a couple of months of making me run around like a trained monkey and having established that maybe I was an ‘alright type’ one day while walking through the fields he casually asked me whether I had any interest in angling.  Me – angling!!  Having arrived in South India straight out of the dry hills of Simla followed by college and university in Chandigarh was like asking me whether I had ever visited the moon since in Punjab the only angling one had ever heard about was ‘marroing angle’ on anything in a skirt or a salwar-kameez.

Being told that I was a total blank on anything to do with fishing, Clyde asked whether I might be interested to get involved.  Having heard through the grapevine that the P.D. was an avid angler (he was known to have actually said that getting a fish at the end of one’s line was much more pleasurable than having an o******) wild horses would not have held me back from grabbing the opportunity to get further into Clyde’s good books.

Having established my interest, that evening I was invited to the P.D.s bungalow for a drink and was presented with a hand-me-down rod, a spinning reel, some line and a couple of swivels and spinners.  Having been explained the basics of how one was supposed to use the tackle I was told that every evening, post work, I should drop by at Clyde’s bungalow armed with the equipment.  And so began an almost three month training session of  converting ‘young Gurrinder’ into a well rounded planter by me learning how to cast a line, the way ‘it is done in Scotland’!  The Surianalle P.D. bungalow has a huge lawn on which, armed with my ‘new’ rod, duly threaded and with a spinner at the end of the line, I was told to stand at one end of this ‘cricket field’ while a small coin was placed at the other end.  And so began my training.  Day after day, week after week, I had to keep casting to try and hit the coin.  While the new angler-in-the-making toiled away, Clyde and Winne would sit in the verandah having their evening cuppa and scones and cakes and every now and then making appreciative ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’ whenever my spinner spoon actually managed to land on target and we all heard a rather satisfying ‘ping’ from that end of lawn.

Three months later as a well trained angler, though one who had never been near any water with his rod, I was asked whether I might want to accompany Clyde and Appu to Gravel Banks on Rajamallai estate.  Appu, a couple of years senior to me, had obviously already been through the grind and was accepted by the boss as being a fisherman.

Come Sunday Appu and I hopped into Clyde’s Ambassador to be driven to Rajamallai at breakneck speed totally unmindful of potholes, bumps or anything else on the road.  Clyde’s Scotsman logic being that if one sped over impediments, one felt them less and that the cars suspension was less prone to wear and tear.  The fact that his car was more often in the estate workshop for replacement of the dozens of rubber bushes (a typical feature of the Ambassador) rather than with Clyde, did not deter him from changing his mind on how that poor vehicle needed to be driven.

Two hours later, duly shaken and stirred, we arrived at Gravel Banks, on the way having been tutored by Clyde to watch out for the leeches which, in size in and around Rajamallai, were reputed to be in close competition to the trout in the stream.  After we had assembled and threaded our respective rods, in good P.D. fashion Clyde told us that he was going to head upstream from the fishing hut and that Appu and I should head downstream.  The P.D. logic being that with him being upstream from us he would be casting for fish which had not yet been spooked.  And so downstream the two of us headed with huge leeches reaching out to us on both sides of the path and even dropping down our backs from the thick overhanging branches. The only way to avoid the leeches was to walk along in the water unmindful of the rocks and suddenly finding oneself waist deep in freezing water, all the while casting out at regular intervals and every once in a while pulling in the usual 12/13oz tiddlers which is the ‘Gravel Banks standard’.  So as not to disturb each other Appu walked along one bank of the stream, me on the other.

About two hours into the pleasurable exercise, I saw Appu’s rod curved at a rather acute angle which could only mean one of two things, that either he had snagged his hook on to some rock/bush/whatever (a regular feature in Gravel Banks) and was yanking to release the hook OR that he had a big one on the end of his line.  From where I was I could see that Appu had that fisherman’s look on his face when he knows he is on to a good thing.  As well he should have because following a bit of a struggle, out came a goodish 1½ pounder which by Gravel Banks standards could only be described as a whopper.  Almost as excited as he was, I waded through to his side of the bank to look jealously at the thrashing trout in his grip.  While both of us were admiring the prize Appu casually pulls the hook out of the fellows mouth and then, horror of horrors, puts the poor sod back in the stream.  It took me a minute to realize what he’d gone and done by which time the ‘catch’ was well on its way, probably counting its blessings!

When I found my voice to ask Appu the reason for this totally inexplicable behaviour, I was given a lesson in P.D. ‘management’ which stayed with me through my planting days both in the South as well as in Assam, that for a peaceful next working week one never went back home with a bigger fish than Clyde and never with a larger total catch and that, should one end up in that situation where nature has given you the larger bounty, just let it/them go!

By 1300 hrs when we met back at the fishing hut, asked by Clyde what we had in our respective bags and shown our rather meagre harvest and not a word about the ‘one that had got away’, the P.D. with a ear to ear grin opened his bag to reveal plenty more of the 12oz wonders than the two of us collectively had. 

It worked!  Like magic it did.  Monday to Saturday while the other two assistants on Surianalle were at the receiving end of Clyde’s ‘weeds in xxx field’ and ‘signs of bad plucking in others’, messers Appaya and Khanna were only educated further on what the two of us should have been doing to ensure a bigger catch!

Gurrinder [Indi] Khanna was at BCS from 1959-1969 in Rivaz, he now runs a very successful Tea business from Conoor and a link to his company is: Tea-n-Teas

When Friends become Family – musings on the Batch of 1970 – by Vivek Bhasin

Writings 14 April 2019

When friends become FAMILY

(by a certain Lefroyian from the Class of 1970)

It’s the 14th of April 2019 0945hrs Swedish summer time up in the cloudless blue as I fly between Stockholm and Helsinki on a Finnair Flight…

I suddenly have this explosive surge to write a few lines that have formed after a rapid juxtaposition of words… I try to find a Doric pen, a Bic biro or even a blunt 2B pencil (that I can gnaw off the end with my jagged teeth to find the lead within) ..desperation is the key here as I fumble through my bag but no .. there ain’t no ‘Ship Ahoy’ no ‘Eureka’ moment as a fresh flow is melting.. finally from my frozen brain now thawing with a warm breeze, just as pure coconut oil turns dusky and then transparent from its white snow.. when the heat descends from above.

.. and talking about white, I need parchment to ink my flow of words. My brain is unable to keep those thoughts secure as it’s losing the blotting paper, it’s sponge in my  memory bank. Be it  a fistful of dollars or the code to my account,  the need to ink it all; then if possible memorise, then if possible enact them with highs and lows, speaking loud with conviction, with the right emphasis on punctuation, exclamations and emotions.. like an actor who comes under the spot light, plays his part and soon fades in to oblivion of sunsets; the lights fade, the curtain falls ( sing Greta van Fleet) and he is back in that smoke filled cafe in the third arrondissement where strugglers still burn Gauloises hoping to crack the stage of perfection.

I don’t trust iCloud, never really did…just as the plane encounters turbulence hitting a powerful jet stream and every one is rattled sick ..

… but soon smooth air sailing ..

..too soon as a calm prevails and then tinkering of glasses. Of course this Japanese Samurai sitting in front has bagzed two seats;massive he is yet nimble on his toes he does a pirouette taking a video of the entire length of passengers with his iPad bowing and smiling through his Oriental eyes..

Yet I stay desperado-hungry searching with arms flaying ..my words, my words …

The young blue eye’d blonde air hostess questions my worried look as I whisper “ I need ink.. please I need ink..” Smiling she retrieves a Finnair Biro and handing it to me, words spilling out of my ears, I thank her “Tack så mycket” in Swedish and try to stay focused.

I look around for a blank page but all I find are white spaces above and below today’s “i-paper” from London; a day old sheaf crumbled in the chair pocket .. that’s enough I sing to myself and pour it all out..

When the coffee is hot, even a few empty spaces are enough to spill my writer’s beans. But the cup will soon turn cold and the light brown froth will freeze on to the sides leaving little holes like a fading wave on a beach, the waters gone and little crabs appear ..my words will get lost… until the next high tide…

at our age folks ..the next high may be a long time coming ..

Yet now I write..

Having entered the Linlithgow dorms as a 3 foot 6 inch and a fag paper tall shy shivering little boy of five with ears sticking out like a baby elephant… I was taught the Lord’s prayer, brushed my teeth as the dorm bearer Kanhaiya Lal splattered my cheeks with a blob of Vaseline sold in the Hutties below; rumour had it the local Pandit in residence at White Temple beyond Buffalo pond used to collect slime snails which he made into an awful grimy paste, throwing in some black pepper, basil and putrid water of that from that stagnation ..

Indeed ! This concoction was trumpeted as a sure cure for dried cheeks and lips. KL as I shorten the bearer’s name was the middle man who brokered the deal to get fresh turnips in exchange for a sale to  the Hutti wullah who purchased this from Panditji in huge cardboard boxes passing the absolutely disgusting no-brand  over to my matron Mrs Goss (anyone could throw the wool over her pretty eyes). The grime stuck in my hair too and stained my pillow with rotten smells; awful is a soft word.

Oh yes, there was  Red Lifebuoy soap too that Mum sent along with my tuck so I could wash my hands after taking a crap (you mean you never have soap over the sink Baba? Little did I tell her there was no water too… and sometimes the shit really hit the fan..).

They say family is forever, friends are chums, chums later are mates and then when realisation dawns and one gets taller most of those “partners in crime” drift away across time zones, across waters and beyond the peaks and valleys of the great Himalaya..until the final roll call.

I solemnly believe friends become family and as fifty years go by the friend – family connection is a bond beyond blood .. it’s a bond that suddenly strengthens and reunites as if yesterday never happened… the moment of 30 November 1970 has looped around and comes swooshing in for a soft landing …at the School Gates. We have waited long enough. It’s time to stop the world rushing by and return.. return to our ABC and 123…and BCS.

Sukhdev Rai was fascinated about my Pa being a Hooghly River Pilot, the guy built the first high rise on Lal Dora land … eventually, pushing his young Cottonian protege to hit the decks ..

Jeet was an expert at making traps.. of all frikin sorts. He had a fertile mind; reports state he was a wild child and now a slightly more stable dude thanks to his Missus.

Anil Chops always screwed his face in defiant agony and walked the Lefroy Dorms “el nonchalante”.. he smashed his Dad’s Embassy Transistor Radio factory into history ..thanks to Embassy one could see the Black Brothers with their Boom-Boom Boxes moonwalking at Times Square. The fad started by Indian “ locals” carrying the Embassy on their shoulders and twisting like Shammi the Kapoor.

Homer always called me “ a Mamma’s boy” his clothes from England formed a new word in my vocab :

S A R T O R I A L

He managed to come across for my 50th and now his accent is stooped with Punjabiness..

Aku played a cool mouth organ, a versatile tenor he lead the school choir and could sing anything from the Beatles to Cliff Richard.. “A” once told me I could pull a mega liner across the water with a shoe string …easy-peazy..

Anil Adu was a stubborn dude and gave a rat’s ass to Goldie’s orders .. .. the bugger maintained shoulder length hair ..the Rock of BCS.. diehard Soldier, Lenswizard and Master-Crafter-Baker… Jamie Oliver and Gordon Ramsey hate his guts.. so do many others (tough luck as he just doesn’t G.A.F !) …his sister was maha cute! And Salutations to Mum “ Ma’am” my Nature Study teacher .. that’s why I still look for Ferns in Mashobra and Sweden..🙏

PK Singh.. this guy wanted to read my hand and jammed it down .. hard on the desk where a broken point of a divider has scarred my middle finger of my left paw ..the man has now sobered and took an early retirement from the jungle .. settling down in UK.. I mean Uttrakhand. His sister was slim trim and a proper Chelsea lass..Hugs  PK! The Bond grows…

Krit loved his gymnastics, was a lithe boxer who met his match from Shiv Kapoor. I first got the taste of Jintan from K..and yes that monk from Tibet.. K was a philanthropist and I remember the good times in Las Vegas .. R.I.P🙏

Father was born six feet tall the day he was born.. he was focused on researching the female atomic body and was seen (and heard) walking around Scandal Point after lights out..after placing a dummy in his bed … Bakku never cuffed on ..

JSB’s sister looked a doll!

Joel was the only God fearing chap who went to Sunday School praying for all our sins ..Bless You Dr. JAM!

Himesh and Mastu were up to “ purple passages “ and whilst Led Zeppelin hit the charts with Ramble on .. M opened the first drive in at CP aptly naming it Rambles. His Brother was Mr India and came to visit School now and then lifting the end of the Amby (no Jack) so the Driver could change the flat ..!phew…!Himesh became a Travel Agent and ensured Shanker Basu missed his flight and hence was deep soul angry having had to renegade the Deutsche Bank conference in Colombo too!

Raghu was a straight faced devil of a great guy who was working on nominating the Commerce prize..he also knew the dates of the three battles of Panipat by heart ..

Anil M came from an exotic place known for the largest species of butterflies.. Tittlagarh. Another Shakespeare in the making..

Avnesh was a cool hand dude .. he had a game plan..  Rivaz cool hand dude now Luke,  “Thighs and Thailand” were his destined destination ..

Abhai was the sharpest back flipper in the world and blasted my ass catching me sliding down the out-of-bounds Anderson staircase. His hockey skills even had Gyan Chand in awe… Abhai converted his dreams and became a mountaineer. Udechee huts with Swarnima up in pure pristine Dharamsala… he knows Richard Gere intimately…Hail School Capitano🙏

Dilip had the Italian connect and hence the Milano name “ Tinani”.. a pizza is named after him and sold off Fontana de Trevi..

Harry was special … asleep awake or walking sleeping he thought of sex every 9.5 secs …that’s the reason his pug was so perfect …he has written his desertion on the subject

“How to spank the old Monkey” to raving reviews in the NY Times..

Mohinderjit was the special one .. this Ibbetson dude was an all rounder in mischief and inspite of his name on no boards ( for which the heat is on) the writer has nominated MJ’s name for an Oscar for the lead act in the “Academy of Rascals”..MJ (aka Billa) could see in the dark and that’s why Bats zing and ping in dark places …his fiery temper has since subsided thanks to heavy snow falls in Minneapolis.. his Limousine service was linked to Rock Star Prince. Often seen on tip toe looking at OzzzeeTuli’s house ( all cloak and dagger tucked below..!)

Karan was the Ghost Whisperer… Goldie once called him to the lodge to connect with the departed soul of his beloved departed cocker spaniel … it is established that JK Rawling snatched away the book of ghosting logarithms from Karan, and Shakespeare still rolls laughingly in his grave ..

Shanker was a Hongkong Bong wise and wide  chested with a mischievous smile that could  charm and melt one and all .. the dude was a great gymnast..a hockey player and knew where he was headed after Calcutta, Bombay and Delhi..getting a first div was not the problem .. getting five points was..

Smuggler Bill was charting another course of history … the guy knew which window was open; he had that great ability to sniff out the History paper and later made grand plans to derail trams plying in Calcutta … he vanished as an Arab and was last seen riding a camel sitting backwards on the sand dunes of Dubai…

Anil P worked his unique story .. the dude once found a rusty nail in his chicken curry and some jelly like blob in his ice cream .. he vowed to go up to the Artic circle .. another Lothario no one knows how many kids follow him like a Pied Piper .. …with a memory of an Indian Haathi he has Ganesha statues placed in every room and loves Penny Loafers .. (I like Dexter’s) .. innocent? My sorry ass…😁

Rajiv P Shams …likes biology as this was the only way to enter Mrs Kumar’s mind body and soul tactfully, sinfully and with great sensual reality …he flew in from Accra Ghana and after concluding the plot with Mrs VK invented unisex boxer shorts that can dry in two minutes flat, Rolex vouch for that;  later NASA took over his patent.. all US Astronauts wear the RPS brand , Donald T is also interested .. The White House want to see the snug fit and if the tights really protect the family’s jewels ..

Amar Rana was another blighter whose family hailed from Nepal but with great foresight acquired entire Mashobra Hills. .. he was often seen on a moped careening past Park Street and driving the two-wheeler in frenzied laughter into the gates of St. Xavier’s Calcutta…He had a fabulous sister Durgi who my cousin Mountain (R.I.P) was totally madly and crazily in love with… Amar ..remains A M A R🙏

Bhupi Singh another Curzon stalwart was seen running down the steps with his turban half -tied.. and tucking in his shirt with laces ablaze .. in time for the Breakfast line.. what a good hearted soul was he… R.I.P🙏

Pradeep Pando..  RPS’s giant brother had massive hands and stacking six quarter plates could pick them up with one hand fingers only ..his laughter was louder than the howler monkey and he loved to throw in pearls of wisdom at inter-school debates “ it’s a jargon , where revisionism is a betrayal to the ideas of revolution, where dogmatism  is criminal obscurantism and where fractionalism is a mortal sin”…Let uncut diamonds stay safe as they peer across the Bay of Bengala..

.. and there is Kirit Shah… who flies in to London in his private Lear Jet calling me from the skies above BCS… inviting me to Lunch … “ just bringing my wife across to Harrods for Shopping”.. shipping magnate, rice mills, hotels and a host of others …. he was the quiet one with a naughty interior… loved the Khuds as he saw  Khadu belles cutting grass… and ??!!!.. Matka was another favourite pastime and Rivaz was his haven …

Deepu was another serious hard working rascal who always played fair in tug-o-war. The man was a determined anchor who joked when it was time to get serious. Guts, Glory and Sports the man had an insane stamina and could stand sleeping with his eyes wide open.. his opinion of the world then and now was never questioned … dare not.

Gaddi the cool handsome Surd from Curzon.. and another super asset to our Class of 1970.. he was polished and sparkled the virtues of a true Cottonian…was it Jasbir and later Vikram pray may I ask…you have been a noble gentleman, a shining example as you left trails of perfection..

Chachi always won the prize of a plate of hot samosas and a occasional basin ladoo from Farhat “fat” Paul.The more horse manure Paula churned having nailed a crocodile in Jagadri, the more Chachi improved his calligraphy.. perfect flair of the nob.. thanks to Doric and Paula (who had the hots for Missus Shah..she probably rode his “white pony”)

Chachi was that smiley dude and I remember he sold Saddam Hussain his first platinum plated Audemars Piaget from Nath Watch Magazine in Basra. As a young kid Chachi did resemble the Thief of Baghdad.. no?

Arthur was what Red Royal apples are all about .. what great looks, cunning charmer, snake charmer and ladies charmer.. the Banon boy was fabulous. Rivaz’s precious son who hiked trekked fished and enjoyed the wild outdoors… soul stirring dude whose elders came across from Ireland and the US…. “ only the good die young …” R. I. P🙏

Chun-Chun was that quiet melancholic soul who has left the Ibbetson dorms whispering between cubicles of this gentleman and a scholar … Washington DC beckoned … always , unfailingly coming out on top of our unruly pile Goldie often wished to get in to ChunChun’s brain (like Einstein, Mozart, Beethoven and Brahms).. to see what brilliance he had… he and the Itaian “tinani”were thick ..like minds think alike …

The Chief was another firebrand of the Clan. Nagu is part of tribes Cherokee and Mohican.. and rumour goes a major share holder of Hard Rock cafe..his fork tailed tongue can spit a Cobra dead and he takes no prisoners.. either it’s my way or the highway dude… either you have a straight neck or I will wring your neck … don’t try to schmooze your way to a free frikin aloo tak at Chipu’s  you piece of wretchedness..

Behave Okay …?!

…. it doesn’t matter…

I have arrived at the Gates now ..walking at a slow pace past boundary stone … will we all emerge from different compass points,some clambering up the hill, some descending from Council Rock, some landing at Simla’s airport …some sliding down trees and others on horse back ..? We must arrive… We NEED to arrive…

Do we take roll call and walk in silently past the tennis courts … shedding Rivers of Babylon, hearts beating as we look at each other and step on the sacred grounds… will they be an eerie of quietness as we stand around the fountain and look at the porch as the dining hall doors open… will the Bugler sound the bell as we stand side by side in our house lines …will we hear the echoes of Bharpur Singh’s punishment squad struggling as he shouts “ last three had it .!” As the clock strikes over the war memorial the whirlpool of memories spins like a tornado coming back to life; will we look at the turf on the second flat and shout “ Light Blue Dark Blue Colours of ours, c’mon Cottonians, show them stars”?

Or will we just look at each other as we shrink in size into that time machine that will bring us back to November 1970?

Friends to Family to Friends .. now Family again…

Vivek Bhasin

Dedicated to The Class of 1970

Bishop Cotton School

Simla

(the only friends i made were in BCS … a few later were Cottonians too… My Young Bro a Lefroyan and one Chilean Bro… and a handful on my path to Santiago de Campostela…loads of others I did befriend but converted them into mere acquaintances…).. for me that is life .. even as I walk in the eternal city … heading towards the Vatican …

15th April 2019

Spotlight on OC RAHUL GODRA

Rahul Godra

Jerry Godinho interviewed Rahul Godra [Old Cottonian] and has blogged about Rahul’s spiritualism and what led Rahul to startup “Resplendent Soul“:

I realized that a lot of people were looking for the depths of Indian thought, but could scratch only the surface of it. I felt like I could facilitate their outer and inner journeys within India, and then the idea of Resplendent Soul popped up [….] 

 

The entire interview is available via this link to the Four Columns of a Balanced Life website 

Respect, for OC Girish Minocha

Jerry Godinho interviewed Girish Minocha [Old Cottonian] and has blogged about his story of success:

I have a deep respect for Girish Minocha. He is humble, down to earth, spiritual, aware of his surroundings and believes in giving back to society.

He started his business, knocking door to door to build clients. He graduated from one of the best engineering schools.

He follows his passion and has converted it into one of the most successful businesses.

He believes in corporate social responsibility, sustainable farming, respect for nature and he hires convicts. Yes, at any given time a couple of convicts serving a life sentence are working at his enterprise….[read the full article here]