Tag Archives: COVID19

A few more – from Suresh Sethi

COVID-19

Krishna,

I know you love to show off your magical powers—

To bring massive upheavals on this earth:

And then justify them with your old excuse—

‘ I have to reduce the burden of Mother Earth’.

 

Hence the great war of Mahabharata;

Followed by countless, wars, floods and famines—

And now Covid-19,

Your latest arrow from your armory of Maya.

( to add insult to injury you admit you could have prevented all of them)!

 

I admit and acknowledge:

 That you are the Big Boss of the Cosmos—

And you are legally allowed to do anything you want to do:

But please for a change—

Can’t you send us the virus of: love, peace & happiness—

I mean just for a change?  


Lullaby

 

Beloved, day has come to an end—

celestial fire gone over the city fence.

Now the night comes a timely reprieve

for a daily panic:

finicky like the street traffic.

 

Set down your limbs for solace

and seek a kiss of grace

Say with a faithful chant: for a lonely want—

a confessional prayer

and go over with reverential fear.

 

Beloved, for a few hours let all doubts subside

and seek shelter in the dark.

Gently go over to sleep;

never mind to-night:

for tomorrow’s chronic rise.


 

            From my diary, November, 1979

 

Winterline

obscures likes wingtips

in the acataleptic shade.

Stars

coruscate like a tooth in the dark.

Pines

are silent in the accrescent cricket wails;

as wind

goes rustling through their blind eyes.

Chill

feeling my bones fuses sleep.

My mouth

is stale with nicotine.

Eyelids

flicker hesitantly like

much discussed ideas half-explained.

Legs

wobble and long for sleep.

 

                                    Poem

 

Already the swollen crevices of the heart

flood the pores of veins;

and memory with her illusive taunts

throws fear’s goblet stains.

 

Outside, winter creeps on soft soles.

The men go about their ways.

Only an occasional exuberance of wind

tells the parting of summer days.

 

Soon the moon will be a copper coin

sky heavily painted with blood;

and my reverberations like ill-begotten sons

shall tear my bed loose.

 

On the last ride when siren’s wail

shall sear through the traffic lights,

and I flutter alone within cold walls;

beloved, please be by my side.

 

 

 

 

               O God!

 

Some times:

let me suck at your breasts

for succor like a child.

 

Some times:

let me sleep in your lap,

my head resting with assurance on your strong thighs.

 

Some times:

with your vast wisdom

wean out my thread of life

from the entanglements of this world.

 

Some times:

show me the way out

from the confusions of dead ends.

 

Some times:

stop this incessant ticking

of the metronome of my head.

 

Some times:

lift me lovingly like a grandfather

who never asks any questions.


 Obituary

Brilliant like the sun at noon,

and reporting like the nervous telephone;

the latest OCA News lies on my desk

with corporate graphs, minutes, tasks

of winter ahead. And embroidered here

on the last page of the year,

‘Lala’, your obituary is cut

out and zeroed like a bomber’s target.

The little extra I know about you is

accidental, the rest between stodgy covers

like any reference stands

an index for the groping hands.

In a two minutes silence

(mutely staring at my buttons)

I pay an official condolence:

You, who were one of us.


                                                                   

Bishop Cotton School — how Asia’s oldest boarding school is coping with the pandemic

From The Indian Express:

Football season, a mountaineering expedition, a cricket tournament, an inter-school debate competition – these are some of the events which have been canceled or postponed due to the pandemic at the Bishop Cotton School in Shimla, one of Asia’s oldest boarding schools for boys.

Though students are attending regular virtual classes from home, they are missing out on a number of sports and other activities, apart from the experience of community-living in the residential school, said Simon David Weale [MA Oxon] the school’s director.

“We’re eager for the campus to fill up with students again. They are attending 44 hours of virtual classes every week, and our teachers have improvised well and come up with innovative, teaching methods. But students are not obliged to attend all these classes as too much screen time could be unhealthy. Besides, the essence of holistic education provided here is the residential environment. That’s why even local students from Shimla live inside the campus,” said Weale.

A typical day at school begins at 6 in the morning and lasts till 10 at night, during which boarders are engaged in physical training, classes, organised games, prep and co-curricular activities such as public speaking, art and drama.

In summer, the school also organises outward-bound activities such as treks and adventure sports, and a month-long mountaineering training course for the outgoing batch, which have all been delayed this year. “The mountaineering course is usually followed by an expedition, and so far, there have been seven successful expeditions to Himalayan peaks above the altitude of 20,000 feet. For those who have missed the course this year, we are planning to rearrange it for them next year,” said Weale.

The school has a strength of about 450 students and 160 staff members. Though a majority of the students are from Himachal and neighbouring states of Haryana, Punjab and Delhi, there are students from all corners of the country, including Mizoram and Odisha, and some foreign students as well.
When the state government ordered closure of schools on March 14, around 70 per cent of the students left for their homes. Those appearing for their board examinations stayed back but left soon after the Council for the Indian School Certificate Examinations (CICSE) canceled the exams. Three boys from Thailand stayed back till as late as May but left as restoration of normalcy seemed distant.

Not the first disruption in school’s history

For many institutions, the pandemic crisis is unprecedented, but BCS has survived several such disruptions since it first opened for students in March 1863. On a Sunday in May 1905, when the boys were away for an outing, most of the school was destroyed in a fire. The students were shifted to other lodgings in town, and the school was rebuilt and occupied two years later in July 1907.

An outbreak of influenza in 1922 also affected the school, and the then headmaster FR Gillespy’s wife died while treating the children, said Weale.

After partition and independence, an exodus of Muslim, British and European boys led to the closure of the prep school in Chhota Shimla.

“We have also heard of some other disease outbreaks such as that of yellow fever during the school’s long history. And there was no internet back then to impart distance learning to the students, as is happening now,” said the director.

Legacy

BCS was founded as the first ‘public school’ in India (along the lines of the British ‘public school’ system, which incorporates a house system, a prefectorial body and a system of organised games) by George Edward Lynch Cotton, the then Bishop of Calcutta, in July 1859. First established at Jutogh, it opened for students in March 1863 with Frederick Naylor as the first student. The school moved to its present site at the south end of the Knollswood Spur in September 1868. Suren Tagore was the first Indian boy admitted to the school in 1881.

BCS has a long list of distinguished alumni such as writer Ruskin Bond, six-time Himachal CM Virbhadra Singh and Major Roy Farran (Curzon), a decorated officer in the British Army. The school also has an infamous alumnus, Reginald Dyer, a British general remembered for his role in the Jallianwala Bagh massacre in 1919. The motto of the school is:Overcome Evil with Good”.

Thank you Mr. Praveen Dharma for sending this in.

Best wishes,
OCA WEbmaster

Batch of ‘04 – from Raghav Kumar

Hi Folks,

Hope you doing well!

This would be my 1st mail to you. It’s been 16 years since my batch and I, have passed out of school and life has taken us to various places.

My batch created a small whatsapp  group, so that we can all be in touch. This year has been hard for most of us. Some of my friends lost their jobs, while others were sitting at home getting low pay or no pay.

Since, most of my batchmates were undergoing stress, Amos (Ibbetson), Parmeet (Curzon) and I, took an initiative of asking my schoolmates about their best memories at school and how life been after school.

We were lucky enough to get some responses, I am assertive that we would get more responses of my batchmates and uplift their confidence.

I thought of sharing some clips of them, for people who chose to send their clips.
I hope that you would like the glimpse of these nostalgic videos.

Raghav Kumar
Lefroy House
Batch of 2004
Bishop Cotton School
The videos should appear below, but if these do not then you can use the Links :

Video_1 Video_2 Video Video_3

The Dear Departed – by Ateek Gupta

THE DEAR DEPARTED

IT FEELS LIKE YESTERDAY THAT YOU LEFT
GOD TAKING YOU AWAY FROM ME
WILL ALWAYS BE HIS GREATEST THEFT

I DO NOTHING NOW BUT WEEP
BECAUSE THERE WAS A PROMISE
YOU WERE SUPPOSED TO KEEP

NOW MY LIFE IS CLEAVED
IF YOU WERE HERE
I WOULD HAVE FELT SO RELIEVED

NOW I KEEP YOUR BELONGINGS CLOSE
BECAUSE YOU ARE A DRUG
I WOULD LIKE TO OVERDOSE

THE TIME SEEMS TO COME TO A STANDSTILL
THERE ARE MEMORIES I WANT TO KILL
BUT MY LIFE NOW HAS BECOME A BASTILLE

LIFE NOW SEEMS SO TOUGH
THE PATH TO MOVE FORWARD
IS WAY TOO ROUGH

LIFE NOW HAS BECOME LIKE HELL
SO DARK AND BLEAK
A HAPPY FACE NOW I CANNOT KEEP

I FEEL BACKED AWAY IN A CORNER
IN YOU I FIND SOME HOPE
TO COME OUT STRONGER

IT FEELS LIKE A PART OF ME IS SHATTERED
BECAUSE TO ME
IT WAS YOU WHO ALWAYS MATTERED

AROUND YOU I FELT SO SAFE
BECAUSE YOU WERE MY SUPERHERO
WITHOUT A CAPE

WITH YOU I FELT SO LOVED
THERE WASN’T A OBSTACLE
I COUDN’T HAVE CRUSHED

YOU MADE ME WISE
NOW I FEEL THAT
YOU WERE MY BIGGEST PRIZE

IT WAS A GLORIOUS RIDE
THAT WE PASSED IN HAPPY STRIDES
AND LIVED WITH PRIDE         

ATEEK GUPTA
Rivaz House, Batch of 2018

“OVERCOME EVIL WITH GOOD”

Two Old Cottonians

Sorry to be the messenger of sad news
Two Old Cottonians
My brother John Stringer  (Lefroy 1942-45) taken by COVID19  – Sunday 17 May 2020 we mourned his loss – his funeral was this afternoon at St Richard’s Chapel Surry & Sussex Crematorium .
John was born in Khanai Balochistan (now Pakistan) on 24 July 1929.     Early years studied at Lahore Railway School. While a few years in Karachi we both studied at The Karachi Grammar School.  My Mother received a letter of commendation from the Governor of Sindh expressing thanks & to be proud of her son Johnathan who he had watched fighting like a tiger in the boxing ring and sing like a divine cherub in the choir at his daughter’s wedding. John was a member of the outstanding boxing team at Bishop Cotton School Simla. After leaving school he took an apprenticeship in airconditioning in Lahore moved with family to Bihar and carried on to Calcutta starting his Air/con business – Migrated to England with his wife & three children.    Years later he moved & lived in Antiga & Spain returned to the UK after the death of his second wife & resided in Caterham Surrey.
My very dear friend Arthur Jones (L 1942-49) passed away at around 2:pm this afternoon 11 June 2020 very peacefully in Waterbeach Cambridge – his daughter Julie informed me.
Sadly for me, two lights dimmed out of my life.  I shall miss them both dearly am overcome with sorrow but will leave you a poem brother John from about the age of 13 or 14 would recite for me. 
Peter Stringer  (Lefroy1943-47)


O call my brother back to me

By  Felicia Hemans

O, call my brother back to me,
I cannot play alone;
The Summer comes with flower and bee,
Where is my brother gone – ?

“The flowers run wild, the flowers we sowed,
Around our garden tree;
Or vine is drooping with its load,
O, call him back to me.”

“He would not hear thy voice, fair child,
He may not come to thee,
His face that once like Summer smiled
On earth no more thou’t see.

“A rose’s brief, bright life of joy,
Such unto him was given;
Go, thou must play alone, my boy;
Thy brother is in Heaven.”

“And has he left his birds and flowers?
And must I call in vain?
And through the long, long Summer hours,
Will he not come again?”

“And by the brook, and in the glade,
Are all our wanderings o’er?
O, while my brother with me played
Would I had loved him more!”