These Zoom sessions are getting better and better.
First these meetings have generated a few new faces each time. In the first session, we were pleasantly surprised to have Partap Grewal appear. This was the last time we saw him alive and it was touching when Pompey asked him to emerge from the darkness that hid his face. It was to be our last ‘sighting” of a dear and old friend. In the next session we had Jaspal Singh Sidhu appear. Jaspal or rather “Juicy” as was better known was in Ibbetson (Roll number 392?) left BCS at the end of 1957 or 1958. Yesterday witnessed the presence of Rocky Chopra and Gurinder Parkash (Josie)
The regulars have been Pompei, the host and moderator, Deepak Lamba, K S Dugal, BM Singh, Ken Singh, Arun Jolly and his beautiful wife, Mei Mei. All these gentlemen appear well organised in suitably admired surroundings with either coffee mugs or whiskey glasses in hand. We have had others join in for a few sessions, Arun Kochhar, Guljit Kochhar, Jaspal Sawhney, Bittu Sahgal, Gurjeet Singh Jawandha. Among this latter group Gurjeet Jawandha is turning out to be a regular presence with his controversial opinions. “Why do you always counter my arguments?” he once famously stated when at the losing end of a political argument when he had run out of debating points.
Covid, not its consequences, has been a major subject but the important and deliberated question was whether you abstain (not necessary if in moderation) from alcohol either before or after the jab. Blood thinners (heavily contraindicated) should be used prior to jab to prevent the occurrence of blood clots (Gurjeet Jawandha). Blood thinner should be discontinued before the jab but could be resumed after a few days Ask Dr Fauci or Rocky Chopra!!
Pompei narrated last evening of a hilarious incident when Rocky, on a visit to Washington DC, went with Pompei out drinking one evening at an up market bar in a car hired by Pompei. On their emerging, after several shots, the vehicle was missing having been towed away to a neighbouring block to allow for construction activity. No, this was not a parking offence but having retrieved the vehicle they decided to hit another bar for one more shot. An evening to remember for all the consternation and inconvenience but ending on one more happy peg!!
Gurinder Parkash (Josie) sighted Pompei after 50 years and then asked, “Are you the guy with the white bushy eyebrows?” Unfortunately Josie was not visibly since he just had not figured out, like several 70 year olds, which icon he needed to press to ensure his picture appeared to us all. Fortunately his voice was around but not his face, while he had the visual advantage of being able to spot all of us. Smart guy because I later discovered he was in his vest and pyjamas!!
Finally I informed those present last evening that Rishi Rana had been bitten by a dog and had to invest in the usual injections to prevent infection. I believe that the dog died the next day!! Can someone verify this, please. Thanks
So, we see these Zoom sessions increasing in numbers and getting more lively. Wait for the announcement date for the next one but the timing will be a bit earlier at 8:00 PM IST.
Here is an excerpt from one of the emails
Over the last few weeks we have been, at the initiative of Anupam Sachdev, holding a few chat sessions over Zoom. The first one had just about the four of us and the second one three weeks later saw the number of participants rise to five, which included Arun Kochhar. Yesterday, there were many more as the accompanying picture testifies. Not included in the screenshot by KS Dugal were Guljit Kochhar, who left early and Param Inder Singh who somehow went missing when this shot was taken.The last session was held yesterday, Sunday 16th Aug at 8:00PM (IST), which is the time for drinks in India and coffee time for most in the US. It was that time of the day when Arun Jolly in LA is usually in his night gear having just woken up to his first cup of tea but bright and sparkling. Ken Singh & Param in Colorado were up and cheerful. Those in India faithfully exhibited their brand of alcohol and settled down to a lovely evening.We did try to rope in Rishi in Adelaide and when it would have been mid-night but he sent a message of apology that due to age and aging considerations he went to bed at 9:30PM. Had he joined in can you imagine our conversation would have encompassed a huge part of the globe!! Modern technology, we never imagined, is available over such a large geographical sweep.Last evening turned out to be truly enjoyable with eminently interesting speakers like BM and Bittu.Warmly,Vijay [Khurana]
Old Cottonian Ramesh David Sihna recently suffered a stroke at his home in Noida, needed immediate assistance which came forth swiftly and without delay via a network of OCs who have always been at the forefront in situations like this. Quick thinking, immediate collection and disbursement of funds, a personal touch, caring for the brotherhood are the hallmark of these dedicated OCs.
“This is the fourth time I have worked on something like this. The first was DeMellow…
The exchange of SOME emails between this network of OCs, who reacted immediately and reached into their pockets for the cause, are reproduced below.
Vijay has spear-headed several such assistance programs at a moments notice and succeeded each time, and several OCs who are in discussion to solidify / formalize / institutionalize such a scheme. Any suggestions and willingness to be a part of a support group are welcomed. The intent is to eventually formalize a Cottonians Contributory Assistance Scheme.
Here are some relevant emails reproduced, verbatim [in reverse chronological order]:
On Sat, 11 Jul 2020 at 13:36, Vijay Khurana wrote:
I received a phone call this morning from Kanwar (Kuttu) Vijay Singh informing me that Ramesh Sinha suffered a stroke. Incidentally Kuttu Singh and Ramesh’s respective wives are sisters.
Ramesh is lying at home. It is difficult to shift him to a hospital unless he is tested for the coronavirus but more importantly the family has no funds. They have not paid the rent for the last few months in the Sector 108, Noida apartment that they currently occupy. Distress all over.
Ramesh initially refused to accept my call and when he did the conversation was brief. I would prefer not to dwell on other aspects but the fundamental fact that the man is hugely unwell. He is also asthmatic. He needs all the help we can deliver – and more. I would not venture to make any judgements on any other aspect except that we have a friend who is now in dire straits.
This is not a request to reconstruct his life but to restore his health. It is, to be plain, a humanitarian effort that I make an appeal for someone we have known for all our lives.
May I please request you all to contribute in any measure that you can. The funds collected will be handled by us directly in coordination with the OCA and accounts will be rendered.
Right now all we want to do is get Ramesh back on his feet. Please respond immediately so that we can then appropriate measures.
I look forward to your response indicating what you can contribute while I work out where the funds should be deposited and ensure their proper utilisation. It would be easiest to deposit it into his wife’s account but I think we need to monitor this more closely and ensure that the monies are employed for the purpose intended. I trust you concur.
Meanwhile, I look forward to hearing from you.
Kind regards & Stay Safe
On Sat, 11 Jul 2020 at 16:15, Vijay Khurana wrote:
You guys are terrific!! Thank you.
Neel Mehra who is coordinating this effort with me has witnessed a spontaneous response to the people he has approached. Several of you have called and would like to know where the funds should be sent.
Ramesh Sinha is currently stable after a doctor visited him this morning. We are not aware of the gravity of the stroke, whether it is major or minor, and until then no funds need be sent but thank you for responding with such alacrity. Truly appreciated.
The way this will work is that we will pay Ramesh’s medical bills directly when the need arises. The funds will be handled by two of three of us and I will be happy to render the accounts when that happens.
So, for the moment, please keep your funds on hold. I will be glad to request for them when the need arises.
Finally, you guys are truly amazing and I say “thank you”, “thank you” and “thank you” !!!
My thanks, yet again.
On Mon, 20 Jul 2020 at 11:14 AM, Vijay Khurana wrote:
This is further to my mail below.
First, Ramesh Sinha was examined by Dr Pandey at Prayag Hospital in Noida. The initial diagnosis indicates issues of blood pressure, blood sugar, rheumatism and asthma. A brain scan also indicates “blemishes”. This was expected since he continues to slur a bit. No hospitalisation is required at present and the patient is, in medical parlance, ambulatory. I am also unable to establish direct contact with Ramesh’s wife. Her phone is shut and their son has not responded. Whatever information I have obtained is from Kr Vijay Singh.
Meanwhile, I have a message from Partap Grewal informing me that he has remitted Can$ 1,000 for “Ramesh or any other OC” I am not sure whether we need these funds but I am not able to access them since the payment link is not hooked to any of the Indian Banks. Besides, no one needs these funds more than Partap himself. He is being most magnanimous.
Apart from Partap I have had direct interaction or third party inputs informing me that the following have indicated a desire to come forward with assistance:
C M Kohli
K S Dugal
Inderjit Singh Badal
Davinder Singh Jaaj
& apologies if I have missed out any name!!
The following have sent funds directly to Ramesh’s account
Rocky Chopra (Curzon, 1963)
Pranav Roach (Curzon,1980 )
Ashwani Nanda ( Ibbetson,1974 )
Anil Puri (Ibbetson, 1975)
Sanjive Sood, (Lefroy, 1978)
It is obvious that OC’s are open handed, generous and compassionate. I am also aware that the list above is not exhaustive and many more will come forward to contribute.
It would appear that there is currently not a situation that requires any further intervention since some funds have been placed at the disposal of the family. Should the situation change in any way and assistance is necessary, I trust, I can take the liberty and approach our friends again.
My deepest thanks for such a lovely response. Most heart warming and most affectionate. My thanks, again.
PS. I have just spoken to Ramesh’s wife, Deepali, who confirms that he is stable and the diagnosis indicated is correct.
Ramesh Sinha suffered possibly a mild stroke. His left arm movement was impaired and he was slurring his words. An army doctor and family friend attended to him and she has stabilised him.
We have had some funds deposited into his account, Rs 35,000 and that should cover his immediate needs. An amazing number of guys have come forward to contribute but we are putting those funds on hold in the event he needs hospitalisation. We will, when that is necessary, disburse those monies directly to the medical facilitator.
I have also responded to some of you individually.
Ramesh Sinha is being taken to a neurologist this morning. Will keep you informed as I receive more inputs.
On 12 Jul 2020, at 1:40 pm, Vijay Khurana wrote:
Several of you have come forward offering assistance with Ramesh’s medical treatment.
The OCA Delhi Chapter has responded with approximately Rs 35,000 having been deposited directly into Ramesh’s account. This amount is currently sufficient to meet any emergency expenses.
We are happy to learn that Ramesh’s condition is currently stable and he seems to be doing well. In the event that he needs to be hospitalised or any other emergency occurs, I will come back to seek your assistance. We intend to pay all such expenses, when they arise, directly to the medical institution for his treatment. Account details will be indicated at that time. Naturally an account of expenses incurred will be shared with every one and certainly with the donors.
So for the moment, just hold on and I will come back.
Thank you, again, for your quick and spontaneous responses. I am always overwhelmed by the caring attitude of this lovely fraternity. It adds meaning to being an OC and that is what this is all about.
It is our response to situations like these that will add value to the OCA (India) as well. We certainly need to institutionalise this effort and it will be one good reason why any one should want to be a part of the OCA!! It cannot be a limited effort based on any parameter whether the year you left School or to the House you belonged to. It has to be a fraternal effort. It has to be inclusive. I trust you concur.
My warm regards
AND HERE ARE SOME OF THE MESSAGES IN RESPONSE DURING THE COURSE OF THE EMAIL EXCHANGES:
On Sun, 12 Jul 2020 at 22:42, Ramesh Suthoo wrote:
Vijay , any further developments on the payment front? Grateful for your feedback,
Please let me know when and where the funds are required .
Vijay you do us all proud.Both Madhu and I have been through a tumble drier for the past two months. She had a severe heart attack, but is now well recovered. But in the time of COVID19 believe me we went through hell and I can only begin to imagine what Ramesh is going through now.Bittu [Sahgal]
On 12-Jul-2020, at 8:36 PM, Badal Singh wrote:
Thanks for Informing us .
Pls let us all know , As and when the need arises …..
I’m sure everyone will be more than willing to chip in with whatever they can spare …..
My regards to everyone .
Lots of Love , Good wishes & the Best of luck …..
The 3rd Div gang 🤣
On Sat, Jul 11, 2020 at 17:46, Berizis Eng wrote:I last met Ramesh long ago along with late GIrish Ghai when he was a reporter with Free Press Journal and got pissed left him to catch a local train unfortunately past midnight and poor guy had to pass the night on a bench kindly let me know where to donate towards his recovery if u talk to him say hi
Hi Vijay,I have already transferred 5k to Ramesh’s bank account details of which were sent by Kuttu.You could access it if you can.Warm regards,Rocky
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.
Batch of 2004
Bishop Cotton School
All Old Cottonians [wives and girlfriends of OCs too] are cordially invited to attend the OCA INDIA NORTHERN CHAPTER Annual Luncheon:
Sunday, the 8th December 2019, at the Defence Services Officers Institute, Sector 36C, Chandigarh, 12 noon onwards.
We are delighted to have Mr Simon Weale, The BCS Headmaster, and Senior BCS Staff Members join in as well.
It would be appreciated that OCs make the time and effort to attend in strength (in particular from the tri-city).
The lunch, as usual, is contributory:
Single ₹2000/- Couples ₹ 2500/-
DRESS CODE – Blazer or Combination or Suit; with Tie [either a OC/School/House/or any School awarded Tie]
Appreciate please do circulate this and inform all other OCs in your contact lists.
Gentlemen, we need to plan the catering to the best of our ability, so please do confirm your attendance, at the earliest , to any of the contact persons listed below. Thank you!
The Executive committee, OCA INDIA NORTHERN CHAPTER:
Lt. Col. Upinder [Upi] Gill – 9417801. President.
Dr. RaviSher Toor – 9888890788. Vice President
Jatinder Hayer – 7009177173. Secretary.
Sunil Tiwari – 9855525506. Jt. Secretary.
Amarinder Sidhu – 9876404728. Treasurer.
Bobby Buwal – 8427377099
Ravi Inder Singh – 9897007192
Thanks and we look forward to seeing you on the 8th!