Completed. Here’s me at the summit of #Aconcagua (6,962 meters or 22,840 feet above sea level) after an intense 13 hours of climbing where we started our climb directly from Camp 2 with no acclimatisation. Due to weather conditions we had to change and complete our entire climb from Base Camp to Summit and back to Base Camp in a shortened 5 days (in Everest it was 21 days and in Manaslu I did it in 10 days – Usually it takes double or even three times for most climbers).
With this summit of Aconcagua, I’m now closer to my goals of being a true Explorer. If summiting an 8,000 meter peak is equivalent to a Masters degree and summiting Everest is a PhD, then the below are the lifetime Emeritus titles offered. So far, below are my membership journey into the various clubs I’ve always wanted to be a part of:
Completed 1/3rd of the Three Poles Challenge
Completed 2/7th of the Seven Summits Challenge
Completed 2/9th of the Explorers Grand Slam
Completed 2/14th of the 14 8,000+ Meters Challenge
J. S. Grewal [1970 Batch] sent in this very interesting excerpt from a book he is reading “The Frontier Scouts” by Charles Chenevix Trench, in which he came across a reference to an Old Cottonian – Lt. Sharif Khan aka Sharifo . There was an incident  where he [Sharifo] was burying a fellow officer Andrew McKenzie, he mentions the Lord’s Prayer and how remembered the prayer from his days at Bishop Cotton School Simla:
In 1944, Khojak Brigade on Baluchistan frontier was disbanded. In March 1945 Tal Brigade was disbanded and some of its units were assigned to Kohat Brigade. In April 1946, Indian army Commander-in-Chief Field Marshal Claude Auckinleck presided a high-level conference at Peshawar. It was attended by Governor NWFP, Agent to the Governor General Baluchistan, British counsel at Kabul and senior military and civil officers. A unanimous decision was reached to replace regular troops in tribal areas with scouts and khassadars. It was to be gradual withdrawal in five phases and to be completed in two years. It was with this background that Pishin Scouts were raised and decision was made to raise Central Waziristan Scouts and retrain Malakand battalion. Khyber Rifles was re-raised on 26 April 1946. The nucleus was from war time raised Afridi battalion. Lieutenant Colonel Muhammad Sharif Khan ‘Sharifo’ (5/10 Baluch Regiment) was appointed commandant of Khyber Rifles. Khassadars were to be trained and disciplined to make it a reliable partner of scouts. To achieve this objective, in 1946, a new position called district officer in charge of Khassadars was created. In 1946, in North Waziristan about two thousand khassadars were put under the command of Frank Leeson.
Thank you for your message which has come as a shock and a surprise.
Emotions overwhelm you on such occasions.
My earliest memories of Ramani, which is the name we knew her by until she
changed to Mary, is of a little girl immaculately turned out playing in the
garden just above the basketball court which is where your parents first
resided when they moved to Simla. Your parents did not hesitate to display
their affection for this little girl who always seemed shy. She found it
easy to constantly attach herself to her mother and then peer at you from
behind her mother’s sari. She would then smile with hesitation. Small and
casual images but they remain such clear memories etched in my mind. Trivial
and insignificant as these are, they take you back to the happy days of
places, people and events that happened so long ago.
There is now a graphic contrast from that little happy girl to a grown woman
who just past on in life. Two starkly different events more than 50 years
apart strike you as collective memory and you say to yourself, “What
happened ? Did this passage of time move so quickly ?” Disbelief.
I just called and spoke with Sara a few minutes ago. This is another hard
blow after the passing away of your mother in June this year. Ramani’s
photograph bears such a close resemblance of your father, Mr P M Varughese.
Suddenly this family comes back and we can only think of them with affection
and gratitude for the fact that they touched our lives.
On behalf of all those who remember and knew her, The Old Cottonian
Association, we offer our deepest condolences to your families and you. May
her soul rest in peace.
With kind regards
From: A. Siromoney
Sent: 28 December 2017 12:07
To: Vijay Khurana
Subject: Death of Mary d/o PM Varughese
Dear Mr Khurana
I know that my older sister Mary (Ramani) Varughese kept in touch with the
old Cottonians. She was suffering from terminal lung cancer diagnosed in
July 2016. Thanks to the efforts of the doctors at CMC Vellore she enjoyed
fairly good health for nearly 16 months; but the cancer eventually overtook
the available therapies by September. I regret to inform you that she passed
away on 20th November in Delhi at my other sister Sara’s home.
The funeral and burial was conducted in at her church in Coonoor, Nilgris
Dist, Tamil Nadu on 24 Nov.
She studied up till Std VI in BCS, VII -IX at Convent of Jesus and Mary,
before my father moved to the Nilgris where she completed her schooling in
TO ALL MY FELLOW OLD COTTONIANS:
‘It is with great honour and privilege, I wish to inform you that I, Justice Rupinder Singh Sodhi (Retd.) of BCS Batch – 1962, House – Curzon, have taken over as President of the ‘Old Cottonians Association – India’ w.e.f. 1st April 2017 alongwith my new team members as below :-
1. Mr. Ashwani Singh Virk – Secretary, Mob. 9810194724
2. Neel Kamal Mehra – Treasurer, Mob. 9810784441
3. Mr. Vivek Bhasin – Jt. Secretary, Mob. 9899561236
4. Mr. Himmat Singh, Mob. 9828383183
5. Col. Uppi Gill, Mob. 9417801853
6. Dr. Ravi Toor, Mob. 9888890788
7. Mr. K.Vijay Singh, Mob. 9811056361
8. Mr. Suneel Bandhu, Mob. 9223349090
9. Mr. Mohnish Sharma, Mob. 9930992094
I also hereby appeal to all of you to enthusiastically take part in activities organised by any chapter of OCA(India) and show your true Cottonian spirit to support our fraternity worldwide.
Sincerely looking forward to a healthy co-operation and association from all old cottonians.