Tag Archives: Old Cottonian

Adam Drobot [BCS from 1956-1959]: Found!

Dear All,

I am not sure how many of you remember Adam Drobot. I have just located him on the net (30) Education | Adam Drobot | LinkedIn

I have downloaded a picture of him from the net. He is an accomplished techy !! His biodata mentions the years at BCS from 1956-1959

Dear Adam,

Yesterday, prior to my mails below, I had written to your corporate address which seemed to have a Adam Drobot as a their CEO on their website. It actually turned out, as I subsequently discovered, to be the you I was attempting to locate !

The correspondence, different colours for better readability, is appended further down in this note.

You, were one of the two Polish boys at BCS during our time, the other being W Kubaseweiz (Curzon, class of 1961), who was a strong swimmer and not the kind you tangled with !!

Accompanying this mail, as attachments, are photographs for Rivaz House for the years from 1956-59 and one for the staff members in 1959 which was the year of our Centenary. You may recognise more than a few of your teachers most of them now gone with the exception of Mr & Mrs Goss !!

I have been able to locate you in all the Rivaz house photographs, except for the house picture for 1959.

1956 –Second row from the top,  Seventh from the right,

1957 – Second row from the top,  Ninth from the left,

1958 – Second row, behind the seated, Fifth from the left

1959 – Unable to locate Adam

[click for larger view of each photo]

I recall you being initially shy and unsure but like other new boys you soon found your footing and were friendly, even easy going. The Adam, I recall was a good student, always in the top five, with a strong disposition to mathematics and chemistry. You loved painting.

The School Art Master, Mr Sasim DasGupta, once commented on your method of heavy and flat brush strokes being somewhat similar to the technique used by Van Gogh ! That year he sent one of your paintings to an institution in London along with those of other boys whose art he felt stood out. In return these boys received certificates of merit. I do not know the name of the institution but Mr DasGupta encouraged talent all the time.

Mr DasGupta was also the Warden of the Remove dormitory where you spent your initial years at BCS. Mr DasGupta, who moved to Toronto and passed away a few years ago, would ask you to spell “Polish” and mildly teased you that that was the spelling for the shoe “polish”. You would deliver a weak smile with a degree of obvious embarrassment.

A small idiosyncratic habit. You were not a sports person but had this habit of often chewing the collar of your Rivaz house jersey! You did not like the marathon and boxing was never your forte

I have never forgotten but you once mentioned that snails were a speciality and a great delicacy in Poland. I have never had the temerity to verify that assertion and hold that belief most firmly because Adam was always a credible source of information. I obviously  never felt desire nor the need to check any further.

The reason why I remember you so well has to do with a little incident and the ensuing moral dilemma

Most of  us were limited by the pocket money that we received at the end of the week from the Housemaster. It was 12 annas (75 paise) or Rs 1 & 4 annas (125 paise) depending on the dormitory you belonged to. When we went out of School on town leave, Rs 5 would get you a movie ticket, a plate of finger chips, an ice cream cone, a Coke and a comic or two! That was luxury.

In 1959 in III Form, you and I sat in the last row along the wall that faced the entrance to the class room from the corridor. You sat on the desk in front of me. These were wooden desks, if you recall, with a sloping lid, lifted at the hinge to offer a cavity space for the storage of books with the provision for a lock. The desk was fixed to the seat with a wooden bar at the bottom that connected the desk with the seat. Often the previous occupant had etched his name on the desk with the use of a compass. There was small space on the desk for an ink pot and we all used fountain pens, the ball point had yet to be invented

One day, I observed a piece of paper what seemed like a Rs 10 note, stained with ink, lodged between the wall and the desk. I dragged the paper using my foot ruler since it was  closer to your desk. Sure enough it was 10 bucks. You were rarely short of money and I felt it, perhaps, belonged to you. Relatively, you were at that time more cash rich and solvent than most of us. So I asked you if that note was yours. “No, it is not mine,” was the response  in your strong heavily accented tone, relieving me, temporarily, of any moral obligation. You are the only one I asked about the note because you were the only likely one who could be its owner in that class room.

I promptly went to the Tuck Shop and deposited that heavily ink stained note (no one else would have taken it!) with Chippu indicating that the credit to my account was now, well, brim-full. For the next few days I enjoyed the best the Tuck Shop had to offer from puris, samosas and chips, all that could satiate an always hungry boy. Days of rapture and contentedness.  A few days later, you came up to me and declared that that Rs 10 note did indeed belong to you. I was non plussed and taken aback. Disaster was about to strike. I froze for a few seconds and then sheepishly informed you that the funds stood extinguished. I had fed, pretty well, a soul in great need. To your credit, you said not a word in rebuke nor did you seek a return of the money. Any other twelve year old would have demanded even an ink stained note. I have always recalled your generosity and understanding.  I have not forgotten though, in my defence, that I had been honest in my declaration and the lack of knowledge was honest though I did speculate, maybe even knew, you were the original owner. No one else was that solvent those days !!

Apart from you, the only other Catholics at that time were Mr & Mrs Goss and a boy named Benjamin (Lefroy, he won the Junior Reading Prize that year! ) who would have finished with the Class of 1964. This group did, on occasion, attend the Catholic service in town with you always turned out in a light grey, well-tailored suit. You were always  well dressed on such occasions but otherwise presentation mattered little.

Adam, you may not remember too many boys from your class during those years at BCS but I reckon you may recall the names of Rishi Rana, the Joshi brothersManjit Sibia, all from Rivaz and in your class, and, possibly, Govinder Singh who lived in Delhi at Wellesley Road not far from the Drobot house in Sunder Nagar.

I faintly recall, that you had a sister and your parents on one occasion drove up all the way from Delhi to celebrate his birthday with a lovely cake. A few days prior to that event, the circle of your best friends had increased rather exponentially in anticipation of a party in the making. The School had arranged a special table outside the Dining Hall in the corridor leading up to the Staff Common Room for the occasion. We wished you wished you “Happy Birthday” with a delightful eye on the spread on that table! . We gorged !!

It has been  65 years in all since we last met. So many memories stand revived and I am sure there will be more inputs from those on this mailing list. Adam will have probably more to add !!

Warmly

Vijay

V K Khurana

Incidentally, the large number on this mailing list includes guys from the classes of 1961-63, some from 1964, Mr Goss, a few others who have shown an interest in all things BCS and the Old Cottonian

Adam replied:


VK,

This is a very pleasant surprise. Thank you for reaching out. A lot of the names on the email list and a lot of the faces in the class and staff pictures still look familiar. Your writeup brings back a lot of memories. Life at BCS had its paces and I appreciate your recounting some of the events even though my recollection might be a bit different. If I look at 1956 I find myself in the first row as fifth from left – and definitely not seventh from right in the second row from the back!

When your email reached me, I was frantically preparing talks for a couple of events this coming week. Once I am back from these you should get a much longer reply. Over the years I have managed to visit India on multiple occasions, including a trip to Shimla. On one of the trips I followed Manmohan Singh as a speaker – that was for Telecom India 2009, in New Delhi.

I currently live in Wayne, Pennsylvania, just outside Philadelphia.  The best email address to reach me is: adam.drobot@gmail.com.

With best regards,

Adam Drobot


Hi Adam,

Truly lovely to hear from you. My thanks.

 While, I will check again, the image you sent is certainly not of you. It is one of the Stokes boys. Most of them migrated to the US. Brilliance was in their genes and they went on to do well in different fields including IT, medicine and laser technology!

 Will wait to hear from you and, yes, different interpretations may occur of incidents in each one’s mind. After 65 years, brain cell degradation at different levels and such other aspect change the perception or imagination of events completely !

 Warmly,

 Vijay

The Dire State of Our Universities / by Vijay Stokes

Vijay Kumar Stokes, BSc Engg (HONS) Mech (BHU, 1961) and PhD (Princeton, 1963), taught at IIT Kanpur (1964-1978), where he headed the Mechanical Engineering Department (1974-1977) and was the Convener of the Nuclear Engineering and Technology Program (1977-1978). He then worked at the GE Corporate R&D (1978-2002). Besides setting up a world-class, science-based apple orchard at his ancestral home in Ilaqa Kotgarh, for over 25 years he has been documenting the local language, culture, and music and dance.

[Bishop Cotton School – Rivaz 1948~54]

Article attached here via this link: University Issues – Hill Post


Published in the Hill Post as well

The Dire State of Our Universities

Brian Howard Niblett

An Old Cottonian moves into his peaceful garden

I have received the following sad news from Allan Gay Niblett Esq; ( Old Cottonian- Chairman Ex-Officio OCA UK -Board of Governor BCS) on the passing of his esteemed Brother :

Brian Howard Niblett Esq;

Born 19 March 1934 Delhi

Died 6 February 2024 Barmouth Wales

BCS 1940- 47. Prep School Cotton House.   Big School Rivaz House.

School Colts Hockey X1. Boxing  Colours.

UK  Poole Grammar School. 1948- 52. Rugby Colours. Boxing team. Polished Ballroom dancer. School Captain 1952. University Southampton. National Service Palestine.

Joined Johnson &Johnson. Left to take up teaching. Lived near Hereford and worked with SAS. Retired living in Wales, taking up Sheep farming and private lessons for neighbours. Brian was a most charming and cheerful character but withdrew into Wales living quietly , until struck by Cancer of the colon. Operated on and looked after by some wonderful Carers and his wife and after a long period of remission,died peacefully and without pain  at home.

He had two daughters- Linda and Jennie with his first wife Maureen whom he met at  School in Poole and a grand daughter Lucy. His second wife, Lyn continues to live in Barmouth.

Brian’s funeral will be held Thursday 22nd February 2024.

xxxx

On behalf of all Cottonians world wide I sent my most heartfelt condolences to Christine and Gay Niblett. May Brian’s soul Rest in Peace

Vivek ( Bonnie ) Bhasin

A much remembered figure: Jal Boga

Jal Boga had written in years ago and his letter was published online September 25th 2011.

Subsequently we heard from Mr Boga’s daughter, Meher Boga, that her father had passed on around a year ago. The original letter from Jal, the many comments and messages of remembrances, and also the recent exchange are available via a link appended below. Jal Boga remains one of those “larger than life” figures of Bishop Cotton School and continued to shine in his career and endeavours after BCS

Here is the link. We are adding a few of photos to make the connection.

Jal Boga : photo sent by Meher Boga

Lord and Lady Mountbatten (BCS in 1947) A visit to Bishop Cotton School by Lord and Lady Mountbatten. Also in the photograph : Prefects R. Button (I) and Inderjeet Singh (C).

BEST YEARS OF MY LIFE [at Bishop Cotton School]