Tag Archives: Robin Aurora

Robin Aurora [Lefroy 1953-64] : 30th Jan 1947 – 8th May 2012

Dear All,

Last evening Neel Mehra called to inform me that Robin Aurora had passed away at the St Stephen Hospital in Delhi. This morning was his funeral at the electric crematorium at 5:30 am which Neel Mehra, Deepak Lamba, Tinoo Singh (Lefroy, Roll no 420!) and I attended. The timing for the funeral was so early because the crematorium could not offer any other time slot during the day!

Robin’s departure, I gather, was a result of an absence of sugar in the body accompanied by low blood pressure. That was the medical condition with which he was admitted into hospital and he soon went into a coma from which he never regained consciousness. His passing away was most unexpected because the family was scheduled to travel to Goa this morning to attend a family wedding ! It was the effort and the kindness of Tinoo Singh that ensured he was brought down by car from Solan to Delhi three days ago.

Last night most of us who knew of him and had heard the news of his death slept fitfully. Memories of Robin kept swirling past me right through the night. They came as simple episodes of the most mundane kind. For example, it was Robin who first informed me about Mrs Nanavati, the matron in Linlithgow in 1953, of the lovely person that she was. To this day those who were in her care feel she was more mother than matron !  Alas, I joined School in 1954 and never met her but Robin’s account of her, I still recall, with a sense of the deprived!

Robin was a splendid person. Simple, simple and more simple hearted! It was with him that I went on one of my earliest picnics to the White Temple and its adjoining buffalo pond. It was Robin who was the keeper of the prohibited kerosene fueled stove to manufacture omelettes. He was the one who managed that show and all the accessories required to deliver the goods – eggs, butter and bread. He was never the leader in any group but without his presence that event would never have been the same or even complete. This was the man who knew which gear to move and when.

It was Robin who would tweak my nose to inhibit my terrible snore when he could not sleep even though our beds were separated by another one in between ( JPS Kniggar’s). He was sensitive to this habit of mine and the only one who had the courage to attempt a diversion of air into my nasal passage! It would result in leaving me awake while Robin would then employ the intervening period, till I went back to sleep, to make sure sleep arrived to him before I could return again to a state of soporfic pleasure. He did not always succeed since my window of returning to sleep closed before he could shut his eye lids!!

I have never seen anyone enjoy his cup of coffee or cocoa as much as Robin did. He would curl up the mug in his hands to ensure its warmth lingered for much longer. Every sip exuded pleasure and was a sight to watch. I have, possibly unconsciously, imitated his style from time to time but never has a cup of coffee delivered to me the promise that it held for Robin.

I recall meeting Robin outside the Plaza cinema the year it played “Around the World in 80 days” Even though we were good friends but on holiday and with our respective parents, we just glanced and waved each other since the older folk would not have time for idle teenage chatter. We knew, and so a quick “Hi” was quite acceptable. I also recall the year I met Robin and his mother with Nagen, entering BCS for the first time, at the Old Delhi Railway station on our way to School. This time the greeting was more responsive since their mother joined in the chorus of that recognition. She seemed a tall woman and her boys inherited some, though not all of that feature in full, of her thick set lips. Antara, Robin’s daughter, has a lot of her other features though she is not as tall but a petite version of her grandmother, complexion and all.

Robin was passionate about painting and Mr DasGupta can claim huge credit for the encouragement he gave him. Robin built a huge collection of sketches and water colours which constitute an important component of the memory that he leaves behind for his family and friends. I made mention of this in the earlier piece that I wrote about him and is sent as an attachment to this mail.

Robin was an outdoor person and he turned that part of his character to the life he finally chose. He joined the Dr YS Parmar University of Horticulture and Forestry in Solan and then moved to cultivate the land that his father had bought in Rajgarh. Robin met Neelam his wife through Tinoo, who is also her cousin. They married on October 2, 1980. Antara, their daughter, works with IBM in Chandigarh.

Neelam described him as a gentle, methodical, disciplined and self reliant individual. I, like most of us, can confirm her description. We saw these virtues but she was lucky and fortunate to live with them. Our deepest condolences to Neelam, Antara and the rest of the family.

“He who has gone, so we but cherish his memory, abides with us, more potent, nay, more present than the living man.”

  – Antoine de Saint-Exupery

The Bhog ceremony for Robin will be conducted at:
The Saket Gurudwara, J Block
on Wednesday, May 16, 2012 at 10 am.

The Path will commence from today and will carry on for 7 days at the same Gurudwara.

Vijay [Khurana]

Robin is third to the right in the Marathon picture between Badal and me. He is the guy on my left in the second picture:

click for larger view

POSTSCRIPT: Dear ALL. This is also to inform all [those who knew Robin, especially] that Robin’s mother passed away on earlier this year as well – on March 9, 2012.

Spot-light on OCs: Robin Aurora – Lefroy 1953-64

Vijay Khurana writes about a class-mate, ROBIN AURORA, who he met at BCS during the recent celebrations. We are struck by Robin’s very down-to-earth and special life-style in Rajgarh :

Robin Aurora

I met Robin Aurora for the first time since 1964, a gap of 45 years, in Oct this year. That meeting in School was brief and beyond exchanging pleasantries, commenting on our physical changes, we said little being distracted by so many friends and faces you had not seen in ages. 

Robin called yesterday.
Here is a brief update about a man, changed considerably in physical appearance. I would not have recognised him in any other milieu had Deepak Lamba not made the introduction. He became an orchard planter. He began with apples, moved to peaches but now harvests plums and apricots in Rajgarh. Changing temperatures have compelled him to move from one fruit to the next. Very visible evidence of climate change.
Robin’s father had bought this piece of land in Rajgarh several years go and, being the outdoor kind, Robin decided to cultivate the place which is about 40 miles from Solan. He has remained there for over 40 years. His wife, Neelam is a teacher. One of her sisters, Shashi Tripathi, was Secretary West in the Ministry. She has retired and is a now a Member of the Union Public Service Commission.  They have one daughter, Antara who is studying at NIIT and will soon leave her parents in search of further education and opportunities. Robin’s mother is still alive and lives with them. His brother Nagen, most unfortunately, died in an air crash in 1983. He was with the IAF.
I recall Robin as being a gentle person who built small but close friendships. Controversy never touched him. His was not the very visible face but was a person who, when he made up his mind, went at any task with a passion. It could be anything – to the biggest puff (his was truly enormous!!), which his comb, never out of reach, could raise; imitating JPS Kniggar’s foot steps of improving the strength of his wrists by lifting his bed, as he stood in front of it, during morning inspection, or to be the devoted custodian of the omlette cooking apparatus (pan, stove etc) . There was a meticulous manner in anything he did – in the clothes he wore (always “ironing” his trousers by laying them flat under the mattress at night!), his personal habits or simply the way he cleaned his large glasses.  He was the reliable person, dependable all the time (also one time partner, to Kniggar’s large comic collection! Montri was a part of this operation which then went on to include an enormous marble horde!!). His spartan habits have continued through life and the personality exhibits no sign of extravagance in the slightest detail. He was the well grounded, earthy individual and so it is today but perhaps more so in a profession that demands toil and patience 
Robin was a story teller and his fascination with Jim Corbett was something I still remember because those were the only books he ever read! His fascination for the outdoors would have him recounting tales of the encounter and the bon homie Badal’s father displayed with the dacoits (Man Singh!) who operated in the area near Bareilly. Robin’s father worked with The Dholpur Stone Company for a considerable period of time. He lost his father, a heavy smoker, to cancer. Robin retailed these stories in a matter of fact manner as occurrences that were possibly factual but they added a little adventure to life beyond the school’s boundaries. These were real life happenings to which he was privy and not the stuff from a fiction text. He was not prone to exaggeration and these episodes therefore remained as real life pictures from a credible source.
Robin’s encounters in the class room and the games field complied with the standards that were required to be met, never the extraordinary. He fulfilled his obligations and left no scope for any complaint. His creative instincts lay with the outdoors, an obvious passion, and art. He excelled in painting and like Tilak Raj Pawa and several others was chosen by Sasim Das Gupta, the Art Master, to send in their efforts to the School in London. You got graded for your entry and most of the guys Mr Das Gupta chose received appreciative certificates testifying to their talent. Robin’s devotion and interest in this subject was greater than any in other. He excelled and his pursuit in this hobby continues. He no longer uses water colours, and his pen and ink sketches are of a high standard to warrant their presence at select exhibitions. 
Robin cottage is appropriately called
Robins’ Nest.  He will be more than delighted to have any of his friends come over for a weekend. He told me, “Since you are so much on the net, just bring your laptop and I promise you will have the connection to allow you to operate your activities from this idyllic location” !! 

A note from Neel Mehra testifies to Robin’s life style. I think it would be the envy of a lot of us!! This is, of course, minus the Sudden Death incline.
Warm regards


Robin’s coordinates:
Skrone Orchards
PO Rajgarh
District Sirmour
Himachal Pradesh 173 101
Mobile: 98 16 49 46 01
E-mail: aurora.robin3 @gmail.com (he rarely uses it though!)