Tag Archives: Vivek Bhasin

OC Capt. Vivek Bhasin’s [Lefroy 1970] visit to BCS

Sent by email to Head Master

Tuesday 02nd April 2019

Head Master
Roy Robinson Esq;
Bishop Cotton School

Dear Roy,

Good Evening Sir.

I wish to express my utmost gratitude to you for giving me permission to visit School today 02nd April 2019 to address the Assembly and read today’s lesson from Paul’s Chapter 12.

Further you allowing me to hold a Q&A session with the Upper Sixth. I do hope I managed to give back something, something minutely to the young lads from my global travels and experiences. I trust the spark I lit will be a small positive contribution to their journey today and further when they leave the sacred sanctuary of BCS, entering the “Big Jungle” of a frightening world out there.

It was indeed an emotional reading in the Chapel ; you have been most kind to have always welcomed me to School; also my wife Ann-Sofie, my son Dhani.

You opened the gates to my daughter Radhika and her fiancé Daniel in March 2010; they being BLESSED in our School Chapel prior to their wedding nuptials at Neemrana Fort on 4th April 2010.

You even sent four of your well trained racing pigeons which were released by Radhika on 5th April, the day after her wedding. Three flew back to Bishop Cotton School; one decided to convert to a free spirit and spread good tidings in another free space.

Today I came as a representative of my Class of 1970; we would be celebrating our Golden Jubilee in 2020 and with your kind permission would like to coordinate this in School as per your suggestions and directive.

I was delighted to see continuous improvements in the School, being done with great fervour.

I departed from School today with more humility in my heart, to do good in the world.. always as an Ambassador of Bishop Cotton School.

I would also like to Thank Senior Master Mr Boyd and Mr Praveen Dharma for giving me so much of their time today.

With Warmest Regards and Every Best Wish Sir.


Capt. Vivek Bhasin
Lefroy 1961-1970
E: Vivek@SharperEdgeIndia.com
E: +91 98995 61236

—Mr Robinson’s reply–
From: Roy Robinson 
Date: Tue, 2 Apr 2019 at 20:26
Re: Old Cottonian Vivek Bhasin / Visiting BCS 02 April 2019
To: Vivek Bhasin 
Mr Anil Mehra 
Mr Davinder Jaaj 
Mr Deep C.Anand Chairman 
Surinder Singh Saron 

Dear Vivek,

It is always a pleasure having you and all well-meaning Cottonians back in school to interact with those currently studying here. 

Warm regards,

I imagine…

I imagine ….

“The thing I imagine myself being in the future doesn’t exist yet” as I know there is a check list of unfinished business that I need to do in today’s world before I enter the lofty gates of tomorrow’s future.

My elders always talk about “those good old days, those golden days” when time moved at an intelligent pace, a slow wonderful pace. It was a time where every meal was a slow ritual; when every meal was home cooked and my elders enjoyed both culinary delights and healthy conversations. A letter from my Grand Father that took weeks to arrive with the postage stamp of a dancing Peacock was the best happening of the day; the envelope was slit open with a beautiful paper cutter and all around the table stretched their necks with eyes wide open to stare in awe at the beautiful calligraphy on ivory paper, the style of grammar and news from the provinces where the folks lived…

Today the rapid pace is a never ending race against time, levels of stress have reached another dimension. Where the average time spent looking at the screen of a mobile smart phone is three hours a day; it’s not the want of food, nor drink to quench your hunger but the desperation to inform your million face book friends about your every move( friends? really…?).
To quench their thirst with electronic jargon, not whole wheat bread and a thick slice of cheese; the latter is a minority against the power of the mobile that controls our lives.

But enough is enough. 

For me to enter the lofty gates into the future will only happen if I can garner both knowledge and global awareness on working collectively, to slow down our pace, reduce our workloads, and align the Weather Gods to perform their tasks with logical clarity. I want the four seasons to be fantastically beautiful, I want to make sure every weekend is utilised to its fullest with a connect to the great outdoors, away from steel traffic, pollution, abnormal heat and dust, so I can cross the street and all traffic will stop for me, not run over me, where overtime in a Business Process Outsourced office is abolished and the lights switched off at 5.00pm. Where the world dances to happy tunes and I see a green garden where my grand parents look at me as I walk “ slowly “ towards them..
knowing I have so much time to expend on feel, touch and smell, lying on my back to see white fluffy clouds sailing against a blue sky.

In Bishop Cotton School my Head Master R.K von Goldstein read Shakespeare which related to life’s various quests … hope, dreams, love , romance and even gruesome murders and death ..so I could think about what I should expect moving forward, questions that needed to be disseminated and understood with clarity which we expressed in slow soft clear English writing with Doric Pens dipped in Quink ink..

It’s the simplicity of life that I will strive to achieve in my world today so my children enjoy a more beautiful futuristic world tomorrow. Only then, only then.


(Vivek) Bhasin
Lefroy 1961-1970

Christmas letter from Vivek Bhasin

Christmas Letter 2018
“ the meaning of nothing “

From the artic circle running through Sweden…

I sit me down and attempt to rewind the year that went by..

Just for you and him and them excitement, happiness, elation and possibly even sadness made this year….

I have been shuttling between Scandinavia and India ( and my homeland Simla, Mashobra and Bishop Cotton School!)…. and as I write my last lines of this year with the winter solstice upon us I think back on 2018 with both splendid cheer … a year and a tear older. 

The Swedish winter is always cold and crispy blue and with some snow on the ground the swedes are running helter skelter to replenish their larders with Christmas fare… bountiful eating and drinking and merry making … the Christmas Ham is a speciality and the main course amongst a variety of herring, Jonsson’s Temptation ( a baked dish with shredded new potatoes, cream , cheese and anchovies ) that is accompanied by Akvavit ( in Latin the “water of life “potent shot made with fermented potatoes…

The Swedes have always performed with utmost precision having increased their forest cover by more than 60% over the last 30 years; they even control their population … ( since the last 38 years I have been residing in Sweden the population has increased from 8 million to 10 million ..and they are “worried” about over population .. taking proactive steps)….Guess Making Love not Babies … and skiing ⛷! As though nothing ever happened …

The Ministry of 
Yes…isn’t it true when someone … an outsider … a non Cottonian, an outsider asks me about BCS .. I respond “ forget it… it’s nothing” as I really don’t need to explain nor clarify nor equate nor benchmark our Alma mater with others… you and I know what our School was all about .. what it is with it’s deodars, with its weeping willows, it’s grand chestnut tree and the riot of colours in the Head Master’s garden… and our dorms, our dining hall , our Irwin Hall and our Beautiful Chapel..

..cause when we lived in that cradle on the spur of that great mountain and looked at the Tara Devi gap and saw heat and steam and dust out yonder we became part of India’s greatest institution… each brick, mortar, white wash and our heartbeat makes that amazing citadel of ours precious, sacred and lofty .. with great humility… 

We may have both famous and infamous boys who walked our corridors into history; who stamped their impressions in our minds and souls but we have no need to boast nor shout … to others we express nothingness … to “each other” we simply nod and hug as brothers with green-red-dark blue and light blue blood running through our veins…we stand apart, always will.

The complicated world is where we live in…. but we are privileged to sit on the benches to look out over the second flat and beyond…. yes in our complicated world… our BCS is our shrine to return to and untangle our complicated lives for brief beautiful moments….
as Hard Rocker’s Metallica said “ nothing really matters”

Wishing all Cottonians, The Head Master and his staff of all sorts..
A Peaceful Christmas and a Blessed New Year🙏

Christmas 2018
Vivek Bhasin
Lefroy 1961-1970
.. having walked the Camino to Santiago de Campostela a distance of 550 Km so far…
with miles to go……



I am deeply deeply grieved to be the bearer of sad news…

A noble soul a gentleman and a scholar, my mentor since 1999 though I can swear by The Almighty that he was omnipresent in me from the day I was born, John Whitmarsh Knight breathed his last, last evening Friday ( 9th Nov 2018) TBC ….. I was informed. I sit here in Delhi and whirl of memories of this amazing gentleman are hovering around me….

He was the most honest, transparent and forthright Gentleman and I was Blessed to have known him … I spent years in Weybridge with him and he taught me the path to becoming a well formed human being…

..whilst in the UK under the auspices of the OCA UK we orchestrated his tenure at the greatest school in the planet : OUR BISHOP COTTON SCHOOL… he worked tirelessly in School and he not only taught English but was a mentor to the boys …

he looked at the world with the widest photo lens and the boys during his years looked up to him to as a Global Citizen who played his part in giving them an all around education …

My Brother Sharat and his wife Rupa ALWAYS hosted him in transit to School and the UK at their place in Gurgaon…

John was steadfast in his views and saw the world in Black and White .. he stayed away from politics and intrigues and falsehood … and his own tuition and guidance was under his Uncle Tubby Whitmarsh Knight… John was School Captain, Rugby Captain at Dulwich College where Ernest Shackleton and PG Wodehouse hailed from …

He strived to instill good noble values in the Boys at BCS…(he never forgave me for his termination at BCS .. due to ill health.. “ VIVEK , I could have lived in Chandigarh and continued to have mentored to Boys if they chose to visit me… as I WISHED to die in India…”)

I am weeping incessantly for John Whitmarsh… he passed away all alone … a confirmed Bachelor in Addlestone / Weybridge…


I am not sure who is there for John and his beautiful belongings ..??

“ John…. Thank You Sir for being a part of my life… I can see you sitting in your lounge surrounded by your 2000 Books … looking at your garden and reciting quotes from Shakespeare, Keats, Shelly and Wordsworth…… someday Sir… I too will meet you .. in that special garden.. so we can continue ….”

Vivek Bhasin

On the WAY, the PATH, on the Camino to Santiago de Compostela

Vivek Bhasin : Extracts from my incredible 350 kilometers walk on the Camino Frances  On the WAY, the PATH, on the Camino to Santiago de Compostela” 20 April 2018-02 May 2018Galicia, an autonomous community in Spain’s northwest, is a verdant region with an Atlantic coastline. The cathedral of regional capital Santiago de Compostela is the reputed burial place of the biblical apostle Saint James the Great, and the destination for those following the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage route. The western cliffs of Cape Finisterre were considered by the Romans to be the end of the known world. The Camino de Santiago (Latin: Peregrinatio Compostellana, “Pilgrimage of Compostela”; Galician: O Camiño de Santiago), known in English as the Way of Saint James ( and Jacobsweg in Swedish among other names, is a network of pilgrims’ ways serving pilgrimage to the shrine of the apostle Saint James the Great.   

Being neither wiser nor wittier, 19th April 2018 I departed Stockholm Sweden with some anxiety, apprehension and a little confused from both family and my own inner voice,  flying to Madrid Spain. That same evening I nearly missed the last train to Leon from ChaMartin a main line station in Madrid but thanks to a last minute cancellation I clambered on board with the last ticket and my rucksack.  It was around 2100 hrs when I arrived at Leon and searching, asking in broken espanol (Spanish) I finally located the Pilgrims office where I was officially given Peregrino Credencials, a special passport to trudge, stomp, heave, and surge my body towards Santiago de Compostela.  I was now a pilgrim and the geography of the region called me to start from Leon at 600m above sea level moving through various highs ( 1600m) and lows through Villadangos del Paramo, Astorga, Rabanal del Camino, Molinaseca, Cacabelos, Vega del Valcarce, Fonfria, Samos, Mogarde, Castromaior, Casanova, Arzua, St.Irene and finally Santiago de Compostela. I worked an ETA ( expected time of arrival ) as 3rd May 2018 into Santiago but with the weather gods predicting snow, hail, hard sunshine, hard rain, fog, low clouds, strong winds I urged myself to prepone my arrival a day earlier…02 May 2018.

… 20 April 2018 on the Camino..

There are many ways to lead you to the creator.. some indulge in studies of the divine, others wait to be preached, many sit on the banks of the Ganges whilst some on the Himalayan peaks communicating with powerful in chants and prayers and telepathy; many prostrate along the road full length and the repeat this from toe to hair a million times towards their true belief …

..and there are some like me; a trickling faith, a hundred temples and over three thousand chapel prayers at the Holy Trinity Chapel BCS and still I never got it…

The path from Leon to Astorga and the walk at 0710 this morning… I followed the yellow shell, the pilgrim with his staff bent forward, determined.. I followed the road and only once glanced back at the spires of the Cathedral at Astorga.. I never looked back but yet my psyche was not fully impressed with my faith nor was I sure of the end..

as someone told me.. “ never venture, never win “but is this really a win ?( a flood of memories and then a stillness ..)

When I looked back again.. all I saw was the sky turned red and the sun lifting upwards…

This is no game, no gold medal no pat on my back.. this is a path of true reflection; I follow my own … looking at the ground that changes from asphalt to stone and pebble and grass and back to stone … my shell and I, on the road to Rabanal del Camino…


Every evening I stopped to seek shelter…I lived in Church wings, monasteries, and pilgrim hostels called albergues…some were donativos ( you give a donation of a few euros and they allow you to rest your bruised body….. sometimes 60 of us wheezing, snorting and snoring…this was co-ed, yes we men and them women sleeping next to each other ( okay separate beds!) no adverse thoughts, never…. just a beautiful congregation of souls and that is what mattered….each on a camino….a path ..a way.

I carried my body forward in slow steps and then at the summit appear to stand tall, looking at the horizon, but many weaknesses arise within me… will I be someone else tomorrow and the day after ? Only the Camino will speak to me and finally tell me .. or will it?

On the Camino 23 April..(4th day…)

There was thunder lightning and heavy rain last night at Molinaseca.. (I arrived on 22nd April 2018 after a most difficult walk…up steep gradients, down slippery and dangerously wet slopes with huge slippery rocks, my knees took a pounding, feet swollen and hurting as I limped in to  town) .. but today when I awoke in the dark at 0530 .. I saw 2 French Ladies in a hurry .. packing their “mochilas/rucksacks” with head lamps .. whispering in French …they were in a hurry and their briskness got me to lift my body after a hard sleep ..severe pain.

I hit the road 25 minutes later on the road to Cacabelos…The road was hard , the feet pounding … but the sweet cuckoo encouraged my drag to proper steps ..Alessandro the Brazilian was ahead and so was David from Barcelona …and 8 Km to Poneferrida …

I met many amazing peregrinos on the road to Santiago de Compostela ..Mat from England, Als from Holland, Trevor from Australia, Steve from the US.. ( ex Caterpillar engines been to India often.. he looked like Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam.. )Steig from Copenhagen who stopped every 45 minutes to gulp a pint, a glass of vino tinto and smoke cigarettes, a sprightly young lady from Edinburgh, Vaarik  from Lithuania, Juan Franco from Milan, Melanie from Germany, Lorenzo Grossi from Turino, Benedict  a young handsome dude from Frankfurt; he walked into the Albergue Fonfria at 2200 hrs, stripped down to his boxers, took a shower, spent another 2 hrs in meditation…by 0300 he was gone into the fog. I met Tina and Alexandra from Riga, Jessica from Germany too; I even met Senor Picasso, Ms. Galicia future Ms. Spain for Miss Universe, a mature and super intelligent ex.Ms.Greece who represented her country in Rio 20 years ago, young and bubbly Isabela a Danish flicka on her gap year walking fast and furiously and fabulously. I met  beautiful and intelligent Lady Regine at Vega de Valcarce, we had crossed paths earlier as I was always sitting somewhere panting out of breath as she passed me…but that evening she was in the same restaurant having a pilgrims meal and we talked about life and the camino for many many hours…Regine had come to the end of her camino and was breaking away at O’Cebriero the next morning; we lost each other on the path the next morning but met at the point outside the Church of O’Cebriero…she was someone very special on the camino…And Don O’Sullivan a fantastic person, a fantastically genuine person. Thanks Dan! Namaskar.

And I also met this guy ……I met “myself” and we talked of many things on the camino… materialistic and spiritual…I argued and once shouting at myself I ran short of breath; the body pleaded I needed to rest and so I did on a huge rock to calm myself …….and yes I did ..

As I walked through vineyards and even encountered a one-eyed cat… my feet aching … my body sweating…I still kept asking myself.. why but why..? Even Alessandro asked me what is my Camino ..to be truthful I still don’t know, except I wanted my body to hurt at all points and see it heal when I lay down at night to brace another day on this amazing Camino ..

Days went by….at the point of crossing into Galicia I was walking on the ridge of the mountain with the sun rising on my back; the camino walks westward. Ahead the sky was white with low clouds; the chilly blast sensed approaching rain, yet the Gods did not ordain this; instead the clouds stooped low and enshrouded me , the iciness  caressing my face and neck like freezing smooth velvet.

….Then I walked out of the cotton into bright sunshine and entered Galicia and amongst the richness of its natural beauty, encountering quaint villages, cows with bells, beautiful noble horses, sheep, pigs, dogs, cats and chickens ( and even 2 hissing snakes) I trampled over fallen pine cones, hard sharp stones, crossed streams, stepped on cow manure and mud and slush…. up the hills and down into vales, walking in country lanes, past vineyards, along the main autopistas ( the main highways)  , crossing fields and cutting through hedges, an entire forest blackened due to forest fires in some past hot summer.. and getting lost for hours as I could not find the yellow arrow, the stone with the yellow shell…….I felt the reverberations and the power of the Camino…on which for thousands of years pilgrims had walked the same way…plodding westward to the Cathedral…..   

The Arrival

..and finally on 02 May 2018 I entered the outer limits of Santiago de Compostela….the excruciating pain in my legs, my knee caps appeared to have drifted and I was limping. But I saw the twin spires in the distance and I knew my time was nigh. At 1415 hrs, walking in slow steps and panting I walked through the tunnel where a bagpiper played his tune….i closed my eyes and saw the world spinning by….and suddenly I was there at the massive courtyard and the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela…

Dropping to my knees…my eyes closed..the tears ran freely as I heard a voice…”Bienvenido Peregrino”..Welcome Pilgrim…!

( At mass that evening the priest announced…among the many nationalities of pilgrims that arrived today…” one pilgrim arrived from India and Sweden”…that for me for said enough).

(The local newspaper El Correo Gallego of Santiago de Compostela, tracked me asleep at the Seminario de Menor and flooded me with questions.  Why a 62 year old Indian Sea Captain having visited 120 countries wanted to walk the Camino…? Responding…The Camino was a path my wife and I had read about, I dreamt about and wished to be a part of my life; the thought of walking that difficult path was frightening. Many a pilgrim has broken a leg, smashing faces and splitting open knees; many young, fit and able start with great gusto and get spent within a few days, returning home. I walked the Camino with great conviction in my mind and soul and a great power walked with me and protected me. I could feel it on the journey.. The photograph and the write-up on Captain Vivek Bhasin , Old Cottonian was viewed by one and many on 4th May 2018.

The Mariner Vivek Bhasin having lived an intensive life through 120 countries finds this path-the way on an incredible walk ( 350 km) to Santiago de Compostela.

And a few hours later as I walked within the old city I met Gandhi! 

Gandhi handed me a note…” there is more to life than increasing its speed……..”

At Seminario de Menor Santiago de Compostela (5th May 2018: The Departure)

… I got up this morning at 0400 hrs exhausted … the exhaustion was not because of 18 days on the road since Sweden nor due to the completion of the 350 Km walk on Camino Frances and arriving at Santiago de Campostela ( actually in a fairly good physical state.). nor was it due to a flood of memories ( some were so specific that one even lasted an entire 10 minutes … as I unreeled the camera in my mind departing Monasterio Samos and the immediate start of a sharp gradient a steep hard uphill track towards Sarria… it was cold and wet and dark as I pushed upwards …every step had to be secure, no error as the stones were loose , wet and slippery and I could have fallen on my face and all my teeth shattered !..the forest was silent …except for my rapid breath and the fog that formed every time I exhaled ; the effort to reach the top took 105 excruciating minutes; my feet pounding and my body lurching forward, my eyes wide open and my soul..searching. Yes 10 minutes of concentration ignited the inner camera as I recollected that stage of the Camino…

No no.. my exhaustion came on as I stopped the camera in my mind …the exhausted system of mine increased when I left the Seminario Menor, the world of the Camino I was leaving, and returning to the hard road of the world I was going back to…. an immense hollow feeling created this tiredness..I felt concerned on how would the days ahead unfold… was I to immediately transform to the normality of sorts? … as the many sunsets would create flashes of blue on the horizon with calmer stillness so would the ache in my legs and my swollen feet subside, and …

I would re-emerge as another pedestrian in the maddening crowds of the world but with the security and sanctity of always keeping the Camino, the path , the way to Santiago de Campostela within me… and I will smile.

Conclusion ( Sweden 8th May 2018)

I was away from the  pace of today’s electronic and fast moving world where pressures are there to perform beyond your maximum heat beat.. stress is “in” …where people compete on how many million “ FRIENDS… (Friends??!)“ you have on face book but not a single genuine friend … the mobile is a bigger addiction than marijuana and cocaine … and you either survive after multiple heart attacks to increase your bottom line in the Corporate world or commit some other drastic act…

The Camino brings you back to great sensibility ….and you speak .. the Camino answers. away from the artificial jokes, scandals and corruption of the world..

I at least realised how Beautiful life is… on that Beautiful sometimes treacherous route..

I thank my immediate family ( Ann-Sofie , Dhani , Radhika, Daniel, Olivia, Jiv) my parents, my 3 Mums, my grandmother, my blood brother Sharat..and my  cousins … all of you…and some very special people I met in the 120 countries and on the Camino..

I am ferociously grateful to my Alma mater Bishop Cotton School Simla ( I wore the BCS Hat every evening on the Camino)…to all those who’ve gone before and those who’ve yet to come …. I learnt to convert happiness from loneliness, work and play under Team Lefroy and Team BCS…and go out to face the world, a world … at many stages, of scorn, rage, envy but with my solid foundation from all of the above mentioned … I sieved away those who created negative vibrations in me; you don’t need 16 Million Facebook friends in E-Space… you need a handful whom you can speak to, touch feel and love…


I donated a feather pillow at Seminario de Menor, Santiago de Compostela (SdeC)

…..May many  pilgrims on the ultimate arrival at SdeC get an opportunity to lay their heads down on the pillow sinking into the luxurious richness of feathers .. turning on their sides the pillow adjusts to accommodate their necks … closing their eyes may they open their inner vision to the path… the way… the Camino to Santiago de Compostela.. that an Indian -Swedish Sea Captain, a son of Bishop Cotton School… too walked in another world, their world… a more beautiful world…. that stays calling.. calling him to come back…..

Vivek Bhasin

Lefroy 1961-1970

(walked an average of 27 km every day for 13 days..)


Additional photographs…and additional Thanks….
[all pictures can be clicked for a larger view]

I must expressively Thank the following.. without whom I would have surely failed


  • BCS: School Cap
  • H&M (Label of Graded Goods):check shirt/maroon pants/grey jogging pants
  • Mizuno : Walking water proof shoes
  • No Name: Bath Slippers
  • Dobber : All weather jacket
  • Wenger: Rucksack
  • Happy Socks: Socks
  • El Corte Ingles:Belt
  • Björn Borg : Boxers
  • Jockey : undervest
  • Levi’s: Sweatshirt
  • Timex: Wrist watch with luminous dial so I could rise at 0500
  • Nano-b: Toothbrush
  • Folk:Toothpaste
  • Negro Jabon: Soap
  • Interprox : Inter dental brush
  • Profimed : Dental Floss
  • XXL: Cotton sleeping case
  • XXL: Trekking Towel
  • Spanish Vaseline
  • Mum’s Mustard Oil ( Calcutta)
  • Costa Rica : Bandana
  • Dhani : Rain Sheet
  • Dhani: Cotton /Linen stole
  • Trigger: Walking Sticks
  • Camino: Weather Hat
  • Olivia’s woollen gloves
  • Ray Ban: Specs/Shades
  • Samahan: Herbal powder
  • Peder Persson: Hunter’s survival bag
  • .. my hair brush..