59er Golden Reunion Directory

59er Golden Reunion Directory
59er Golden Reunion Directory

Sunday, December 15, 1996

SHV02-Issue 6: 961215


Au Revoir Web-surfing Stephanians and Cathedralites,

The time has come to say au revoir to all of you wonderful web-surfing Stephanians and Cathedralites.

Many of you are probably too young to know how Indira Gandhi effectively introduced censorship of the critical news media during the mid seventies. Besides imprisoning the political leaders and her sharpest media critics, her most effective weapon was to restrict the quota of newsprint to the critical press and also the amount of Government business directed to the outspoken media - very effective ways of shutting them up.

Here, in this western democracy called Finland, the establishment has a very effective method in this tightly run society. All your contracts vanish, making it impossible to survive if you are in conflict with the establishment. Hence Findians Oy had no option but to seek outside assistance to prop it up while they tried to restructure their actvities to be able to withstand the tirade. They attempted to raise sufficient funds to save their three popular webletters. This was not successful. They reached only part of the initially targeted amount.

Hence, the new owners of Findians Oy (Annikki, my better half, and I had to sell out our interests in the company for technical reasons) have informed me that they are returning all the cheques, money orders and cash received from many of you wonderful people out there. This will be done over the next two weeks so as to avoid any loss during the present Christmas postal rush. They will be returning the documents registered post acknowledgement due.

If you do not receive the contribution, you so generously made, by the 7th of January 1997, please send me a message.

I have succeeded in getting myself a private email address outside the clutches of the authorities and outside of Finland.

I am glad that KOOLER TALK (WEB VERSION) and SEVENTH HEAVEN lasted 18 issues.

I can honestly say I had a lot of fun putting up these pages every fortnight. During these last 9 months I made many wonderful friends from all around the world from different school and college generations, older and considerably younger to me.

Surprisingly, I did not get a single bad vibe during that entire time, which, as a professional editor, was quite a feat - no, not even a single staff member complained about my abraisive style and content!

I am taking the optimistic view that the alma mater webletters are temporarily suspended till I can raise enough funds to put them up without any assistance from Findians Oy. It may mean setting up my own web server equipment, my own computer with sufficient storage space, etc. which, unfortunately is rather an expensive process and outside of my present financial (and probably technical) capabilities. After all, as you all know I am not one of the present youthful generation and in my younger days we were lucky if we learnt how to operate a calculator which weighed as much as my present portable Mac on which I hammer out my books. My next one, Handbook For Survival in India, which is a sequel to our last local best-seller Handbook For Survival in Finland, is about halfway through at this stage.

Hopefully I can leave the archives on line for some time. If I manage to locate a permanent home for these archives, katy1.html, katy2.html and the one one which will go up next week katy3.html for Stephanians and sevven1.html, sevven2.html and sevven3.html for Cathedralites, I shall move them there and post the location in the World Alumini Register. I will leave the entire index archive as a single entity as koolertalk.html and seventhheaven.html till such time I can restart them.

What pleased me the most and made me particularly happy was that many of you thought me to be of just your generation, although, in some cases, I was at least 30 to 35 years ahead of you at the alma mater. Thank you for all the compliments which flowed like water from all of you.

In a way I am sad that it had to come to an end in this way, for no fault of any of us. Unfortunately, Annikki and I are people who believe in freedonm of expression, and we accept criticism as much as we give it. My grandfather, the late K. C. Mammen Mappillai (KCMM), stood for this principle, which saw him suffer many ignoble things, but the foundation he laid has resulted in the Malayala Manorama becoming the largest circulating newspaper in India.

It may be too much to hope, but one of these three webletters may hold a similar position on the web well after my time - and that thought itself spurs me to be ready to hand it over to capable hands that may come forward. Consider that the Malayala Manorama had to stop publication for almost a decade when KCMM was imprisoned and it was restarted only after India attained independence.

Your Stephanian/Cathedralite colleague

Jacob Matthan
Oulu, Finland

Sunday, December 01, 1996

SHV02-Issue 5: 961201


Hi Cathedralites,

It is nice to get 93er Vivek Sikri's occasional newsletters with a couple of interesting letters. Also, he has taken the trouble to maintain the directory but has asked someone to relieve him off this responsibility.

I still think that the World Alumini Register is the best bet and all Cathedralites should register there. It only takes a couple of minutes. They have a useful monthly reminder service in which any entries to the Bulletin Board which is maintained on the site is also informed to all those whose names are registered there, besides informing the names of new additions. I get four reminders from them, and therefore, am fairly up-to-date with all my alma maters.

Many of you have been intrigued by the Tin and Bottle Competition that I mentioned in an earlier issue. It was for the badminton competition which we used to have at school, the entry fee being either a tin or a bottle of something. In our childhood days most tins and bottles were great delicacies - there were not many Kissans and other brands around, so the collection of tins and bottles was quite an attractive package to play for.

The Nestles Milk Maid condensed milk tin was my favourite. I could finish an entire tin by myself in one sitting, and I probably still could, if my wife were not so strict in keeping my triglycerides down.

I wonder why Bombay is so quiet about setting up the Catcall Web Site. It would certainly relieve a lot of pressure on me if they would put up regular issues of Catcall on the web so that I could gradually make this webletter a monthly rather than a fortnightly. I do not want to reduce the momentum that we have achieved so far for almost a year, but I would certainly like to have some others share my load.

Oh, that Ooky had a web presence. His imitable style would have all of you in splits of laughter. That is something, unfortuately, whch is not my style, because I am more a political satirists rather than a humourist.

Could someone out there give us more details about the new school principal. Is she the first woman principal of the combined schools? Sorry to show my ignorance, but it does show you how far I am from the city of Bombay!!

I have discovered some more old photographs in my collection here in Finland, and hopefully will put up some of them in the coming issues.

57er Kashinath Dandekar had one comment that got me a bit worried - he mentioned that someone had equated the title "Seventh Heaven" as sounding like the name of a Bangkok massage parlour.

I hope I have massaged your senses, but there has been an overwhelming mail to maintain the name as it is, as after all, it was the class newspaper for us in 1955 when we were in the Seventh Standard, and it has a lot of sentimental association to many of the readers of that era.

More in a fortnight, and do continue to send me your criticisms and comments. Above all, I love the criticisms as it spurs one to do better - that was one of the best lessons that I learnt from the red ink of Pop Pharoah from his correction in my geometry Xth Standard classwork book.

Your Cathedralite friend

Jacob Matthan
Savage House Captain 1959
Oulu, Finland

Sunday, November 17, 1996

SHV02-Issue 4: 961117


Hi Cathedralites,

A few weeks ago I noticed the name 57er Aubrey Ballantine in the Cathedral page of the World Alumni list (hope you have registered). I recalled a Ballantine who was senior to me and used to sing in the Cathedral choir. So I dashed of an email to him asking Aubrey whether he had been in the Cathedral Church Choir.

PAM&ME

Cathedralite 56er Head Girl Pamela and brother,
57er Aubrey Ballantine in England

Aubrey did not recall me, as I was his junior, but confrmed that he had been a choirboy till his departure from India for Canada in 1956.

Aubrey mentioned a few Cathedralite staff members who have settled in Canada including Mr. William Shiri (Physics) and Mr. O. A Gregory (Chemistry). Aubrey had also met the late Stan (Pop) Pharoah when he had visited London in the sixties.

My memory of Aubrey was that he used to carry the cross which led us up that long walk from the vestry to the Choir stalls.

What did you do after you received your final results?

I can remember my situation as in our class of 28 we landed up with 27 First Division and 1 Second Division for the Senior Cambridge. Some of our group had already rejoined school to do the HSc, but several, like me, were looking around to see which college or University to join. Those days there was no question of capitation fees, as entry was purely by merit.

I toyed with joing Elphinstone College. But when my parents explained to me that if I joined St. Stephen's College in Delhi I would not have to do the Inter Science examination and I could get my Bachelors degree in just three years, I knew that was the best alternative. The other alternative was to join the Kharagpur Indian Institute of Technology.

So, to celebrate the First Division, and also to see the college where I would spend the next three years of my life I planned a trip to Delhi.

When I mentioned this to some of my friends, we quickly formed a posse to spend a week or two in Mussorie - as all our parents were thrilled with our results. Many of them probably thought that as we used to spend so much time on the playing fields and so little on our studies, that all of us would end up with Third Divisions.

Viney Sethi, Arvind Thadani, Vijay Shivdasani, Noel Ezekiel, Ashok Ruia and myself were the group that planned the visit to the hill station.

We had an enjoyable trip by train to Delhi - which was just entering the summer and was unbelieveably hot. We did not stay long in Delhi - just long enough for me to see my future alma mater and get tickets to proceed to Dehra Dun. From Dehra Dun we took a frightening bus trip to Moussorie.

Never having been north before I was dumb founded by the beauty of the Himalayas which formed the backdrop to this sleepy hill station which was packed with tourists. We were lucky in that Ashok Ruia had a Guest House in the town and so we did not have to spend our money on hotels and food. We got some absolutely delicious vegetarian grub in the Guest House.

Ashok taught me to play bridge during our long evenings there. Viney, Vijay, Noel and Arvind were happy to go roller skating, something I tried a couple of times and failed miserably - so I stuck to Bridge, and even today, before I go to sleep I play a few rounds on my little Bridge Computer.

I have one picture in my collection about our time in Mussorie - not very good quality considering it was the early days of colour photography in India and it has survived the many travels around the world with me. However, just to share an image, here is a picture of Arvind Thadani (now a bigwig somewhere in IBM in the US, Viney Sethi, the Elvis Presley of our time, also settled in some part of California in the US, and the guy dressed in white, is me!
Arvind, Viney and me, Mousoori 1960

Arvind, Viney and me in Mousoori, 1960

And just for a contrast, here is a picture of my better half of the last 30 years and myself, this time I have a white crown only, taken a couple of summers ago at the Arctic Circle.
020907AM9006

Annikki and me in Lapland, 1991

Do write and let me know what you did to celebrate your passing out of our school. I am sure a lot of our readers would like to know about those pangs of leaving something which was so close to us for so many years.

Hopefully, more in a fortnight,

Your Cathedralite friend

Jacob Matthan
1959 Savage House Captain
Oulu, Finland

Sunday, November 03, 1996

SHV02-Issue 3: 961103


Hi Cathedralites,

59cricket

Cathedral 1959 Cricket Team
Back Row: Noel Ezekiel, Vijay Shivdasani,
the late Brian Abraham, Viney Sethi, Hussain
Seated: Vijay Nayar, Jaffar Hussain, Jimmy Tata, Ernest Haskell,
Nalin Dharia, Ashok Kapur, Elijah Elias
Seated on ground: Jacob Matthan (scorer)


I wonder if the Lemondrop Cricket Tournament is still in existence.

It was our cricket championship in the cramped confines of the quad. The stumps were painted on the stone column, the one just before the place where the stairs come down. The run up for the bowlers was from the steps of the Sports Store Room to the Steel Girder at the edge of the lunch/PT shed. Of course, to start playing we had to wait till all the tables were cleared after lunch, and then the competition began.

Playing with a tennis ball, it may have looked easy, but the pace that some of the bowlers got on that short run up was really something. I remember 58er Nalin Dharia, 59er Ooky (Elijah Elias) and 59er Trevor Newnes who certainly whipped up a lot of pace. Or there was the fantastic off-spin of 56er / 58er Earnest Haskell, 59er Vijay Nayar and 59er Noel Ezekiel.

The real big hitter was 57er / 58er Jimmy Tata. If the ball went on top of the roof, there were the few anxious moments while all the fielders waited till it rolled down the steel sloping roof. More often than usual it dropped where there was no-one underneath to catch it.

I often wondered why it was called the Lemondrop Cricket Tournament - was it because of the way the ball would drop of the roof? If I remember correctly, it was a six a side competition. Our class had two teams. Our star batsmen was Ashok Kapur who consistently kept our scores high. There was always some great running between the wickets, as the few minutes we had per game really put pressure on both sides to go for the runs. Present day one day cricket on the international arena probably got its beginnings from such half hour cliff-hangers that we used to have in the school.

Being a leg-break bowler, it was difficult to get many wickets but it kept the runs down as there was not much room for stroke play on the leg side. Not so many left-handers were around in our day. I could get quite a mean turn of the cement quad floor and did get a fair share of the spoils. Did not get much batting, however, as our opening pair usually struck off the runs!!

Going to another topic, I hope that the Bombay crowd will soon have the History Page of the school up on the web. In my other webletter for my other alma mater, St. Stephen's College, Delhi, we are very fortunate that a couple of guys have put up a complete history of the college covering its 115 years existence. That link now has a permanent presence on my page. Stephanians all around the world were excited and extremely pleased - just as I am sure that Cathedralites world-wide will be pleased and eternally grateful if someone in Bombay would take the trouble to put up our school history page on the web.

More in a fortnight,

Your Cathedralite friend

Jacob Matthan
1959 Savage House Captain
Oulu, Finland

Sunday, October 20, 1996

SHV02-Issue 2: 961020


Hi Cathedralites,

This week I thought I would talk about the inter-class quad footer competition that we used to have annually in the fifties. Our football in that small confined space with a tennis ball in the cemented quad was probably the reason why we developed quick sharp reflexes, so useful in our other sports activities.

I played in goal (like in field hockey), and one of our class teams, we had so many great sportmen in our class that we fielded three great teams every year, as far as I can recall, always won the championship.

The game was fast and quite dangerous, mainly because the cement surface was broken and uneven. I am sure if there had been some safety conscious parents amongst ours who witnessed our lunchtime sport, they would have put a stop to it.

Surprisingly, I can only remember one accident in all my time - that is mine, when, during a really hard fought game, I fell while attempting to save a goal. I completed the game, but by the time I reached class, sweaty and filthy as usual, my wrist was swollen.

Because of the pain when I reached home that evening, I visited the orthopaedic specialist, Dr. Dholakia, located somewhere near Opera House. The Xray (which was a big event in those days) revealed a crack somewhere in the right wrist, which meant plaster and no sport for a good six weeks. Sheer murder.

Some of the best quad football players were the little fellows, people like 59er Noel Ezekiel (brother of the first Miss India, 56er Fleur Ezekiel - thought I would mention this considering the present controversey raging about the staging of the Miss World competition in Bangalore - and whose mother was the French teacher in the girls' school - I think Mrs. Ezekiel lived on the top floor of the kindergarten section between Flora Fountain and Petit School) and Rodericks, compared with the big six-footers like me and Arvind Thadani, who is presently a bigwig somewhere in IBM. Their small height and build gave them tremendous flexibility and ball control.

MrsEzekiel

Mrs. Ezekiel, French Teacher, Girl's School and
mother of 56er Fleur and 59er Noel Ezekiel


Some of the quad football greats that I can remember were 56er /58er Nalin Dharia, 57er Jimmy Tata, 59er Viney Sethi, 59er Vijay Shivdasani, 58er Andre, 59er Peter Miovic, 59er John Beddoes, 58er Jaffar Hussain, 54er Ravi Jaitly (not 57er Tony but his elder brother), 53er Rolf Sonawalla.

I wonder if any of these old boys are reading these reminesences. The half hour games were really exhilarating, especally when the tennis ball which we kicked around was wet and stung you like a wasp if it touched your skin.

My forte was the goal throws I used to make. These were so accurate that my team-mate, Rodericks, almost always headed in a goal at the other end. We were a perfect couple as far as quad football was concerned, my enormous frame which covered half the goal mouth and my fleet footed five-foot high partner.

How I wish we had some good shoes in those days. All we had were those white or brown cloth canvas gym shoes - no Nikes, Reeboks, Pumas or Pumas - just plain Bata and Flex canvas shoes with rubbery soles!

This week, in my second editorial in Findians Briefings, I tackle the question of Education where I ask the question as to the number of handicapped persons, those who are blind, deaf, dumb, or wheel-chair ridden, who are being used as teachers in schools and colleges. Can any of you name any handicapped person who has been in a teaching or administration position in our alma mater. Just curious! (Don't all stand up and shout that I have just described the average Cathedralite through the ages!!!)

More about the Tin and Bottle competition and the Lemondrop Cricket Championships in coming issues of Seventh Heaven.

Till then,

Your Cathedralite friend

Jacob Matthan
Savage House Captain 1959
Oulu, Finland

Sunday, October 06, 1996

SHV02-Issue 1: 961006


Hi Cathedralites,

This week I thought I would share with you the craze we had for table tennis and other racket sports in the school in the fifties.

Rackets

Cathedral Rackets Team 1959
Back Row: Noel Ezekiel, Percy Mistri, Kai Lam, Vijay Nayar,
Ramesh Mirchandani, Armeane Choksi, ?, ?
Seated: ?, David, the late Brian Abraham, Nalin Dharia,
Ashok Ruia, Ashok Kapur
Seated on the ground: Sudhir Anand, Roger Clay, ?


We used to have to set up the table in the school hall during the lunch hour and after school if we wanted to play. There were two tables, the better one being reserved for the 8 top seeds, the other wobbly one being the one on which us lesser mortals were allowed to play.

There was usually a mad rush once the school lunch bell rang to be the first one to get to the table. We used to charge down to the hall and the order was stricly on a first come, first serve basis.

Everyone got a game and there was a quick turnaround over the lunch hour. We were allowed 10 warm-up shots before being asked to play a game. The last ones playing before the lunch break ended had to put up the tables and prop them against the wall before returning to class.

The evenings were better as those who stayed were few and we used to get a fairly clear run on most days, even playing best of three, in many instances. We could occasionally even steal a couple of games on the better table.

We were all extremely possessive about our rackets and I was lucky to be given a Barna one year as a birthday present. It lasted me for as many as 10 years. The sponge rackets had not yet made their mark in those days, the best ones being just plain pimpled rubber.

Every Monday morning there was a seed list put up on the notice board just by the tuck shop. Anyone could challenge any of the seeds by paying 4 annas, later raised to 50 paisa, at the tuck shop and putting a mark on the notice. The challenge had to be played on the Friday afternoon, unless another time was agreed, the choice being dictated by the seed.

The most unusual people were the best players. During our years, the John Saxon of the school, 59er Ramesh Mirchandani, who is married and settled in Canada, was undoubtedly the most stylish and best player.

I used to take great pleasure in challenging Ramesh as that way I got two games in a row on the better table and also I got to play against a really good player.

Ramesh always whipped me, but it was great fun as I would promptly practice harder to try and beat him the next time. I never did, although in one of my final attempts I did get a single game of him. I still remember that happy day!!

I do not recall Ramesh, however, taking part in any other of the blood sports in school as cricket, hockey or football.

59ers Sudhir Anand, Armeane Choksi, Neelam Lakhani, Ramesh Mirchandani, Jangoo Moos, Percy Mistry and Vijay Nayar were all good table tennis players. I was lucky that I got a chance to play against all of them as it stood me in good stead when I went to study in London where, without much effort, I got into the college league team and also did well in the London University Open Championships. (Never won anything!!)

Also, when I sailed home from Venice round the Cape if Good Hope (the Suez was closed) with my family in 1969 I was runner-up playing the game on a lilting and listing ss. VICTORIA somewhere in the Atlantic Ocean.

I wonder whether this mad tradition of table tennis still exists in the school. Is there still the rush to get in just a couple of games during the lunch hour?

More reminisences in a fortnight, probably about the quad football traditions of the fifties!

Regards

Jacob Matthan
Savage House Captain 1959
Oulu, Finland

Sunday, September 22, 1996

SH-Issue 12: 960922


Hi Cathedralites,

Shocking Newsletter Contents

I received the rather shocking newsletter from 93er Vivek Sikri with the unprovoked attack by an individual on 94er Vikram Somaya.

I am glad that it ended with an apology but it would be interesting to know what provoked such an attack in the first place, especially as in all my life I have never ever encountered a Cathedralite who expressed himself as fiercely as this one.

Am I getting too old - or is that what the school system of today breeds. I remember 57er Kashinath Dandekar making a plea to tone down the language as we old-timers probably are not used to such strong verbal presentations.

Missing Persons

I wonder why Vivek has a few well-known missing persons on his list - and in this I particularly refer to the mother of Vikram Somaya, 64er Brinda, and her sister, 62er Ranjini, who I gather are both on the Internet.

Bombay Support

I do hope the Bombay support that 69er Rohet Tolani was proposing is soon in coming, as I have loads of requests for information about various aspects of the school which I am holding on to. It would be nice if Bombay would have its web site up with all the historical data for us to link to and also refer the enquirers to - such as the early history of the school, the relevance of various names, list of principals, words of the school song, etc. etc.

School Buses

In our days in the fifties we used to have BEST supplying the school bus service. A bus used to pick me up from my home on Cooperage Road at 7.45 and proceed down to Colaba Causeway and round behind the Taj and reach school at 8.20. the evening buses used to leave at 16.15 and reach me home by 16.45.

I can still remember many of the persons in my bus round. The monthly charge used to be Rs. 15 - which was a large sum of money those days as the standard bus fare from Regal to school by A4 was about 2 annas or later 12 paisa. I shifted to the public service when I reached the IXth Standard as there were so many things to do before and after school that I hardly could keep to the bus timings. saved a grand sum of Rs. 7.50 as a result which meant I could see a few more movies over the weekend (where the good seats cost 12 annas or 75 paisa). I do remember seeing "Rock Around the Clock" (Bill Hayley and the Comets).

Knowing the explosion of Bombay, I must imagine such a bus service would probably be an impossibility, considering the traffic jams that exist all over Bombay. It would be interesting to hear from some of you what sort of school bus service now exists or do all the students turn up now-a-days on their own flashy Kawasaki 500 cc mobikes!! Just wondering.

End of Reminder Messages

I am afraid that I will need you to subscribe separately to be able to continue to receive these reminders as the whole process seems to have got out of hand with my postings touching about 3000 every fortnight and the number of wrong addresses resulting in returns amounting to about 10% every time. My mailbox is just crammed with returned messages so it takes me a while to get to my normal mail. Most of the returns are people who have registered and then not informed me about change of address, etc.

Our main site has expanded at such a remarkable pace that I am getting fully tied down with getting these three webletters up every fortnight and also getting the mailing list out that it has really not left me much time for the investigative journalism for which my web pages were originally created.

Hence Cathedralites who want to get a reminder from me should send a SUBSCRIBE message to our email address as otherwise from the next issue you will not get any reminder.

Regards

Jacob Matthan
Savage House Captain 1959
Oulu, Finland
The Polar Bear Cathedralite from the Arctic Circle

Sunday, September 08, 1996

SH-Issue 11: 960908


Hi Cathedralites,

This week is just a very short memo about how ridiculously small the world is.

A few days ago I received email from the mother of 94er Vikram Somaya, who is known to almost all of you as the maintainer of the Cathedral School email directory. I was a bit shocked when 64er Brinda Somaya (née Chinnappa) asked me whether I was brother of 62er Elizabeth. She went on to explain her connection.

Elizabeth, my younger sister, Cathedral School Girls School Blue House Captain in 1962 (I think) had been the classmate of the elder sister of Brinda Somaya, Ranjini Kalappa (née Chinnappa).

In addition, when my father, the late Kuriyan Matthan quit his post as Chief Engineer of BEST in the mid sixties and joined the Killick Nixon/Bombay Suburban Power Distribution group, the father of Rajini and Brinda, Mr. Chinnappa had asked his childhood friend from Bangalore, my father, to take charge as Engineering Manager of the fledgling Tata Consulting Engineers, a small consulting group which had been formed to engineer and maintain the power projects belonging to the Tata group.

Under the guidance of Mr. Chinnappa, Tata Consulting Engineers grew from a small Consultancy Company into the largest private Engineering Consulting company in India with offices in Bombay and Bangalore, the home town of both my dad and Mr. Chinnappa.

When my father fell ill in the early seventies and had to retire, Mr. Chinnappa asked him to organise and set up the offices of Tata Consulting Engineers in Bangalore and be the Resident Manager. So our family connection with the Chinnappa's went far deeper than just the fact that Ranjini and Elizabeth were in school together!

Although much junior to me, I can recall Ranjini and Brinda, both of whom, I understand, are now thriving architects and even architects to our school.

Elizabeth, by the way, finished from Cathedral, did her Masters in Nutrition (I think) from MS University in Baroda, married an Engineer who worked for UNICEF involved with setting up milk projects in developing countries, lived a colourful life in various parts of the world (has two dughters neither being Cathedralites) - Brazil, New York, Kampala at the time of Idi Amin, Nairobi, Dubai, etc., and now, as her husband has retired from the UN, is settled in Madras!

Those of you semi-dinosaur Cathedralites (me, like 57er Kashinath Dandekar, 57er / 59er Bhupinder Singh Anand and 59er Bala Parasuraman are the dinosaur group) who want to establish contact with Elizabeth, should get in touch with me for her address - sorry, no direct email contact at present.

More interesting anecdotes and personality assassinations in a fortnight,

Your Cathedralite friend,

Jacob Matthan
Savage House Captain 1959
Oulu, Finland

Sunday, August 25, 1996

SH-Issue 10: 960825


Hi Cathedralites,

My hockey tale seems to have struck a chord in many of you. Thanks for all the nice words. I think I just enjoy writing about these events. I am so glad that you all seem to enjoy reading about them.

The sequel to that drawn game was not too good. The following year we had to travel to Bishops School in Poona to play them on their home ground. Our hockey team was really oriented to playing on grass. The pitch at Bishops was just plain earth and gravel and we could do nothing right. It was just to dusty and messy for us. I had no grip on the ground and was slipping all over the place. All the great saves I made that day, and there were plenty of them, were pure accident.

59hockey

Hockey Team of 1959
Back Row: Andy Gordon, Mistri, Maurice Belcourt, Arvind Thadani,
Trevor Newnes, Ashok Kapur

Seated: Noel Ezekiel, Vijay Nayar, Jaffar Hussain,
Mr. Jagdish Pande, Viney Sethi
Seated on the ground. Jacob Matthan


I had a very difficult game. I was a slightly better goalkeeper than the previous year, having matured rather well, but even my heroic efforts could not stop us being trounced fairly and squarely - I think it was 3-0. Not a game I would like to remember as it was pobably the largest score line by which we ever lost any game.

That trip to Poona otherwise was really a great one. The Ruias had a guest house in Poona. Our group of about 15 did not stay at the Bishops Dormitories but at the Guest House. It was great fun as it was extremely well equipped and the Ruias had a great vegetarian cook at the Guest House. Ashok and Anil were great hosts.

Do the sporting contests with Bishops and Mayo College in Ajmer still occur or have they been replaced by the school taking part in the local circuits?

Now, the much promised story - about Jesse Owens.

I joined Cathedral in 1954. I had transferred from Bangalore where I had studied at Bishop Cottons, which was great school with plenty of playing fields - we had a first eleven cricket pitch and right down to a fifth eleven playing pitch.

So sports was part and parcel of the way of life of us Cottonians. I was therefore taken aback to find the school in Bombay without a single sports field within sight.

I had asked our class teacher, Mr. Timmins about this. He promptly put me down to take part in the school athletics championships which was hardly a few days hence.

I entered the high and long jump (the days of egg and spoon races were far gone by then) and I was asked to turn up at the CCI for training. Being lanky and springy and having had the benefit of the sports culture of Cottons, it was a piece of cake, except I had to come second, as my elder brother was in the same juniors group. He took the first prize while I came second, both of us breaking the junior high jump and long jump records in the bargain.

This double win by these two brothers from the south made us exteemly popular and we were in great demand for all the sporting events - for Savage House.

Just about that time we heard that Jesse Owens was going to visit Bombay. There was much excitement in the air as we heard that he was going to visit the school. That was a false rumour. What had been arranged was that he would conduct a training session for some of the members of our school at the CCI. Both my brother and I were among those chosen to take part in the training session.

I hardly understood a word of his American English as he talked to us and told us how to do the straddle and western roll - a far cry from today's style of high jumping. But the real thrill was when he showed us how to do really do the long jump. He did not have to talk, but he showed us that as we left the ground we should start pedalling as we if we were riding a cycle. I think within a couple of jumps we were doing a foot more than previously.

To my mind, it was one of the most rewarding evenings of my life having had a chance to spend a couple of hours actually being trained by this almighty individual. I am sure that if Indian youngsters were given this same opportunity today we would motivate them to become winners in the sporting arena.

Your Cathedralite friend,

Jacob Matthan
Savage House Captain 1959
Oulu, Finland

Sunday, August 11, 1996

SH-Issue 9: 960811


Hi Cathedralites,

Continuing my reference of last week to Mr. Pande, he was in charge of our hockey team 1st Eleven when I reached the Xth Standard. There was quite a tough battle for the post of goal-keeper between a good friend, the late Ghatge, also of Savage House, and myself.

In my opinion, Ghatge was a better goal-keeper than me. However, I was more regular for practice and I was the more sociable fellow. So I got the into the team.

58hockey

1958 Cathedral Hockey Team
(59ers unless otherwise mentioned)
Back Row: Maurice Belcourt (61er), Viney Sethi, Ghatge, Arvind Thadani,
Ashok Kapur, Andy Gordon
Seated: Vijay Nayar, Harmindar Uberoi (56er), Jimmy Tata (57er),
Mr. Jagdish Pande (Staff), Jaffar Hussain (58er)
Seated on ground: Jacob Matthan


We had a good team in 1958 with most of the players being from our class. Viney Sethi was centre forward, Ashok Kapur the inside right. Rodericks was a very fast outside right and Trevor Newnes was extremely fast on the left flank. Vijay Nayar (hockey captain the following year) was a solid left half-back. Captain of the side was 57er Jimmy Tata for part of the season and 58er Jaffar Hussain (related to film actress Nargis) for the latter part. We had a great full backs in Arvind Thadani and 57er Jimmy Tata.

With such efficient full-backs I really did not have much work to do except when Mr. Pande or Mr. Zavala, our Peruvian Geography master (he was far better at football than hockey) came pounding down on top of me in the staff versus students match. Tall and sportsmanlike, the late Mr. Salmon, our English teacher, was also a fast staff forward that I had to contend with, although he was more of a cricketer than a hockey player. Mr. Gregory (our Chemistry teacher) was also always attacking and if it had not been for our half and full back line up, we would have been licked thoroughly by the staff side. However, on most occasions our fast forwards were able to keep the score line in our favour.

Mr. Pande used to make me train with my pads on, that is run around the hockey field with the heavy pads strapped on. This meant that I was literally doing double the training of my team-mates. It did stand me in good stead later.

The key match of that year was when the team from Bishops School in Poona came to Bombay. It was an early morning match at the Bombay Gym. I had been warned of the lightening speed of their outside right Dudley (if I remember his name correctly).

Our team played brilliantly but we just were unable to score a goal. The ball never came to me right through the first half. All through the second half we kept pressing but did not get a goal.

It was just a few minutes before the end when, suddenly, Dudley broke loose on the right flank near their 25 yard line, left Jimmy standing and outstripped Arvind just past midfield. As I saw him reach the 25 yard line there was no one but me for him to beat. Normally, I would have charged to the top of the D to cover the angle, but seeing his speed and excellent ball control, I held my ground just advancing a few steps to reduce his shooting angle.

Dudley came hurtling toward the D and was in perfect control. I think he was surprised that I had not rushed out to meet him. As he entered the D, I made as if I was going to rush him but stopped dead a couple of steps in front of the goal-line. This prompted him strike the ball hard and fast into the left corner of the goal, thinking he would catch me while I was moving.

I do not know what made me put out my left leg. The ball smacked hard into the curve of my foot, just below the pad and stopped dead! I think I was more surprised than anyone else. I had been certain that he would try to dribble past me.

I kicked the ball slightly in front of me and hit it hard over of the sideline just as Dudley, looking for the rebound tumbled, on top of me.

There were cheers from all round the pitch. I knew my place for the next year was safe - though it was certainly not my skill!!

Those few seconds of the drawn match were the talking point of the entire school social that evening. The guys from Bishops were a great set of lads and we had a wonderful social that year.

Query from Arnav

This week I had a very nice letter from 91er Arnav Sheth (1980-1991) who sent me a message while holidaying in Bombay. He asked me a question as to whether I could confirm whether the School Song had been written by Rudyard Kipling.

I am afraid, sitting in this Arctic Wilderness, I could not get hold of much of the works of Rudyard Kipling. Maybe one of you knowledgeable Cathedralites could let me know who authored our School Song, and probably also post me the full version so that I can put it on a separate page for reference purposes!

Arnav mentioned that the institution where he studies at in the US, "Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin, is regarded as a mini-Cathedral because at one point in time there were a total of 8 Cathedralites studying there at the same time."

It is great that there is a institution which supports Cathedralites to such an extent. Arnav mentioned that Lawrence is known for the aid it offers to Cathedralites. Arnav says that rumour has it that the Dean of financial aid has said that they almost always give aid to Bombayites (of which 90% are Cathedralites) as we, apparently, have the highest GPA amongst internationals.

Sorry, no room this week to tell you about my episode with Jesse Owens, so hopefully you will listen to that tale in the next installment.

Your Cathedralite friend,

Editor Jacob Matthan
Savage House Captain 1959
Oulu, Finland

Sunday, July 28, 1996

SH-Issue 8: 960728


Hi Cathedralites

Thanks for the great turnout in casting your votes about which book I should serialse for the web. Due to a technicality (Finns have been on holidays for the last two weeks) the poll is going to be open for another fortnight, so if you have not cast your vote, please do so now.

I think most of you have been in a holiday mood, as besides filling in the poll form, I did not get a single email comment from any of you out there.

This week I want to share a few thoughts about a couple of very nice teachers.

Mr. Jagdish Pande

Pande2004

Mr. Pande on the right with other retired staff members


Mr. Pande joined the Cathedral School staff after I joined. He was a great guy. I think that of all the teachers of my day, he survived the longest after I left in 1959.

Mr. Pande was taken on by the school sometime in the mid-fifties to introduce Marathi, as the four language formula had just been introduced. He was not very successful at teaching us Marathi, but he was a wonderful badminton player and he also took over in charge of the hockey First Eleven. He played a rough and good game of hockey. I will in a future issue tell you some more about his hockey training methods and a couple of great games.

In our time we had to study Marathi up till the Standard X. It was not important to pass the ansnual exam. Hence, Mr. Pande had a difficult time holding our attention. I think I just about managed to learn the Marathi alphabet in my 4 years. I did go to the house of a good friend, Vinay Dabholkar, to study Marathi, but usually we all ended up playing games like hide-and-seek in his large rambling residence overlooking Horniman Circle!

Our level of school badminton was especially good, not only because of the interest shown by Mr. Pande, but because we had the two Ruia cousins, Ashok Ruia and Anil Ruia, in our class. Mr. Pande organised the quad badminton championships besides our Inter-house competition. I enjoyed a good game, even so that today, with my portly figure I am still able to give my 23 year old son a tough fight when we have a turn.

The father of Anil Ruia was the President of the All India Badminton Association at that time. As a result, we did get to see all the great foreign and Indian players that came to Bombay (Mumbai) at that time.

Both Ashok and Anil were natural players and with the good encouragement given by Mr. Pande, they performed extremely well in the competitions of those days. If I remember right, the younger brother of Ashok, whose name was Bharat, was a tiny little fellow, but he too was a wonderful badminton player.

From what I hear Ashok is now more active on the Bridge and Golf front these days and Anil has busy running his industries. However, I wonder what happened to Mr. Pande?

Mr. Timmins

Timmins

The late Mr. Timmins, Savage House Master


When I shifted from Bangalore to Bombay in 1954, I was supposed to join Standard VII, but there was just no room. The luckiest thing that happened to me was that Mr. Gunnery gave me a place to repeat Standard VI.

The class teacher in Standard VI was Mr. Timmins. He was also House Master for Savage. As Bala put it in an email to me, all newcomers were shoved into Savage, so I too was shoved into that House. I have no regrets as I did become the House Captain.

Mr. Timmins was a good maths teacher and a very good class master. Thanks to him, I fitted into the school without the slightest hitch. Within a week I felt as I had never been to any other school in my life. Our classroom was next to the Physics laboratory on the first floor.

Well I guess that is all for this week. Do write as I need some needling and prodding once in a way to keep up this tempo.

Some items to come

Probably next week I will tell you some of the interesting events that made me, and my brother, popular within the short space of a month at the school and also about the visit of Olympic star Jesse Owens to the school.

Regards
Cathedralite Jacob Matthan
1959 Savage House Captain

Sunday, July 14, 1996

SH-Issue 7: 960714


Hi Cathedralites

Thank you Bala (Bala Parasuraman - Savage House, Senior Cambridge 1959, A Levels 1961) for putting me straight about the late A. Glynne-Howell. Glynne-Howell was his surname (to be expected) and his initial was A for Alan.

Bala also provided an interesting memory which I too do recall:

* I remember that he used to like me because my map drawing skills were quite good. I also remember a funny incident that took place one day. Farouk Kanga and I used to sit close by in class. We happened to be talking one day, when old Glynne-Howell spotted Farouk trying to pass me something (it might have been a post-card or something). Anyway, Farouk realized he'd been spotted and his hands froze under the desk. Glynne-Howell then remarked in that dry, wry voice of his "Mr. Kanga, remember, all good sailor boys keep their hands above deck!"

And this comment came from Kashinath Dandekar (1957):

Apparently Mr.Glynne-Howell (Geography and Football - Ed:???) carried four handkerchiefs with him. Their purposes were as follows:

One for show,
One for go,
One for any other use, you know
And one for emergency.


This week is not time for anecdotes but for some planning. I had a very nice letter from 69er Rohet Tolani in Bombay: Date: Tue, 02 Jul 1996 23:49:21 +0530

From: Rohet Tolani
Subject: Cathedral Connection

Hi Jacob

Heard about your site from (94er) Vikram Somaya. It has been delightful going through your anecdotes from years gone by. I am involved with the Cathedral Alumni Association in Bombay. Last week we decided that it would be a good idea to set up a permanent official Cathedral Alumni Website. Consequently I started to look around for what already existed on the web and came across pages by (93er) Sikri and (94er) Somaya. I think all of you have done a great job to try and bring together web surfing Cathedralites and we would like to complement that with a site which is supported by the organizational infrastructure we have here.

As starters we would like to make available on the site the entire alumni directory, the association's newletter - "Catcall", news of happenings at the school, news of alumni, profiles of prominent alumni, etc.

I hope to meet with Vikram soon as he is in Bombay for the summer. I would like to get ideas and inputs from people like you and him who are quite a bit more "web aware" than we are in India. So please do give us your thoughts, suggestions and advice how we can set up a really successful site that can help bring together the old boys and girls,

Regards

Rohet Tolani
Class of 1969 (ISC)
Wilson House
Mailing address et al
10-A Bakhtawar, Nariman Point, Bombay 400 021
Tel: 202-6878 (Off); 386-1818 (Res)
Fax: 287-0697 (Off); 387-2429 (Res)


My reply to Rohet was that we should not duplicate what others are doing but to bring it together as a composite under one banner, and that this is very easy to do on the web. Someone should take the responsibility of maintaining the index page of Catcall (Web Version) and have the links to all the web pages with introductory summaries so that they form the pages of a great web magazine.

For instance, instead of starting up another Alumni Directory, the Cathedral School page which already exists on the World Alumini Directory would probably be the best to have as a page in our Catcall. Several of us are already registered there and they have a Bulletin Board, etc. already established - and it will cost no-one any time or money.

Editors for each 5 year period could be established with the responsibility of putting up pages of their period - so that people can go straight to the pages of their greatest interest. Bombay could concentrate on putting up pages about the history of the school, bio-datas about principals, present activities, etc. Some of the pages would be permanent while others would be magazine style like mine.

The web offers so many possibilities to develop this concept and I am sure that we can have the best web magazine up with very little stress and effort on the part of anyone. And it will not be dependant on any one person or organisation - it will run for time immemorial.

In this vein I had a message from 82er Moshin Ahmed

Date: Tue, 2 Jul 1996 18:36:42 -0700
From: Mohsin Ahmed
Subject: Hi, Cathedral

Hi Jacob,

I read your columns about Cathedral school with great delight. I was there around 1977-1982 (8-12th), also taught there around 1986. I liked your style of writing, though I was from a different era. I could imagine the things that happened then.

I am planning to add similar material sometime on my page at:

http://www.cs.albany.edu/~mosh/

~mosh/Cathedral is just starting out.

Did you know, a friend of mine here (a few doors from my office) played the school song on his flute. I wish I could record it and put it on my home page. Did you have the hymn book then? I have one at home in Bombay and I miss it here.

- Mohsin.


This characterises my point that his page would form one stone in our Catcall magazine. A student and a teacher, Moshin will certainly have a lot to contribute in his web page.

On the other hand I did have a message from Hormuz Minina:

Date: Thu, 4 Jul 1996 05:11:00 -0400 (EDT)
From: Hormuz Minina
Subject: Re: Cathedralites - Issue 6 of Seventh Heaven is UP

Hi Jacob,

Well as feedback I suggest you e-mail the news letter.

Cheers,

Hormuz Minina
(http://www.eyedrum.org/index.asp)


I pointed out to Hormuz that mine was not a newsletter but a webletter to which he replied:

Date: Thu, 4 Jul 1996 06:03:30 -0400 (EDT)

From: Hormuz Minina

Yeah, but I don't see the difference. You are mailing everyone to tell them that the new Web letter is out... Well, then why not just insert it? ;-)

Cheers,

Hormuz


Well I do not want to get into an argument, but maybe someone can explain my reasons for keeping it as a webletter rather than as a newsletter - I am sure many of you are more competent at that considering what I have suggested above. I would like to stop sending out those annoying reminders, which would be possible if all of you used some good reminder service as URL-minder.

However, the opinions expressed, both by Stephanians and Cathedralites (as well as my hundreds of regular readers of Findians Briefings) was almost unanimous and is summarised in this letter from 90er Vinay Jayaram:

Date: Thu, 4 Jul 1996 02:29:08 +-100
From: Vinay Jayaram
Subject: RE: Cathedralites - Issue 6 of Seventh Heaven is UP

Hi Jacob,

Well, here it is, perhaps your first Cathedralite reply. Unfortunately, I am walking out of the door as we speak, so I cannot talk. But here are my vital stats:

Vinay Jayaram
Completed 10th in 1990
. Wilson House
Famous teachers who taught me:
Kuriakose, Hallegua, Lewis, Nepali, Kapur (Geography), Chatterjee/Singhal (Hindi), Paulose/Sharma (Chemistry), Nagia, and many others.
My new e-mail address is vinay@ibm.net

Please continue to send me updates.

Vinay


So the web is the meeting place, the communication point, the information point - and not just a dumb one-way newsletter as we can interact so much more on the web.

Please do not forget that I am an old foggy and my views may be archaic - so, you can just stop reading my web page if you do not like my style and never know anything about us on crutches, or you can join us by sharing your experiences.

I am hoping that Vinay will tell us about all those great teachers as I do not recognise a single name in his list.

I seem to have overrun my space quota for this week, but I think we have got the system of Seventh Heaven working thanks to all of you who do take the trouble to communicate. And do visit my main page if you have some time to spare. Please also take some time to visit and register in GOPIO - the new link is now operational as Professor Thomas Abraham from Columbia University was pestered by me so much so that he changed the site address and put up the page where it works. The register button was not functional but you can register by email.

Regards
Jacob Matthan
Savage House Captain 1959
Oulu, Finland

P.S. How many of you feel I should change the name of the page from Seventh Heaven to something else - it has a lot of meaning for the 1959 crowd - but not to anyone else. I would appreciate your comments on this.

Thursday, June 13, 1996

SH-Issue 6: 960613


Hi Cathedralites

(sorry to Kooler Talk (Web Version) readers also visiting here for some duplication),

Ad at the top

You may have noticed an ad at the top if you are using Netscape. It is part of a contract with a Portugese group that all my web pages will carry a rotating ad at the top. If it offends anyone or affects your access time or download time, please do let me know. I shall reconsider whether I keep it at the top of the Seventh Heaven page. (Ed: I have to try to earn some money sometime - I am not very successful at that task!)

Annoyance

In the last issue I asked whether my annoying reminders should stop - I have a posting of just over a hundred messages to Cathedralites. I received a total of 0 replies. Well this split the response 0/0/0 (undecided), so I am continuing my reminders. Any of you that wants out should let me know.

GOPIO

May I please direct you to the Global Organisation of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO). You can read the letter from Prof. Thomas Abraham from Columbia University in the Letters to the Editor on my main web page. Do take a break and visit it and the appropriate link.

The late Mr. A. G. Glynne Howell

GlynneHowell


Well a few words about Glynne Howell.

I came upon this absolutely delightful gentleman when I was in the VIII Standard and decided to take up Latin as one of my alternate languages. Anything to get away from the throttling hold of Marathi and Hindi. Glynne was a great teacher. He started off the first lessons from a book called "Ora Maritama" or "The Sea Shore". That is probably the present limit of my knowledge of Latin, as although I was interested, with so many things to do in school, I had little time to mug up a dead language. (Anyone interested in sending me the words of the School Song?)

When I entered the IXth, Glynne Howell was our Classmaster. His special subject was Geography. He was meticulous in his presentation of the subject, immaculately written on the blackboard. He fostered my interest in the subject so that I went on to get a distinction in it at the Senior Cambridge examination.

Glynne Howell was always dressed to perfection with a creaseless suit, starched white shirt with appropriate armbands to hold up his sleeves so that the chalk dust would not make them dirty, perfectly pressed trousers and tie and a neatly folded handkerchief in his top pocket. His attendance register was a work of art. He never permitted anyone to take attendance in his absence as he did not like his register messed up.

He was quite unlike Stan Pharoah who was always dressed in a sloppy grey cotton coat and equally baggy white trousers. Also, unlike Stan, Glynne Howell was an intensely personal individual. I never ever had the opportunity to meet or know his family.

Secularity

59Prefects

School Prefects 1959:
Back Row: Chainani (58er), Noel Ezekiel, Vijay Nayar, Ramesh Mirchandani, Ashok Kapur, Andy Gordon, Neelam Lakhani
Center Row: Elijah Elias, Nuabir Mohindar, Balani, Arvind Thadani, Peter Miovic, Abe Stevenson (58er), Armeane Choksi, Vijay Shivdasani, Nalin Dharia (57er)
Seated: Michael Colaco (58er), Viney Sethi, Bhupinder Singh Anand (57er), Principal G. G. Gunnery, Abe Hayeem (57er), Jacob Matthan, M. André (58er)
Seated on Ground: Ashok Advani (58er), Trevor Newnes


The IXth was a year in which we really had a lot of fun before we got the serious task of getting ready for the Senior Cambridge. We were a truly international and secular class. I the A Section we had an American (Bobby Anderson), a Baharaini (Wabhir Zayani), Britishers (John Beddoes and Jimmy Jameson) and a Yugoslavian (Peter Miovic). We had Hindus (Bhakley, Chadha, Dhabolkar, Ghatge, Kapur, Kurma, Nayar, Ruias (Anil and Ashok), Sethi), Parsees (Choksi, Cooper, Kanga, Mistry, Modi, Moos, Singara, Shroff), Christians (Colaco, Matthan, Rodrigues, Singh), Muslims (Ahmedbhoy, Chinwalla, Currimjee, Hoosein), Sindhis (Lakhani, Thadani), and also three Indian Jews (Solomon, Hayem and Haskell - it was the year before Elias (alias Ooky) joined the school) and others - must ask Jangoo to rattle off the attendance register. The B Section was equally secular.

We all lived in total harmony. (Forgive me if I forgot anyone - 40 years is a long time to remember all your classmates names. Some like Bala Parasuraman and Narayan Sesachar got added between the IXth and the XIth while a couple from this list moved to the B Section or left. The A Section was the Science stream and the B section the Arts stream.)

Many a time I have been asked whether being a Christian in India had been a handicap. In truth, we were so secular in our approach that I never once thought about the religious background of any of my classmates, especially as a comparative factor. The only time I realised there was a difference was when we stripped our shirts for PT class and the Parsees would have their special type of cotton vests which no one else had.

I do not know whether this secularistic attitude is the case in most schools, but my secular and international attitude for life was definitely sown during the time I was in Cathedral.

More in a fortnight

Jacob Matthan
Sacvage House Captain 1959
Oulu, Finland

SH-Issue 5: 960613


Hi Cathedralites,

As promised I aim tell you what I know about the Pharoah of Cathedral.

Stan Pharoah was Vice Principal during the time I was in school. He was a great man in more than one sense. Stan (he would say "Mr. Pharoah to you, young man!") was my class teacher in the 10th Standard. He taught Mathematics. His teaching skill was excellent. He made Mathematics interesting. He had a beautiful writing hand on the blackboard.

The feature about Stan was that he told us kids that if he had not been lifted you up by the seat of their pants and walloped you across the bottom -you could not claim to be Cathedralite! He told us of how even Zulfiqar Bhutto, who was then Prime Minister of Pakistan, had been so complimented by the Sphinx. As an aside he did mention that Bhutto was not very good at mathematics.

Stan had a heart of gold. He, his wife (her name skips me just now) and two children, Margret and Claire lived in the Girl's School. All were devout Christians. I used to encounter them in the Cathedral every Sunday morning.

Stan knew and loved every student. He was always prepared to help anyone that came to him. He made Ashok Kapur (Non-Executive Chairman of the YES Bank in Bombay) and me Prefects already in the last term of the 10th Standard. A great honour for us.

Ashok Kapur and me

Ashok Kapur and me at his flat in Bombay, 1994


Stan retired from the school sometime in the early sixties and migrated to England as his daughters wanted him to settle there for their future. I visited him in his nice suburban home in Surbiton in Surrey in the mid-sixties. Although he was relaxed and happy and enjoyed his English country garden, he seemed to miss our Cathedral School every single minute.
Both his daughters finished their studies and were married in England.

As I moved away from London, I lost touch with Stan.

Maybe I was too good - I was not lifted by the seat of my pants by Stan, so I have little claim to be a Cathedralite - it would have been an honour to have been reprimanded by him!

Regards

Jacob Matthan
Savage House aptain 1959

PS: Maybe one of you out there can fill us in with more details you may have about this wonderful character which made Cathedral the institution it has become.

PPS: I am still waiting for authentic data about Connon, Savage, Palmer, Wilson, Barham - I have received considerable comments, but almost all are speculations. I am also looking for data about Gunnery, Kuruvilla Jacob, and earlier and subsequent Principals from any of you out there.

Sunday, June 02, 1996

SH-Issue 4: 960602


Hi Web-surfing Cathedralites,

Thank you all for taking the mickey out of me. I am six feet and two inches tall, weigh a hundred kilos and have very broad shoulders - and can take quite a lot of flak. Yes (true confessions), I had to dress up as a washerwoman and also as one of the ladies-in-waiting of the princess, and sing in my soprano voice. (We were not co-educational in those days!) That, however, was not the embarrasing part of the story as many of you seemed to infer!

Well the laugh is on you. Because I was in the Cathedral Church Choir, which meant twice a week singing practice - late on Wednesday and Friday evenings and two church services to attend on Sunday - morning and evening, and a whole lot of christenings (baptisms), weddings and funerals to sing at), I did not have to pay the school fees. I think it was the grand sum of Rs.15 per month.

Some of the people even paid us money to sing at those events - usually half an rupee - great amount of money in those days. It was enough to have a hearty meal of chicken curry and rice at the Pyrkes Restaurant at Flora Fountain, at Olympic Restaurant in Colaba Causeway or a scruptious meal at the railway restaurant in Bombay Central, though not enough to have a chicken burger in a small restaurant almost at the end of Veer Nariman Road where it meets Marine Drive (think it was called Skyways) which used to be our regular hangout - that used it cost 12 annas. The was usually some pies left over for the Charminars - I picked up all my bad habits while singing in the church choir, or maybe it was an attempt to destroy my voice to get out of the drudgery.

As far as I can remember there were no school fees even for my elder brother and my younger sister, a family savng of about Rs. 50 at least - so I always tell them that I got them educated through our alma mater by my endeavours! I wonder whether this traditional link between the church and the school continues even now?

I must tell you about our French teacher, Mr. Ribi. He was a true-life Frenchman who had an MG sports car. He lived on the top floor above the flat of the Principal. I think you got to it by going up the stairs at the back of the then Standard X on the second floor (where they used to do the annual medical examination where we all had to strip and be examined by a lady doctor who always insisted that we all had to be circumsised!)

Mr. Ribi was a real monster. If we did not pronounce a French word correctly he would blow his head off in a rage and if at the second attempt we failed to satisfy his morbidity, he would screw our ears. Painful experience which in today's world would probably be called child molestation. Now you can understand all my psychological traumas which come through this page! Luckily he left after a couple of years so I did not have to suffer him till the XIth.

Wonder often where he got too? Any clues anyone?

Well we did have several foreign teachers in our day and I will tell you about some of them in the coming issues and also some of the real local character teachers which we had.

By the way, I know you are all enjoying these reminiscences, but I think some of you should start to take control and manage this page. I am a little old and weary and would like to give the reins to a younger and more dynamic editor so that Ican concentrate on the main page - Findians Briefings -which is shocking and rocking the world with its hard hitting style. So if someone would like to slowly take over Seventh Heaven, you are welcome, and you will always have one devoted reader - me!! May I, however, echo 57er Kashinath Dandekar, my senior by 2 years who wrote in the latest issue of the Cathedral Newslatter:

"Let us keep the language parliamentary, it may be a little sterile but it might be more acceptable. Perhaps I am beginning to feel OLD."

Well, next week I am going to tell you about the "Pharoah" of Cathedral School and I am sure Kashinath and Bhupi, and Bala, will not feel quite sooooo old!

Regards

Jacob Matthan
Savage House Captain 59
Oulu, Finland

Sunday, May 19, 1996

SH-Issue 3: 960519

Hi Web-surfing Cathedralites,

What was the most embarrassing moment of your life?

This week I share mine with you. For that I must go back to school in 1955 or 1956 - I am not sure exactly which year. However, it was the year when the school play was the comic opera entitled "Aladdin and Out" by Fred Edmonds and Thos. T. Hewitt.

Cathedral School Play Aladdin And Out

Cathedral School Play "Aladdin And Out" Cast List


I was a member of the Cathedral church choir. As the late Charles Velu, who lived in Birmnigham, England, the organist of the church choir and choir master was in charge of putting the opera together, there was no way I could escape my role as a washerwoman in the laundry maintained by the mother of Aladdin (58er Michael Colaco).

The opera was excellent. It was directed by the late Mr. C. J. Oliver who was also responsible for all the stage sets and organisation.

Cathedral Staff the late Mr. C. J. Oliver

The late Mr. C. J. Oliver, Cathedral Staff


One of the dramatic moments was when Aladdin (Jehangir Kaka) rubbed the magic lamp and the genie appeared. Aladdin requested the genie to transport him somewhere (I think to the palace of the king). As the genie was granting the wish, the stage lights were switched off for less than a minute. When they switched back on, the entire cast of about 20 of us were taken off the set and the whole complex scenery was changed from a laundry to a blank stage. A masterpiece of stage direction which took place in just 30 seconds.

In all the rehersals everything went like a dream. We were all herded off the stage in those seconds in a very orderly fashion.

The day of the final performance arrived. My parents were seated in the front row watching their son in his multiple roles as waherwomen, etc. etc. At the crucial point, after a very beautiful solo by Michael Colaco, who played the role of Mrs. Mustapha with his great soprano voice, the genie (Clive Ciel) appeared and Aladdin made his wish. The lights were then switched off.

In all the rehearsals there had been a certain amount of daylight which had helped us get off the stage by watching this through the wings. On this evening, being dark outside there was no such guide. When the lights were switched on after those crucial few seconds, yours truly was still in the corner of the stage at the footlights, totally blinded by their sudden brightness. As I was rubbing my eyes as the gust of light hit my face, in a flash I was rudely dragged of the stage by some desperate unseen hand. My chance for a soliliquy had been dashed just when I was in the spotlight!

I do not know whether anyone in the audience noticed I had been left behind. No-one dared mention it, probably out of kindness, but I was a quivering wreck, knowing that all the washerwomen and Aladdin and his mother had been transported off to wonderland, but I had been left behind!

I have never wanted to act in a play again after that mortifying experience.

Last week, those who took the trouble to read my other alma mater page Kooler Talk (Web Version) would have noted how small this world is. This week I can show you how the world is very small for us Cathedralites as well.

I use Alta Vista to search the web. I decided to run through a couple of names of my Cathedralite classmates. The first one I chose was a good friend that I had lost complete touch with after I left school. His name is Parasuraman, and I seemed to vaguely remember his pet name was Bala.

The search yielded about two dozen references, most of them relating to a Prof. A. Parasuraman, a marketing wizard of some sort in an American University. I knew he was certainly not my classmate. Sure enough, amongst the list there was a 59er Bala Parasuraman somewhere in the US. So I sent an email message asking this gentleman whether he was from Cathedral school. Bingo - I hit jackpot as Bala replied recalling many of our classmates and asking after them. I was able to fill him with news of several with whom I have kept in touch.

If any of you want to use an economic fax or gift service between India and the US, or for that matter between any two countries, do contact Bala and I am sure he will give you the very best service. I recall him being such a nice guy in school with a very sharp wit.

A few days later I got a message from the email address of 89er Ari Singh Anand, a Cathedralite of the eighties, with a cryptic talk of what the hell was this dinosaur doing on the list being maintained 93er Vivek Sikri. The email was signed by none other than the father of Ari, 57 / 59er Bhupinder Singh Anand. Bhupi, also Savage House, had been School Captain the year I was Savage House Captain. He was two years my senior and in the X11th at that time.

Ari has not been well. Bhupi is in US to look after him and using his email address to keep contact with his business in India. I hope all of you will pray for a speedy recovery for Ari. Anyone in the vicinity could offer to lend Bhupi a hand, if he needs it. I know how difficult it is for a father to manage a sick son, especially away from home.

Ari is the clasmate of 89er Akiva Elias, son of 59er Ooky Elijah Elias, one of my dearest friends in Bombay. Akiva had sent me a message a few weeks ago asking whether I knew his dad. Ooky is the only classmate who has come and stayed with us in this remote corner of the world, where, believe it or not, it snowed last week. I think we saw spring and summer come and go last weekend!

Cathedral Ooky and me in Oulu, 1988

Ooky visited me in Oulu in 1988


It is a very small world - and the internet has made it even smaller. God bless the internet. Do not forget, if you have something to share with other Cathedralites of any generation, mail it to me, and I shall put it up on this page as a record for posterity. Take care. See you in a fortnight.

Regards

Jacob Matthan
Savage House Captain1959
Oulu, Finland

Sunday, May 05, 1996

SH-Issue 2: 960505

Hi Web-surfing Cathedralites,

First and foremost let me inform you that the World Alumni Register has been prepared and part of it includes the Alumni Register for Cathedral and John Connon School in the Indian Alumni Register Section. I would suggest that you return the Letters to the Editor Section on our main page "Findians Briefings" and read the letter from Renu Mehta who is maintaining the India Alumni Register. This may, therefore, remove the need for 93er Vivek Sikri to struggle to maintain a duplicate Alumni Register He could come to an agreement with Renu to use that list for all our needs. About 20 Cathedralites had registered as of Friday 3rd May, so the rest of you just rush off and register now.

Many of you have written to me. I was especially happy to hear from 89er Akiva Elias, son of my very good friend and classmate Elijah Elias, also popularly known as Ooky. How did Elijah get his nickname Ooky?

Ooky, Rifka, JM

Ooky, Rifka and me in Mumbai in 1994


The grandfather of Akiva was a senior officer in the State Bank of India and was constantly being shifted from city to city. So when Elijah arrived at Cathedral, I seem to remember it was either late in our Ninth or early Tenth standard. In the Tenth we used to have an English Essay writing competition which was called the Ookerjee Memorial Prize.

Cathedral English teacher R. G. Salmon

Our English teacher from 8th to 10th Standard, the late R. G. Salmon Photograph: Courtesy Mr. Salmon's son, Luke.


Elijah wrote a hilarious piece. The late Mr. R. G. Salmon, a tall Englishman who was our English teacher did an especially good job of reading out the essay to us after he announced the winner. It had us in splits of laughter for many a week. Elijah had all the wit of Wodehouse. Without any doubt he was the clean winner of the prize and earned himself the nickname Ooky - which has stuck through all these years. It also made Ooky one of us although he joined our class at such a late stage of our school lives. Plus the fact that Ooky was a good seam bowler, dedicated to the game of cricket, made him a popular addition to our class.

If I am not wrong, even his wife (Rifka) calls him Ooky when she is in the company of his classmates!

Speaking of nicknames, in this issue I want to give you the origin of mine.

We were in the Seventh Standard when our class teacher, the late Mr. W. H. Thompson (see last issue for picture) suggested we go for a Saturday picnic to a small stream about an hour and a half from Bombay (Mumbai) by suburban train at a place called Vasind. The idea appealed to many of us. It was duly arranged, the two teachers in charge of the party being PT Master the late Mr. A. G. Morecroft and Mr. Thompson.

Cathedral P. T. Master the late Mr. A. G. Morecroft

P. T. Master Mr. A. G. Morecroft who saved my life


I was up early and had a good breakfast. I was about to drink the glass of milk which my mother had heated for me when the glass slipped from our hands and crashed to the floor. My mother was distressed, being slightly supersititious. She told me to be especially careful on this trip.

I arrived at the railway station to find all the others already there. We got on the train and had a very lively interesting journey, with Vikram Singh, one of our classmates, joining us at some station along the line.

We reached Vasind by about 8 in the morning. A trek through some fields brought us to a lovely stream with a sandy bank. As I had insisted on wearing my swimming trunks already from home, I was probably the first into the water and was splashing away having a wonderful time before any of the others even made it into the water. The river was quite shallow, about waist height, even for us small kids. I was used to river swimming as I used to swim in the backwaters of Kerala when I was just a few years old.

I had not been in the water more than a few tens of minutes when suddenly my feet gave way under me. I do not know what happened, but I think it was cramp which made me curl up as I lost all control of my body. I was drowning. I went down for the first time. When I came up I was trying to shout for help, but only taking in more water. I saw Vikram swim near me. I made a grab for him. He thought I was fooling around and let out a viscious kick. I went down for the second time. At that point I knew then I was a goner. As I came up for the third time, my thoughts were not on survival, although the body was struggling to stay alive, my mind was already tuned to death and my life of the previous 12 years rolled by me in an instant in slow motion. I saw all the highlights of my life and in my mind I thanked my parents for all that they had done for me. I went down for the last time looking at the shore which seemed miles away, and I knew my life was over as I blacked out. I was not in pain or mentally distressed at that point of time.

I awoke some time later. Sand was sticking all over me. Someone was pounding my chest. Water was gushing out of the side of my mouth.

It appeared that Mr. Morecroft had seen me going down for the second time. He had been able to get me out just after my third submersion. Artificial respiration of about 20 minutes had got me going again. When I looked up I could see the worried faces of all my friends looking down at me, but beyond them I saw the bright blue sky. As they saw my open eyes a sigh of relief passed through all of them.

It was a painful time while they pumped out all the water from inside me. But both Mr. Thompson and Mr. Morecroft were well versed in life-saving techniques, and I think both of them thanked the day when they had taken the trouble to learn these life-saving techniques. In about half-an-hour, they had me going and they asked whether I wanted to be rushed to the hospital.

Seeing all my friends were still standing around looking worried, I knew I would ruin their day if I opted for this. Despite my insides being raw, I declined. I asked them to prop me up in the shade of some trees while they went about swimming and enjoying themselves.

I can remember that day as clear as crystal, as although I was not running around and jumping and playing with them, I was thanking God for saving me from the jaws of death.

Seeing how I had been dragged out of the water, held upside down by my legs before they started artificial respiration and my very drawn and pale face as I lay there while having our midday sandwiches, I was not able to eat as my throat was raw, Viney Sethi (Palmer House Captain 1959) commented that Jakes looked like a "Dead Chicken" - and that nickname remained mine for many a year!

Arvind, Viney and me, Mousoori 1960

Arvind, Viney and myself holidaying in Mousoori in 1960


I was a resurrected Dead Chicken - and that was fine. I remember my friends and especially these two fine schoolmasters, Mr. Thompson and Mr. Morecroft all the time as I have got this far in life only because they were prepared in an emergency.

More true life stories from Cathedral School in a fortnight, so till then

Yours sincerely,
Jacob Matthan
Savage House Captain 1959
Oulu, Finland

Sunday, April 21, 1996

SH-Issue 1: 960421

Hi Web-surfing Cathedralites,

I am glad that I found the list of all you youngsters being maintained by 94er Vikram Somaya.

Cathedralite 94er Vikram Somaya

94er Vikram Somaya Photographer: Unknown


I received and read with interest the newsletter being sent out by 93er Vivek Sikri. I hope those of you Cathedralites who have not registered will do so by visiting the site.

What is Seventh Heaven?

When I was in the Seventh Standard in Cathedral School in 1955, the late Mr. W. H. Thompson was our classmaster.

Cathedral Master the late Mr. W. H. Thompson

The late Mr. W. H. Thompson


He suggested we start a class magazine. It was great fun as we put together stuff, typed and wrote it onto stencils with some nice drawings for the cover, and sure enough we had a nice magazine which we brought out every couple of weeks. Of course, when we left the Seventh Standard it died a natural death, but the title of the magazine remained in my mind.

Our class which passed out in 1959 was a great one and I hope over the next few issues to tell you some of our escapades and successes on this page. Many of you may know the sons and relatives of those who were with me during that time.

I hope you will enjoy this page as much as I shall enjoy putting it together. I hope to share with you some stories about our the Headmaster, Mr B. G. Gunnery, Vice Head and character extraordinaire - the late Mr. Stan (Pop) Pharoah, and of course details of several of our seniors and juniors, many of whom have done as well as most of us in our class.






Cathedral Principal B. G. Gunnery

Cathedral Principal
Mr. B. G. Gunnery
(1953 - 1965)


Cathedral Vice Principal the late S. Pharoah

Cathedral Vice Principal
the Late S. Pharoah


I hope to update this page every two weeks and also to maintain an archive of the stories that I put up. Presently the archive address is the same as this one, and only after I see what sort of response we are getting will I decided on whether to split it or leave it as a big master file. (Now it is this blog.)

I would be grateful if some of you would send stories about your time in Cathedral so that those of us from the distant past can get a flavour of what happened after our time.

Best regards

Jacob Matthan
1959 Batch
Savage House Captain 1959
Cathedral and John Connon School
Fort
Bombay, INDIA