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
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?
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.
Cathedralite Jacob Matthan
1959 Savage House Captain