59er Golden Reunion Directory

59er Golden Reunion Directory
59er Golden Reunion Directory

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.


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.


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!


Jacob Matthan
Savage House Captain 1959
Oulu, Finland