Many people will walk in and out of your life, but only
true friends will leave footprints in your heart.
Dear Findians, Cathedralites and Stephanians,
my many many friends and a few relatives,
1. My horoscope for Sunday 22nd December 2002
2. 2002 - Another year gone by
3. Annikki's next book "Edible Art"
4. New relationships
a. Ranya ElRamly
b. Hilary and Jane Simon
5. Bomb blast in Helsinki suburb
6. How are we still alive? (A bit of humour from Ranko)
7. Finnish Director Aki Kaurismäki takes a stand
8. St. Stephen's College, Delhi
Your alumni - locating your alma mater
9. Bishop Cottons Boys' School, Bangalore
New book about Cottonians
10. Cathedral School, Mumbai
a. Founders' Day 2002
b. News from Mumbai
c. Some newcomers to our list
d. Reunion plans
11. Sexy and I discuss castes
12. Season's Greetings
Date: Wednesday 25th December 2002
My Christmas Message
1. My horoscope for Sunday 22nd December 2002
"Right now, your leadership tendencies turn you into a
benevolent despot. The good news is that most people
welcome your dominance. After all, you're here to
generate fun, not cause misery."
Despite the fact that one man's finest aged Scotch is another
man's fatal dose of cyanide, I thought I would make an attempt
to reach all my world-wide audience through a single seasonal
Dire shortage of time is the reason. Please criticise this effort.
Even a despot can learn from the negatives.
2. 2002 - Another year gone by
Do what you can, with what you have, where you are. Theodore Roosevelt
2002 was difficult and extremely strenuous for Annikki and me.
The responsibilities meant that we had to manage without
either of us having a regular income source for most part of
the year. The three books I am presently involved in (including
Annikki's photo-essay of about 50 of her best cake and ginger
bread house designs - see next item) will materialise
into revenue only in the latter part of 2003 and early 2004.
We are not growing any younger. Unlike in India, where you
can get half a dozen helpers - nurses, cooks, drivers, and
gardeners, etc., to look after your ageing and / or sick relatives,
and the attendant work involved, in the west, the work has to
be done by you. The onus cannot be passed on for one
to be just a manager. Our workload in looking after Annikki's
aged dementia / Alzheimer's affected mother and our youngest,
29 year old, son was staggering.
By the grace of God, both our patients are doing well. This is
due to the care, love and affection that Annikki gives them. My
role is minor. I have to, literally, keep the home fires burning.
The house is heated by a central burner which has to be
physically fed with wood. This is a round-the-clock responsibility.
Otherwise there will be no hot water, no room heating and the
pipes could freeze. With temperatures now approaching -30 C
post Christmas, that would mean catastrophe.
It has meant trips to the forest to collect large logs, pulling them
to the nearest road in the snow covered forest, getting it back
home on a trailer, and chopping them ready to fit the main burner
and the wood heated sauna. The furnace has to be cleaned out
regularly to get the best efficiency out of the old system. The
ash has to be saved to put over the garden during the early
spring - a good source of potash. It is heavy and dirty work.
Very few houses in Finland are still heated by wood. Most Finns
have turned to oil or electricity for their central heating systems.
Annikki's late father, who died at the age of 84 at the beginning
of 2001, till his very last days, collected the wood from various
places, cut it to size and had the boiler going and the house warm.
As long as Annikki's mother is able to, Annikki, being the officially
appointed caretaker for her well-being, has a responsibility to keep
her comfortable and well in her own home. The rate of decline of
an Alzheimer's / dementia affected patient is slowest in her own
familiar surroundings. During the last year we have seen no
deterioration in her state. In fact, a great improvement is noticeable.
She recognises all her family members and was very happy to attend
the school-leaving party of one of her youngest grandsonjust a
couple of weeks ago. She also enjoyed herself at this year's
English Carol Service, althoughshe does not understand a
word of English.
Going back to the state of our being in 2002, to be honest, we have
asked nothing extra from God but good health. God has been very
very kind to us and provided us not only excellent health but also
whatever we needed at the time we needed it.
We do not cry over what we have not got. We are content with our life
which is substantially better than the many have-nots we see every
day on our television screen. We are amazed but not shocked at the
greed that we see in many seemingly rich relatives, not happy with
their own riches but working tirelessly to steal what belongs to
If you want an accounting of your worth, count your friends. Merry Browne
To us the greatest riches that we have are our friends, the many tens
of thousands of you across the world that correspond with us.
What more can we ask except not to stop.
This would never have been possible without the internet,
and it is all done at the touch of a single "RETURN" key!!
3. Annikki's next book "Edible Art"
I have learnt that the sound of a child's laughter is
the most beautiful music in the world!
Annikki makes her cakes and ginger bread houses as she has
a great sense of achievement when little children appreciate her
The first attachment is a picture of Annikki's award winning work
for this winter - her "Winter in a Finnish Garden" made entirely
of ginger bread baked by her and decorated out of only edible
items, also created by her. The roof and lotus flowers on the
pond are made out of cast sugar. The waterfall and frozen pond
(not so clearly visible in this shot) are made from melted
peppermint sweets!! The stones and boulders are made from
toffee and liquorice sweets. The flowerpots are also ginger
bread painted with edible colour paints, and filled with cake for mud.
The flowers are hand carved sweets fixed to the ginger
bread stems. The greenhouse is lit inside with battery
operated Christmas lights.
Construction, Annikki Matthan, 2002
This piece has exceeded her previous masterpieces by many a
mile. This is one of the pictures included to appear in her
next book "Edible Art" which will feature about 50 of her
most artistic cake and ginger bread house designs made
over the last 20 years.
I am now looking for an International Publisher to do
justice to releasing this book which will feature only one
of Annikki's many artistic talents.
4. New relationships
There is no such thing as a 'self-made' man. We are
made up of thousands of others. Everyone who has ever done a
kind deed for us, or spoken one word of encouragement to us,
has entered into the make-up of our character and of our
thoughts, as well as our success.
George Matthew Adams
2002 brought us many new relationships. I want to share just a
couple of our stories with you . It shows valuable relationships
may arrive around the corner when you are least expecting it.
a. Ranya ElRamly
Annikki was watching a Finnish evening television programme
where Finnish authors and authoresses are interviewed.
After the programme she asked me whether I remembered the
name of an Egyptian married to a Finn whom we had known.
I admitted I did not recall it off-hand, but would if I spent some
time on deliberating on it or if I could find some of my old diaries.
Annikki then asked me whether it was anything like the name
ElRamly. This struck a chord in me immediately.
Ismail and Anu ElRamly had lived in Madras in the early seventies.
He was a hydrologist working as an UN expert surveying the
ground water resources in Tamilnadu. Anu had been expecting and
happened to go to the same gynecologist, Dr. S. Neela, that Annikki
had been to for the delivery of our youngest son, Mika. Dr. Neela had
been a stand-in for Annikki's regular one, Dr. Madhavan, who had taken
a vacation just about the time Annikki was due in late September 1973.
As fate would have it, the gynecologist, seeing a fellow Finn in
Madras, asked Anu to contact Annikki. A relationship was established.
In January 1974 Anu gave birth to her daughter at Lady
Willingdon Hospital, the same one where our two younger children,
Joanna and Mika, were born,.
A few months after the birth of their daughter, Ismail's work in
Madras was ending. We were asked to a farewell dinner. There were
about a half-a dozen guests. It appeared to be an informal
barbecue evening. Their little baby girl was sleeping. Instead of
waking her, typical of a protective Finnish mother, Anu gave Annikki
a snap of the little one. The baby shared the good looks of both her
handsome father and beautiful mother.
After a scrumptious barbecue, which lasted the best part of an hour
and a half, we thought it was time to say goodbye.
A shocked Ismail said it was time that we went in to dinner!!
Seated around a large square dining table we were regaled to
Egyptian hospitality which, to say it in the most polite terms, far
out-distances any Indian hospitality that you can dream about.
It was a six course meal, personally prepared by Ismail and served
in a fashion that no guests plate could be empty. Neither Annikki
and I can recall each course in detail, but we do remember that
one was roasted lamb, another was partridge in a rich sauce, and
another was chicken made in a very Egyptian way - all served with
accompaniments that were mouthwatering. It suffices to
say that each course was more tasty and more filling than the
one which preceded it.
And Ismail was a host impeccable, making sure that the plate of
every guest was full even before we finished a serving.
In short, by the time we came to the dessert, we were stuffed to
Then Ismail gave us the Egyptian speciality, a glass of
tamarind juice to help our digestion.
When we left the house, both Annikki and I were sick of the very
mention of the word "food". We told ourselves that we would never
go unprepared again to a dinner at another Egyptian home!!
Anu was leaving back to Finland. Ismail was going to spend some
time in Salem and Coimbatore before returning for Egypt. He was
expecting to be working on some issues of the then controversial
Aswan Dam project. They offered us some of their furniture and also
a small Baby Belling Oven. They did not want to cart these back
to Egypt or Finland.
Anu was going to a cold Finland. She had no warm coat for her
daughter. Annikki found one of our eldest daughter's coats,
a warm furry looking white one, for Anu to use for her
daughter. Also Anu had no tights for herself. Annikki only had a
pair of broken ones, which she darned at the toes and gave to Anu,
advising her not to take off her shoes when wearing them.
And that was the last we saw or heard of the ElRamly family.
The furniture, which included a beautiful teak office table, and
the Baby Belling, served us till the day we left India in 1984.
And when we left, my mother appreciated having that Baby Belling
in her pantry as an extra oven. Many a time, while I sat at the table
late into the night doing my office work, I thought of Ismail and Anu,
but we heard nothing from them after they left India.
Here then was this interview, where a beautiful young lady was
discussing her very first book, a so-called work of fiction, but
so obviously rolled out of her first hand experiences of her
parents lives and their impact on her.
The reviewers were gushing over it. The style was original and far
superior to the work of Arundhati Roy and her "God of Small Things".
It had no sex and violence which normally sells books these days. It
was a collection of a series of flashbacks written in a simple style -
and it even featured an Indian.
The contents seemed to point to the fact that she was one of the
ElRamly family we had known. Annikki assumed that this girl was
the younger sister of the one which was born in India. She asked
me to locate her email address and send her a message.
As you all know, I am specialist in tracking down people on the
internet. Ranya ElRamly posed me no difficulty. I located the email
address and sent her a message.
A few days later, Annikki found the picture of that little baby girl
in one of our albums. I scanned it and sent another message to
Ranya, asking her whether it was her elder sister, Kaisa.
Promptly came the reply. The picture was not Kaisa, but she was
the elder sister who had been born in India and it was her, Ranya.
I set up a time for Annikki and Ranya to talk over the phone. They
talked for over an hour and established what had happened over
the intervening years. Anu had passed away and Ismail was
living in Egypt. Ranya sent Annikki a copy of her book and Annikki
sent Ranya copies of two of our books.
Ranya's book, known in Finnish as "Auringon Asema" (can be
translated as "The Position of the Sun" or "The Angle of the Sun")
is truly brilliant. It has had rave reviews from almost every critic in
Finland. Her television interviews have also been extraordinary.
Ranya has picked up several awards for the book and has been
short-listed for some other major Finnish awards.
Sadly, her book is still only in Finnish. I have told her that once it
is published in English she will qualify to be listed in my extremely
popular Findian web page about "Books by, about and on the
Women of India". Even though she does not know it, Ranya is a
Findian, having been born in India and having one Finnish parent.
She is one of our community of more than 80,000 across the world.
The style of Ranya's book has had a great influence on me. I have
started to entirely rewrite my book "Last Will and Testament" which
was ready to be released to the publishers already last October. I
hope the rewritten manuscript will be ready by next August. It will
appeal to a much wider audience than I had originally contemplated.
It will be a far more powerful book than I had originally intended.
I thank Ranya for bringing such a freshness into our lives through her
By the way. Cathedralites, if you want a copy of the chapter in my book
about my unusual experience at Vasind, to which several of you are
witness, and which earned me the nickname of "Dead Chicken", one
which I greatly treasure, please email me. I will send you the same by
email as soon as the revised manuscript is ready. Do tell me whether
you were present on that fateful day in 1955 as I am unsure of all those
who were there in person.
b. Hilary and Jane Simon
Ranya was not the only artist to come into our fold this year. We noted
this entry in our Findians Briefings Guest Book on the web from a
lady in the South of England:
"I am so pleased to see the Cathedral School pages. My
sister, Jane, and I are both ex-Cathedralites. I have
such vivid memories of starting in the Kindergarten in
the old John Connon building and then of getting my
school uniform and starting in the "big" school. My
sister and I were both in Orange House. My sister
completed her education education at the Cathedral, but
we left for England when I was nearly 12 years old in
I'd be so delighted to hear from anyone in the Class of
57 if such a thing exists. Actually I did meet up with
two of my old classmates at Sussex University where
they joined me when I was in my second year.
Give my (our) love to the old school. We both have fond
and affectionate memories of it.
Hilary (née Simon) Minor"
As Hilary was 12 in 1957, she is not looking for the "Class of 1957",
but probably the "Class of 1961 or 1962".
I remember, Hilary, and her sister Jane. Hilary was in the same class
as Purnima Mazumdar, Suchita Assoumul and Surtaj Hai. Jane
must have been a "Class of 1956 or 57" product, of which we have
many online. My hero, Anthony Ramsinh (who was "Class of Every Year"
from his reminiscences), Bhupinder Singh Anand, Kashinath Dandekar,
Abe Hayeem, are only a few of you on-line who may remember Jane.
I am sure Pushpa Shiri will also remember both of these girls.
I suggest all of you take a look at Hilary's web page
where the artistic products of Hilary's unique design skills can
I welcome Hilary and Jane to our international fold.
5. How are we still alive? (A bit of humour from Ranko !)
"I've always believed that you can think positive just
as well as you can think negative.
Sugar Ray Robinson
Having lived in India in my childhood, I received this input from Ranko
Ivancevic which made me smile:
I Can't Believe You Made It!
If you lived as a child in the 40's, 50's, 60's or 70's.
Looking back, it's hard to believe that we have lived
as long as we have...
As children, we would ride in cars with no seat belts
or air bags.
Riding in the back of a pickup truck on a warm day was
always a special treat.
Our baby cribs were covered with bright colored
lead-based paint. We had no childproof lids on medicine
bottles, doors, or cabinets, and when we rode our
bikes, we had no helmets. (Not to mention hitchhiking
to town as a young kid!)
We drank water from the garden hose and not from a
We would spend hours building our go-carts out of
scraps and then rode down the hill, only to find out we
forgot the brakes. After running into the bushes a few
times we learned to solve the problem.
We would leave home in the morning and play all day, as
long as we were back when the streetlights came on. No
one was able to reach us all day. No cell phones.
We played dodgeball and sometimes the ball would really
hurt. We got cut and broke bones and broke teeth, and
there were no law suits from these accidents. They were
accidents. No one was to blame, but us. Remember
We had fights and punched each other and got black and
blue and learned to get over it.
We ate cupcakes, bread and butter, and drank sugar soda
but we were never overweight... we were always outside
playing. We shared one grape soda with four friends,
from one bottle and no one died from this.
We did not have Playstations, Nintendo 64, X-Boxes,
video games at all, 99 channels on cable, video tape
movies, surround sound, personal cell phones, Personal
Computers, Internet chat rooms ... we had friends. We
went outside and found them. We rode bikes or walked to
a friend's home and knocked on the door, or rung the
bell or just walked in and talked to them.
Imagine such a thing. Without asking a parent! By
ourselves! Out there in the cold cruel world! Without a
guardian. How did we do it?
We made up games with sticks and tennis balls and ate
worms and although we were told it would happen, we did
not put out very many eyes, nor did the worms live
inside us forever.
Little League had tryouts and not everyone made the
team. Those who didn't, had to learn to deal with
disappointment..... Some students weren't as smart as
others so they failed a grade and were held back to
repeat the same grade..... Horrors.
Tests were not adjusted for any reason.
Our actions were our own. Consequences were expected.
No one to hide behind. The idea of a parent bailing us
out if we broke a law was unheard of. They actually
sided with the law, imagine that!
This generation has produced some of the best
risk-takers and problem solvers and inventors, ever.
The past 50 years has been an explosion of innovation
and new ideas. We had freedom, failure, success and
responsibility, and we learned how to deal with it all.
And you're one of them. Congratulations!
Please pass this on to others who have had the luck to
grow up as kids, before lawyers and government
regulated our lives, for our own good.
I especially remember those crushed ice sherbet dipped sticks we
used to suck on after a hard game of football at the Oval Maidan.
Cast your mind back to that man with the wooden trolley, dressed
in a terribly dirty lungi and with filthy hands with which he moulded
the scraped ice over the wooden splinter from God-knows-where.
If we survived licking that and drinking the hand-squeezed nimbupani
(lime juice), I am sure no germ warfare can ever get us!!
6. Bomb blast in Helsinki suburb
You can close your eyes to things you don't want to see,
but you can't close your heart to the things you don't
want to feel.
Helsinki, or rather Vantaa, a suburb of Helsinki was in the news
recently when a young boy made a bomb with information from
the internet and exploded it in a shopping mall, killing himself
and several others.
I was deeply touched by not only by the email from Sadhana
(see later), but about 200 others, all of whom wrote to enquire
about our closeness to the incident.
We live 600 kilometres from the spot. Finland, however, despite
its size, is a very small country. Events such as this, which was
most unusual for this quiet and peaceful country, cause
reverberations in even the most distant spots.
We are thankful that it was not a terrorist event, as otherwise
xenophobic Finns would have come down hard on the very
small foreign population in this country.
We all feel deeply for those innocent people who lost their lives
by this bit of unnecessary violence.
11. Finnish Film Director Aki Kaurismäki takes a stand
One of the most tragic things I know about human nature
is that all of us tend to put off living. We are all dreaming of
some magical rose garden over the horizon - instead of
enjoying the roses that are blooming outside our windows today.
Aki Kaurismäki is one of Finland's very best film directors. He
took a stand recently on the xenophobic situation now prevailing
in the US.
When Shabir Ahmedbhoy, now living in Karachi, wrote to me
about considering whether he should move to the US, I told him
about the recent experience of two young friends of mine who
were studying in U.S. They are Finns, but with Muslim names.
Life became unbearable for them there. So they returned to
Finland has a long history of xenophobia. We foreigners who are
settled here can understand the trauma being faced by many
innocent people in the US.
In this context the stand taken by Aki Kaurismäki, the leading film
director in Finland was heartening.
This is the full text of Aki Kaurismäki's Statement
regarding his decision to cancel his appearance at the
40th New York Film Festival, September 30, 2002.
Not with anger (which has never brought anything good),
but with deep sorrow, I received the news that Abbas
Kiarostami, a friend of mine and one of the world's
most peace-loving persons, is prevented from
participating the New York Film Festival because, being
a citizen of Iran, he was refused a visa.
I had also been invited to the festival, which is one
of the best in the world. Under the circumstances I,
too, am forced to cancel my participation - for if the
present government of the United States of America does
not want an Iranian, they will hardly have any use for a
Finn, either. We do not even have the oil.
However, what concerns me more is that if Abbas
Kiarostami is being treated like this; what will happen
to nameless prisoners? I consider the Geneva Convention
as the last hope of mankind, and as a private citizen
on Finland, I accuse the Government of the United
States of violating it.
Meanwhile, I would like to invite the present U.S.
Secretary of Defense to a visit to Finland. We could
take a walk in the woods and pick mushrooms. That might
calm him down.
If international cultural exchange is prevented, what
is left? The exchange of arms?
Somewhere, someone said that every man is created equal.
The words of Aki may sound as a bit of coarse humour. But they
are deadly serious, as we in the world are falling into a trap that
only violence can solve violence.
We wish Aki would take the same stand with the behaviour of
the Finnish authorities towards foreigners living in his country.
Freedom requires that we learn and ut into practice
the three R's - Respect, Responsibility, and Restraint.
Fr. Brian Cavanaugh, TOR
7. St. Stephen's College - Delhi
a. Your alumni - locating your alma mater
Here are a few words from Stephanians. It will also apply to
all those who want to establish contact with their own alma maters.
I had a letter from a present day Stephanian which read as follows:
Dear Mr. Matthan,
My name is Vaibhav Tawakley, and I am a second year
undergrad from College. I came across the online
version of the KT a few days back and wanted to get in
touch with you regarding something rather important.
This year the SUS has constituted a subsidiary organ
called the "Alumni Cell".
As the name makes it rather easy to guess, the Cell's
purpose is to get in touch with the numerous alumnus of
College, and help them get in touch with each other.
Also, we would like the to bring present junior members
of college in close contact with you, the Old
Stephanians (there are no ex-Stephanians, as the
principal recently told me!), and help them learn from
your experiences in and after College. We in turn would
like to help you in any way we can, at the very least we
want to bring back together generations of Stephanians,
as they were before they scattered all over the world.
However, before we are to move on to anything
substantial, we need to know who our alumni are and
where they are now.
One of the biggest problems faced by us, here in
College, is that since no one ever tried to maintain a
formal database of Stephanians passing out, we have
practically no data on our hands.
We will be placing ads in leading dailies in India,
however for old Stephanians, who do not have access to
these dailies, people who are abroad for example, we
have to rely on word of mouth, the grapevine so to say.
I would be grateful if you would send me any and all
contacts that you might have on this address.
Ideally, we would like the information to be in the
current designation and employer
batch and course
There are numerous bits of news we would like to share
with you, but I guess that will have to wait till the
next time I mail you, looking forward to your response,
To those who do not know, his reference to KT is my successful
web site about my life in St. Stephen's College, Delhi, just as
SeventhHeaven is my web site about my experiences at Cathedral
School, Bombay, which had been referred to by Hilary.
I replied to Vaibhav, and the advice could apply to all of you
looking to establish links with your individual alumnis:
Thanks for your note. I wish you luck with this
enormous endeavour that you are embarking on.
I do have well over a couple of thousand Stephanians on
my email list but there are problems in using that list.
1. A lot of the fellows have given me their email
addresses while they were studying in US & UK
educational institutions. When they have left or gone
on holiday they have not let me know. When I was
sending out my newsletter I used to get over 20%
returns. It was an enormous task for me to go through
to delete each returned email after checking the reason
for the return. Many of the returns also had the
original mail attached and with the size of the images
I was sending, my small web server was overloaded
beyond its capacity. So I discontinued the newsletter.
2. A lot of the guys have told me that their email
addresses are personal and I should not pass it on. As
a rigid rule I do not offer to give out the email
addresses of Stephanians as it has got me into trouble
a couple of times.
However, may I point you to the world alumni site where
you can find 1006 of Stephanians who are presently
registered. You can send out a general call from there.
It will be transmitted by word of email to many
thousands of us all around the globe. You can register
at the site and also become a member of the St.
Stephen's alumni page. Ithink you will find a link on
top of my last updated Kooler Talk page at
where it asks you to join the college alumni!! Please
request all the Stephanians you know to visit my above
mentioned website and then register at the World Alumni.
Please also direct your young Stephanians to past
issues of Kooler Talk which starts at
which was put on the web in April 1996. There are
several issues on the web and they make some good light
reading. Many of the links I have given are now obsolete
- such as the alumni list of Krishna Kumar from which I
started in 1996.
They may get a glimpse of the nostalgic past AS I SAW
I wish I had the time to keep it going regularly as I
have tons of material from many generations of
Stephanians - but my present writing schedules keep me
from doing the necessary. Maybe a long vacation after I
complete the manuscripts of my next two books will drive
me to bring to the pages what needs to be done.
Do not forget to drop a line to Prof. Sreenath
Sreenivasan. If he has time (from his rather tough
schedules) he could get out the word to a few hundred
Stephanians across the US. After all, he is Prof. of
media communications!! (I am copying him on this email.)
Do give Dr. Wilson my regards and wish him a very Merry
Christmas and Happy New Year from my Arctic abode. And
may I also wish you the same.
Just watching on Internet the collapse of the Indians
at Hamilton!! Tendulkar was just out. 26 for 3.
lowercase sreeni, as is evident from his email, professor at columbia
university in new york, was quick to write to Vaibhav:
you certainly went to the right person in jacob. he will be of
great help with this worthy project.
if you send me a short, self-explanatory note, I will forward
it to my SSC lists.
BTW, you might want to create an online form on the SSC site
that someone can fill in easily. you can use a site such as
formsite.com or am sure the school webmaster can create it
see an example of what we do at columbia - this is not for
exactly the same thing, but it gives you an idea:
sree at sree.net
The kind words that Sreeni had for me far exceeds my doings, but
they are graciously accepted as bringing all of you together has
been a labour of much pleasure for me.
Cathedralites can go to my page:
You will find a link to register in the world alumni and find
some of your classmates.
Hilary and Jane, you will find a couple of interesting names you will
remember there, including our late and much loved Head Girl Pamela
Ballantyne and her brother Aubrey, who now lives in Canada. In the
1961 alumni page you will find listed their younger sister, Judith,
who must have been Hilary's classmate.
Other readers can use one of the above links and also find their own
alumnis - Bishop Cottonians, etc. This world alumni project has
been online since early 1996. I was one of the first to register and
popularise it among all members of my many alma maters. It has
proved a very valuable contact source for me over the years.
Do take a few minutes to register there as someone, somewhere,
may be looking for you. This is the most ideal source of establishing
a link with those whom you thought you would never hear from again.
If you do not want to go to my web pages, you can link up from this
from where you can track your own alma mater anywhere in the world
and register. Nothing could be simpler.
How much pleasure I have gained from my online links with all of you!
b. Obituary - Associate Professor Dr. Rajive Khanna
Professor David Creed wrote to me about the demise of Dr. Rajive
Khanna Associate Professor of Chemistry at the University of
Southern Mississippi [St. Stephen's 1971 - 1974, B. Sc (Chemistry
Hons)] at the young an age of just 47 on May 26th of this year.
The obituary is posted at this URL:
Dr. Khanna was working in my own field of specialisation - Polymer
Science and Technology. His loss is a sad loss, not only for
Stephanians, but all those in the field of Polymers. I had conveyed
the condolences of Stephanians to Dr. Khanna's family through
c. Change of email addresses (contact me for details)
Dr. Anthony Stone, who taught mathematics in college in the sixties
has informed of the change of his email address as well as his home
page which is now at
I have also received information about changes of email address of
Davendra Pratap (1960 - 1965 - M. A. (Economics). Davendra is now
retired from active service but seems to be active in a sort of venture
d. News from other Stephanians
Padma Rao is no longer in New York but have been the Chief of
Southasia Bureau, Der Spiegel (German news magazine) for the
past four years. Stay in touch and do keep me in touch with Stephania,
or else we might all lose it forever.
From: "Arindom Datta"
To: "Jacob Matthan "
Subject: Re: Kooler Talk (Web Version) Editor's Note
Its great to hear from you. I am Arindom Datta from the
1984-87 (Maths) batch and am doing an MBA from the IIM.
I am on study leave and have unfortunately found out that
at the ripe old age of 35, one should not take up higher studies.
Any way, do keep in touch
6. Bishop Cottons Boys' School, Bangalore
New book about Cottonians
It is enough that I am of value to somebody today.
I have just received this email from Aditya Sondhi in Bangalore.
Date: Mon, 23 Dec 2002 10:03:41 +0530
From: Aditya Sondhi
Subject: Book on Cottonians
The book, in connection with which I had written to you earlier, is
under publication. I'm hopeful of a release well before St. Pete's
2003. Of course, updates are still welcome.
Those of you in Bangalore over the vacation, or otherwise, please
do get in touch.
Have a very happy Christmas and New Year!
#24, Lavelle Road
102, SNS Villa
Bangalore 560 001
Do get in touch with Aditya to get yourself a copy of this book which
is a truly historic compilation. I had the pleasure of contributing
part of the section on the "Matthan family" which has a long and
wonderful association with this school in Bangalore for over 80
years, both the Boys and Girls Schools.
All my children are Cottonians, although only our eldest actually
finished her education from that school, as we moved to Finland.
Besides Cathedral in Mumbai, Bishop Cottons, Bangalore is
also one of my alma maters.
7. Cathedral School
Be kind and merciful. Let no one ever come to
you without coming away better and happier.
a. Founders' Day 2002
Which brings me to my next topic - the 142nd Cathedral School
Founders' Day celebrations on 14th November 2002.
The report from Catcall was:
"The Alumni like in previous years, was far better represented by
the old girls than by the old boys. Alumni classes represented
ranged from the 1930s to 2001."
Former teachers, William and Pushpa Shiri, made the trip from
Canada to India to attend these celebrations. From all the reports
I got, they were well remembered. Past students were overjoyed
to see the two of them at the occasion. Here was one message
I received about the occasion:
From: "HARISH PAT"
Date: Thu, 14 Nov 2002 12:38:33 +0530
Today is Thursday 14th November, 2002 which is
A beautiful Church Service was held beginning at 9 am
at the St. Thomas Cathedral.
The topic for today's sermon was VIOLENCE.
Every page in any newspaper is filled with some details
of violence which has occurred all over the world.
At the end of the service all ex-students mingled with
the old staff members and current staff of the school.
The annual cricket match between the Alumni XI & the
School XI started off at the Bombay Gymkhana, and is
currently in progress.
AT THE Church Service met Mr. Shiri who taught Physics
and his wife Pushpa who taught second standard kids in
Cathedral before they both migrated abroad. They have
both come to India to join their classmates for a 50
Mrs Irene Saldanha former Headmistress of the junior
School is going for a by pass surgery shortly. An
appeal is being sent out for 6 bottles of B Negative
Blood required for her surgery. Any one who can help
may please contact any Alumni Committee Member.
Our last appeal for funds is for Raman Pawar who has
worked in the School for over 40 years. Raman is
suffering from stomach cancer and his medicines cost an
average of Fifteen thousand rupees every year which he
can ill afford. Any donation will help him ease his
pain. Raman worked in the school library before his
Lastly the Gala Dinner is being held tonight at the
Liquid Lounge. Chiraj Doshi and his sister Kanika
Doshi, both Alumni, have laid a generous spread of
their famous cuisine with a well known DJ who will play
music through the generations for all to enjoy. There
some great gifts from SILKWORKS and our new dynamic
Committee headed by Rajeev Ruia will spell out its
plans and program for 2002 -2003.
b. News from Mumbai
Here were a couple of messages from one of my most regular
From: "Prakash A. Thadani"
To: "Jacob Matthan"
Subject: CAT NEWS
Date: Tue, 26 Nov 2002 15:06:26 +0530
NOVEMBER, 2002, mumbai's jazz month
First the Alumni Dinner at the Liquid Lounge. Well
attended by ex-students from all years.
Excellent food, great music, great prizes and some
superb Australian wine.
Funds were raised for Raman Parmar who worked in the
school library for over 40 years and is now suffering
from stomach cancer.
Appeals were made for O negative blood for Mrs. Irene
Saldanha, Ex headmistress, Junior School, who is
undergoing a by-pass shortly
Alumni caps sold for Rs.100 each.
Many are seen using them for their day at the golf
Funds were also pledged by many for the Alumni corpus.
Hopefully this will help in running the organisation
for the years to come.
Prakash Thadani had his second singing night at the Not
Just jazz By the Bay, breaking records of crowds turning
up for the event on Saturday 16th November, 2002. The
night featured Anushka Jagtiani , Ritika Mirchandani,
Shahina Pohumull, all Cathedralites and Haresh
Jagtiani, Dr. Adi Dastur, Laveen Lekhraj, Nitu Pohumull
& Meenu Pohumull who sang encouraged by a packed house
till the wee hours of the morning.
On 21st November, the 16th International Jazz Yatra
2002 began at Rang Bhavan. 10 groups from all over the
world including one from india , 4 from Norway, Japan,
USA, Germany, Holland. There were 5 vocalists that
wowed the Mumbai music lovers. To add to the great
music the ambience was surrealistic with the waning
moon , stars at the open air Rang Bhavan
28th November, Dana Gillispie and Her Blues Band
perform at the Rang Bhavan. This dynamic blues singer
with a seductive husky voice will enthrall any music
lover with renditions of her own compositions along
with other well known blues.
Frainy & Percy Mistri celebrate their Pearl Wedding on
the 27th of November, 2002. Their son Zubin was married
to Karishma on 21st November, 2002.
Mrs. Usha Sukhthankar, mother of Ranjan Mitchell & Rupa
was brutally murdered at her apartment on Cooperage Road
on 20th November, 2002. The police are still conducting
Manula Nanavati and a few friends, have got together
and started a Retro Dance Club which meets every
Wednesday at the Starters N More, Eros Cinema Building.
Its a great way to jive off those extra kilos. Starters
N More is presently managed by Prema Jagtiani ( née
Advani ) a member of our Alumni.
Jehangir Art Gallery celebrated its 50 year of
existence with an evening of Jazz and Art featuring the
Jazz Junkeys on 18th October, 2002. The well attended
evening was much appreciated by music and art lovers
who felt that the acoustics at the Art Gallery were the
best they had ever encountered.
More news next month
Prakash A Thadani
The murder on Cooperage Road (remember the sermon on
VIOLENCE at the Founders' Day event), sent the shivers up my
spine. I had lived all of my life in Mumbai on that road in the very
heart of the city. I had even caught a cat-burglar in my bedroom
in 1960 in the dead of night!!
And here was a later message from Prakash.
From: "Prakash A. Thadani"
To: "Jacob Matthan"
Date: Tue, 10 Dec. 2002 12:21:25 +0530
December brings with it respiratory ailments and a
viral flu that affects each and every family.
Its also the wedding season and there are some
beautifully done up wedding mandaps all around Marine
Drive at the numerous gymkhanas.
Mumbai is always full of activity and there's so much
do and see one has to find the time.
There is an exhibition of Photographers at the Jehangir
Art Gallery with some remarkable photographs. It's worth
a visit if you want to see how new technology is applied
to photographs. Sohrab Davar has 4 of his photographs
Czaee Shah (nee Daftary) has opened NOSH a vegetarian
eatery next to Regal Cinema. Can't comment on the food
as I haven't yet been there. But it clearly shows that
Mumbai has place for good eating places especially for
The Taj Mahal Hotel opened its new Restaurant Sanukh.
Great food but pricey with the excessive high taxes.
On the 29th of November, Rashme Uday Singh released her
book "The Good Food Guide" again, but this time at the
Taj Lands End Hotel (formerly the Regent) Heinz
sponsored the entire evening which featured 12
restaurants serving their best dishes. The open air
venue with a live band performing brought in the
festive mood of the month.
The IBIZA famous DJ Paul Van Dyke was featured at the
Famous Studios Mahalakshmi with his speciality of
The Navy week is in progress so one can just walk to
Gateway and see the ships all lit up this week in the
There are tours to go into our Indian Navy warships and
shows through the Lion Gate.
Compliments of the Season & Wishing you all
Happiness with lots of Good Health and Joy in the
coming New Year.
Prakash A Thadani
I had teased Percy about celebrating his "Pearl" wedding
anniversary. These days we do not celebrate "Pearl" wedding
anniversaries. The ladies have renamed the Pearl as the
"Diamond Wedding Anniversary".' I have had several of them
but I get away cheap as my wife wears no jewelry.Most women
expect to receive such gifts as the token of our appreciation
for their having stayed with us for that number of years, and,
knowing me, I do not blame them.
"Suffice to say I did not get away cheap!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"
Percy's message also went onto say:
"Don't know if I have told you that I have taken up a
new Hobby of learning the Trumpet and have in turn
joined a group of amateur musicians called The JAZZ
JUNKEYS and am playing wherever they play, which is
wherever the professional band called Jazzy Joe plays,
Jazzy Joe being my teacher.--So Jazzy Joe and the
Junkeys were invited to the wedding and low and behold
they including, yours truly, started playing there. It
was such a hit that it was reported in the papers
-photograph and all of the host and guests entertaining
the other guests as Lagan-noo Bhonu came to a halt!!!!!!
About 1300 people including most of the Class of' 59
who were in Bombay, attended the wedding at Colaba
Agiary (you remember that place?) and snacks and food
was good too--You know how temperamental even the best
of Parsee caterers can get.
The Junkeys and I played at the Pearl Anniversary too
and though it was not reported in the papers everyone
said that it went off very very well. Here I must say
Gallops, at the Turf Club (do you know the place?) the
restaurant where we held the function, put up an
excellent show with the food and the snacks.
We attended the Founders Day party on Nov.14th. and
were very pleasantly surprised to meet Willy Shiri. He
is here in India though not in Bombay for sometime and
I have promised him a get together of the class of '59
when he returns to Bombay."
It appears we have a few great musicians amongst our midst
with Prakash and Percy leading the way as The Saints Go
Dizzy Gillespie - make way for Percy Mistri
c. Some newcomers to our list
There have been several who have been added to our
circulation list, such as Jal Tata, who was introduced by
Rumy Kapadia via this email:
Date: Sun, 24 Nov 2002 15:48:06 -0800 (PST)
From: rumy kapadia
Subject: Please add his name to your list
To: Jacob Matthan
Jal Tata was one of my classmates, right from the
beginning to the end of my school years, ending in
He has been passing through London, where he now has a
married daughter, and has been a frequent visitor to
Phoenix, Arizona, where he has a married son.
We met this afternoon for lunch, and he has expressed a
wish to be added to your ever-increasing list of
ex-Cathedralites, so that he can receive your
Also added in the process were Meherwan Nadirshaw and
d. Reunion plans
A memory is a photograph taken by the heart
to make a special moment last forever.
Many friends have been asking about the reunions. A few of the
Classes of 53-54-55-56 years want to hold their reunion in
England. But the bulk of those years feel it would be more
appropriate to have the reunions in Mumbai.
Do let me have your opinions.
Ask those who are not yet on my mailing list to write to me.
I will try to co-ordinate the several groups who want to meet up.
I feel greatly honoured that so many from many years have
asked me to be part of their reunions, with Anthony even
asking me to be the MC for their year. I will try my best to be
present. As you will all realise, it is quite difficult for me to leave
Finland to attend these events because of my local day-to-day
Sadhana was quiet for a long time, so it was nice to hear from her:
Date: Mon, 14 Oct 2002 07:47:54 -0700 (PDT)
From: Sadhana Madhusudan
Subject: Re: Newsy Notes: 0018 - Emotional Posting?
To: Jacob Matthan
Yes, I have been very late in replying and apologise for
it. We shifted residence temporarily to Chennai since May
last week. Then, all the catastrophe of finding,
setting up and getting household help, bank a/c,
telephone etc, etc., followed. By the time it was all
neatly executed I was too exhausted. All old friends in
Madras whom we had not met up with in ages were eager
to meet us. Socialising was fun but the chaotic traffic
and to beat it all the murderous HEAT! ! ! has drained
me thoroughly. So, pls excuse me for this delay.
Heard of the awful blast in Helsinki and immediately
you and your family came to mind. Hope all's well with
u? What a dastardly and mindless act of cowardice to
hurt and kill innocent people. This world is becoming a
tinderbox with humans being used as fuel? And, what is
the issue? Religion. Anyone who does this for a so
called God is really very misled into believing that
there is only he God He/she knows. Animals do not act
in cold blood but we are overtaking animals now. Let's
pray for some heavenly intervention that good sense
will prevail and this mindless violence will end. Btw,
you were not in very good health last time u mailed re
some cholestrol? Hope that's under control too.
My classmate '54er Ratan (Ramchandani) Now Chawla had a
bereavement in Aug '02, She lost her husband Vijay. He
was a very fine person, always smiling and gracious.
Ratan has a son and daughter plus one grand
daughter. May God i.e. the family to pull thru this time
of grief. Well, our reunion seems to become more
difficult than ever. Now that I am in the far south, I
can't even go to the Founder's Day svce this year.
Have u heard from my other classmates Zarine Lam, Maya
Advani who r both in London? Also Dante Mody and Prem
Prakash? Do reply,
All the best,
For those, like Sadhana, who were interested in my health -
it is perfect. I walk about 20 km per day on a cross-trainer.
I lift weights sufficient to keep my back, legs and upper
body in trim. My weight is down and my muscle power is
greatly increased. I am in perfect health, my cholestrol
is down, my blood sugar is down, my BP is up. I am exercising
in the 95% heart rate zone without getting tired even after 2
hours of intensive workout in the gym. I work out now as much
as 6 times a week. Takes me back almost to the days when I
My personal trainers are a great guy and gal. With their help I
have reached my peak - except for that pot belly which seems to
be hanging on despite all my efforts. But I intend to lick that into
Where there is a will - there is a way.
10. Sexy and I discuss castes
Peace cannot be achieved through violence, it can only
be attained through understanding.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Narayan Acharya (more commonly known to us Cathedralites as
Sexy derived from his earlier school name of Seshachar), and I
have been having a discussion about his granddad who was
one of the leading engineers in India in the thirties. This has
led us to a discussion about the Iyengar (Ayanger) and the
Aiyar communities. It also raised a question about what
religion I belonged to - Christian, Jew, Hindu, Muslim or
Be it known publicly that I belong to all religions that believe in
non-violence. I am not a Gandhian. But living my second life on
this place we call earth, I have realised that physical violence
does no one any good. There are far better ways of getting justice
and I have depended on them, quite successfully.
I despise those who live by violence. I know from personal
experience that violence only breeds more violence. It is a never
ending spiral. Kashmir, Gujarat, Palestine, Israel, Iraq, - are all
examples of this spiral.
With war against Iraq now inevitable, my second attachment is a
cartoon by our local newspaper cartoonist, Jari. He is truly brilliant.
The ineffectiveness of violence was aptly depicted in this cartoon.
12. Season's Greetings
Dream big dreams! Only big dreams have the power
to move your mind and spirit.
I have a big dream that there will be world peace, a just peace.
Let us at this time of the year, when we pray for peace and giving,
rather than getting, pray for the innocent citizens of India,
Finland, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Israel, Palestine, Iraq, Iran; USA,
Bali, and all other places around the world who are victims of the
people who play with violence for their own personal agenda and
are playing with the innocent lives of women and children.
From Annikki and me in this northern tip of our planet we wish you
all the very best for the year ahead.
Findians Annikki & Jacob Matthan (Cottonian, Cathedralite and
December 25th 2002
Anything worth doing is worth doing well.