59er Golden Reunion Directory

59er Golden Reunion Directory
59er Golden Reunion Directory

Monday, December 13, 2004

Two on one day

Two birthdays among 59ers on the same day. Both live in the US - Noel Ezekiel in California and Peter Miovic in Washington. Here is a photograph of Noel, (top row), Peter (1st Standing row) and me (sitting, duly encircled to refresh your memories!! Lots of others there.


School Prefects - 1959

Happy birthday to both of you from all 59ers, and Annikki and myself (a 59er no doubt).

Peter is quite a famous economist working in the World Bank, while Noel is an equally famous person doing real estate work.

Armeane Choksi (59er) has gone missing for me - as his email address is bouncing. Could someone in the US please check up and update me.

Friday, December 10, 2004

Some Cathedralite / Stephanian News

Willie (Cathedral Physics Teacher 50s & 60s) in Canada has just updated me on some Cathedralite / Stephanian news.

He has only received a one sentence input of this year's Founders Day in Mumbai. Hasnain (59er) is travelling in India, Mumbai and Hyderabad. Will someone feed me with info.

Roshni, (wife of Stephanian Raj who is the son of former Prinipal Sircar of my era in Stephen's), who is also the aunt of my sister-in-law, is back in Canada after a holiday in Bangalore. Willie does say that Bangalore has become over-populated and polluted and as a possible result, Roshni was ill with bronchial trouble. I am fully in agreement with that statement about Bangalore judging from my last visit there a few years ago.

Willie and Pushpa are off for a 10 day, 6 island, cruise in the Eastern Caribbean. Hope both of you have a great holiday.

Happy Birthday, Vikram

Today is Vikram Kamdar's birthday.

Anyone who knows Bombay (Mumbai) has heard of Kamdar and their absolutely great furniture lines. Living in Finland, the land of absolutely superb furniture design as Asko and Isku, let me assure you that the furniture I knew from Kamdars could be counted amongst the best in the world!!

When I was a kid, I used to go to see his showroom opposite the Eros theatre and drool over the great furniture lines that were in the store. I used to run home and tell my mom. Sure enough she would go and have a look at what I liked. We had some great Kamdar furniture. But when my parents left Mumbai, we lost the whole lot when the transfer to Bangalore took place in the early 70's.

I tried to send Vikram an eCard from all of us. The first time the website locked and dispatched the card on the 5th. The second time it locked and has scheduled to send it on the 15th. So I changed websites and finally managed to send one which should reach him today (hopefully). I have apologised to Vikram privately, but here is my public apology as well.

More birthday's of 59ers coming up this week, so stay tuned.

Monday, December 06, 2004

Visitors from South Finland

Yesterday, we had visitors from South Finland. Gopa, Sadhana's (Cathedralite 54er) daughter, her husband, Timo, and his son, Peteri. Timo's mother lives about 80 km east of Oulu and they had visited her over this long weekend, as today is a holiday - Finnish Independence Day.

We had lunch at Michelle's Chinese restaurant. Michelle is of Chinese origin but very much a Calcutta girl. The food she makes us is great. Annikki could not join us as she was busy looking after her mother, so we brought back food for Mika and her.

Tonight, most Finns will be glued to the TV as they see the parade of their dignatories at the Presidential Ball in the Palace. Ladies dress up to see who gets the best coverage, sometimes those with the least coverage, in the tabloids!! Annikki watches if she has time. I do not as they never show the foreign dignatories. They always break for the news when the Ambassadors are being welcomed by the President and her husband.

Last night, Annikki was busy with her art creations from snow and ice in the garden. They are truly outstanding. I hope I can learn to put some of those images here on the blog.

Whenever thoughts flash through my mind on any subject, I will post them on this blog. So do come and visit it when you have a few moments to spare and do post your comments.

Saturday, July 10, 2004

Happy Birthday Ellis

I have pleasure in telling you that I sent birthday greetings to our dear Ellis Hayeem, who lives and works in New York.

Just days before his birthday he informed me that his email address has changed. If you want his new email address, please contact me.

Ellis also informed me that Viney Dabholkar's email address was bouncing. I checked using my email verifier programme and have found the change. If you want Viney's new email address, please do contact me.

I have updated the data relating to all 59ers in the Cathedral School site. As I have said earlier, I am not surre of the Houses that each one was. It was only an educated guess. I hope you will send me the House that you were in so that I can put the correct information at our official Cathedral School page for 59ers.

I think that our 59er poage will soon be one of the most complete ones and I hope that it stays that way.

I have been chatting with Ellis's sister, Gracie using internet chat. The other person always logged on like me is Arvind Thadhani In my iChat I have formed a group for us Cathedralites. If you use an Internet Chat programme - BUT not Microsoft's Internet Messenger, let me know your screen name so I can add you on to my Buddy Chat list under Cathedralites.

Arvind was in Vancouver for a few days and says it was a great place. He also told me he met up with Bobby Choonawalla, and Viney Sethi and Purnima (née Mazumdar 62er),Viney’s wife, recently. Arvind also informed me of some very sad news that our dear 59er Ramesh Mirchandani is struggling recovering from two heart surgeries and in the second one, due to a mistake, his vocal chords were cut.

Let us pray that Ramesh recovers to full and complete health.

And finally, Happy Birthday Ellis, from all us 59ers. A prize for anyone (but Willie and Pushpa Shiri who provided me with this picture and any Hayeem family member) who can spot Ellis in this picture!!

(photo to be posted later)

Keep the news rolling in guys and gals. This blog is only as active as the data you keep feeding me.

Wednesday, June 30, 2004

Happy Birthday Deepak

Visitors from India, including 57er Sunil Sahani and his wife, Kamal. Just for a day, but it was a great feeling to entertain one more Cathedralite here.

(photo to be posted later)

But today, my pleasure to wish Deepak Kaikini on his 61st birthday. This blog may be posted a bit late, but I did send Deepak a birthday card from all 59ers.

I have given an update to the Cathedral site about us 59ers. But I feel that I may have got all the House names wrong. So if you could send me the Houses that you were in, I would be pleased to make sure that the site reflects the true values for our class of 59. I think our list is the most complete. The only problem is that we seem to have a few which need to be corrected. We seem to have had 3 Singaras in our class. There were two already listed, but I only remember Rattan, so I added his name!! I corrected a few names which were misspelled, Sethi was listed a Vinay instead of Viney, etc....

If you want to find the email address of anyone on that list let me know and I will be pleased to oblige.

My other visitor to Finland was a Bangalorean, Anil Anathakrishna, who many of you may remember as the teenage-wonder of the 60's who later developed the world's first electric bicycle using the battery from his father's car.

Do visit his web site


which is the new company he has formed in Finland to launch his great range of electric scooters into Europe at a price which is almost half a conventional scooter here in Finland. I have invested a few bucks in his company in my grandchildrn's names as this guy, in my opinion, needs all the support to get his petrol free and pollution free technology off the ground.

No doubt, people in the scooter business, like our own Rahul Bajaj (54er), probably have an electric scooter ready to take off, but it would make a huge dent into their whole marketing set-up as well as their sales when a service free scooter, petrol free, pollution free hits the market.

I have been driving this great Finnscoot around for over a couple of months and now I have given it to a friend's 16 year son to drive it around in the Finnish forests to sort of smash it up so that we can really see how these scooters will take the hammering that young scooter drivers normally give their scooters.

I have produced my first movie using photographs taken by me when my friend Kamu put together the scooter in March and later taken by Anil during his last visit to Finland. The music is Freeplay and called "Walking The Dog". The last clip is from a video taken by the digital camera.

Friday, June 25, 2004

Newsy Notes 014 - School Song Words for 54ers!!!

Hi Cathedralites,

In response to Suhas's request, given below is the
latest version of the school song (from the
land of the midnight sun). Many changes
from the original and even the version of our

Just to inform you that Sunil Sahani (57er) and
wife, Kamal, passed through Oulu, Monday to
Wednesday, and we had a lovely time. It was
nice to think and talk about OUR School. Sunil,
like me (thanks OAG), went on to do Chemistry
(rather he did Chemical Engineering, I did
Polymer Technology) and ended his career as
Research Director of Hindustan Lever. He spent
much time in UK and in China and even has a
Chinese alternate name!!

While walking in the town centre, Kamal noticed
this cloud formation in the sky, which shows
what a beautiful, sunny, warm day we had. And it
was a day without end - literally, as it was


But all too soon, it was time to leave as they
headed for Helsinki and on to St. Petersburg.
Cathedralite Sunil Sahani and Kamal, Oulu, 2004

57er Sunil Sahani and Kamal when they left Oulu

Gopa, Sadhana's daughter, and hubby, Timo,
passed through yesterday on their way back
to their home near Helsinki. They were
returning from a trip to the Norwegian
sea coast at the top of Finland and a night
at Timo's mother's place about a hour from our

Do not forget to check out the Cathedralite blog
regularly. I will be updating over this weekend.
And we have to wish a 59er Cathedralite for his
birthday on Wednesday - and it will be up on the


Jacob Matthan
Savage House Captain 1959

Cathedral School Song 2004

Prima in Indis, Gateway of India
Door of the East with its face to the West
Here in Bombay we are living and learning
India, our country, to give you our best.

Out on the maidan at hockey or cricket,
Or now in the classroom a’driving the pen,
We will try ever to fit us, equip us,
So that in life we may serve you as men.

School School! Play up, School!
Wherever your lot may be cast,
School first, House next, Self last,
School! School! Play up, School!

Himalayan mountains and plains of the Deccan,
Wide sweeping spaces with winds blowing clean,
These are our birthright – ours to defend them,
Ours now to follow where heroes have been.

Out on the maidan our thews and our sinews,
We’ll train and will strengthen a’playing the game.
Then when we leave and go forth to our lifework,
Win for our race and our School a fair name.

School School! Play up, School!
Wherever your lot may be cast,
School first, House next, Self last,
School! School! Play up, School!

Years will roll on, and the palms still be swaying,
Out on the maidan that’s down by the sea,
Pens will be driven by new boys in classrooms
Where we are dreaming what soon we shall be.

Out on the maidan while palm shadows lengthen,
Still will re-echo the old stirring cry –
“Play up school! Let it rip! Let it thunder!
Let it resound to our Orient Sky!”

School School! Play up, School!
Wherever your lot may be cast,
School first, House next, Self last,
School! School! Play up, School!

Friday, June 04, 2004

Happy Birthday Ooks

Elijah Elias, more commonly known to us 59ers as Ooky, as he won the Ookerji Memorial Prize for English Literature with an absolutely brilliant and humourous essay way back in 1958, celebrates his 61st birthday today.

Ooky, his wife Rivca and their two Cathedralite sons, Ben Ari and Akila, are part and parcel of our family for many many reasons.

Happy birthday Ooks, and may you celebrate many many more and enjoy your grandchildren, just as we are enjoying ours.

(photo to be posted later)

Here are three 59ers, Ooky, Vijay Nayar and Vijay Shivdasani at one of our class reunions.

Monday, May 31, 2004

Happy Birthday Sadhana

Many of you may notice the new emblem we have for the blog. This was submitted by the person whose birthday we celebrate today.

One of my most frequent contributors, and now one of my best friends, Sadhana celebrates her xxxxx (rating - means very very young, almost child-like, I am xxxxx- x) birthday today.

Here is a picture of our dear one

(to be posted later)

looking as young and as beautiful as her days in school.

Here is her daughter, Gopa, and her Finnish husband, Timo, when they visited us recently in Oulu. Gopa is now my goddaughter.

(to be posted later)

Sadhana is busy organising the 54er reunion. Her tentacles have reached out far and wide. I thank her for keeping me posted on the reunion plans.

Such distinguished personalities as Rahul Bajaj, Rumy Kapadia, Ravi Jaitly, and many many more will be attending from many corners of the globe.

If you need further details please do contact me.

Tuesday, May 18, 2004

Is This Typical Cathedralite Character?

Sunil Sahni (57er) and his wife, Kamal, are due here in Finland, on a holiday. During the process of planning their holiday, well well in advance of the time, I found Sunil performing all his functions so meticulously, I was amazed to see the amount of detail he went through.

What really took the cake was when he asked whether I could buy their tickets from Helsinki to St. Petersburg, which I gladly accepted to do. Sunil, quite rightly, did not want to send his credit card details over the internet - a very wise move.

When I informed him that the tickets had been bought, I had an unusual request. Sunil wanted to know the seat numbers so that he could inform the taxi driver who would meet them at St. Petersburg so that they could be picked up at the station to be taken to their hotel!!

Well, when replying to him, I gave him that piece of information and also told him that the tickets would be in the top right hand drawer of my office table in the cellar!!!

He promptly wrote back asking whether the top drawer was locked - to which I replied that we have no keys to anything in our home!!!!!

Thursday, May 13, 2004

Birthday Boy - Best wishes

Our dearest and most respected physics teacher, William Shiri, more commonly known to all of us as just "Willie", celebrates his 79th birthday at his home in Canada.

It is my pleasure to convey the greetings of Cathedralites of many generations who had the privilege to study under Willie, all the very best on his birthday and to wish him several more such happy occasions.

It has been my special pleasure to have had him as my email friend these last few years and I do hope that I will have the opportunity to meet up with him and his better half, Pushpa, also a Cathedralite, as well.

Wednesday, May 05, 2004

Need I Say More?

Wednesday 5th May 2004, 18:44 Finnish time, our daughter, Joanna, delivered a beautiful baby boy, 53 cm length and weighing 4 kg and 300 gm. Samu, Joanna's first born, was 54 cm when born but 3.9 kg.

Annikki and I were looking after Samu all afternoon and evening as dad, Tony, stayed at Joanna's side right from 09:00 hours.

I have just picked up Tony, giving Samu a chance to see his baby brother.

Samu was all excited telling me that his briother had brown hair, but he could not see the eyes!!

Annikki and I are thrilled to have an addition to our family, our third grandchild after a gap of 7 years!!

Mother and baby are well and that is all we asked of God.

Tuesday, May 04, 2004

Sasser Virus And You

How many of you have been hit by the Sasser virus?

Tony's computer closed down on Sunday as the virus hit Finland. There is worldwide chaos. With this virus you do not have to download a virus email or open any attachment. The virus finds the computers that are connected to the internet and which are not protected, and then infects it.

Of course, you have to be running a PC with the Windows operating system to be infected, which represents 95% of the world computing population.

On the other hand, I am perpetually connected to the internet, do not have any virus protectioon software, and in my 20 years of computing have never experienced a single virus since I run the Mac operating system.

As reports come to me from every corner of the globe about horror stories related to each virus, and there are over 120000 of them for the Windows platform, all I can say is that I am not following the rats off the plank into the murky waters below. I can sleep at night knowing that no-one can infect my computer network.

Thursday, April 29, 2004

Is This One Chance In A Billion?

Cathedralite mathematicians (especially Bhupinder Singh Anand) - get your calculators out and give me the chances of this occurring:

I have had the AOL Internet Messenger installed for years and my user ID is jacobmatthan. However, I have never ever used this programme for communication with anyone - repeat, NOT ANYONE.

Last night, as I urgently needed to have an in-depth discussion with a friend in Bangalore, the one who is setting up the Electric Scooter project here in Finland, I asked him to install the AIM chat software so that we could chat. He downloaded it and managed to install it by about noon today. He sent me an email that he was going on-line. Then a few minutes later we were discussing some issues as I had a meeting with his lawyer later on.

Just as I got past the first three messages, another message appeared on my screen from another AOL user. He asked:

Jacob? Are you there? from Sweden?

As I have that person's email address I immediately recognised who it was and was soon chatting with him so much so that despite my going out to a couple of meetings, we finally talked to each other over the phone - him in Washington D. C. and me in Oulu, Finland.

It appears that Arvind Thadani, Savage House, my House Vice Captain in 1959, my colleague and protector on the hockey field as one of the most dependable full backs in the game, was online on aol and he came across my userid as I was talking over the chat line with Anil!!

What is the probablity of this happening?

Another pleasant duty to perform - to wish Shabir Ahmedbhoy, 59er, now in Karachi, a very very happy 60th birthday from all our fellow 59ers. We are all thinking of you Shabir and when you down that cake - do think of us starving classmates!! I have pleasure in putting up this picture of Shabir at the 1989 59er reunion at the Willingdon Club - photo taken by Annikki, my better half and with me in my younger days after a lovely vacation at the KANHA NATIONAL PARK. (Picture will be posted later!!)

Saturday, April 24, 2004

The Irony Of It All

The Cathedralite in the last picture in our blog was Ashok Kapur and his charming and lovely wife, Madhu. Ashok celebrated his 61st birthday on 16th April. I wished him from all of us.

Rahul's "Simputer" is with me now. I received three last week, thanks to Anil and Lalitha. One of them has been submitted to the local newspaper, Kaleva, who are testing it to do a special feature to appear on the 1st of May. The second was given to a friend who does all the special scripting for Nokia. He was just leaving for Egypt for the Nile Cruise. He started to play around with it the minute he received it, so much so that his wife banned him from carrying it with him on their vacation!! The third is being played around with by me as I set it up to be handed over to Annikki. Maybe she can start reading this blog using the SIMPUTER!!!

Sorry folks, here is an off-topic blog. I have been busy with visitors from Bangalore to be able to keep this blog up. Anil (Baldwinian from my own era and area, Richmond Town) and Lalitha, sister of a dear friend, Malathi, and Business Development Director of Anil's company, arrived in Helsinki last Friday afternoon. I drove the 630 km to Helsinki, leaving Oulu with a good friend, pentti, in my company, did some work on the way, picked up some Indian spices, pickles, papads from the Helsinki Indian Market, picked up my guests at the airport, had dinner with Gopa and Timo, and left Helsinki at 9:30 pm to drive back all night. I handed the wheel to Pentti for a mere 150 km, when I took a quick shut-eye. Reached Oulu on Saturday morning by break-of-day at 4:30 am.

It was a truly hectic week as I had organised a work schedule for Anil and Lalitha to present their Enterprise Resource Planning software to major potential customers and also had former Motor Rally World Champion Driver, Jussi Kynsilehto, take them to his home town of Pulkila, to meet with the town authorities to finalise plans to produce Anil's fabulous Electric Scooter range, in Finland.

This was Lalitha's first trip abroad. She was counting on seeing and feeling snow, and, especially, on seeing it floating down from the sky. It was, on the contrary, the warmest week of spring that we have had in a long time. The snow cleared up almost completely, even in our back garden which usually has a mound of snow right until early May.

I put Anil and Lalitha on the train to Helsinki on Friday morning, a superfast Pendolino double decker, so that they could enjoy the view of the country side on their trip south.

Guess what we woke up to on this Saturday morning?

The ground is covered with snow. It has snowed right through the early hours of today.

Back to blogging in real earnest, so welcome back to a springy wintry Oulu.

Thursday, April 15, 2004

Bee Bop A Luulaa

What does the title of the blog mean?

It means that I could not think of a good enough title for this entry. This hit tune of the fifties passed through my mind, so down it went. Could not have found a better title...

When I had the email from Cathedralite 54er, Rumy Kapadia, with the subject line "Help", I sort of acted and sent his request out to a few on my list. Promptly came a reply from my faithful correspondent, Willie Shiri, our school Physics mentor, now retired and living in Canada, who identified the brother of one of the persons that Rumy was trying to contact. In the process, Willie mentioned that his local contact, Atul Shenoy, a Cathedralite 52er, had known of my family in Bangalore and had remembered me from my exploits way back in 1953, even before I became a Cathedralite.

I wrote to Atul and elder brother of Cathedralite 54er, Arun. We had a lively email exchange of those really old days. I was amazed that he could remember a 11 year old boy and his exploits of 51 years onwards.

At that time I was an active Bishop Cottonian and had many friends from Cottons who used to form part of our evening cricket team. Cottonian classmate, Om Prakash, cousin Anand, brother Ranjit, Clifford Ealing, Sahadev (now somewhere in Brazil), and a whole host of other little ones whose names I cannot remember were all part of our crowd.

In 1952 and 1953, I used to frequent the St. Joseph College Hostel on Lalbagh Road, Bangalore which was opposite our house. I made friends with several hosteliers. I used to watch the cricket and hockey matches as the college hockey and cricket grounds which were adjacent to the hostel. I used to fly kites on the college grounds.

I became so close to the cricket team which was captained by L. T. Subba, brother of Mysore Ranji Trophy player, L. T. Adisesh. Subba later went on to also become a Ranji Trophy team player for Mysore. My contacts with them gave my friends a chance to use their pitch for our practice and cricket games whenever we wanted, which was just great when we youngsters wanted to play matches against teams of others in Bangalore.

I started my career for the St. Joseph College team as the runner to update the scoreboard. Later I was promoted to be their scorer for their local games. Also, Subba got us passes for the Ranji Trophy and international matches (the MCC team with babyface Tom Graveney is the one I remember) that were played in Bangalore.

The college hockey goalkeeper, Abe Tharakan, also became a close friend. I was so taken up by Abe's superb goalkeeping that I took up goalkeeping myself to later become the Cathedral School First Eleven goalkeeper for two years running and later became the St. Stephen's College goalkeeper. However, my goalkeeping career in college was tragically cut short when I got a splinter from my hockey stick into my right hand index finder. It swelled up to the size of a ripe tomato. That put me out of the game at the crucial time when the season was at its height, and being in St. Stephen's, we had at least two others knocking hard at the doors of the team. Six weeks away from the top team was the end of my career at the top. The spot was filled by a good friend and classmate - Norval Prakash from Sherwood College, Nanital. Norval was one of three Sherwoodians in my class, the others being Rajiva Srivastava and Kuldip Singh Shergill.

Norval was a great goalkeeper, and once given the spot, it was virtually impossible to get back into the top team except as the reserve goalkeeper.

Just as an aside, the Captain of the St. Stephen's hockey team was none other than Arun Shourie, noted Magasay award winning journalist, who gave up his morals to become an anti-Christian, anti-Muslim activist in his ambition to become a politician so as to get his own back on the newspaper that cut him down to size. He has almost achieved his ends by now becoming a Minister in the Indian Government, but in the process has lost the respect of many of those, like me, who used to admire him and his journalistic talent prior his hate journalism days.

Going back to Atul, he did know that Abe had a crush on my late elder sister, Nalini. I was the go between them. We moved from Bangalore to Bombay in 1954 (Nalini went to Women's Christian College in Madras) so that blossoming friendship ended.

Nalini's classmates, our neighbour Chitra Rao, and other Cottonians, Niino Bhagvagar and her brother Aspi, who served in the Indian Air Force, Nimmi Apoodorai, Pushpa Bhatia, Beverley Wilson, now in Australia and daughter of then Police Inspector Doug Wilson (whose family wife Marge, brothers Abe and Cedric and sisters Dinky and Zeena) were all featured in our reminiscences.

Was it not amazing that this contact with Atul in Canada revived all these great nostalgic memories of the past!! Thank you Rumuy and Willie.

Saturday, April 10, 2004

Is Finland's Education System the Best?

Seattle Post Intelligence of Friday, April 9, 2004 by LIZETTE ALVAREZ of THE NEW YORK TIMES which is entitled:

"It's unorthodox, but Finland's education system ranked No. 1"

Would Annikki and I, who have put our four children through parts of it, and now our grandson is going through it, agree with the conclusions of the report and this author?

Having been educated in the two best schools in the universe, Bishop Cotton's Girls' and Boys' Schools, Bangalore, and Cathedral and John Connon School, Bombay, and following it up with having been to the very best college on the face of this planet, St. Stephen's College, Delhi, and then having watched our children through this Finnish system in parts and having lectured to products of this system in the University of Oulu, I must disagree with the writer.

Finland's school system is nowhere near the best as far as "education" is concerned.

Am I being overtly patriotic to my alma mater's. I think not, as my better half is also a product of the Finnish system, and our personal experiences belie the claim.

The Finnish system was one where the Finnish "teacher" stood in front of the class and told the students what was what. In my lecturing days at the University of Oulu, I was astounded by the lack of ability by Finnish students to question what the teacher says. Everything was gospel truth as if it was delivered from the pulpit.

I used to put in some absolute rubbish in my lectures, and the students would just mop it up like a sponge. Then I would let fly and give them merry leather. By the end of my lecture series I did usually have a bunch of students who were a little more argumentative and able to analyze situations based on their own thought.

I do remember our debating classes in Cathedral which helped me acquire some of these skills. I could question Willie about physics problems, or Greg about Chemistry. It only nurtured my interest in my subjects. I learnt that most of the answers had to be obtained by myself. The experimentation in these subjects helped me to be alive. That stood me in good stead in my university life and later in my working life. This is, even today, sadly lacking in Finnish education.

The writer comments about the reading skills of Finnish students. The reason for this is not the school education system, but the nature of the Finnish language. If any of you have been through a speed reading course, the first thing you are taught is not to stop at reading a word but to go on to reading a line and then a couple of lines, till you can read a paragraph at a glance. Sadly, in the English, and most other languages, word lengths are usually quite small, 5 to 10 letters, and hence the skill of reading long words is not gained by the student. The Finnish language uses the concept of compound words. Words can be exceptionally long, 20 and 30 letters are commonplace. Hence the eye grasp skills becomes exceptional. That is one reason. A second reason is that a small mistake in word construction can have a dramatic effect on the meaning. Hence spelling mistakes and reading mistakes become quite uncommon.

Having been a professional editor for many years, I was astounded by the reading skills of very ordinary Finns, many who have not even completed high school. Only a detailed study of several such people revealed the true reasons to me.

The article is absolutely wrong to characterise that Finns to not boast or gloat. The Finns are masters of spin. They are so superb at it that most even believe the spin themselves. Not only are they masters of spin, they are also masters of ensuring the spin reaches the correct audience in believable packets. For instance, the claim that Finland is the least corrupt nation today is just a spin story which has been done so masterfully that Finns believe it right until they are personally affected by the bureaucratic, judicial, political and legal corruption that face them.

Our former special correspondent for our web site "Findians Briefings", Sinikka Ikni, who used to write the column "Finland - Oligarchy ?? = Democracy ??", touched on many issues for several years till the system came down on her so heavily that she had to stop writing her column!!

I have been personally hounded by the Finnish system, but being used to corruption in India, I knew how to stand my ground. Even to this day Annikki and I are facing an enormous battle with Finnish bureaucrats who hide everything behind a veil of legal secrecy that they write into their laws, not for the benefit of the people but purely of the power brokers.

Friday, April 09, 2004

Good Friday, the old and the new

"From the earliest times the Christians kept every Friday as a feast day; and the obvious reasons for those usages explain why Easter is the Sunday par excellence , and why the Friday which marks the anniversary of Christ's death came to be called the Great or the Holy or the Good Friday. The origin of the term Good is not clear. Some say it is from "God's Friday" ( Gottes Freitag ); others maintain that it is from the German Gute Freitag , and not specially English. Sometimes, too, the day was called Long Friday by the Anglo-Saxons; so today in Denmark."

When I was a small boy living in Mysore and then Bangalore, which were relatively small towns, compared to the huge metropolis of Bombay, that they have now become, Good Friday was a holiday in a different sense. Normally, on Sundays, a religuious holiday for our family, we would go to church early morning and then come home to have our breakfast and then relax for the rest of the day.

Good Friday was different. We ate nothing whatsoever when after we woke up. We would go to church around 11 in the morning and the service would be long, about 3 hours, as the stages to the cross of Christ were gone through.

When we retuned home, tired and famished, it was not a traditional family meal that awaited us. It would be "kanji" which is rice served in the water it is cooked in, "pieara" a sort of boiled beans served with pickle to give the food some taste. The intention was to remind us of the suffering of Christ and to share in it with our simplicity in the food we consumed.

The atmosphere was always one of saddness. This would last right through the Saturday till we went to church on Sunday where there would be much happiness and Easter greetings being shared between all.

The resurrection of Christ was to be surely seen in the joy which was seen in all those at church.

Going home after the Easter Service would be such that we had a fabulous Easter meal waiting for us. (I do not remember much emphasis on the custom of Easter Eggs.)

When we moved to Bombay, although the same procedure would be followed, it did not have the same ring of involvement that we had in the smaller communities of the small towns. My mother would sometimes go to attend the church service at her Orthodox Church where they actually stood right through the three hours. In the Protestant Anglican St. Thomas Cathedral, the service was usually in the morning, followed by the three hour service from noon till three. the music would be great.

Easter in Delhi, when I was a student at St. Stephen's College, was a wonderful event as we shared a hearty breakfast provided in the home of Principal Sircar when we got back from church.

Although the atmosphere of Good Friday did not have the same degree of sadness, the college chapel was filled with Christians and some others, including Muslims and Hindus who were curious to know the significance of the words and deeds that Christians followed on Good Friday. Many of my friends would accompany me to the Good Friday service.

These days, living far from my homeland, and not being part of the mainstream Christian community in Finland, the atmosphere is not the same. I go about my daily chores but at the back of my mind those days in Mysore and Bangalore are foremost in my mind, as also the time shared with Principal Sircar and his family. His son Raj was not there during my time in St. Stephen's as he was away in the UK. Prinicpal Sircar's gracious wife and charming daughter were always there as our hostesses. And we would discuss so so many topics as Principal Sircar was genuinely interested in the lives of all of us, our separation from our families during this sad and joyous times, that he understood that he was our stand-in parent and not our Principal.

. Unfortunately, my children do not have the same sense of feeling as I do as they were never able to partake of Good Friday and Easter in the same way as I did.

I wonder whether it is my gain or their loss?

Thursday, April 08, 2004

Aubrey connects

I am so happy to have Aubrey back on line now that I discovered my error in the email address - not his fault, entirely mine. Although he is not the Prodigal Son, my reaction is the same as that father who welcomed his son back home!!

Here is Aubrey's input:

Subject: RE: Welcome back

Nice to hear from you again Jacob, and thanks for passing on my e-mail
address to Bill Shiri. I was indeed glad to hear from him, and we will make
plans to visit each other soon. He tell's me that he now lives on the 29th.
floor of an apartment building so that he will be one step closer to his
eventual ascension to heaven!

I was also glad to make contact with Sadhana Madhusudan and Ravi Jaitley
through receiving their e-mail addresses from Gracie Hayeem. Sadhana seems a
lovely person, and I can see why Pam found her endearing. She thinks well of
you and Annikki for being such good surrogate parents to her daughter in
Finland. Ravi has sent me Tony Jaitley's e-mail address, as he was a
classmate of mine, and it would be great to exchange news after 50 odd
years. .

Well, I will be retiring at the end of April, and I am looking forward to
it. This will give me more time to indulge in the kinds of things that I
have hitherto had less time for. By the way, this will include installing a
Linux operating system dual boot option on my desktop. Last year I underwent
a quadruple heart bypass operation, which now requires me to follow a proper
exercise regimen and diet, which will become more attainable once I retire.

I must say that I enjoyed your Cathedral Blog, which is such a good idea.
Keep it up. Thank you for including the photograph of Pam and myself, taken
at Bristol University in 1959 when Pam was just 21 years old. We miss her

All for now, and keep up the good work.


Tuesday, April 06, 2004

Update from Mumbai

Prakash updated me with news from Mumbai. Maybe we can have correspondents from each centre, like Prakash, who will update us regularly from their bases. Any volunteers?

Dear Jacob,

Last evening saw many art lovers entering the grand Ruia House on Mount Pleasant Road, for a viewing of Amrita Shergil :ICON.

(Jacob: Ruia House was very much a favourite place of us 59ers. We had two Ruia's as classmates - Ashok who became famous for his bridge, golf and badminton, and cousin Anil who made his name in Indian Industry as a top notch Managing Director of many of the Ruia Enterprise companies. I used to go and play billiards on the billiard table they had at Ruia House. Also, it was Ashok who taught me the essentials of bridge, a game I thoroughly enjpoyed, not competitive, but for relaxation.)

One painting was up for sale at an astronomical figure of Thirty Five Lakhs. Very surprising that even after so many years Amrita Shergil continues to mystify and attract art lovers and the aura of her unconventional life she shared with Victor Egan, continues to fascinate us all to even to this day.

One could admire her Animal Sketches in pencil uniquely framed one on either side and with a wooden stand, her Palette, pieces of jewellery and pages from her diary that gave us an insight into her mind ?

The exhibition is open for all till the 20th of April, 2004.

Amrita Shergil, if she lived in these modern days, would have fit in perfectly, especially since the recent scandal of Laxmi Pandit Miss India (World) who handed in her crown on allegations she was married and living with Model Siddharth Mishra in a rented apartment in Malad.

The Wine being served was courtesy Karan Grover of Grover Wines and the event was organised by Mortimer Chatterjee & Tara Lal.

Mumbai most famous and well-known restaurant, INDIGO, celebrated its 5th Anniversary this Sunday 4th April, with a well attended brunch, in spite of its founder, Rahul Akerkar, limping after undergoing some knee surgery earlier last week.

A South Indian Festival was celebrated this Sunday (Palm Sunday) where devotees pierced their cheeks with huge iron rods walking uphill from a Temple in Malad. Other devotees had iron hooks pierced into the backs and they were pulling carts with deities . The devotees were of all ages from youngsters to the elderly. No one seemed in pain and if they were they bore it stoically and without any expression of suffering. It was a very moving sight to see them walking barefoot on the hot tarred road under the blazing sun.


More news later.


Prakash Thadani

Thanks for the update Prakash.

Monday, April 05, 2004

Dot your i's, cross your t's...

I was very worried that Aubrey Ballantine's emails were bouncing. The last I had heard from him was December 2003. So I asked Willie Shiri to check as they shared the same ISP. Willie sent an email to the email address I sent him, and lo and behold, Aubrey telephoned him, their first contact in 17 years, although they live in the same town!!


Aubrey with his much loved and respected sister,
the late Pamela Ballantine. Former Head Girl Pamela
was awarded the MBE for services to race equality,
London Borough of Redbridge in October 2000.
(Photograph courtesy Aubrey.)

The problem was that Aubrey had informed me of the change in his email address. I had entered that change in my main address book. However, I had not recorded the change in the email software that I use to send out to my huge Cathedralite audience. Reason, there used to be a small dot between the first name and the second name in the old email address, which was removed in the new address - a change I had overlooked.

When teachers tell us to dot our i's and cross our t's, they should now also tell us to look for dots and sometimes even remove them between first names and last names. Lesson learnt.

Talking about teachers, I had an email from Suhas Phadke who wants to have teachers attended the 54er reunion in November this year. He told me that the plans are going well. I have only 5 teachers (not counting those students who worked as teachers) in my list and I think only 2 from that era.

If any of you have contacts with teachers from Cathedral, please ask them to contact me so that I can forward their contacts to those organising reunions as most reunionists would welcome the participation of those who inculcated some values in us.

The weather is warming up here. Night temperatures are still around -10 C but the long day heats up to +8 C. So we can throw away our sweaters and long johns, and hopefully, I can start my long walks again.

But today, I sit in front of my computer all morning to "watch the commentary" of the second test match between India and Pakistan - yes, I said, "watch the commentary" as they have commercialised cricket so much that they have deprived us of listening to the commentary without paying for it. I do hope some of you will take this up as I learnt all my cricketing history by listening to Vizzy (Maharajkumar of Vizianagaram) when I dashed back from school to listen to him describing how Ghulam Ahmed was spinning out the opposition or Mushtaq Ali and Vijay Hazare were cracking the bowling around the field, and...

I wrote my first journalistic piece when I converted an audio commentary from BBC to a newspaper story when I was just 9 years old. I find it sad that my grandson cannot search the radio airwaves to listen to some fine audio commentary and learn from his experience of listening to commentators (not players in the garb of commentators) describe an occasion without the aid of visuals. Another nail in the coffin to the art of conversation.

Saturday, April 03, 2004

Thank you, thank you, thank you

Thank you to all of you who have got up so early in the morning, or at the last thing before you went to bed, to send me birthday greetings. To many to list here individually, but individual thanks will be in your email boxes latest by tomorrow morning, I promise!!

It feels good to hit the 61 mark. However, to both my grandchildren today I became 6 + 1 = 7, their age. I feel that age as I shout and play with them, and I guess that many of you have also assigned that age to me.

My granddaughter, Asha, rang yesterday to wish me a happy birthday. Reason, she wanted to wish me ahead of her cousin, little Samu, who is here in Oulu. There seems to be a sort of competition developing between the two little ones for their place in our hearts, but we truly love them both equally and have been trying to do things simultaneously for both of them.

I have absolutely the same love and affection that I have for my grandchildren for all of you. You have all filled my cup of joy with your interaction with me over the last 50 years when I joined Cathedral School. I felt welcome from Day 1. Although I lost a year in my transfer from Bangalore to Bombay, I think that was for the best. The class of 59 were just wonderful. I have enjoyed such camaradeship with each and every one of you.

I mourn the loss of several of my colleagues, many of whom I remember in my thoughts each time I sit down to write a few lines to any of you. People like Bala Parasuraman, Jacob Eapen, and others have played very important roles in my life in several ways and for the positives that they brought to my life. I thank them and all of you.

Annikki will be rustling up one of her special cakes for this evening. Any of you passing by are welcome to drop in. There is going to be a second cake as grandson, Samu, wants to recelebrate his birthday with us as he was in Newcastle when he celebrated his last birthday.


Iitu contemplates the delicious cream topping on one of my previous birthday cakes.

Thank you, once again.

Friday, April 02, 2004

Curry and Methi leaves arrive

Yesterday was a bright and sunny day. I was busy in the snow-covered garden examining, courtesy Anil Anathakrishnan, an NRI from Bangalore, who has become a dear friend of late, to see what had to be done to make it roadworthy and get its registration certificate. There was a phone call. It was Gopa calling from a small town, Pudasjarvi, about an hour away from Oulu. She and Timo were visiting Timo's mother and they were on their way back to Helsinki. They intended to drop in to see us.

Both Annikki and I were happy to see Gopa back in Finland. Sadhana, despite my dire threats, had sent some chilli pickle and some really nice Nilgiri tea. Gopa had picked up the curry and methi leaves from Mumbai.

What was interesting was the packing used for the pickle. When I designed this package in Bangalore way back in 1980, I was the laughing stock of the packaging community. I had designed it for a cooking olil company somewhere in Tamilnadu.

"It will never be accepted" was the general refrain.

And now, 20 years on, here was arriving a package containing stuffed chilli pickle in the very same packaging I designed over 30 years ago!!

Well, I guess that is how life goes. When one is ahead of one's time, you are the laughing stock of people, but then when the happening takes place, very few will remember where it originated.

Way way back, in 1968, I used to work with a brilliant architect at the Rubber and Plastics Research Association of Great Britain, RAPRA. Ked Taylor was doing research into jointing systems for Buildings and as I was working on the use of plastics in the building industry. I was a sort of sounding board for this young architect to be. He became a family friend and used to spend evenings with us as he was stiill single, and Annikki and I had just got married. We used to brain-storm and we came up with a lot of great ideas, but never got around to patenting any of them, as it would not have benefited either of us as all patent rights would have gone to RAPRA.

One day, while we were chatting, he got interested in the subject of piping of light which was possible using acrylic plastics. I explained the principle to him and our minds started to wander into the realms of science fiction. He asked me what really good application I thought would develop out of this.

My mind, as was the case in my younger days, whirled around and then fixed steady on one application which I thought would see the light of day in my lifetime. I told him that just as one had earphones and piped music in an aircraft, one would have special focus spectacles and piped movies in aircraft which would only be possible with developments in fibre optics.

About 10 years later, the first version, very close to this idea appeared when a news item spoke about a dentist having a similar sort of device for the benefit of his patients. Today, although this idea is not yet commonplace, it is almost a reality in aircraft, not with distance focusing spectacles as I had envisaged, but with on-board screens behind each seat.

There will be similar story about idea generation in one of my future blog entries. Stay tuned.

In the meantime, thanks to Sadhana for the pickle and the tea, and thanks to Gopa for the curry and methi leaves.

Thursday, April 01, 2004

Want to stay ahead?

I have stayed ahead of the general computing world by watching trends in the computing industry and making informed assessments based on me being an extremely lazy computer user. I need everything on a platter as I do not really have time to read manuals, learn command line commands, or even spend time thumbing through computer journals. That is the reason I waited for iBlog to launch this fantastic software for the Mac which has made blogging so so easy. (I now use the free blogspot.com site.)

Many of you are using Hotmail, Yahoo and AOL. These are inefficient, expensive in terms of time and also the money if one counts user spent time, prone to many problems related to spam and viruses, and also other limitations of the operating systems, such as the Windows platform.

May I humbly suggest that you start to look at a major leap in email technology that is coming very very soon - from the world's largest and most efficient search function provider, Google - something which is called Gmail. (I am not employed by Google!!)

Here is the comparison between Gmail, Hotmail and Yahoo email service which appeared on the BBC World News website yesterday.

Free 1,000 megabytes (MB) storage
No sorting or deleting needed
No pop-ups and banners
Spam filter and virus scan

MSN Hotmail
Free 2 MB storage
Up to 100MB costs $59.95 a year
Spam filter and virus scan

Free 4 MB storage
Up to 100MB costs $49.79 a year
Spam filter and virus scan

1000 MB storage space free compared to 2 MB and 4 MB from Hotmail and Yahoo, respectively, is a world of difference. The reason that Gmail will succeed is because it is based on a different level of thinking. Just imagine - NO SORTING OR DELETING NEEDED. It will make life for me, who gets over 300 to 500 emails a day, 365 days a year, just like heaven. It will be far more user friendly than either Hotmail or Yahoo mail.

Gmail will be considerably more intutive because of Google's success in the search engine technology. You will never have to file an email. Google's search technology would automatically generate you the results of any query in the matter of seconds, or should I say microseconds.

For instance, go to any Google Search Box and enter the words "Books about Polymers", polymers being my field of specialisation. In a fraction of a second it will search through over a billion records and produce my web page "Findians Paradise Books about Polymers" at the top of 210,000 other pages related to the subject. That is because I know what I have put in that page is what people who want to know about Books about Polymers want to find. After all, that is my field of specialisation and I should know what polymerists are looking for. Or, as another ewxample, enter the words "Books about Women of India" in the Google Search Box, and you will find the second position is held by my site "Findians Paradise - Women of India - Books about and by Women from ..." out of 2.7 million sites related to this subject. I am an EXPERT on Women of India, having being married to a Finn for 37 years who is more Indian than most Indian Women!!! .-) (These results related to my pages are not typical only of the Google search engine but of any major search engine - so it shows the relevance of not the search engine but the pages I have created - and that is good considering I am a computer idiot.)

Should this not be the level of technology which should apply to your own email? I know I have serious problems finding an email address of one of you from my Eudora mail software, should I misplace my email address file which presently contains 140,000 (yes, one hundred and forty thousand) people who regularly correspond with me on a personal basis.

Don't follow the crowd - you can get registered now itself as the Gmail service may be launched in a few months.

To learn more go to the Gmail website or send me an email so I can invite you to set up a Gmail account.

I have already registered.

Am I really such a nutcase? And Reunion news....

Ooky, writing to Jack, made this comment:

"You have no idea how good it feels to get in touch with some of the old mates after more than 40 years. And for this we all have to be terrifically grateful to Jacob Matthan up in Finland. Only a supreme nutcase like him could actually start something like what he is doing and keep it up relentlessly year after year. I really douf my hat to him."

Thanks Ooky, knowing your sense of humour - that is indeed a great compliment.

Now to more serious matters.

The 54ers are planning their 50 year reunion. No, this is not an April Fool's prank. If you are a 54er, you should get in touch with one of the following :

Sadhana Madhusadan, loacted in Pune, Suhas Phadke, located in Mumbai or Gracie Lerno (née Hayeem), in the US for more details. I am sure further details will also soon be posted on this blog.

The present list of 54ers who are on my list is as follows:

Rahul Bajaj
Vispy Banaji
Nilini Chandra (née Nair)
Ratan Chawla
Kasvy Dastur
Dara Dastur
Soli Davar
Saleem Fazalbhoy
Vijaya Gupchup (née Hattiangada)
Ravi Jaitly
Rumy Kapadia
Gracie Lerno (née Hayeem)
Sadhana Madhusadan (née Shah)
Miriam Natelson (née Gumpert)
Nilina Parkar (née Pillai)
Armaity Patel (née Mody)
Suhas Phadke
Antony Ramsinh
Jal J. Tata
Zehra Tyabji (née Tyebhoy)
Sheila Vaney (née Contractor)
Arnavaz Wadia (née Guzdar)

Of late Vispy Banaji's email address is bouncing and Antony Ramsinh is off on one of his jaunts and appears to be unreachable. So anyone who has access to these people should let them know of the news of the reunion.

I think special thanks are necessary to 53ers Pushpa Bhatia (née Dungersee) and Captain Anees who have offered to help the 54ers to organise the reunion.

Prakash Thadani informed me that the 69ers are also planning the 35 year reunion this year. Will all 69ers contact me so that I can organise to forward your details to Prakash.

We had been thinking of a 45 year reunion for 59ers in Finland, but it appears that only a handful can get to this location. I am sure Vijay Shivdasani and our crew in Mumbai will organise a reunion, maybe not at the same time as the 54ers and the 69ers, but probably around Christmas as we all got together for our 40 year reunion in 1999. It was such a great occasion and I often look at the video I took. Maybe one of these days I will put up an edited version on this blog. But for that I have to do some studies of importing analogue video into my Mac!! Not tried it before, but I guess it could not be so difficult as some kids I know appear to be doing it regularly.

Viral Doshi is keeping track of this for the official Cathedral School website, so you can also keep in touch with him for reunions of any other group.

Wednesday, March 31, 2004

Two lemmings who do not jump over the cliff!!

I was not unduly surprised to get this note from Jack, the second Jake, in our midst:

"FYI I have had a Mac since the MACPlus. I have substantially upgraded my present machine (not a MACPlus!!) and help other Mac users with their problems. I even used a MAC laptop in my in house consulting on a Windows based network with no problems in the 1990's."

I made my entry into the Mac arena before the MacPlus when I got an Apple IIc for the Microelectronics Laboratory in 1984. Here are the specs of an Apple IIc with a picture of that machine which I bought from the University when it was auctioned off in 1994.

Apple IIc
Codename: ET, IIb, IIp, Pippin, VLC, Elf, Yoda, Teddy, Chels, Jason, Lollie
CPU: SynerTek 65C02 CPU Speed: 1 MHz (IIc)/4 MHz (IIc+)
FPU: none Bus Speed: 1 MHz (IIc)/4 MHz (IIc+)
Data Path: 8 bit ROM: 32 kB
Onboard RAM: 128 kB Maximum RAM: 1 MB
Monitor: Standard 9" Green monochrome, optional LCD panel.
Maximum Resolution: 40/80 text, 40x40 4-bit, 80x40 4-bit, 140x192 6-color, 280x192 1-bit, 140x192 4-bit, 560x192 1-bit
Floppy Drive: 140 kB 5.25" (IIc)/800 kB 3.5" (IIc+), floppy port
Serial: 2 Speaker(s): mono
Power: 18 Watts
Introduced: April 1984 Terminated: November 1990

The Apple IIc was the first compact computer.

I moved on the Mac 512, followed by the MacPlus, Mac SE and the Mac Portable. By then the rest of my laboratory staff had all followed my lead. We had Macs everywhere in use in critical applications in all the major research projects of the laboratory as the laser modification of integrated circuits and developing of high temperature superconductors and also to the normal desktop work of both staff and researchers.

I did not buy a home computer till 1991 December. I invested in a Mac PowerBook 170. I carried it with me on my work cum holiday trip to India in December 1991.

I can still remember when I was lecturing to a huge audience in a hotel in Madras, the power went off. Since I had the portable computer in front of me, the rest of the lecture was continued with my booming voice with my face showing up in the eerie computer light.

The active matrix black and white screen of the 170 is the best I have used. The 170 is still my most trusted machine. I have bought two of the same model from auction sites for a few Euros each and morphed them into one, with lots of spare parts available, so that it is ready my desktop always.

PowerBook 170
Codename: Road Warrior, Tim
CPU: Motorola MC68030 CPU Speed: 25 MHz
Bus Speed: 25 MHz Data Path: 32 bit
RAM Type: unique Minimum RAM Speed: 100 ns
Onboard RAM: 2 MB RAM Slots: 1
Maximum RAM: 8 MB
Level 1 Cache: 0.5 kB Screen: 10" Active Matrix
Maximum Resolution: 1 bit 640x400 Slots: modem
Floppy Drive: 1.4 MB SuperDrive Hard Disk: 40-80 MB
ADB: 1 Serial: 2
Audio Out: mono 8 bit mini Audio In: mono 8 bit mini
Speaker(s): mono Gestalt ID: 21
Power: 17 Watts Weight: 6.8 lbs.
Dimensions: 2.25" H x 11.25" W x 9.3" D
Minimum OS: 7.0.1 Maximum OS: 7.6.1
Introduced: October 1991 Terminated: October 1992

(Technical information is from the Apple History Site.)

I have a couple of MacPluses on my storage shelves but they have been gracefully retired. I bought myself an iMac a few years ago. When a power surge blew that, the insurance company let me get a great eMac. This is my main computer today. However, also sitting on my table are also two of the very best vintage Macs, the model called Performa 6400. One is continuously playing music using Apple's great iTunes software. The other is used to keep me informed of the latest cricket scores, etc., while it also serves as my back-up computer. When audio commentary is available, it comes through this machine. (I don't have time to be sitting in front of a TV to watch anything!!)

All my computers are hooked together through my local Ethernet network and the PowerBook communicates to the others through AppleTalk.

I dictate a lot of my stuff into one of the machines. Another machine reads back to me much of what I want to read but never have the time.

People do not believe me when I say that my 1991 PowerBook 170 is faster than most of today's Window's computers. This is simply because it does not crash and it allows me to get my work done. No virus protection required, no email viruses, no bugs, no trojan horses to worry about.

But that is what computing is all about - getting a job done. And above all, most of the software that I run on my 1991 computer also runs on my latest computer as well, important things such as my permanent diary called "Remember", my "Address Book", etc.

So, if Jack is still using his Mac, then he is the "Californian" lemming that does not jump off the cliff!!

P.S. From Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913):

Lemming \Lem"ming\ (l[e^]m"m[i^]ng), n. [Nor. lemming,
lemende; cf. Sw. lemel, Lapp. lummik.] (Zo["o]l.)

Any one of several species of small arctic rodents of the
genera Myodes and Cuniculus, resembling the meadow
mice in form. They are found in both hemispheres.

Note: The common Northern European lemming
(Myodes lemmus) is remarkable for making
occasional devastating migrations in enormous
numbers from the mountains into the lowlands.

Tuesday, March 30, 2004

I thought we had only one Elvis

Hey, Viney, I thought we had only one Elvis in our class, but it appears from the photo below that we have two and we also have a "Priscila" in our midst as well.

Pasted Graphic

Jack and Toni in 1969 in Madison Wisconsin.

And am I glad that I put two Pune bloggers together - Sunil (57er) and Sadhana (54er) are now sharing their local telephone numbers. Naughty, naughty!!

Sunil and Kamal have finalised their plans to be in Finland and will stay with us from the 21st to 23rd of June. Any other Cathedralites making the journey to this spot - surely we have some adventure lust people in our midst.

Cathedral School Blogging is now established.

What mischief can this Arctic Wizard get up too next?!

My greatest hope has been achieved

I am so pleased with the result. After I have started blogging so many of you have found each other and I thank you for sharing your one-to-one conversations with me.

As so many have asked for some pictures of my better half and myself, I am pleased to share some with you.

I am the guy who is sitting on the ground with the scorebook in the 1959 School Cricket Team photograph. Here then is the photograph when I was caught child snatching in 1967:

Annikki and me after our Shrewsbury wedding in 1967

And here are passport photographs of Annikki and me taken maybe in the late 1980's.

And here is one of me taken early last year (the glass in hand does not contain any alcohol!!):

Monday, March 29, 2004

One more set of grandparents

Yesterday was Percy's birthday. In return for the eCard I sent him, wishing him on behalf of ALL of us, he sent me his thanks plus the great news that the "baby" has become a grandparent.

"We became grandparents ...........Farah our daughter had a lovely daughter.....Lyela on the 19th of Feb.........."

I hope all of you will join me in wishing both the parents and the grandparents, Frainy and Percy, all the very best on this very very happy occasion.

There is nothing more satisfying than being a grandparent. Vijay Nayar in New Delhi recently wrote:

"Radhika is married and we have a granddaughter who is almost 6 years but orders us as she is 25."

And, like me, I am sure Vijay complies as demanded!!


Here is a picture of our two grandchildren, Samuel and Asha, both 7 now, about to blow out the candles on Asha's birthday cake, decorated by themselves, last summer, when we had a family reunion here in Oulu.

A grandparent has no real responsibilities, but sheer enjoyment. Annikki and I are enjoying our grandparent roles, sorry only that our granddaughter lives in Lincolnshire in England and we see her only during the summer holidays. We talk regularly on the phone now that international calls have become virtually free!!

Samuel, our grandson, is back in Finland after his year and a bit away in Newcastle. We have been having great fun. Yesterday we were tumbling in the snow like only 7 year olds can. His mother was horrified at the mess we had made with the pristine snow cover!!

Samuel is waiting to ride the first electric scooter that has arrived in Finland, made in China by an NRI friend of mine from Bangalore and shipped out to Finland as a prototype.

Here is a picture of my Zambian friend, Kamutaza Tembo, a graphic artist, who put it together for me, testing it out in the icy conditions. We have to wait at least another couple of weeks to take it out for a real spin. Absolutely soundless, it cruises along at 30 kilometres per hour and has a range of about 40 kilometres, which is just perfect for our small town of Oulu. Recharging time is short.

Sunday, March 28, 2004

When we were younger series

After seeing Jack and Toni's picture, some of you asked me how some of us look presently. I am going, over the next few weeks, present a few pictures from my collection of how some of us looked like a few years ago. You are free to put up pictures of your own and I can then link to them - or if you cannot do that, please email me the snaps for my Cathedral School collection.

Shivi, I wonder whether you remember you promised me the snaps and video from the last reunion in 1999. I have a good vieo but the technology of my video camera is so old that I do not know how to get it it my present computer.

I am sure Viney has a lot of snaps from his Roast and Toast get-together in Mumbai last December.

So please let me have them to share with our blogging lot (credit will be given to the source!!)

Ooky, Rifka,  AM

Here is a picture of Ooky, his lovely wife Rifka, along with my better half, Annikki, when we were in Mumbai a few years ago.

So let us have those snaps coming in.

Saturday, March 27, 2004

Jack wants to know the identities of Dirty Dozen

I think it is sufficient to say that they are all members of the 59 class.

Tomorrow (28th March 2004) is our dear Percy Mistry's 59th birthday. He is the youngest of our Class of 59, whereas all the rest of us have now touched the magical age of 60. Percy, the baby, has still a year...


Anyone recognise Percy in this picture? I am sure that is no problem!!


At Jack's request, here is the list of 59ers who are reading the blog. You should be able to send out messages to them by putting in a comment in the Comments section.

Narayan Acharaya, formerly known as Seshachar and nicknamed Sexy
Shabir Ahmedbhoy
Bhupinder Singh Anand (School Captain 1959)
Sudhir Anand
John Beddow
John Billington (Class Teacher 1959)
Hasnain Chinwalla
Armeane Choksi
David Colaco
Adi Cooper
Bashir Currimjee
Vinay Dabholkar
Elijah Ooky Elias
Noel Ezekiel
O. A. Greogory (Chemistry Teacher 1957 - 1959)
Cliff Hammill (Taught the B section)
Jack Haskell
Abe Hayeem (School Vice Captain 1959)
Ellis Hayeem
Deepak Kaikini
Vikram Kamdar
Ashok Kapur
Venkatareddi Kurma - presently not online
Anjula Mansukhani (née Lakhani)
Jacob Matthan (Savage House Captain 1959)
Delbar Mendis (née Munciff)
Peter Miovic
Ramesh Mirchandani
Percy Mistri
Naubir Mohindar
Vijay Nayar
Farhana Poonawala (née Kably)
Narsys Punthakee (née Irani)
Anil Ruia
Vikram Savara
Viney Sethi (Palmer House Captain 1959)
Indarjit Shah
Pushpa Shiri (wife of Willie but was in the Girls' School)
William Shiri (Physics teacher 1957 - 1959)
Vijay Shivdasani
Ratan Singara - presently not online
Piloo Tata (née Dastur)
Arvind Thadhani
Abdilwahaab Zayani

To many correct - NO winners

Ok, after the last hint, 12 of you came in simultaneously (within 2 hours of each other to name the new 59er.

Yes, it is Jack (Jake) Haskell. We share the same nickname.


Jack Haskell with his wife, Toni.

Jack lives in California. His last job was as a Director in AMD, which is the company which is giving Intel a run for its money, smaller, but certainly doing its share in the field of chips. I don't see any Intel / AMD chips as my computers are based on the PowerPC chip from IBM / Motorola (?). However, there are thousands of gadgets besides computers, so I guess I must be using some of those AMD chips in my TV, video recorder, satellite dish receiver, microwave oven, etc. etc....

Keep visiting the blog as lots of interesting things are coming up as news about various year reunions, etc.

Wednesday, March 24, 2004

Gopa is back in Finland

Gopa is not a Cathedralite. But her mother, Sadhana Madhusadan (née Shah) is a 54er.

Her uncle, Inderjeet was part of the 59er group in the years before 1956. He has just sent me this email:

"My dear Jacob,

Looks as if it is an eternity that I am with an ex- Cathedralite. Come to think of it I do remember you as a cherubic guy tall well built but with a slightly thin voice and in Savage house. I do remember the time we went to Vasind with Thomson sir and Morecroft and you were saved. Jacob, memories die hard. I just want to inform you tht all the guys whom I shared the classroom with are still in my memory. In 1962 I was in touch with Vikram Kamdar and Virat Gidwani. More in my next.



Her other late uncle, Randhir Shah, won the Best All Rounder in 56 and stood 1st class 1st in the Cambridge exams.

Her aunt, Prem Wach (née Vora), who lives in Switzerland, and whom I had the pleasure of meeting at Gopa's wedding reception in Finland is a Cathedralite of the 1947 era.

And now Gopa is a sort of adopted daughter of mine and Annikki after she married a Finn, Timo. they have settled in a town just outside Helsinki called Kerava. Gopa and I have a couple of chats every few days.

Gopa's mother-in-law lives not far from where we live in North Finland, so Gopa and Timo are always welcome when they come up north.

Gopa and Timo have just got back from India where they were visiting Sadhana and her husband, Madhu, a mallu like me. I had a chat with her and have welcomed her back to our small community of Indians here in Finland. I am sure she will be active on this blog considering her close association with our school.

We lose one from our midst

I was informed that Alex Colaco, third in the Colaco clan, who were such outstanding members of the Cathedralite family, passed on to be in the presence of Our Lord on 7th June 2003.

David, 59er, and second of the Colaco's who is one of our regular readers, informed me of this sad news in his email of this morning.

The Colaco's were the song birds of our school in the 50's. Michael, the eldest was Dame Scarlet in "The King of Sherwood", and he played Mrs. Mustapha (Aladdin's widowed mother) in "Aladdin and Out" in which next brother, David, was one of the Court Ladies.

Although I used to see Alex in church, as he was one of the younger boys, I was not personally familiar with him, but if he was anything like the elder two Colaco brothers, he must have been an outstanding character. Both the elder boys were in the Cathedral Church Choir during my time and led the choir with their melodious soprano voices. Michael rendered several solos where I used to sit enthralled and hope that I could sing like him.

I hope all of you will join me in sending belated condolences to the Colaco family, through David, in that we pray for Alex and his peaceful sleep till his day of resurrection when he will be once again reunited again with his loved ones.

Monday, March 22, 2004

Prakash - take note Hilary has a point. You are not alone...


How about making it a cause for Mumbai-ites all over the world?

My sister, Jane, and I were born in Mumbai (I was born in 1945 - Jane in 1940). It is really distressing to hear that Mumbai is becoming so smog afflicted. It sounds as bad a London used to be before the Clean Air Acts were passed. If you could identify the appropriate authorities and perhaps put together a letter that people could sign, we could start a campaign along the lines of the ones run by WWF.

I am a seasoned WWF campaigner and Panda Passport holder and would be willing to join a campaign to curb smog pollution in Mumbai (I can't get used to calling it Mumbai - it's still Bombay to me . . . !) I think the letter would need to be written by somebody currently resident in Mumbai as they would have first hand knowledge of conditions.

If you need to get an idea of the sort of campaign run by WWF, visit their web pages.

Internet campaigning is very effective and it would set the authorities back on their heels to have a lot of e-mails arriving from ex-Mumbai-ites all over the world, wouldn't it?

Let me know what you think.

All the best,

Hilary Minor - nee SIMON (Younger daughter of Nasib Haratoon Simon (Sammy Simon) - an old Cathedralite)"

Now I think some of us are deficient!!!

Even with the broadest of clues, all the replies received have been way off the mark.

...I think this picture of the Junior football team taken in 1956 which has many 59ers will now help you to pin-point who the missing individual is.

Even with the broadest of clues, all the replies received have been way off the mark. No, it was not my twin brother - I do not have a twin brother who was a 59er!!

I think this picture of the Junior football team taken in 1956 which has many 59ers will now help you to pin-point who the missing individual is.

(Photograph will be posted later)

1959 Cricket Team Photo


When people ask me what did Cathedral teach me, you just have to look at the photo of the 1959 cricket team and you will understand.

...There was harmony as we respected people for what they were and not what label they carried on their forehead.

Today's killing of the Hamas leader, Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, whatever he stood for will, only cause more bloodshed around the world. And to say that a leader of a nation personally supervised this killing of this individual, or for that matter any other individual, shows what the world has become.

When people ask me what did Cathedral teach me, you just have to look at the photo of the 1959 cricket team and you will understand. There 13 people in the photograph and there are 3 Jews, 2 Muslims, 2 Christians, 1 Parsee, 1 Sindhi and 4 Hindus. (I am assuming Nalin Dharia is a Hindu?)

And while at school I never once thought about the religious background of a single one of these individuals. There was harmony as we respected people for what they were and not what label they carried on their forehead.

Today's killing of the Hamas leader, Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, whatever he stood for will, only cause more bloodshed around the world. And to say that a leader of a nation personally supervised this killing of this individual, or for that matter any other individual, shows what the world has become.

You cannot stop bloodshed by shedding blood.

Narayan says Bangalore is calamity

Narayan Acharaya (Sexy, formerly Sesachar) a 59er has returned from a recent visit to his home town, of Bangalore. Bangalore is also my birthplace and my home town. Narayan wrote to say:

" I was recently in Bangalore to see my mother. I don't know when you last went there, but I was shocked at what automobile exhausts have done to that "Garden City". By the time of my departure, I was dreading coming down from my mother's fourth-floor flat to the fume-filled streets."

I fully agree with him. On my last visit to that city, in 2000, it took over 50 minutes to go from the north to the south, a journey, which a few years ago would have taken just 15 minutes. Luckily, I was in an air-conditioned car as otherwise I would have choked on the fumes.

I have noticed the same issue being raised by one of my regular correspondents from Mumbai, Prakash Thadani (69er) who wrote to me:

"Mumbai has become suddenly very warm with temps touching nearly 37 degrees. Mumbaites are all shocked to notice the heavy smog or fog enveloping our city starting around 11 pm till 9 am."

When I pointed out that Mumbai was relatively lucky as it had the evening sea-breeze to clear the smog in the evening, but that drastic steps would have to be taken, as was in London in the late 1960's, Prakash replied:

"About the severe fog and smog in Mumbai there is an active campaign going on to phase out petrol and diesel taxis. They are being converted into CNG Compressed Natural gas. All taxis over 15 years are not being allowed to ply. Even now they are stopping trucks and buses over 15 years old. All this is met with some opposition all the time. For 2 days truckers went on strike so there was no vegetables and grains coming into the city. The traffic police are always on the prowl. One has to get an emmision control certificate for any vehicle. The Cert is to be pasted on the windscreen but how many owners follow this? Then petrol pumps have this huge notice "No petrol for cars without PUC cert". But do they ever check your vehicle? if you are caught with an invalid PUC cert you are fined 100 rupees, but you can pay the cop 20 bucks and getaway. The BMC also has a drive not to burn any garbage in gardens and street corners, but daily uneducated gardeners continue to burn garbage. Not only that, this year, for Holi yesterday over 5000 trees were hacked and burned , but no one dared to speak up about it. Half the citizens of Mumbai suffer from bronchial asthma, yet, no one realises the hazards caused by all these practices. Even the educated in the city turn a blind eye to these unhealthy practices. I have been continuously writing letters to the civic authorities about these practices going on and even bringing it to their notice when it happens. But one lone voice how much can it be heard? Many more citizens have to get involved and create an awareness so that the gardeners and others do not carry on burning whatever refuse, whenever they like."

I am sure Mumbai Cathedralites are not indifferent to this. Why not put out a helping hand of encouragement to Prakash in Mumbai. is this a challenge for all other Cathedralites around India to take this as OUR CAUSE?

Sunday, March 21, 2004

Mistakes will happen

Abe Hayeem was quick to give praise for the Cathedral blog. But the unnamed 59er was quick to point out that his forte in junior school was not cricket but football (soccer).

Abe Hayeem was quick to give praise for the Cathedral blog. But the unnamed 59er was quick to point out that his forte in junior school was not cricket but football (soccer). To help you along here is a further clue. Our 59er's brother is featured in this cricket team of 1959!!

Saturday, March 20, 2004

Welcome Cathedralites to my Seventh Heaven Blog

Times are changing. I started my internet experience by searching for my 59er classmates on the internet. Then, I moved over to setting up my Seventh Heaven web pages. This was a great hit. However, due to pressures of time, I moved over to my occasional Newsy Notes. And now, having found this excellent piece of "Made in India" software for my Mac, iBlog (for computer idiots), I now move over to the in-thing - Blogging.

One new 59er has joined us since my last Newsy Notes. He was the one who introduced me to Chor Bazaar; he taught me how to make my first crystal and then valve radio sets; he then taught me to appreciate Jazz. Though one would say he was not accredited as being a sportsman in the later years, he has sent me two pictures in which he is standing tall in the Cathedral School junior teams for both hockey and cricket.

Can you guess who he is. A prize for the first correct answer!!