59er Golden Reunion Directory

59er Golden Reunion Directory
59er Golden Reunion Directory

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.