59er Golden Reunion Directory

59er Golden Reunion Directory
59er Golden Reunion Directory

Sunday, April 30, 2006

Series continued...

School Gymnasium, photographs from the 59er Hasnain Chinwala / Chhaya Purwar collection

School Gymnasium, photographs from
the 59er Hasnain Chinwala / Chhaya Purwar collection

When Hasnain visited the school the Gymnasium had been comandeered for examinations.

When we were in school we only had the quad for our PT and the shed for boxing, parallel bars, horizontal bar, the vault horse and the Roman rings.

I used to watch with great admiration as Peter Miovic, Viney Sethi and others performed all that great stuff on these equipment. I was not much of a gym man.

But what amazed me, even then, was the ease with which our Chief Gym Master, was able to demonstrate the exercises on the equipment. So it was not a question of just giving instructions.
And for that I must Thank God as our Gym Teachers kept their Physical Fitness at their peak and had also learnt all the important life saving exercises.

I was the benefit from their fitness and their practical knowledge as you can read from one of the very first entries on this blog, dating back to May 1996!.

As the second entry of my staff series I include here the picture of our Chief Gym Master, the late Mr. A. J. Morecroft, the man to whom I owe my life.

Mr. A. J. Morecroft - Chief Gym Master
The late Mr. A. J. Morecroft - Chief Gym Master
Photo edited from William Shiri /
59er Hasnain Chinwalla submission

Mr. Morecroft is the person whom I remember the minute I wake up every single day. May his soul rest in peace.

Friday, April 28, 2006

New series by demand...

Chemistry Laboratory Composite, 59er Hasnain Chinwala / Chhaya Purwar collection

The Chemistry lab, a Composite made by from photographs
from the 59er Hasnain Chinwala / Chhaya Purwar collection

I have included this picture as it was where my professional career was born under the great guidance of our teacher, O. A Gregory. My future life as a Polymer Chemist and Technologist (the word I coined many years ago for this was Polymerist) took root here and for that I can say I am very very grateful.

I remember many fond memories of the work I did in this laboratory identifying elements in compounds with my partners, Vinay Dabholkar and Sudhir Anand.

Sudhir did not stay in Chemistry, beng now one of the world's leading Economists. He is the Professor of Economics at the University of Oxford and and Fellow of St Catherine's College, Oxford. Many of the papers that led to Amartaya Sen being awarded the Nobel prize in Economics were co-authored with Sudhir.

Sudhir Anand, then and now
Sudhir Anand,
then and now

Sudhir is a world recognized development microeconomist. He has published widely on inequality, poverty, and undernutrition; human development; population ethics; health economics; and the theory and measurement of economic inequality. After finishing graduate studies, Sudhir joined the Faculty of Economics at Oxford University. He was on the faculty at the Harvard University School of Public Health as a Visiting Professor in 1993-94, and as Adjunct Professor thereafter. From 1997 to 1999, he served as Acting Director of the Harvard Center for Population and Development Studies where he led a research initiative exploring the theory and measurement of health equity. Sudhir chaired the WHO committee on global health systems performance assessment. He received his MA in mathematics and D.Phil. in economics from the University of Oxford. But remember - he is above all a Cathedralite and one of our greatest 59ers.

And wwas that promise shown when he was at school? Just look at this board from the school, another picture taken by our 59er hasnain!

Academic Achievement, from photographs from the 59er Hasnain Chinwala / Chhaya Purwar collection
1959 S(udhir) Anand, Academic Achievement,
from photographs from the 59er Hasnain Chinwala / Chhaya Purwar collection

Good thing Sudhir stayed away from Chemistry to give me a reasonable chance to reach where I did in my profession! :-)

This leads me to a new series that I have planned. Thanks to the co-operation of our own Physics Teacher Willie (William Shiri) and 59er Hasnain, both living in Toronto, Canada, I have been able to compile a set of photographs of the staff of our time.

To, metaphorically, explode this series here is a picture of Greg, our Chemistry Teacher who lives with his wife, Margret, in Canada.

O. A. Gregory - Chemistry
O. A. Gregory - Chemistry,
Photo edited from William Shiri / 59er Hasnain Chinwalla submission

Those of you who asked me for these photographs of staff members can download them directly from this page.

If you do not want the the Sepia tone which I have used to age these photographs, please email me. I will send you the untouched images. Also, if you need a particular size, pleaase let me know. I shall again try to oblige so long I can keep a reasonable resolution, if you intend to print these pictures.

If any of you have more recent pictures of our staff members, please send them to me so that I can get a better coverage in my photo archive.

Friday, April 21, 2006

My letter is published in The Nation

(Cross-posted on Jacob's Politics with an addendum here which applies to Cathedralites.)

The Nation is America's most respected Liberal magazine.

Recently they published an article "Lap Dogs of the Press" by Helen Thomas, the famed 86 year old journalist who is in the White House press Corps.

I wrote this letter to her, care-off The Nation which published her piece.

Dear Helen,

I have not emailed you for a long time but your stand in the White House and your powerful articles continue to inspire me almost daily. I did not want to wait till your next birthday to send you this one!

Way back in the early 50s, I learnt my basic journalism, when I was less than 10 years old, in the arms and at the feet of my grandfather, the doyen of Kerala, the late K. C. Mammen Mappillai.

The late K. C. Mammen Mappillai
The late K. C. Mammen Mappillai

Your recent article "Lap Dogs of the Press" certainly took me back to the days when he, and many other journalists, had to spend time in jail under trumped up charges for supporting the Indian National Congress and the Freedom Movement in India.

Gandhi, Nehru, are the well-known "journalists" that may spring to mind, but it was the small fearless newspaper editors and their journalists, like my grandfather, that had to undergo much hardship to educate their readers. Without them and their locally "respected" words, the messages of the freedom fighters would never have been heard by the masses.

Today, this 118 year old newspaper (THE MALAYALA MANORAMA) is the largest circulating one in India since some of the present editors are committed to the well-being of the people who make up its readership.

Thank you for this article which, to me, really raises the primary issue of where our journalists learn journalism, and how they practice it.

Let us hope that a few "journalists", like you, are produced in the years to come!

Best regards


I was informed yesterday that The Nation had published an edited version of this letter in their May 8th 2006 issue, which was released online yesterday.

Unfortunately, you have to be subscriber to The Nation to read the letter online.

If it were not journalists like Helen Thomas, who fearlessly question those in power, the world would be headed for a totalitarian fascist society!

Seventh Heaven P.S. There are a few Cathedralites who disagree with me on my views about the illegal invasion and occupation of a sovereign nation on false pretenses.

I value my friendship with even those who disagree with me. But I must stand firm on my principles.

I sent this email to one such Cathedralite who said

"Been meaning to e-mail you before this but my politics are diametrically opposed to yours, so decided not to get into any long dissertations...!!!"

I replied thus:

Dear XXXX,

Everyone is entitled to their own political opinion in a Free World.

On this we can agree to disagree. That is what Cathedral taught me!

The reason I am so committed to my anti-Bush / Blair cause and their continued lies is that I have been working with helping hundreds of Iraqi refugees (as also refugees from Kovsovo, Albanian, etc.) here in Finland as part of my job for the City of Oulu before my retirement.

Every single Iraqi refugee of the Saddam era here in Finland hates Bush and his American supporters even more than me as they have all lost innocent relatives in this illegal invasion and occupation.

I was among the 14 million people around the world, who, before the war, protested on the streets as we knew there was NO Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iraq. Even Colin Powell and Condoleeza Rice publicly stated one year before the invasion that Iraq had no WMD.

But yet the great lie was promulgated by Bush despite our protests.

If even an idiot like me knew there were no WMD how could Bush claim there was?

I am so committed to the cause that I do not want even a single penny of my money used to kill inncent Iraqis, especially as already more than a dozen close friends in Iraq have been indiscriminately killed by Americans.

I even gave up my writing contracts with my English Publishers as I did not want my money to be used to kill innoicent human beings.

But that is my opinion and I do not expect anyone to agree with me.

By the way, my letter to Helen Thomas (the fantastic 80+ year old White House correspondent who dared to question Bush and was therefore relegated from the front to the back) has appeared in the latest edition of The Nation (dated May 8th 2006). It has appeared on the internet today. (Unfortunately to read The Nation you have to subscribe.)

XXXX, under Bush, America has become the most hated nation in the world from one of the most respected. I do not have to live with that, but sadly, Americans have to. Bush cannot go anywhere without hundreds of thousands protesting his visit!

Compare that with Bill Clinton who has been received as a great statesman in every corner of this world, during and after his Presidency. I am not a Clinton fan, but what a change in just 5 years.

What a tragedy for a nation which was once a great America.



One thing about Cathedralites is that they search for "The Truth".

I hope someone would tell me that "The Truth" in this instance is different from what I have derived my viewpoint.

Remember, I am not a Democrat or a Republican, as I am not an American.

I am swayed by the emotions of those whom I know and who have suffered and are suffering in the present situation.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

"Nothing Like A Saturday Morning Mystery!"

Cricket nets

Our school cricket nets
that helped produce Johnny, photograph from the
59er Hasnain Chinwala / Chhaya Purwar collection

Stairway to Heaven
Stairway to Heaven, photograph from the
59er Hasnain Chinwala / Chhaya Purwar collection

Happy Easter to all your Cathedralites out there.

A very apt photograph for this Easter morn!

Although this is a repeat here from an earlier post, I should have added this picture to the earlier set about the roof renovation.

I wonder where this stairway leads too? I never thought about it when I was at school. Any idea who lived up there in our time? Not Olly, Gunnery or Ribi, as I know where their apartments were.

I received this email from 56er HS Uberoi yesterday, which bore the title of this blog entry.

Dear Jacob,

I have just returned from the Junior school after attending a singing concert of the school children, including my grand daughter Anisa, and have seen your debate with Budni.

Incidentally I have caught up with his elder brother Naval after 50 years!

Johnny Jameson would have been a 57er had he completed school in Cathedral. His father, the late Jimmy Jameson was in the Bombay Police.

Sadly, shortly after retirement he passed away in what was then Bombay.

I remember spending quality time with the Jamesons, the Newlands (Peter was in class with me) at the Police Gymkhana - Azad Maidan Police Station.

Johnny's father, Aubrey Balantine's father and Peter Newlands' father were all in the Bombay Police, as was Maurice Hewson, whose daughter, June, was in class with me. June married Des Whelan and the last I heard are settled in the USA.

If anyone has their contact info, please do let me know, for our 50th anniversary Reunion.

Ernest, Nalin and I did our HSC in 1958, not 1959. Ernest was the cricket captain in 58. He came to us from Campion in 56.

That is why he needed a great deal of straightening out!! (Ed: Any quick googly comment, Ernest?)

Nalin came to Cathedral in 57 from St.Peter's, Panchgani, with a very low slung belt and slicked back hair a la Presley!! He and Jimmy Tata made a crazy pair. (Ed: I remember Nalin was the heart throb of many a Cathedralite girls of many age groups!)

Jacob, in a day or so I shall also forward to you the latest on our Reunion.



(Ubi, maybe it would be nice if you added some recent photographs to your email whenever you go to such functions, as the masala here will become more appealing to the younger generation. They may not like all this absolute frightful nostalgia that I pump out!)

Anyway, Ubi's input has helped resolve the Johnny (Budni has hit base with Johnny) and Ernest matter - only leaving the Andy subject on the table. I certainly remember both Johnny and his dad, who sometimes took the trouble to come and referee some of our games.

In one particular house football match in 1955, I remember Johnny being the driving force to victory after a goalless first half at the Oval. He called my brother and me and had a pep talk with us and planned the next half's strategy. Then, he took charge of the game, playing with such fervour, while the two of us defended from the half line. Our Savage team won by a healthy margin, as Johnny shot a few in! he was an amazing sportsman.

And we enjoyed those brightly coloured germ-laden crushed ice sherbet sticks afterwards! :-)

My apologies for claiming that the picture of the cricket team was the 1959 one - it was the 1958 one as 59er Vijay Nayar was the Captain of the 59 team.

Was it too late in the year for the 59 photography session?

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Another great shot and some controversy

Sorry that I have not been blogging this past week - but Annikki and I got adopted as mum and dad!

Hasnain submitted this above photograph as an afterthought. He called it a sort of an artsy-fartsy attempt. I, personally, think, like his photographs of the Chapel and the stained glass windows, this is an outstanding photographic composition.

This shot from Brinda is about the same construction feature, pre-renovation.

Given above was the findings of the condition of this roof and what was done leading to....

....the final outcome.

Thank you 59er Hasnain Chinwala / Chhaya Purwar for the picture from their collection and to 64er Brinda Somaya for the details.

Moving to another subject, I am having a slight disagreement with 57er Behram Badhniwalla (alias Budni) about who were 57ers. In an email he circulated, he wanted to contact these whom he claims are 57ers. Here is the list:

Alwyn Ceal
Andrew Gordon
Ernest Haskel
Johnny Jameson

Tom Peters
Abbas Ahmedbouy
Sarosh Forbes (Budni has located him)
Lachi Melwani

I had serious doubts about Andrew Gordon (Bahram), Ernest Haskell (Bahram) and Johnny Jameson (Savage) being 57ers.

Budni must be right about John Jameson, who became an English Test Cricketer and then an Umpire in English First Class and Test Cricket. I followed his career out of my interest of his having played Cricket, Hockey and Football alongside me! Greatness by association? :-)

This is his official background from the Cricket-Online Site:

Full name: John Alexander Jameson
Born: 30 June 1941, Byculla, Bombay (now Mumbai), Maharashtra, India
Age: 64
Batting: Right-hand batsman
Bowling: Right-arm off-break, right-arm medium pace
Major teams: Warwickshire, Marylebone Cricket Club, England, International Wanderers
Test debut: England vs India at Manchester, 2nd Test, 1971
Latest Test: West Indies vs England at Bridgetown, The Wisden Trophy, 3rd Test, 1973/74
ODI debut: England vs West Indies at The Oval, Prudential Trophy, 2nd ODI, 1973
Latest ODI: England vs New Zealand at Nottingham, Prudential World Cup, 5th Match, 1975

If he was born in 1941, he would have been either a 55er, a 56er, or, at the outside, a 57er.

I have a classic photo of Johnny submitted to me by his friend, 57er Aubrey Ballantine, from Canada. Johnny was an absolutely natural sportsman and he would have excelled in whatever sport he chose to follow. And it was cricket that got him in the end. He performance is a tribute to Cathedral and Savageites!

It must be reasonable to assume he is a 57er.

To contact him, it would be possible by sending an email to the MCC. He used to be on my circulation list.

John Jameson
Johnny, photograph submitted by 57er Aubrey Ballantine

Sorry Budni, my mistake. :-)

Andrew Gordon was, however, certainly not a 57er. Here is a picture of the 59 Hockey Team. Andrew (Andy) Gordon is the one standing on the extreme left.

Since I also have a photograph of the 58 Hockey Team, where I was also the goalkeeper, I have a clear recollection of all my team members. Andy was either a 58er or a 59er. I have a recollection that he was in the B-section of my year - 1959. He also sang with me and all the Colaco brothes in the Cathedral Church Choir along with another Johnny Jameson who was a 59er (but who left school in 1956).

The other person about whom I must disagree with Budni is Ernest Haskell. His younger brother, Jack, was a 59er. Ernest, who won the McDonald Medal in 1958, was the Cricket Captain in 1959, as can be seen in this photograph where he is sitting just above me on the floor.

Ernest and Nalin Dharia were "technically" 56ers who completed their HSc in 1959. I think 56er HS Uberoi (Ubi) will bear me out on this, but I am willing to stand corrected!

Monday, April 10, 2006

Condolences to 54er Soli Davar

I just had this email from 54er Rumy Kapadia:

Dear Jacob

Not sure if you would like to know, but more people read your blog than I am in touch with.

My dear friend and classmate, Soli Davar, lost his wife Parveen after a long and traumatic illnes that lasted 6 months. It was a severe encephalitis that caused her to spend 3 or more months in Intensive Care, some time on the ward and finally at home.

Praveen, Photo from Dossier of 54ers
compiled by 54er Suhas Phadke

Soli is a much loved member of our class who was present at our 50 year celebrations.



Soli joined school in the then IIIrd Standard, (now the Vth Standard) on the 8th January 1948. He still remembers being processed in by Stan Pharoah and D. A. Timmins who at the time was the class teacher. (Ed: When I joined school in 1954, Derek Timmins was my class teacher for the VIth Standard.)

After school, Soli passed his B. Com from Sydenham College in 1959. He followed his father’s profession as a Chartered Accountant (CA). After four years of Article clerkship, he qualified in 1963. He started work with his Dad’s firm as well as at P. C. Hansotia & Co.

In 1965 he became a partner in both the firms. Soli practiced mainly on the taxation side in all his years. He worked steadily with the firms gaining experience and seniority.

His wife, Parveen, managed the domestic affairs leaving Soli free to make a success of his career.

Their daughter Aban (35) is into Event Management. Son Dorab (32) is a CA working for a firm associated with Deloitte and Touche. His wife Ashish makes exclusive chocolates for discerning people.

In June 1997, Soli had a major set back as he had to undergo surgery in which eight inches of his lower colon was excised. Recovery was slow and painful with the result he took voluntary retirement in July 97.

Soli has been working as a consultant to a few companies that keeps him in touch with the profession.

Soli still remembers that on the last day in school in 1954, Ollie (Mr. Oliver) gave a farewell talk and there were actually tears welling up in his eyes – his stiff upper lip actually quivering.

Dear Soli, our jaws, especially all the 54ers, are quivering as we join you in mourning the loss of your loved one. I am sure that each and everyone out there joins Rumy and me in being with you and your family at this sorrowful hour.

Thank you, Rumy, for the input.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

The Chapel History

The pictures of the rediscovered and renovated Chapel in school certainly created much interest, so I got around to getting the history and a bit more sorted out.

The Chapel sits next to the Physics Laboratory on the First Floor of the School. As Hasnain reported, it is about 3 metres wide and runs the width of the floor excluding the corridors on both sides. The large doors into the Physics Laboratory are on both sides of the Chapel.

I got the first part of the story from 49er Naval Patel, who lives with his wife, another very popular Cathedralite, 54er Armaity Mody. (Their charming photograph and history is from the excellent dossier prepared at the time of the 54er 50 year Reunion and sent to me by 54er Suhas Phadke. Wish other "years" would do the same!) I still remember Armaity as she was a great sportsperson the year I joined school and she was (and is still) so beautiful. [Naval, you are still very handsome. :-) ]

Naval and Armaity (née Mody) Patel

49ers Naval and Armaity (née Mody) Patel

Naval and Armaity were married in April 1960 and lived in the various locations at which Naval was posted by ICI India - thrice in Calcutta, interspersed with periods in Gomia (an explosives factory in Bihar during which time both their children were born), Kanpur (twice) and finally New Delhi.  

Armaity was an active sportsperson in most of these places, in the Calcutta Parsee Club and in Company Clubs at factory locations. She played badminton, tennis and table tennis, and briefly played basketball and hockey for the Parsees in Calcutta.  It was while goal keeping for this team that her knee announced it had had enough, and eventually this imperfection made her end all active participation.

Naval has been an enthusiastic cricketer all his life; he played with considerable enjoyment for club and Company teams until 1987.  From their early days together Armaity took to spectating at most matches, and soon became involved with scoring, particularly for the Calcutta Parsees.  They nominated Armaity as the team's scorer and she was even taken on tours as a team official.   Interest in the game remains even today; though, now, both of them participate mostly in front of the TV! (Don't we all!)

Since they were never posted to Bombay, their children did not get to study at Cathedral.  Their principal school was La Martiniere, Calcutta.  Afried now lives in Mysore, and Minoo resides in Chicago.  They have been presented with two grandchildren from each side of the family.

Naval and Armaity have now moved permanently to Mysore (my favourite city where I spent part of my childhood and started school in the Good Shepherd Convent in the 40s).

I digress. Let us get bacxk to Naval's email.

Dear Jacob,

The story I heard about the Chapel was that it was installed as a prayer room for boarders pre 1914, not sure when. 

When the First World War appeared to create a threat to Bombay through the presence of a German battlecruiser in the Arabian Sea, which might have bombarded the city, one of the protection measures taken was to encase the stained glass panels in a "drum" with wooden partitions right across them, on both sides. 

Somehow the presence of the panels was forgotten after hostilities ended, and later constructors of the Physics Lab thought that they were dealing with a single wooden partition between them and the adjoining classroom.

So the decorations remained safe from us all while we spent our single years in that room - it was Standard 7 for my batch - until the building was renovated in the 1990s. 

I do not recall the story of exactly how the panels came to light and of the decisions to present them as done now;  perhaps you can get them from the lead architect of the restoration.  I cannot immediately recall her name, but she is renowned in her field and her maiden name was Miss Brinda Chinappa, her father was your father's colleague in Tata Consulting Engineers.  When you get that part of the story, I shall be most eager to read it.


Naval Patel

Naval was absolutely right about Brinda. She and her sister, Ranjani, are childhood friends just as my dad and their father were childhood friends from their Bangalore days in the 1910-1930 time. They remained close friends right through till my dad died in 1993. So also, I consider the two sisters to be part of my family.

Sadly, no picture of Ranjini in my archives, but here is one of a vivacious Brinda from her great website. (Her biodate is from her site.)

Brinda Somaya (née Chinappa)
Brinda Somaya (née Chinappa)

Brinda is an Architect and Conservationist. She completed her Master of Arts degree from Smith College, USA after graduating from the Sir J. J. College of Architecture, Mumbai. She believes that development and progress must proceed without straining the cultural and historic environment. Her philosophy: the Architect's role is that of guardian - his is the conscience of the built and un-built environment.

This belief underlines her work at "Somaya and Kalappa", the company she founded and has headed for the last two decades. Her oeuvre, spanning corporate, industrial and institutional clients extends to public spaces, which she has rebuilt and sometimes reinvented as pavements, parks and plazas. These include the Colaba Woods, Ganeshpuri Temple and a slew of pavements in South Mumbai & the reconstruction of an entire village in Kutch. She has won numerous personal and professional awards.

But perhaps one of her most fulfilling involvement has been in Progressive Conservation - best exemplified in the restoration and renovation of her alma mater, the Cathedral and John Connon Schools, prime examples of Victorian Gothic architecture in the historic precinct of the Fort area, Mumbai. An example of how the future can be embraced without erasing the past, this conservation effort embodies, in microcosm, what other historic areas of the city might do to renew themselves and by extension, the city, through focused environment-conscious (and history-sensitive) architecture. She emphasizes time and again that her involvement in conservation is neither self indulgent nor reverential, but an intelligent meshing of the old and new to develop an architectural form that serves the present. Brinda has delivered analytical and critical talks as well as presented papers in India and abroad on Conservation, Women in Architecture, the changing role of Indian Architects and innumerable other subjects.

Brinda is a founder trustee of the HECAR Foundation and has chaired a recent conference and exhibition on the work of Women Architects with a focus on South Asia. The other Founder Trustees of the HECAR Foundation are also outstanding Cathedralites from quite different eras - the 50s to the 80s.

75er Viral Doshi a metallurgist by profession is based in Mumbai. He is managing his company's business of computer software and the manufacture of speciality alloys. After his schooling at The Cathedral & John Connon School and subsequently at the University of London, he graduated in Engineering from Cornell University, U.S.A. An active member of school Alumni Association, he has been on its Executive Committee for nearly two decades. He was closely involved in setting up and managing the Alumni website and co-editing the magazine. His hobbies include counselling students for higher studies. Viral passionately collects memorabilia, photographs, old magazines etc. on the history of school.

73er Mridula Maluste is a Mumbai based writer. She completed her education at the Cathedral and John Connon School and Elphinstone College, Mumbai. An interest in books and passion for writing led her to conceptualise and develop a line of publications for children at India Book House, a publishing house she joined. She went on to attend a Book and Magazine Publishing Program at Radcliffe College, Harvard University. Returning to India, writing became her career of preference. She has since written for magazines, newspapers, corporate films and television serials. She has written for corporate documentaries, including scripts for ABB, SBI, Coal India, Midday and Rallis. She conceived and co-scripted the first 13 episodes of Jeevan Rekhi (Lifeline), a medical serial, as well as India's first talkshow, Mashoor Mahal. With Delhi-based producer, Chanda Narang, she scripted a docu-drama, during the 1992/93 riots titled: 'Ayodhya Temple or a Mosque'. A version of this, which she also wrote, was shown on Channel 4, BBC. She has, concurrently, been writing on business and human interest issues, architecture and design, for a range of publications which include Inside Outside, Times of India, Vogue, Indian Express, Interiors India and Business India - for the last she initiated and held a column on unusual businesses. She wrote and managed, in 1995, an entire issue on the Architecture of Mauritius for Inside Outside, a magazine on interior and design, besides assisting the Mauritius Government Tourism Office in their publicity- related material. For three years, she edited and published Shyam Ahuja's RITUAL, a corporate magazine on architecture and design concepts. She co-authored DHURRIE with Shyam Ahuja, a definitive book on the flat weave rug and the weavers who create them. She is presently co-authoring, along with Brinda Somaya, a book on a premier educational institution based in Mumbai.

83er Ashwin Ramesh schooled at The Cathedral and John Connon School, Ashwin went on to become a chartered accountant and law graduate from the University of Bombay. He has been in the business of investments and real estate development for the past eight to ten years. Apart from Mumbai, Ashwin has business interests in Bangalore, Pune and Navi Mumbai. His project Rustic Highlands is a landmark at Khandala where developing infrastructure such as roads, water and power supply and street lights over seventy acres of hilly terrain has resulted in an organised and well planned bungalow complex catering to individual and institutional needs. He is an articulate writer having written over fifty articles on property and investment markets for publications such as The Khaleej Times - Dubai, South China Morning Post - Hong Kong, Vatan - India and The Property Times - Mumbai edition. Ashwin was the President of the school Alumni Association for the year 1997-1998 in which he launched several new projects and concepts. He is an active member of the Rotary Club of Bombay.

My classmate 59er Gita Simoes (née Vaswani) was born in Karachi, Gita completed her school education from the Cathedral and John Connon School. (I greatly admired her art when we were at school and remember one class party in her house in Churchgate where I was transfixed by the beauty of her paintings and Gita.) After her Bachelors of Fine Arts she went on to specialise in Graphic Art at the Minneapolis School of Art and Design, USA, where she took ancillary courses in Painting, Printmaking, Calligraphy and Fashion Illustration. She has been Art Director for several leading advertising agencies including Clarion Mcann, Mumbai-Delhi and Lintas, Mumbai, where she coordinated the new Lintas offices at Express Towers with architect, Kumar Bubbar around 1970. She was Art Director of the Taj Magazine, and in the 1970's, she established the Graphic Design Studio of the Taj Group of Hotels, to coordinate the design activities of the entire chain. She has also been Art Director for Frank Simoes Advertising where she initiated and developed a program for training junior visualisers. From 1994 onwards, she has been freelancing for a range of clients that include Titan, Air-India and the Taj Group. Her work for Air India won her an award for 'best airline crockery'. Gita is on the board of Shrujan, (an Organisation committed to the economic development of the women in Gujarat through embroidery) and VOICE - a voluntary Organisation for the education of street children.

Brinda, is the last of the Founding Trustees of the HECAR Foundation and lives in Mumba. Brinda has two kids, 94er Vikram, who lives in NYC and her daughter, 95er Nandini, in London.

Vikram used to be regular contributor to Seventh Heaven, but of late has been very quiet. Would love to have input from him abour his generation as Vikram was part of the inspiration to keep Seventh Heaven and Newsy Notes alive!

At my time the class that Naval refers to was the VIth Standard with Mr. Derek Timmins as the Class Teacher. I joined school in that class and used to sit with my back against the wall. The VIIth Standard was on the ground Floor with the wall adjoining the Chemistry Laboratory.

However, coming to the content, let us look at these before pictures submitted to me by Brinda who discovered the Chapel.

And these are pictures after the Chapel were renovated, which were also sent to me by Brinda.

If the BEFORE pictures are actually as the Chapel was found, does anyone note a degree of inconsistency with Naval's historical suggestion? Another puzzle for your grey matter! I am a tease.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

You guys are fast!

My morning blog entry brought this quick response from 56er Harminder (HS) Uberoi (known to all of us affectionately as Ubi).

He has helped put the "Old MacDonald E- - I, E - I, Oh" story to rest.

Viney, Ashok - Ubi has always been meticulous with facts.

Dear Jacob,

I have the medal in front of me.

No, I did not win it, my son did - 1985.

It reads JAMES McDONALD 1867-1902.

On another day I will recount my amusing story of the medal!!


As a a fellow Savage-ite, my opinion was that Ubi certainly deserved the Medal.

But, he was up against the late 56er Tara Malkani (Wilson), as well as the outstanding cricketeer of our school, late 56er Kirti Dongersee (Palmer)!

Nobody, but nobody, stood a chance against Tara!

Give is that story quick, Ubi!

A storm rages.....

Two more outstanding photographs from the 59er Hasnain Chinwala / Chhaya Purwar colllection.

First Floor, photo by Hasnain Chinwala

First Floor, photo by Hasnain Chinwala

Stairway to Heaven, photo by Hasnain Chinwala
Stairway to Heaven, photo by Hasnain Chinwala

Can any of you calculate how many times you have run up and down these steps? And how many different circumstances? Running up for class, running down for a break to play marbles or tops, going down to attend Morning Assembly, rushing down to be the first to get to the Table Tennis tables, just going down to catch the bus home? 5 times a day, maybe 10?

I seemed to have caused a storm in a Cathedralite teapot.

Yesh (49er Yezad Kapadia) has written to the Principal to correct his intial on the Mac- / Mc-donald Medal Board from "V" to "Y"!

But more important, there seem to be two ideas about the name of the Medal itself - whether is is a Mac or a Mc Medal. The Board reads as Mc, while the Prize Distribution Leaflet says Mac!

The four winners (and my regular blog readers) whose names were on the Board, that I have addressed directly, 49er Yesh, 58er Earnest (HScer), 57er Ashok (Tony), 59er Viney have not quite answered the problem. I have asked them to look at the Medal itself - the only definite proof.

An answer is awaited as none of them seem to have the Medal readily available.

Viney plumped for Mac, as his dear sister, 62er Usha, seems to sings "Old Macdonald had a farm.." whenever, obviously, Viney tries to show his leadership around the house. :-)

I am compiling the story about the Chapel. I have valuable input, not only from the old timers in our midst, whohave given me a possible reason as to why it was sealed up, but also from the architect who discoverd the Chapel. I have some more great then and now photographs from her.

Thanks for all the input. I will have some more photos from the Hasnain Chinwala / Chhaya Purwar collection in a couple of days.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Passing of a 63er, Nana

I have, with deep sorrow, to announce the passing away of a 63er, Narayan Sankaran, on Saturday March 25th.

As his friend 63er Ranko Ivancevic wrote a few days ago:

"...the loss of our good friend, a wonderful man, someone who had a big heart for all of us - but it seems not big and strong enough for himself."

I did not personally know Nana, as he was called by his friends. But Nana, was a regular reader of this blog.

When 63er Mithoo Malani sent me (and his classmates) pictures of the various section of the Class of 63ers, Nana sent this email to all of us:

Dear friends from ‘Long Ago”:

I am very happy to receive these outstanding pictures. I am sure that my daughters will add them to their albums. I still am amazed at what Mithoo and others have done for us!

Thank you Mithoo - three cheers for all those responsible!

Believe it or not, I am on my way tomorrow to hang out with my dear friends ‘Lucky’ and ‘Billy’ in NYC. It ought to be a riot (for our age anyway)!

Narayan Sankaran

Quite recently, when I put up a maths teaser on the web, it was Nana who sent a mathematical explanation for the teaser and also gave us the way to make it applicable for any year.

As a special tribute I publish here his email which explained the workings of this:

Friday, November 25, 2005 6:37 PM

The solution to the ‘age’ problem is an algorithm that goes like this:

Let the original # be x:

(2x + 5)*50=100 + 250

Adding 1755 (or 1754)

100+250+1755(or 1754)=100+2005(or2004)

Let Year born be=y

Now the last step:

100x +2005(or 2004)-y=100x +(2005-y)=100x + Age....the three digit #

That’s it! This will work next year as well...just use 1756 (or 1755)...and the year after that...

QED :) ......Pass it along.

When in school, Nana lived in St James Court on Marine Drive - the building belonged to the K. L. Nayar family, all Cathedralites, 58er Vinod (HSc), 59er Vijay and 63er Anil, who was Nana's classmate. 59er Ashok and 63er Billy Kapur, who was also Nana's classmate, also lived in that building. 58er Earnest (HSc) and 59er Jack Haskell were amongst the other Cathedralites that lived in St. James Court.

That corner was the evening meeting point for many many Cathedralites, around the year, even during the monsoon time.

So many of you would have known or seen Nana.

While he was not at Cathedral right from KG, he joined the school in Standard IX or X, and was there till Standard XI. (Therefore, he would have been after my time in the school.) He was, in WILSON HOUSE. He was reasonably good in studies and participated in some sports as well.

He hung out with 63er Ranko. Nana recently re-connected with Ranko (thanks to 63er Mithoo in Florida).

Nana had a sucessful business, importing leather goods that were made in India, probably having teamed up with former Cathedral schoolmates who were doing that business in India.

Nana was a friendly easy-going guy, somewhat shy and did not go to the School Socials and Wild Class Parties others used to go to !!

He married a Sindhi girl named Lalitha in Bombay. They have 3 daughters, Shilpa, Nandita, and Sonya, all of whom he was attached to very much.

Mithoo met Nana in Bombay by chance many years ago (1986) when he was visiting India and that is when they renewed contact. Nana lived in (snowy) Wisconsin. They exchanged several phone calls for a short while, but then lost contact until 2002-2003 when Mithoo was getting the Class of 1963's 40th Reunion "Party Celebration" fixed up.

While 63ers, and also of us, will mourn this sad loss of a Cathedralite and Wilsonite who had the nickname "SHAG", he can certainly be remembered for his running to get to class on time or picture him as a healthy "NANA" trying to do one more run on the "HORSE" during Mr. Morecroft's PT Gym Class.

Anil Nayar wrote on Tuesday, March 28, 2006:

Nana was quite sick for the last 15 years; body did not make enough red blood cells and he had to go in for blood transfusion every 2-3 weeks. As a result, he started accumulating iron deposits as well as fluid in the heart. Apparently, a person usually dies within 10 years after they start blood transfusions due to excess iron complications or heart issues. Nana's heart has been functioning at 20% or less in the last 3 years. He was in ICU for several weeks; moved to a research hospital in Madison and finally was advised that that he did not have many days left and was moved to a hospice. I did visit him last Monday and Tuesday and said my final goodbye.

He was cremated today and there was a service for him at 5 pm cst.

I am in grief .... we have lost a very dear friend ; kind of a goofball at times, especially in school, and that made him even more endearing. Also, I found out last week, he wrote some very interesting poetry, played the sax and loved to sing.

It is sad to lose one of our "community" and our hearts go out to his family at this time. From all the email that I have received, it is evident that Nana was loved by all his friends. All his family will be remembered by all of us at this difficult time.

(Compiled from contributions by 63ers Mitho Malani, Ranko Ivancevic and Anil Nayar and email recerived from Nana, himself.)