59er Golden Reunion Directory

59er Golden Reunion Directory
59er Golden Reunion Directory

Monday, November 27, 2006

Thank you 56ers!

(Cross-posted on all my major personal and alma mater blogs.)

Monday, November 27, 2006

(Click images to see enlarged version.)


Dear Class of 56,


I proudly wear YOUR Tee-Shirt.



Editorial page from Class of 1956 Directory, 2006.


To quote from the editorial page of your Class Directory:

To Jacob Matthan go immense thanks for the support of his blogsite and his indefatigable research.


Thank you, Meena, for writing these words which will be remembered by my children and grandchildren for another 50 years at least, even though none of them had the opportunity to be Cathedralites.

I do hope that I have instilled some of the “education” that I received from my glorious alma mater to these two generations of my immediate family.

You 56ers have made today of my most wonderful days of my life.

Courier Post this evening brought me the Class Directory and two absolutely precious Tee-Shirts.


Cover of 1956 Class Directory, 2006.


I offered one to my better half, but she said that they were for me.


Annikki & me, Rauma, 2006 October.


Of course, she told me not to wear it as I usually do, as I am, at this tender age of 63, in the habit of spilling my tea all over the front onto my large paunchy area.

When Ubi forwarded me the Reunion Report, my eyes were moist with the tears of joy and sorrow that welled in me. I was especially moved by the news of how Muku, another one of my heroes, came to the reunion get-together. His CV in the Directory explained to me the character of a man I admired in school.

I especially remember when young Aditya Malkani read about his father on my Seventh Heaven website (April 2001), well before it was made into a blog.
From: "Aditya Malkani"

Subject: Re: Picture Champion House 1953

Mr Mathan,

It was great to recieve your email.

I went to your very impressive web site and saw the picture from 53.

I almost had tears coming out of my eyes looking at pictures of my dad and reading about names that i had heard him mention so often.

I am currently a third year in Oberlin college and i will be graduating in may of 2002.

I have several school pictures from around 1956 that my father kept in good condition, if you like i can scan them and send them to you when i return to Bombay in July.

I wish in thirty years from now our graduating class of '98..manages to keep in touch, the way yours has.

Thank you ever so much for allowing me to learn more about my father's younger days.

aditya malkani


When Doreen discovered me and entered into a beautiful relationship, I have enjoyed every moment learning about her life and her family.

And when Ubi entered into my life via the blog, I was so thrilled to be in touch again with someone so immensely dedicated to the school, that it was my greatest pleasure to fulfil his every desire towards making your reunion a success.

And from all the accounts that I have received, it was.

When I received the Directory and turned open the cover and found the mention of ME in the editorial, Annikki and i were so overjoyed that we have still not stopped talking about it.

I explained to her about so many of the personages contained therein, many of you whom i remember so vividly.

Ubi was my hero, but that does not detract from the enormous respect I hold for so many of you who used to be willing to give time to us kids to help us.

What I learnt from many of you is what i practice on my blog.

I do hope that as many of you will send me photographs and details to share with over 3000 Cathedralites from 1945 to 2006 who tune in to this blog faithfully to see what YOU have to say.

I hope that you will allow me to be part of your 60th Reunion!

Thank you 56ers.

Jacob Matthan
Kampitie 6 B
90150 Oulu
Finland
Tel: 041 - 7067788
email: jmatthan@gmail.com

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Anyone have need of two extra "right arms"?

57er Behram Badhniwalla (more commonly known as Budni) just gave me the fantastic news that he had located 57er and Savageite Ramesh Punwani.

In an email entitled "Solving The 57 Savage House Mystery!" a few weeks ago, 56er Ubi had written:

Dear Jacob,

The 57 Savage House Captain was Ramesh Punwani!

I got this information from the 57 copy of the Old Boys' School magazine "The Borderer".

(54er) Pushpa Bhatia has so very kindly made bound copies of The Borderer issues 50 through 57! She has also given me copies of some fantastic old photographs.

Incidentally Photo 25 from your album is Mr. McKenzie. (Ed: The name was D. D. Mackenzie. Anyone else who can fit the names to the photographs in the album will be suitably rewarded!)

Jacob, do you or any of your readers have copies of any 57 school photos and a copy of The Borderer year 57.

I would give my right arm for copies!!

Regards,

Ubi


You can get two right arms if you can send ME those old photos! :-)

Monday, November 20, 2006

56ers Reunion Report

56er H.S. Uberoi has not been far behind 69er Prakash Thadani on feeding me on the happenings in Mumbai of last week. I am greatly flattered for the compliments (which I hardly deserve). But thanks, anyway.

Our School and Church on Google.


Click on image to see an enlarged version.


Dear Jacob,

It was a year and something when I first wrote to you planning for the 50th anniversary of the class of 56. I can’t believe that I am writing to you today to give you details of the class reunion we had between 7th and 14th November 2006.

I would like to begin by saying that the reunion would never have been possible without the great efforts of those who took the trouble to be in Bombay. Especially those who came from out of Bombay and abroad at great expense and effort.

Our thanks to them.

The anniversary celebrations got under way on the 7th of November 2006 over dinner at the “Cabbage Patch”, Willingdon Club. The event was hosted by Muku Hamied, Iqbal Chaiwala, Dina Daver, Khadija Sarela and Rima Kashyap.

Muku had, a few days earlier, a serious fall, when he fractured several bones in his right arm apart from several other injuries. Poor Muku had to undergo surgery to set his fractures right and had to be hospitalized.

As the classmates of 56 began to gather for this inaugural dinner of their 50th anniversary, an ambulance drove up near the venue and out came Muku, on a hospital geurney!

A very dramatic entrance by a gracious host, who despite his serious injuries made it to the class reunion.

How’s that for commitment to the old school spirit that you wrote about recently!

The ambience of the Willingdon Club lawns, soft music in the background, fairy lights in the trees, set the tone for a perfect opener for the reunion!

The class of 56 set about renewing friendships, some after 50 years!

The wine and excellent cuisine,and the excitement of classmates trying to recognize faces of their youth!

The next morning the girls set off on their own to Poona to renew and review old relationships.

On the 9th night the boys met, while the girls were away in Poona, at dinner at the elegant home of Iqbal Chaiwala and his charming wife Almas. They graciously hosted the dinner with some excellent Muglai fare. The boys, with some of the spouses present, let their hair down and had a great evening. The surprise of the evening was the appearance of Michael Tahseen. He had kept a studied silence for long time and decide finally to join in!

Well done Michael!

The girls returned from their trip to Poona on the 10th of November.

11th November, we were hosted to a high tea by Chitra and Ashok Kumar in their lovely garden. It was a delightful evening, with all the classmates of 56 now in full swing of things, exchanging old tales. It was evident that all awkward silences had given way to animated revelry. Even the spouses had shed there inhibitions and were a part of the meeting of old friends.

Early on Sunday, 12th November, we gathered at the private boat jetty opposite the Taj Mahal hotel, where our hostess Rajni Anand and her charming daughter Kaajal were waiting to board us onto waiting speedboats to take us for the day to Alibag.The class of 56 was treated to an absolutely wonderful day in the palatial home of friends of Rajni.

Her hospitality was indeed superb and gracious. The food and drink were exquisite. The boys and girls of 56 relaxed and caught up with 50 years and more friendship as the music of the 50s set the mood.

We returned from Alibag early evening after a wonderful day. Ranjit Mathan, his wife Thangam (who could not be with us), Sohrab Kapadia, his wife Mahroukh, my wife Bubbles (NOT Dimple, as erroneously mentioned by Prakash Thadani. Dimple is my sister) and I hosted the dinner on 13th November, at the Royal Bombay Yacht Club.

The Yacht Club has an old word charm about it, being an old heritage building. Ranjit, Sohrab and I decided to recreate the “school social” type of an ambience for the evening.

We therefore had special balloons made (courtesy Ranjit) in the four House colours and the School colours, with the school crest printed on two side and with the inscription “Class Of 56”.

At least two thousand of these balloons decorated the halls and floor of the venue.

We had a DJ, who had instructions not to play any other music except my collection CDs of 50s music! We had a separate room for dancing and the buffet/sit down dinner was in a separate room.

The “school social” theme was a great hit and the floor was on fire with jive and rock and roll!

Well and truly was the class of 56 immersed in the nostalgia of the 50s.

As much as it was such a great joy to renew old friendships, there was sadness too, of not having with us some our classmates who were no longer with us.

Tara Malkani,our Head Boy, sadly passed away in May 1994. He was represented by his wife, Baby, and his son Aditya. Kirti Doongersee, we lost on the last day of school 1957 (after SSC) in a tragic accident.He was represented by his sister Pushpa. Fulmala Sagar, who I know was looking forward to this anniversary,was snatched from us in May 2005. Representing her were her children, Kunal, Manisha, Malika and Rahul. We also remembered with sadness, Roshan Khurody, Nalini Shah, Arjun Daryanani and Jeffrey Downey. Ashok Chawla is one more who has passed on.

14th November, Founders’ Day,took us to the St.Thomas’ Cathedral for the Founders Day service. Thanks to the kind courtesy of the Principal, Mrs Meera Isaac, we were allotted the front pews. The class of 56 looked resplendent !

It was a lovely service and I dare say quite emotional for us, who had left school 50 years earlier!

I am told that the girls went through several handkerchiefs each!

I would be lying if I said the boys were unaffected. There were quite few wet eyes! I know that whilst singing the school song that there was a catch in my throat when we reached “Pens will be driven by new boys in classrooms…..”!

Quite amazing that the parents of a girl of 56 were married in the St.Thomas’ Cathedral, she was baptized and confirmed there!

The Head Girl of 56, Amarjit Kulwant Singh (née Anand) read the lesson.

From the Cathedral we moved on to the middle school for tea and a class photograph.(Jacob, I pause here to tell you that I shall send to you the photographs that were taken during the week, in the next couple of days.)

After the photographs,the group was taken on a conducted tour of the schools.

This must have been very interesting especially with each one recalling who did what in which nook and cranny!

We then proceeded for the contributory lunch at the Bombay Gymkhana.

Till that morning we had 11 takers. By the time it got to about 1330 hrs. We were 23!!Obviosly the reunion had kicked in! (Suguna Ramanathan flew in that morning from Ahmedabad and flew right back after lunch.)

The final dinner was hosted by the gracious Patsy and Pallon Mistry at their beautiful home.The class of 56 was bit somber and mellow that evening at the thought that it would soon be over!

The music and gracious hospitality lightened moods as everyone broke into impromptu song and dance!

After a magnificent dinner the gathering talked about how the week had gone and how marvelous it was for everyone to have met after so many years.

As some of the class had in fact to catch flights that very night, we bade goodbye to each other with heavy hearts, but with a promise to meet again soon in the future!

The reunion was over!

What next? Talking to Mrs.Meera Isaac,the Principal, she suggested that as the the school was planning a big celebration in 2010, the school’s 150th anniversary, we should plan our next reunion then. This was discussed with the classmates and it was agreed that we meet next in 2010, if not earlier.

Meena, please get started again!!

We produced a yearbook of all the class fellows of 56 we could possibly think of , with their photos “then” and “now”, with brief biographical statements on each person. We also produced commemorative T shirts with the school crest and the inscription “Class Of 56”. Both these items were very popular.

Jacob, thank you very much for all your help. If it was not for you we would not have had so many of our classmates here.

I am sending to you by courier a copy of the yearbook and two XL T shirts for you.

I give below the names those who attended the reunion of the Class Of 56:

  1. Amar Kulwant Singh (née Anand)

  2. Amin Jaffer

  3. Chitra Ashok Kumar(née Bhogilal)

  4. Dina Daver (nee Billimoria)

  5. Doreen Heimlich (nee Feibusch)

  6. Ernest Haskell

  7. Iqbal Chaiwala

  8. Jane Bigg (nee Simon)

  9. Joan Densham (nee Meyers)

  10. Khadija Sarela (nee Haveliwala)

  11. Koshu Jain(nee Israni)

  12. Meena Bhat (nee Lele)

  13. Michael Tahseen

  14. Muku Hamied

  15. Navroz Badhniwala

  16. Patsy Mistry (nee Dubash)

  17. Paulette Harte (nee Glover)

  18. Pradeep Anand

  19. Primla Madhok (nee Kapur)

  20. Rajni Anand (nee Shivdasani)

  21. Ramesh Gupta

  22. Ranjit Mathan

  23. Rima Kashyap (nee Savara)

  24. Razia Grover (nee Quamarain)

  25. Rishad Talyarkhan

  26. Sherna Kotwal (nee Tarapore)

  27. Shyam Chainani

  28. Silloo Captain (nee Mistry)

  29. Sohrab Kapadia

  30. Suguna Ramanathan (nee Iyer)

  31. Thrity Saraf (nee Vazifdar)

  32. Waseem Brelvi, and

  33. H.S. Uberoi


Regards,

Ubi


It is my turn to say THANK YOU to Ubi who has become my regular and highly informed correspondent out of Mumbai. He has helped correct me on facts and figures, which, sitting 7000 km away, is much appreciated.

Ubi, along with 49ers Naval Patel (Mysore) and Yezad Kapadia (Delhi), 54ers Suhas Phadke (Mumbai), Sadhana Madhusadan (née Shah) (Pune) and Gracie Bent Lerno (née Hayeem) (California), 57er Behram Badniwalla (Budni) (Pune), 59ers Vijay Shivdasani (Mumbai) and Hasnain Chinwalla (Toronto) and 63er Mithoo Malani (Florida), 69er Prakash Thadani, plus our indomitable Physics Teacher Willie Shiri and his wife Pushpa (Toronto), and a few others from around the world whom you see posted in regular postings (Abe, Barbara, Ranko, Shoba, Shyla, etc.), form a cadre of on-the-spot reporters which has kept this blog so vibrant.

You do not have to wait till the next Founders Day to be in touch. Send me what you want to express, and I will ensure that you get the exposure.

Of course, I would be greatly honoured if our School Headmistress would grace these pages with a short speel - on any topic of her choice.

Anyone willing to work on this project?

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Mumbai Update from 69er Prakash

Thanks to 69er Prakash Thadani for this report from Mumbai about Founders Day Alumni Dinner and some other items. Thanks Prakash for the superb presentation. I am sure Cathedralites around the world, like me, will wish that they had been there!

Dear Jacob,

How are you & Annikki?

Trust this finds you and your family in the best of health and spirits. The lovely calendar you sent still sits next to my computer.

One hectic weekend over with the Alumni Dinner to celebrate Founder's Day.

An enthusiastic dedicated Alumni team worked together to ensure that function was well attended and that a good time was had by all who were there.

The venue Blue Sea at Worli Sea Face, the sea in front with a cool breeze wafting through. Beautiful decor by Nazneen & Perrine Irani. Balloons in Purple, Black & White. The flower arrangements were something to enjoy and appreciate on every table with a candle tee light. Reams of tissue in Purple, Black and White criss-crossing the ceiling of the air conditioned room.

The food was, as expected, delicious: bit sized boneless chicken in a thick gravy, sarson ka saag, makhani dal the dum biryani crisp freshly baked nans at the tandoor, and for the calories concious, a noodle counter, all made by the internationally famous Copper Chimney Kitchen.

Deserts were kulfi and falooda, the rabri was missing. Tiramisu and Blueberry mousse in shot glasses.

From the Class of 1969 there was Sunita Struck from Germany accompanied by her elder brother Pratap Kamal Kavarana, with her sister Roxanne, Sheba Thomas (née Eapen) Shekhar Shah, Anil & Honey Harish and, of course, Gopika Saran & Shyla, Naushad Patel and their daugher Alisha.

Prakash Thadani (class of 1969) was at the entrance welcoming each and everyone checking their invites and seeing if they had filled out the forms and requesting those who hadn't to fill it out. Pens were kept at the desks.(Efficiency & fore-thought)

Over 450 people turned up while the Alumni Committee Rohita Doshi (née Chhaganlal), Shyla Boga Patel, Chitra Rajkumar, Sonal Modi, Rajeev Bhatia, Meil Phatak (née Saigal) Dr. Anand Shroff, Firdausi Jussawalla aided by the dynamic Gopika Saran, very efficiently handled the brisk sale of the invites.

Many sizzled the floor with their graceful moves. Towards the end of the evening a younger crowd hung on till 2 am and the Alumni Committee left the place by 2.45 am after taking the banners, boxes, and email forms collected at the entrance. The slips collected will go for the Alumni database and hopefully all will soon receive emails regularly. (A complaint heard very often from many that they don't know what's happening as snail mail is not being done now.)

The DJ played music for all ages right from the 50's to the 21st century Rap that is loved by all youngsters of today.

One noticed several pregnant ladies accompanying their husbands, admissions round the corner, better get to know Mrs M. Isaacs before the baby arrives. Even those parents who recently have had babies were there coming in their chauffeur driven cars all to network and see what their peers have been upto, even though the valet service provided by the Blue Sea was excellent with ample parking on the sea face.

Rohita Doshi the current Alumni President, gave a small speech thanking all the sponsors. A lucky draw was held, Mrs Nargolwalla drew the lucky slip of Hrushit Bhat, who won a return ticket on Goa Air the newest no frill airline promoted by the Wadia's of Bombay Dyeing.

Mala Dayal (class of 1970), looking really graceful, accompanied her brother Ajit and sister Sunita Karna from Bangalore. Others from Mala's batch were Havovi, Amita Maliye

Monica Vaziralli (class of 1968) made a grand late entrance with some stunning Jadhao jewllery, bright canary yellow spaghetti top a thin flowing knee length skirt. In contrast, her daughter, Payal, was in a very traditional attire with a Bindi and her husband Akshay in full black. Black seemed to be the in colour for many of the young men in attendance.

Several former teachers who came included Mr. Pande, Dr. Chand, Mr. Sharma, Miss Hallegua and Mrs Nargolwalla and her husband.

The Class of 1956 had all of them mingling with the younger lot of ex-Cathedralites. They were all with H.S. Uberoi and his wife Dimple. Their turnout at the church service on 14th morning was very noticeable as they sat in the front pews. The Church service was again a very memorable morning, followed by a tea and the Alumni AGM at the Middle School on Tuesday 14th. The school choir sang hymns, school prayers with much passion and feeling that touched all those who heard them,

Ratan Lalkaka, was accompanied his old friend Naresh Maniar, down in Mumbai from the US. Vinod Nayar and wife Joanne, sat with 59er Renuka (née Dhanrajgir) & Ratan Batliwala.

Youngsters from all batches who attended to meet drink and dance the Saturday night away, were Sharan Jagtiani, Ruchika Bhojwani, Namita Devidayal, Prat Motwani, Anushka Pinto, Uraz Bahl, Zahan Batliwala, Tarun Thadani, Ranjana (née Kamlani). Reyna Jagtiani with a crew cut mentioned she was playing great music at a local Lounge. Vidur Sood was there from the US. Gulu Watumull hung around the bar while receiving endless calls on his mobile. Our Congress M.P from Cathedral Alumni, Milind Deora, was also in atendance with friends.

Other Cathedralites who made the effort of attending were, Ashok Kurien, Nawaz & Gautam Singhania with sister Shefali, Dinky & Navin Sadarangani, Tanya (née Godrej) and husband Arvind Dubash, Pherosa Godrej with her kids, Navroz and daughter, Gayatri & Atul Ruia, Madhoo & Anand Shah, Rajeev Samant of Sula Wines.

Sula wines had donated their white, red and rose wines for consumption at the dinner. Rajeev has been in the news lately for aggressively promoting his brand of Sula Wines with grapes grown only in Maharashtra.

Rajeev Bhatia was seen distributing his planned proposal for the plans of the future plans of the Alumni. Its fund raising, aims, aspirations and intending help for the school.

Reliance Telecom had also put up a stall to promote thier Reliance connect the wire free internet connection now freely available in India.

The elegance and style at such an event was clearly evident, no hiccups, no throwing up youngsters, everyone smartly attired. No press cameras and NO TV personel for Page 3 coverage, A few photographs were discreetly clicked by an inobtrusive cameraman. But this time one noticed a lot of interaction. Exchange of cards, people all talking about what they do their work, asking questions about school, more aggresively than ever.

A great fun time was had by all those who came. This clearly indicates that the Alumni Committee will now annually plan to hold a dinner for the Founder's Day Celebration after the resounding success of this evening.

69er Prakash Thadani

PS : One thing that wasn't done: NO SCHOOL SONG WAS SUNG as everyone was too busy networking !

Footnote :

1. Theobroma, the food of the Gods in Greece. This new deli has taken Mumbai by storm. Run by a Parsi husband & wife team they make great snacks and have a very small 4 table coffee shop on the border of Cusrow Baug opposite the Hanuman Temple.

2. The Lavage quiches, croissants and delightful pastries are a rage with everyone. They have also introduced dips, humous and other novelty foods that others have missed out.

3. Anushka Jagtiani will sing as the 2nd act on the opening day of the Jazz Utsav 2006, She is going to do a blues act Eta James style with some other Cathedralite musicians. Jazz Utsav 2006 organised and hosted by Capital Jazz will be staging a 3 day Jazz Festival at the Bandra Amphitheatre Landsend from the 1st of Dec to the 3rd. 6 foreign groups from Europe and 3 Indian artists will perform. To open the Jazz Utsav we have Gary Lawyer, India's most well known western music singer.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Poem by former Cathedral School Teacher

I must thank 54er Gracie Bent Lerno (née Hayeem) for sending me this poem by our former Cathedral School Teacher. I hope the pages are readable.

Dear Jacob,

Felt you would like to read Veronica [ley] Mahdusadhan's impressions of Independence Day this year. She had entered this poem in a Contest. Have to find out if she won!

Perhaps you might remember I had mentioned her before as a Kindergarten teacher the same time I began teaching and she became my Mentor. She also taught Barbara Rossi!

She lives in Poona and is now 80 years old! Does not have a computer. We should try to get someone to help her to get one and then she could be on line!

It would be great if this coiled go on your blog!

Soon it will be another school reunion. Yours has not arrived yet. Is it the year for my brother Abe? I have lost count.

Many greetings to Annikki.

Take good care.

Gracie


Click on images to see enlarged versions.


From Cathedral Sch...


From Cathedral Sch...


Hope you enjoy the poem.

I was not brother Abe's classmate, but younger brother Ellis's classmate (59er).

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Dinner Dance in Mumbai

This is an email I just received from the Administration of the Cathedral School Alumni Committee.

Dear Alumnus

Due to the tremendous response we have received for this year's annual Dinner Dance, we have increased the limit of guests for that evening.

We expect to have great evening like last year. This year, in addition to some great wine and food, we have some spectacular gifts, kindly sponsored by some Alumni.

Thus you still have a chance to get your donor cards. Contact any one of the Alumni Committee members or the following.

Gopika Saran +91-98195-13698
Rhythm House, Kala Ghoda, Fort Mumbai

Office of the President Rohita Doshi
Ruby Rele +91-22-30281250 Ext. 60
Art Point Gallery Chowpatty +91-22-2369-4417

from Monday Nov 6th.

Please procure them to avoid disappointment.

The rate is Rs. 850/- per head alumni & spouses/partners /friends are welcome at the same rate.

The venue for the Dinner Dance is : Blue Sea, Worli Seaface, Mumbai

Date : Saturday, 18th November 2006

Time : 8.30 p.m. onwards

Look forward to seeing you.


Seems that this is going to be the culmination of a great week.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

One more picture of Narayan Acharya

The last picture I put up of 59er Narayan Acharya (née Seshachar) was truly BAD. Sorry - but my camera is falling to bits!

To redress, I hope this one conveys a slightly better impression!!

Narayan Acharya (née Seshachar) 2006 November in Oulu, Finland.

Narayan Acharya (née Seshachar) 2006 November in Oulu, Finland.


Note that his facial features have not changed in 47 years.

Great guy.

Deeply moved

Today is Founders Day and the Church Service at St. Thomas Cathedral should be starting in a few minutes.

I got this email early this morning from fellow Savageite and my former School Captain, and one of my few idols: 56er HS Uberoi.

Dear Jacob,

Just read your blog entry of Sunday 12th November.

We owe you a huge debt of gratitude!!

I have already made plans to send you the details of the week of celebrations that started on 7th November. As soon as 14th November is done I shall send you full details of each and every function, photographs of all (that were possible) the 56 classmates "then and now"! I shall also forward to you the photographs taken at each function. A copy of the Yearbook, and XL size T shirts produced for the occasion will also be couriered to you.

Do you want any for your wife or anyone else?

The Reunion has gone absolutely dreamlike so far. We too had our share of shouting and slanging prior to the week commencing! True Cathedral Spirit. We did sort out all the differences also in the same spirit.

More later, and thank you for your good wishes which I shall convey to all concerned at this evening's dinner where we are expecting 70+ people!

Ubi


It is not very often that I develop goosepimples.

Here I am sitting in a cold cellar (about +17 C) at 4:30 am, in my lungi and shirtless, my pot belly representing my years of computer staring, and I am covered in them, not because of the -10 C outside, but because of a feeling of being one with all my Cathedralites, from 45ers to present day boys and girls who take the time and trouble to write to me.

When the 54er Sadhana Madhusadan (née Shah) and others honoured this blog on the CD made of their reunion two years ago, I was deeply moved.

Now, I thank this 56er for giving this blog such kind words.

When I looked in my 56ers photo file, I only had one solitary picture. (Maybe this situation will change in the course of time!) It was a scan of a letter from a 56er from the US who had sent a beautiful gift for Annikki and me.


Letter from Doreen Heimlich (née Feibusch)
Click on image to see an enlarged readable version.


This is what she wrote to me in August of this year about attending the reunion:

I finally overcame my demons about the horrors of the long flight to Bombay, and made my bookings to fly there for the Class of '56 Reunion in November. Will break my journey by spending two nights with a friend of mine in London on the outbound trip, and about two weeks in London on my return from Bombay. This, so that I can see my Aunt, who lives near Bristol, for her 93rd birthday at the end of November, and attend the wedding of my cousin's granddaughter in Harrow on the 2nd of December.

I think I mentioned to you that in anticipation of my trip to the Reunion, I had my knee replacement surgery last October (had put it off for 6 years), and three weeks ago, I went under the knife again for an abdominal (ventral) hernia surgery, which I'd put off for four years.

Am making a good recovery from both those ordeals.

Doreen


So you can see how important a class reunion is to many friends around the world. Although I am 7000 km away, I too am there in spirit and through the many blog readers who are representing me out there!

Remember this blog is NOT ME - IT IS YOU!

Have a great reunion 56ers.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

REUNIONS?

(Cross-posted on my Jacob's Blog.)

The Cathedral School Founders Day programme will take place on the 14th and several reunions will take place. (I have been especially involved with the 50 Year Reunion of 56ers, and may I wish them all a very very happy reunion!)

I am hoping that the Reunion Reports will be sent to me so that I can blog them.

This last week, I went through a reunion after 47 years when Narayan Acharya (née Seshachar) took the trouble and made the time to visit me at this Arctic location. Ooky (Elijah Elias) is the only other classmate who has visited me here.

It was wonderful to establish a one-to-one reunion with Narayan. Narayan joined school only in the 10th Standard and so was not a full-blown Cathedralite. He came from a great school run by American Jesuit priests in Jamshedpur, so Cathedral was not the "cat's whiskers" for him.

He made a few friends. He lived so far away from school, at Khar, that he could not take part in all the extracurricular activities which were part of our enjoyment of school.

But, as I remember, Narayan's entry to our class had a profound effect on the top echelon as he was a brilliant student, topping almost in every subject. His brilliance really shone when he topped the entrance exam to the Indian Institute of Technologies a little later in his life.

His likes and dislikes were based on his short exposure to the school, and were quite different from mine.

Our week together was really great as we exchanged opinions, agreed on many subjects and disagreed on many. We shouted at each other and on one occasion, when we had dinner at an Indian Restaurant, and we were the only customers late in the evening, we went at each other with hammer and tongs. It was great as it showed our Cathedralite upbringing in that we could argue on issues and not take offence!

This is something a Class Reunion does not accomplish. I have attended our class reunions in 1989 and 1999, and they were great events. (I do wish Shivi (Vijay Shivdasani) would send me the video and snaps from the second event!)

But there was no possibility to get to know each other as I got to know Narayan during his visit.

He went with Annikki and me to the Loy Krathong Festival, he saw the sights of Oulu as only I know how to show them, he met many of my friends, my adopted children (that is those who have adopted Annikki and me), and he even had dinner and listened to a lecture about Australia and the English Club of Oulu.

Like me, Narayan is a Jonah and Murphy’s Law follows him everywhere. His trip to Oulu was eventful with a series of mishaps, so much so that I went to the Railway Station several times and could not find him, till he finally found a landline phone to ring me. Most public phones in Oulu are dead as almost everyone has a mobile!

Narayan, for all his brilliance, has stayed away from new electronic gadgetry.

When I invited him here, I did not expect that Oulu would be anywhere near wintry conditions, but a few days before he arrived, we were hit by a blizzard and the temperature dropped sharply, so much so it appeared to be already mid winter. Narayan coped rather well in these conditions. I did feel sorry for having dragged him here under false pretenses.

He was able to see Annikki's Winter Garden.



This year we have a long boat - several metres long, and a lighthouse in front of our Thai Pergola! (More creations will appear shortly!)

Even before we both realised it, the visit was over and he took the train to Turku to catch the ferry to Stockholm, the train across Sweden to Malmö, the crossing to Copenhagen in Denmark, and the long journey from there to Frankfurt to take the flight to Philadelphia.



Thank you Narayan for coming and sharing your time with me.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Winter grips Oulu early; Cathedralite visits Oulu

(Cross-posted on my Jacob's Blog.)

Last Thursday we were hit by a blizard. As it ws still October, Annikki held out saying it was still autumn and this was something known as autumn-winter. She recalled having experienced snow in Oulu as early as the 1st of September.

It took me about half an hour to drive the 2 km from the City Centre to our home.

Come 1st November, Annikki announced that it was now winter, and the snow all around was sufficient proof to anyone that we were right in the middle of winter.

The tree in our garden was covered with berries. (I must apologise for the quality of the pictures taken with our crummy camera.)



Above is a picture of the berry tree against a dark night sky pre snowfall.





And here, above, are a couple of snaps the same berry tree after our blizzard a day later.

In real life it looks great to see the beautiful red berries being preserved with a thick layer of snow!

I invited a Mumbai Cathedralite classmate, whom I had not seen for 47 years, to visit me in Oulu on his way back from Bangalore to Philadelphia.

Narayan Acharya was known as Seshachar when he was in school. He joined school in the middle of our 10th Standard, and hence did not find friends easy to come by. But he was a really brilliant student and topped our class in almost every subject. (The last fact I did remember about Narayan was that when he sat for the entrance exam to the Indian Institute of Technolgies, he topped the list of several thousands who sat for that exam.)

A few years ago, when I was searching for classmates, I found someone by the name of Narayan Acharya, as I had been told that Seshachar had changed his name to this. So I emailed the gentleman. I found Seshachar's cousin who goes by the same name. Through him I got our Narayan onto our class mailing list.

After a rather eventful journey, as Narayan seems to be like me as far as travel is concerned (we both are living proof of the truth of Murphy's law), Narayan reached Oulu safely last night.

We have been catching up on our intervening years.

It has been a bit here, there and everywhere, but it has been really great meeting up with him.

But I digress.

When I invited Narayan I told him not to be worried about the cold, as November is usually not that cold. When he landed here yesterday the temperature was around -11 C.

He is going to experience one of our coldest Novembers.

Those who remember Narayan will think of him as being a small chubby person. He is now a handsome gentleman, standing quite tall.

I will have a picture of him in a couple of days, and hopefully, one of the two of us together.