Posted in Jacob's Blog and the Cathedralite Seventh Heaven Blog.
Both Annikki and I were thrilled when we got news that 59er Viney Sethi would drop in on us in Oulu at the end of July or early August. He and his wife, Purnima, were visiting Purnima's daughter who lives in Sweden. Viney thought that he could pop over for a few days.
Viney and I have been friends ever since I joined Cathedral School in 1954. Viney has always been an outstanding student and a great sportsperson. Like me, Viney was House Captain (Palmer) in 1959. I was Savage House Captain. The other two House Captains were from a year senior to us, the late Michael Colaco (Wilson) and André (Bahram).
Soon after we got our Senior Cambridge results, some of our parents gave us a holiday to a hill station. A few of us went to Mussoorie via Dehra Dun. Classmates Viney, Vijay Shivdasani, Noel Ezekiel, Ashok Ruia, Anil Ruia, Arvind Thadhani and myself stayed at the Ruia Guest House in Mussoorie. This was my first visit to the North of India. I was glad we had people like Viney who spoke the "foreign" language - Hindi - to help us out.
When we finished school in Bombay, I went to Delhi to University. Viney went to Dulwich in England to do his A Levels.
Our paths crossed again when I went to London to do my specialisation in Polymer Science and Technology (Plastics, Rubber, Adhesives and Fibre Technologies). Viney moved to Loughborough to study Mechanical Engineering.
As 60er Ajeet Mehra lived round the corner from my flat in London, the two houses were the centre point for out-of-town visitors to London.
In 1964, a few of us, Viney, Ajeet, Ashok Kapur, Noel Ezekiel, Navin Bahl and myself took a battered Bedford people carrier and drove through France to St, Tropez, camped on the beach for a few days, and then went through Nice and Monaco into Switzerland. I was dropped off in Germany where I had a summer training assignment in Leverkusen. It was an unforgetable trip. It built an even stronger bond between all of us.
2007: Viney (by Hasnain Chinwalla)
This visit of Viney to Oulu was something that has moved Annikki and me to the core.
As a present, Viney gave us a short DVD.
We had no clue as to what was on it.
When we played it, we were astounded. Viney had converted some of his ancient 8 mm movie camera film onto the new media. He had us disc celebrating the first birthday of our elder daughter, Susanna, at his home in St. Helens where he was working at that time in Fibreglass Pilkington in 1968.
Not only that, as he had visited Annikki and me when we were living in Madras. He had some amazing short clips of a much younger and "athletic" looking me, Annikki in all her youthful beauty, and clips of all of our children including of our younger daughter, Joanna, then just a few months old.
Such nostalgia is something that breaks one's heart and makes tears pour from the eyes. Viney certainly knew what matters in friendships and relationships.
Although his visit was short, we caught up on a lot of news.
Viney briefed me on possible plans for the 50 year 59er reunion in 2009. I shall be sharing this with you on our special 59er Google Group in a short while. I liked the sound of what I heard and I am looking at all the financial and other implications before I lay it out as a sound proposal coming from Shivi and Piloo.
We discussed almost all of our class, person by person. If your noses were twitching, you now know WHY!
I was glad to get the latest news of many of you. Although I have been writing about many of you from your inputs to me, the difference between Viney and me is that Viney has been meeting all of you and was able to give me all the scandals in all their glory!
Thank you Viney for taking the time and trouble to visit us in Oulu. Both Annikki and I were truly honoured by your visit. The meal you organised at Michelle's Indian Restaurant was truly unique. Michelle and Nushad send you their regards as they learnt a lot about good Punjabi food from what you dished up for us.
It was sad to see Viney leave. (Unfortunately, my camera was broken so I do not have any photos from this visit.)
I knew from Viney's visit that the 59er reunion in 2009 is going to be wonderful event remembered by all through the rest of our lives. Even a week together is not going to get to even scratch the surface of how all our lives have been intertwined through all these years.