59er Golden Reunion Directory

59er Golden Reunion Directory
59er Golden Reunion Directory

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

59ers meet as a tribute to our classsmate

In Mumbai, our Class of 59 met at the Bombay Gymkhana to remember our dear felled friend, Ashok. The group pictures of those who attended (mostly 59ers and their spouses) have just reached me. But a few close friends from other years did join, keeping 59er Armeane Choksi's message of "be inclusive" alive. (Shivi has mistakenly ascribed that phrase "be inclusive, not exclusive" to me!)

(My apologies for the small text underthe photographs, so I have given the text again as part of the blog.)

57er Ratan Batliwalla, 59er Elijah Elias (Ooky), 59er Ashok Ruia, 59er Trevor Newnes, Rivca Elias (w/o Ooky), 59er Ramesh Mirchandani, 60er Rashida Anees (née Kajiji), 60er Meher (nèe Tata), 53er M. Anees, 59er Renuka Batliwalla (née Dhanrajgir), 59er Venkat Kurma, 59er Piloo Tata (née Dastur), 59er Vikram Singh, 65er Nina Shivdasani, 59er Ratan Singara, 60er Suchita Shivdasani (née Assomull; w/o Shivi), 59er Vijay Shivdasani (Shivi), Anu Kurma (w./o Venkat), 59er Jangoo Moos, 60er Poornima Sethi (née Mazumdar; w/o Viney Sethi), 59er Vikram Kamdar, 57er Lata Bakhle (s/o late 59er Pradeep Bahkle) (Inset: 59er Hasnain Chinwala). Photograph by Hasnain Chinwala

60er Poornima Sethi (née Mazumdar; w/o Viney Sethi), 57er Ratan Batliwalla, 59er Ashok Ruia, 59er Viney Sethi, 59er Vijay Nayar, 59er Elijah Elias (Ooky), Rivca Elias (w/o Ooky), 59er Trevor Newnes, 59er Ramesh Mirchandani, 60er Rashida Anees (née Kajiji), 53er M. Anees, 59er Renuka Batliwalla (née Dhanrajgir), 59er Piloo Tata (née Dastur), 59er Venkat Kurma, 65er Nina Shivdasani, 60er Suchita Shivdasani (née Assomull; w/o Shivi), 57er Lata Bakhle (s/o late 59er Pradeep Bakhle), 59er Vijay Shivdasani (Shivi), 59er Ratan Singara, 59er Vikram Kamdar (Inset: 59er Hasnain Chinwala). Photograph by Hasnain Chinwala

In Oulu, some of the senior Indian Residents - of course, I am the seniormost, held a short meeting where we maintained a two minute silence period in memory of those who had fallen in Mumbai. A few talked about the tragedy. One had been through the bombing in matunga. I spoke but it was through tears when I told about our dear Ashok. But the very act of expressing the grief gave me strength, a strength that I pray will be with those near and dear to Ashok - like all those 59ers and some of other years in school who were close with him.

Remember that today evening is the memorial for all our Cathedralites who went through this tragedy. Be there.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Two important messages from Mumbai

53er Pushpa Bhatia (née Dongersee) sent me this Notice:

The second is an email from our Alumni Webmaster:

The Cathedral & John Connon Alumni Association

December 8, 2008

Dear Friend,

We mourn with Mumbai and the country as we struggle to come to grips with the tragic loss of lives in the city on November 26, 2008. No segment of society was left unscathed in the most brutal and heart-rending attacks on Victoria Terminus, Nariman House, the Leopold Cafe and the Taj and Oberoi/Trident hotels.

The Alumni Association is deeply saddened to announce the passing of our very own Ashok Kapur (Palmer '59; brother of 53er Satish, 56er Pramila and 64er Anil aka Billy), Sanjay Agarwal (Wilson '77; son of 49er Vijay Ram) and Sunil Parekh (Savage '81).

The tragic loss for the Cathedral family extends to the unthinkable - one of our young students, Udayveer Kang lost his life in the attacks as did his little brother, Samar Singh who was about to enter the Cathedral fold. Bereaved students and alumni, Karan and Nakul Agarwal, Anandita and Arundati Parekh, Vaibhav Garg, Armaan Harjani, Sanjana and Sarjan Shah, Nairika and Arshan Maloo and Radhika Bhatt, have lost either one or both their parents. Our students have also said their final goodbye to an outstanding former teacher, Mrs. Rupinder Randhawa, who taught biology and environmental science in the school for several years.

For them and their families words will be of little comfort but they do have our deepest sympathy in this, their darkest hour.

At this exceedingly difficult time, emotions have been running high in Mumbai, and citizens are surging forward to help create a more secure future for India. Among these efforts are those by Cathedral alumni to provide counselling services for affected children, provide supplies to lower income hospitals, to lobby for political accountability, mobilise public opinion and much more.

The Alumni Association has created a platform for you at www.catalumni.com/voices.asp where you can garner support for your initiative and help channelise this emotion and energy, browse listings to see how you can help, read through ideas and opinions, or simply reconnect with a long-lost school friend at this painful time in our history.

Let us alumni be there for every stratum of society in a positive and sensitive manner, in the age-old tradition of the true Cathedralite.

The Executive Committee

Memorial Service on 10th December for the lost lives on 26/11

The School will be holding a Memorial Service for those children, parents and alumni who lost their lives in the tragic events of November 26th.

Date: Wednesday 10th, December 2008.
Time: 5.30 p.m.
Venue: The Cathedral Senior School Quadrangle.

Please try and be there.

May I also request every single one of you who can get there to be PLEASE there.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Unwanted tragedy and our Open Obituary

Ashok Kapur
Born 19th April 1943, Died November 2008
The funeral will be held at Bainganga at the end of Walkeshwar Rd towards the Govs residence, Mumbai today 29 Nov at 4 pm.

Dearest Madhu,

As the world wakes up this morning, Annikki and I cry with you, dearest Madhu.

For the past 48 hours or more, ever since 59er Shivi (Retired Captain Vijay Shivdasani) wrote to me that a “friend” was missing in the Mumbai episode, and a few hours later, 59er Ooky (Elijah Elias) told me that the “friend” was our most dearest and precious 59er Ashok, Annikki and I have been in constant prayer for him, you and your entire family.

Ashok was the first of my “friends” that Annikki met in 1964 in London. Since then Ashok was never just a “friend” to Annikki, as she knew that bond that existed between us 59ers was not just a friendship but something much deeper and closer than even a brotherhood.

When I started the Seventh Heaven Web page, a few months later, our very dearest 59er Bala (Bala Parasuraman) died in a kidney transplant operation, Annikki and I dedicated our web effort to bring together a group of people around the world who had more in common than just being the Class of 59.

What I write here today is, not just of the thoughts of Annikki and me, but people across the world who are feeling the deep sense of grief that we know you and your family are going through at this instant, as we are, with you, part of that FAMILY.

I did not start our Seventh Heaven Blog or Google Group to send out sad news such as this. But with the passing of Ashok, I have to use this medium to communicate across the globe and shout into the vast Universe - please God let this senseless killing stop.

Madhu, Annikki and I are socio-political animals as we fight, peacefully with the power of the pen, for justice.

On March 31st 2003, when the Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak said the U.S.-led war on Iraq would produce "one hundred new bin Ladens", driving more Muslims to anti-Western militancy, he did not tell us that it would result in the death and destruction of innocent lives of many non-Westerners around this globe. He did not tell us that it was OUR innocent brothers and sisters that would be destroyed by a gangs of people, organised armies and unorganised armies, both terrorists, who hide behind a facade of political viewpoints of their choosing, and ethnicity, religion, colour, caste and creed, to cause the pain and suffering to you and us.

As Annikki and I drove out of a supermarket about 12 hours ago, 59er Ooky called me and informed Annikki and me that one of our dearest brothers had lost his life in the Mumbai terrorist attack. His voice was shaking with the deep emotion and pain that he was going through as he asked me to relay this news around this globe. I cried and Annikki cried as we sat in our parked car and understood the pain that you and your family and all of us would go through as we faced this horrible reality.

Ashok Kapur, born 19th April 1943, was a leading member of the 59ers. He and I were appointed Prefects in Cathedral School already in the 10th Standard. Cricket wicket-keeper for the school as well as playing as inside left in our school hockey team, Ashok was also a good badminton player. As a friend of his who was playing badminton with him recently said, Ashok was still a good player!

Ashok was a wizard with numbers and with people, which was why he went into banking. Although coming from different parents, we were twins in many ways, not just because we are both Arians!

Ashok’s entire family was like my family just as much as he was part of ours. The Marine Drive house was more than home to me as both Ashok’s parents would greet me, and all of us his classmates, with broad smiles and open arms, a glass of juice, and something sweet, whenever we even dropped in casually. Sister Pramila’s home was open house to me when I was studying in Delhi.

Ashok was the contact for me with my 95 year old uncle, Mr. K. M. Philip, (father of 53er Sen Philip and 58er Peter Philip), your next door neighbour in Petit Hall on Napean Sea Road. Every year, on Mr. Philip's birthday, Ashok would do me the favour of dropping in to wish my uncle and report back to me on his health. This personal relationship was deeply valued by every member of my extended family as they saw Ashok and you, not just as neighbours to Mr. and Mrs. Philip, but as our eyes and ears in the life of our uncle.

Madhu, you had a miraculous escape and we thanked God for that even as we prayed and prayed constantly for the safe return of Ashok. But with each passing hour we knew in our hearts, and as many of us kept a prayer vigil across this globe, that we had lost one of our most beloved brothers.

It is difficult to write the Obituary of such a dear friend as every word brings back memories and the tears gush from the eyes. I have started this several times but stopped as each word has a depth of emotion in my heart that makes it impossible for me to convey the grief that is there.

Who would have thought that our Ashok will not be there at our 50th Reunion next year? His passing has redoubled my intention to bring together every 59er and his / her family so that we be together for a short while and know each other as Ashok and I knew each other.

But he was present at this year’s Founders Day Cathedral Church Service representing our 59ers. He was there at an event that evening and as 57er Bhupinder Singh Anand and School Captain of us 59ers in 1959, put it to me when he asked me to convey his grief to you and your family, he told me how Ashok had modestly said to him that he was “the founder of YES Bank.”

Dear Jacob,

I am distressed to just learn from a flash message on TV that Ashok Kapur, Chairman of Yes Bank, was slain in the terrorist attack on the Taj.

Please convey my condolences to his family, friends and colleagues through your network, who have been anxiously seeking news of his whereabouts and welfare through the police helplines over the last 24 hours.

I embraced him warmly - alas too briefly - at the Class of 1958 dinner at the Joss a couple of weeks back, with a feeling of pride at his self-made achievements in life, as he modestly informed me that he was the founder Chairman of Yes bank.

Bhupinder Singh Anand

Ashok started his career in banking at the very bottom, attending the National Grindlays Banking School in London. He used to live in the Bank Student Quarters in Blackheath in deep south London. I would visit him there regularly. He would also often travel up to north London to meet up with me, just to gup shup about “things”.

Even after leaving school we stayed in close touch, visiting each other and staying with each other whenever we visited the city where the other lived. On one of my rare visits to Calcutta, I remember him as the Branch Manager in a Grindlays bank when he took me there to show me the unopened computers the Union had not permitted to be used.

When he was in Delhi, I had many choices as to where to stay - Ashok being one who would always insist that I stay with him. As he said in a recent email, when he was late in acknowledging my birthday greetings as he had been away in Dubai, we were both Arians. Whenever I visited Delhi we would meet for lunch in Connaught Place when he was the Branch manaager there. In Bombay i would visit him in the Flora Fountain Branch when he was going through his most troubling time in his bank career as he stood on HIS principles and suffered the consequences, happily! Probably only you, Madhu, and I know those details as it spurred him to even greater heights and greater success in his fabulous banking career!

Although I have conveyed our deep feeling of personal bereavement to you and children through Ooky, this open letter to you comes not only from Annikki and me but every member of the Class of 59. I know that I do not need to ask their permission to include them in my signature!

Annikki and I have been numbed by the impact of this news as we grieve one of our dearest friends. I am sure that every person who knew Ashok will also claim that he was their dearest friend - as that was the very emotion that Ashok evoked in everyone. That was why he was the successful banker!

One not need look further than the last mini-reunion which was held in Mumbai to reunite our class with Trevor Newnes - which was hosted graciously by you and Ashok at your residence. Ashok wrote to me to tell me that he had missed Annikki and me there and thanked me for bringing us 59ers together.

Madhu, I could write a volume of our personal relationship but this may not be the time and place. As we go through this sleepless night I will put together my photographic record of Ashok which spans the 54 years of our relationship when he sat next to me in Mr. Timmin’s 6th Standard on the first floor and welcomed me to the happiest days of my life in our Cathedral School.

The Class of 59 will remember all our departed friends this coming November.

I am sure that Ashok will be there amongst us in spirit and we will all honour him together.

Madhu, Ashok was not alone in passing as we also ask all our friends to remember another greatly loved Cathedralite teacher, Mrs. Roopinder Randhawa, who lost her life at the Taj Hotel. Along with tributes to Ashok which have poured into my email Inbox, I have had many remembering this wonderful teacher, whom I did not know, but now know was in many respects like Ashok - dedicated to those around them.

Madhu, the tears have not stopped flowing in this Arctic wintry location. It is just past 4 am, 12 hours since Ooky informed me. In those 12 hours there has not been a second where I have not had Ashok and all of you in my mind.

Dearest Madhu, Annikki and I pray that his soul will rest in peace.

Your friends in deep shock,

Annikki and Jacob
Along with every single member of the class of 59

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Recipe for disaster?

I had this interesting email from our Alumni Association:

Notice for EOGM on 12th November 2008

NOTICE is hereby given that an Extra Ordinary General Meeting of the Association will be held at 6.30 p.m. on Wednesday, 12th November 2008 at Cathedral Middle School to consider the following business:


1. To consider and if thought fit to pass with or without modifications the following resolution as a special resolution:

" RESOLVED THAT pursuant to the provisions of the regulations contained in the Rules and Regulations of the Association be amended to incorporate the appointment of co-presidents, co-vice presidents, co- treasurers and co-secretaries be and are hereby approved and adopted as the Rules and Regulations of the Association in substitution for and to the exclusion of all the previous articles hereof.

RESOLVED FURTHER THAT Viral Doshi and Rohita Doshi, be and are hereby jointly and severally authorized by the Association to undertake such acts, deeds and matters, including but not limited to making requisite filings, that may be required to give effect to the amendment of the Rules and Regulations of the Association in accordance with this resolution."


Pragni Kapadia
Hon. Secretary
Place : Mumbai
Date : 5.11.2008


An explanatory statement as required is enclosed herewith.


The following explanatory statement sets out the material facts referred to in the notice convening the Extraordinary General Meeting of the Company.


In light of the upcoming 150 year celebrations of the Cathedral and John Connon School, the work load on the members of the Executive Committee may be largely increased. In light of the same, we may require co-presidents, co-vice presidents, co-treasurers and co-secretaries from time to time.

In order to make it possible to appoint co-presidents, co-vice presidents, co-treasurers and co-secretaries from time to time, the Rules of the Cathedral and John Connon School Alumni Association would have to be amended.

Members approval is required under Rule 55 for the alteration of the Rules and Regulations of the Association.

The Executive Committee commends passing of the resolution set out in the Notice convening the meeting.

By order of the Executive Committee

Pragni Kapadia
Hon. Secretary
Place : Mumbai
Date : 5.11.2008

November, 6 2008

Co-presidents, co-vice presidents, co-treasurers and co-secretaries will lead to one of two possible scenarios - no one taking responsibility for everything (and taking credit for everything), or a very equitable sharing of responsibilities and honour.

Which do you think is the most likely outcome of such a move? I think where human nature will take us.

In my humble opinion, every post can have who we, in Finland, call a "SPARE" which in India would be referred to as an "ALTERNATE".

If there is a clear plan, then a series of sub-committees could be established with a Chair for each sub-committee, but answerable to THE PRESIDENT! Each sub-committee would be responsible for its budget and the main Committee would be responsible for ensuring the budget amounts are realised.

I do not think I should lecture to top-notch management experts on this - but in my life as a manager - I think I know where things will lead to if one follows a path which can have disastrous routes associated with them!

Think well my friends before accepting the suggestion being put forward at this Extra Ordinary General Meeting!

Monday, November 03, 2008

148th Founders' Day Programme

I received this from the Honorary Webmaster of the our Alumni website:

Programme for 148th Founders' Day, Friday November 14th, 2008

  1. Church Service : St. Thomas' Cathedral at 9 a.m.

  2. Cricket Match : School versus Alumni at Hindu Gymkhana, Marine Drive, at 10.30 a.m. Contact : Sanjay Shah (Barham '08) at 9821015871 for details

  3. Throwball Match : School versus Alumni at 10.30 a.m. in the Middle School. For details contact Nina Sugati SR on 98212 90818; E-mail: ninasugatisr@hotmail.com

  4. Tour of the Schools : The school prefects will take interested alumni around the schools at 11 a.m., from the Middle School. Many alumni have not visited the schools since they have been renovated, and have evinced an interest in doing so.

  5. BRUNCH : Alumni are cordially invited to a brunch in the Middle School from 11.30 to 2.30. Lots of good food, live music and camaraderie promised.

With regards

Viral Doshi
Hon. Webmaster

Looks like the dinner dance has been dispensed with!

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

A serious issue to be resolved quickly

When I received the copy of an email from 56er Ubi to the current but retiring Preseident of our alumni, I wrote to Ubi that I would like some background before I put anything on this blog abpout the subject.

The President of our Alumni, 81er Rajiv Bhatia, has chosen the Cat Alumni Blog (that he had set up in 2007), and also my blog to respond publicly to the issues.

It is a long post. I reproduce it in full. Many of you out there, especially many old timers, who have held my blog in great respect, to communicate your mature views to our alumni, expect nothing less.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Protest against cancellation of 14-Nov-08 Annual Dinner at the Blue Sea

My dear fellow members and ex-Cathedralites

As President and Chairman of the Association I have tried to keep the workings and happenings as transparent as possible. As you have been made aware, I will be concluding my two year tenure as President & Chairman on 15-Oct-08 at the AGM at the Middle School which will commence at 6pm. I will not be continuing as ex-officio on the Executive Committee.

I have received an email from the respected Mr. H.S. "Ubi" Uberoi (1956'er) past president 1985 which I have reproduced below. He has, most rightly, asked for transparency, and I will respond with details

"On Tue, Oct 7, 2008 at 12:12 PM, HS Uberoi wrote:

Dear Mr.President,

I have learned from sources other than the Association that plans are afoot to cancel this year's Alumni Association Dinner Dance.

Why may I ask?And why is it being done in such a clandestine manner?Does the managing committee not believe that it owes it to the membership that elected it,to tell them about it?

I for one,am very disappointed to learn of the cancellation,if the news is correct.I had made a large group for the occasion.I also believe that a large number of members are planning to do the same.

But if what I have heard is true,that you as the President are being threatened at gunpoint that either you agree to the cancellation or the so called "effective"clique of your managing committee will boycott it,then I must say that the more the things in the Cathedral And John Connon Alumni Association change,the more they remain the same!The professions and protestations that the Asociation management is for the membership is all nonsense-it actually is a vehicle for the self interest of a few,who by hook or crook come back to the managing committee year after year!

For God's sake let some new members and young blood take charge and rejuvinate the Association!And for God's sake go ahead with the Dinner Dance!

Yours truly,
(Past President-1985"

I have also been questioned as to `why' by other Classes, junior and senior and therefore find it necessary to reproduce the extract of the draft minutes of the meeting of the Executive Committee held on 17-Sep-08.

"The preparations for Founders Week November 2008 were discussed. As Rajiv was not going to be a part of the continuing Executive Committee after the 24th AGM scheduled on 15-Oct-08, he had not attended an earlier informal meeting held between Chitra, Shyla, Rohita, Amit & Viral on September 1st, 2008 where the Founders Week November 2008 preparations were discussed. Shyla informed Rajiv that those who met had decided to cancel the Annual Association dinner scheduled on 14-Nov-08 at the Blue Sea for the following reasons:
1. Many of the older members felt that they could not attend an evening function and some felt quite left out as the crowd was 1980's and later. Some old teachers also said they found it difficult to come at night.
2. Past experience has shown that after every two or three big successes we have not been able to sell the required amount of tickets to break even.
3. There will be a big dinner in 2009 to herald the 150th year and we should keep this in mind.
4. Reuniting classes of 1958, 1964 and 1966 had indicated an indifference to the Annual dinner.
The other events were confirmed and preparations underway and it was proposed that the Middle School Brunch be elevated to a more sumptuous event. Rajiv, disagreed with the reasons cited, found them as inadequate grounds to cancel the event, re-capped that most preparations were already streamlined & expressed his disappointment that the now largest annual event & much favored by the members, particularly the youngsters, being the Annual Dinner, was taken off the schedule this year but recognized that it was the privilege of the continuing Executive Committee to decide."

The last post below on this blog on 18-Sep, explains the situation as well.
This should fully clear the cloud and dispell rumours regarding the cancellation.

Mr. Uberoi's mail may be further responded to with details about the workings of the Association.

The strategy paper introduced by me in Nov-06 http://catalumni.org/docs/bhatiaadd.pdf describes what it will take to make the Association sustainably successful. Essentially it is a function of
(a) its relationship with the school in terms of recognition as an Association as a whole and not the sum of the parts of individual member relationships with the School
(b) its relationship with the larger membership
(c) its financial strength.

In terms of what is stated above,

(a) placing a helpdesk in school will not only be of operational benefit but also symbolic of the recognition extended by School. More in points 5, 6 & 7 further below.
(b) in terms of b above, transparency and democratic methods have been deployed in the past two years which has considerably engaged the Association with the larger membership as never before.

This is what the membership sees and feels and is so appreciative of. To sustain this you need database accuracy and maintenance and quality communication. We need to spend more on our database, website, magazine (already of a better quality) and personnel. In terms of (c) above we may have well modeled funding, which has been considered in the strategy paper of Nov-06 but as all entrepreneurs know, to get a financial model to develop further and succeed you need seed capital or angel funding to first start-up. In the case of the Association it would mean contributions by the membership to the corpus.

Here, when we have been promised a large sum from overseas, we need the support of our CA who as of last year, and probably for the first time, is an ex-Cathedralite. The papers need to be processed by him and aided by help from influential and knowledgeable membership. More money towards the corpus needs to come in.

Whether or not future Executive Committees will continue the upward trend will depend on

(i) the continued progress in mindsets and
(ii) adherence to processes.

Based on the strategy set where do things stand today:

1) Membership - has continued to expand and are connected mainly online through the official web site, various regional-class-special interest groups, blogs such as cathedraliteheaven by Jacob Matthan (1959'er), this the one you are reading - the Presidents blog, very actively on Face Book and so on. The official web site database and role leaves much to be desired. Furthermore it was hacked earlier in Jun-Jul 2008 - fortunately no data pilfered, from what I am told, only injected with links to spam-ware locations. The site and these issues remain to be addressed between the web host and the Alumni representative web master, we hope they will soon. (Ed.: My blog is called Seventh Heaven.)

2) Corpus - in Dec-06 this was around 6 lacs today its around 18lacs. 1957'ers promise of Rs. 15 lacs hasn't gone through so far as the Association Chartered Accountant is yet to prepare the application under the Home Dept linked to at www.csirwebistad.org/pdf/fc1a.pdf This is pending since Dec-07

3) Alumni Ex-Staff benevolence - with Mr. Mazumdars case example (see http://catalumni.blogspot.com/2008/04/status-report-on-mr-mazumdar-and-role.html below) this has now been formalized as a fund and available to needy Alumni & Ex-staffers. This initiative has been led by Pranay Shah a 1971er. Mr. Harry Mirchandani of USA a 1975'er has donated Rs. 1 lac, through an Indian bank (not an FC remittance) towards this in the memory of his parents.

4) The magazine - The Nov-2007 issue looked good and well produced by the magazine team. Sunaina & Priya both 1992'er kick-started the initiative. Many members such as Meena Bhat a 1956'er contributed. It was well guided and completed by our own Shyla and Rohita. This years issue Nov-08 promises to be even better and our dear Miel is playing a lead role.

5) Alumni contributions to the School - Dr. Annirudha Malpani run discussion sessions on the `birds & the bees' which parents and kids actively participate in, Vikram Uttamsigh of KPMG organises office orientation placements for senior children and many others too which will be reported as I have requested. Much has happened over the years behind the scenes but has gone unreported, most unfortunately. The School has expansion plans in South Mumbai and more information will be made available pursuant to the Office Bearers meeting with the Principal on 09-Sep-08, so that the Association and its members can play a role.

6) The help desk - we are informed that at present there is no space but will be made available as soon as possible. I cannot overstate the importance of this; our Alumni Officer Reeta will have no desk post 15-Oct-2008, as things stand.

7) Formal relationships with the School - The office bearers and I met with the Principal on 09-Sep-08 which has been followed up by correspondence and the Principal and the Board are looking into providing a confirmation letter to accept the Alumni Association to be the only Alumni Association of the School, no-objection to the usage of the name `Cathedral & John Connon Alumni Association' as ours is a registered society for charitable purposes and therefore the activities are well regulated posing no threat, the School to be represented by the Principal on the Executive Committee of the Association, the Association not to interfere with the management of the School. All this being essential as the School is not a signatory to the formation memorandum of the Association. I hope to make a positive announcement at the 24th AGM on 15-Oct-08 at 6pm at the Middle School. `Insha'Allah!'

8) 150th year - a 150th year Committee has been set up at the instance of the School. This comprises of select PTA members and select ex-Cathedralites. There was no formal interaction between the School & the Association when this was set up. I was most ceratinly not consulted. However the Office Bearers meeting with the Principal held on 09-Sep-08 had yielded positively and I reproduce the content:

"Mrs. Isaacs said that a 150th year Celebrations Committee was convened under the stewardship of Rangita Bhatnagar. The Committee had been meeting and discussing various plans which would be announced as they firmed up around Jan-09. She further said that most of the celebrations would surround Founders Day 2010. She also said that various ex-Cathedralites outside of the 150th year Committee had been meeting her to discuss their suggestions and participation. It would be appropriate for Rangita who was not only the Chair of the 150th year Committee & a PTA member but also a member of the Executive Committee of the Association, to list the ex-Cathedralite contributors/ participants and keep the Executive Committee of the Association informed of the list and the plans as they firmed up. Whatever information was available should be provided to the General Body of the Association by Rangita at the 24th AGM. This task is specifically assigned to Rangita."

9) Class leadership - This is a big gap. We need active class leadership to help keep the Alumni database uptodate and to communicate effectively. Classes have repeatedly been requested to send in Excel spreadsheet with updates but very little has come in. The Association has brief lists of the classes year wise, as obtained from the School, but these contain names only. This too is a help.

10) The working and efficiency of the Executive Committee - abysmal! Some individually play a very effective role and much gratitude to them for having kept alive the Association. But its time for youngsters from the 80's, 90's, 2000's to come in and start relieving the seniors who ought to act as mentors and not be saddled with continuing responsibility. I suspect this will not happen in the obvious way. There are no new nominations so far and the time line is later today October 8th at 3:30pm. What I suggest is an independent `Youth Wing' be formed to run parallel activities, in a small way, demonstrate their abilities and commitment to the seniors on the EC and thereafter get inducted to the work groups of the EC & EC itself. Retired seniors with the time and talent required to administer should come on too.

11) Why the reluctance to be President of the Cathedral Alumni?

The role of the President as envisaged by the constitution and as being practiced is quite different. The constitution envisages a large Executive Committee ( a President, 2 Vice Presidents, 2 Secretaries, 2 Treasurers) with office bearers defined to play specific roles. However in practice and under the misplaced garb of the phrase `the buck stops at the President’, he/she is expected to perform every duty and task and any performed by the others is to be appreciated as a favor to the `President’. WOW! We certainly need to rethink this and add more dignity to the office of the President so that the finest among the huge and illustrious membership may be attracted to the post, rather than shun it, for the unreasonable responsibility of task execution it entails.

http://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/the-buck-stops-here.html this page explains what Harry Truman did and meant. Responsibility is not passed on beyond this point. U.S. president Harry S. Truman had a sign with this inscription on his desk. This was meant to indicate that he didn't 'pass the buck' to anyone else but accepted personal responsibility for the way the country was governed.

This was a responsibility he took upon him self. Responsibility for the way the Country was Governed. He did not perform every duty and task that officers of the Country performed in Governing the country.

So as in the case of the Association. The constitution (memorandum) of the Association provides for a large committee and numerous office bearers, envisaging a large volume of work to be done and be shared in execution. No where in the constitution does it state that the President of the Association will carry out all tasks necessary for the running of the Association.

I love my School and my Association & its members and have tried my best to go about the running of the Association as Professionally as possible and resources and man-hours input constraints have permitted. The Mid-Day reminder notice / advertisement released for the 24th AGM has also been funded by me so as the running costs over the past couple of years. If I have failed anyone in anyway then all I request is your forgiveness. But this is not about me. Its about the School, the Association and its members -

School First, House Next, Self Last.

I do hope that my suggestions are taken in a positive light for a sustainable growth of the Association. I look forward to constructive dialogue at the forthcoming 24th AGM.



Always proud to be a Cathedralite and a member of the Alumni Association
@ your service

Thank you Rajiv for your good work over the last couple of years and of taking the trouble to keep my blog in the loop.

I am sure that many members who read this blog await your views so that we can see how to ensure that our Alumni Association continues to work for the good of the members and spreads its reach over the entire spectrum of members.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Joan is recovering - a prayer for her, PLEASE

I received the email below from 56er Joan (née Rees) Austin's son, Richard, who has taken the trouble to inform about his mother's condition.

To reach the wider audience who know Joan, I am putting his touching email about his mother on the blog for all her friends to see.

Richard probably does not know that, as much as Joan loves us, we also love her very much. We wait for her emails.

We all will pray for her to come through this difficult time and hope she follows doctor's orders.

We also pray for her wonderful family (described by herself as "My very own United Nations gifts from heaven") that she is so proud of, husband Ron, Chhem, Richard and Tara.


And at this moment, even as she fights for her life, we remember Joan's Motto - "LIFE IS GOOD!"

Hi Everyone,

This is a first for me!

I am Richard, writing this on behalf of Mum (Joan Austin), to inform you that last Thursday, first thing in the morning after an extremely difficult night, Mum's Doctor rushed her off to A & E by ambulance with heart problems.

They kept her in A & E all day and because of her medical history, they conducted every manner of tests imaginable! The end result proved irregular heart beats. She does have an enlarged heart and a leaky valve, and has been rushed to hospital before a couple of times with heart failure, but thankfully, after a rest in hospital she is back home, with instructions to rest.

They have made her promise should the above occur again, she will not hesitate to 'phone for an ambulance and get to the hospital immediately.

Knowing Mum, I doubt if any of you really know or realize, what she has been through the past eight or so years.

She has a habit of making light of everything. She turns everything into a joke, despite how ill she may be feeling. She really has tremendous strength of character and an iron will. Everyone at the hospital love and admire her strength and courage.

(I don't know if you have any idea how she keeps one and all in stitches there - she doesn't care what she says or to whom!!) Even this time when she was taken to the X-ray department, we bumped into a Doctor that knew Mum from her Oncology days. He came up to have a chat and when she was being taken in for X-rays, he said, 'look after Joan, she is very special to us.'

Both Dad and I couldn't help getting a lump in our throats.

I know I am biased, but that about sums my Mum up. She truly is a very SPECIAL person. I only wish you knew her and all she is, like we and all she comes into contact with, know her.

A shame all the above took place so soon after Mum and Dad's holiday in Wales. They had a very enjoyable time and covered miles sightseeing, which they both love doing. All Mum came back with was fluid retention, which she suffers badly with anyway, but made worse because the naughty girl refrained from taking her fluid tablets!

Understandable really, as she would not have been able to get out and about until much later in the day - and she was not having any of that!!

Upon her return from holiday, Mum did get on the computer and was working her way through all the e-mails, and she did say all of you were next in line, but look what happened!

I sincerely hope I have remembered all her school friends in this email. It was extremely difficult sorting out between Mum's school friends from her other friends all over the world. She has a mountainous contact list! In the end, I had to make a list and Mum deleted or added accordingly - thank goodness!!

Tara usually does the necessary, but she is in Singapore to watch the Grand Prix and then on to Malaysia for a holiday. Mum would not let us inform Tara about her 'hiccup,' as she calls it! No doubt it would worry her no end and ruin her holiday, but Mum will catch it upon her return!!

Dad and I, also Chhem, Sue and little Nathan, join Mum in sending our love and best wishes to you.

Mum also says she will soon be back on-line.

My kind regards to all,


Thank you, Richard, for being in touch with us.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Urgent request from 58ers

I received this email from Homi to pass on to all to help locate their 58ers who they have not yet been able to contact. If anyone has info about these missing classmates, please do contact me.

Dear All,
1. We believe that the Alumni Association is not having a Dinner Dance on the evening of Founder's Day, i.e., 14th November, but has instead organised a function for us all in the Middle School Hall, (old Girl's School) after the Church Service where they will serve a Buffet Lunch (and have some music as well). In the circumstances, it does not seem worthwhile to have any other arrangements at the Bombay Gym that day for lunch. Please therefore do not include any amount for that function when sending in your responses and cheques.
2. A request. We have now been able to contact around 36 Old Boys and Old Girls, but we don't know the whereabouts of many. Here are some names we have been able to put together. In case anyone knows any please write in or put them in touch with us.
01. Karl Andree
02. Ronald Brisson
03. Roy Currian
04. Joe Edelstein
05. Mohammed Hanif (Qureshi?)
06. Simon Goldsmith
07. John Temple
08. Rodney Pratt
09. David Wallace
10. Abbas Currimjee
11. Tarun Kochar
12. Surrinder Jeet Singh
13. Vinod Chhabra
14. Dinshaw Byramji

01. Farida Manal
02. Joyce Shellim
03. Nirmala Krishnamurti
04. Nargis Karim
05. Oenone Babbington
06. Suzanne Michell
07. Victoria Gerstenberg
08. Vivian Smith 
Looking forward to an early response,
Best regards,
Darshana & Homi

I hope you will extend your hand to help the 58ers..

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Reason for no updates

Annikki and I are immersed with the details of organising the funeral of her mother, Hilja, who passed away last Sunday.

Hilja's Orbituary announcement - Kaleva 07.09.2008.

The funeral will take place on at the Intiö Iso saali (Chapel in the cemetery) at 15:00 hours.

We have had two tragic losses of loved ones during the last 45 days.

Our dear cat, and friend for over 17 years, Iitu, passed away with cancer which affected her kidneys. She was part of our day to day life from morning to night and through the night. Neither Annikki nor myself have yet recovered from that loss.

Iitu as a kitten in 1991.

Iitu's first and last set of kittens in 1993.

The perfect mother.

Iitu wants a share of my birthday cake.

A daily routine as Iitu stops me reading the newspaper by lying on it!

Iitu enjoys her TV - Annikki's table top aquarium.

Iitu's coffin.

Iitu at her final resting place in Vesaisentie
- the home of Tony, Joanna and grandchildren Samuel, Daniel and Maria.

Hilja, whom Annikki has cared for the last 24 years and, intensively, for the last 7 years, since her father passed away, (and whom I helped care for during the last few years) was very much part of our daily life.

She was in excellent health when she left home at the beginning of August. She contracted the deadly Hospital Bacteria while she was in the Kielokoti Old People's Home. She was rushed to hospital and then moved to the ODL Hospital.

There, in her weakened state, she was hit by pneumonia.

The old lady fought valiantly for her life. Finally left for her personal paradise at 17:49 on Sunday 31st August 2008 holding Annikki's hand on one side and mine on the other.

But she had told us many many times over the last year that she was ready to go to her "Heavenly Father":

The beautiful Hilja at her wedding in 1942.

Hilja carries Jaakko, with Aino and Annikki
with Susanna in the foreground - Oulu 1969.

Matias, Hilja, Annikki and Tuomas -
Out for a walk in the summer of 2003.

Hilja enjoying her meal.

Hilja with her latest greatgrandchild, Maria, in 2008.

Hilja with daughter, Annikki, granddaughter, Joanna, and greatgranddaughter, Maria - 2008.

Annikki takes her mother out for the last time - August 1st 2008.

RIP Hilja - 31st August 2008 at ODL.

Her passing has left a huge void in our life as we will miss her wit and humour.

Even till the very last she would mimic my poor Finnish language pronunciation.

She was in her senses till the very last . She recognised my voice the day before she passed away. When I greeted her, while she lay in some pain in her hospital bed, she replied in her normal way to me - "Thank you, Nothing special to tell you!"

Annikki used to pray and sing with her after putting her to bed every night. I will miss those quiet peaceful hours they had together before she went to sleep.

It will take us awhile to settle into the new situation where two of the most important family members of our daily life of the last 17 years have moved on.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Delightful post from 58er

As has been seen by many, the Seventh Heaven Blog has been a meeting point for many Cathedralites and also their friends who have found them by virtue of my writing about the "old days".

I recently copied a 58er about people wanting to contact him. In return he sent me such a delightful reply which not only satisfied my curiosity about him and also answered the outstanding queries about this gentleman.

Kamal R. Gupta
MUMBAI 400 020.

18th August, 2008

Dear Annikki & Jacob Matthan,

1. It was indeed a pleasure to hear from you.
2. As for myself, after I left school in 1958 I went on to do my B.Com from Sydenham College and graduated in 1963. Later on I did my LLB from the Government Law College and graduated in 1965. I then practiced law with a leading firm at that time Ambubhai Diwanji and got my Advocate degree in the same year.
3. After my graduation in 1965 I went abroad for a year to work with two engineering firms in U.K. and then returned in 1967 to start a Public Limited Company Snail Forgings Ltd.
4. I continued as a Director in this Company and we became one of the leading manufacturers of hand tools till the year 1985. During the early 1990s we saw the advent of militant Trade Unions in the industrial belt of Mumbai and with Dr. Datta Samant spearheading the attack, we had no choice but to close down the manufacturing operations in 1995.
5. After that, I diversified my career path into education and having joined the Lala Lajpatrai Institute at Worli, Mumbai, I went on to become the Chairman of Lala Lajpatrai Institute of Management. This Institute conducts a two years full time MBA course and three years part-time courses such as MFM, MMM and MHRDM. The Institute is well recognized by the Government of Maharashtra.
6. Regarding my personal life, I got married in 1965 and have three sons, of which two are in the United States having become American citizens and working as Investments Bankers in New York. The third son is also working as a banker in Mumbai and resides with me.
7. I am in regular touch with some of the other students from our class such as Ranjit Lalvani who has now retired and available on email. I also keep in touch with Abey Stevenson who lives in Derby in U.K.
8. I meet Jaffer Hussain who still lives next door to me. Any communication to be sent to Jaffer may kindly be sent to me as he is not contactable on email but is available on telephone. Jaffer is in touch with Meher Katrak and some others. I will get further details from him and keep you posted.
9. It will be an absolute delight to meet everybody after a gap of 50 years.

With regards,


58er Ranjit Lalwani, and 59ers Trevor Newnes and Noel Ezekiel, pubbing at Sydney Harbour, Australia, 2007. Photo thanks to Noel.

How I wish everyone would send me such a clear note for publication on the blog. I do not publish specific personal details as email addresses and phone numbers. But I file this data away for safe keeping to transmit to friends, if required and permitted.

Thank you Kamal for you input. Thank you Noel for this photograph

Friday, August 08, 2008

Sadness prevades the air

I did not intend for any of my Blogs to be columns for births, marriages and deaths, and especially not the last.

This last week was an especially sad week. I have to record not just the passing of Annikki and my dear cat, Ittu, our nearest and dearest friend for the last 17 years, but two wonderful other Cats.

Nilina Parkar was a 54er whom I came to know when I helped their class organise their 50th Year Reunion in 2004.

54ers Sadhana (née Shah) Madhusadan and Suhas Phadke informed me of the passing of this gentle lady on 3rd August 2008. This was what Sadhana had to write about our friend

I received the very sad news this morning from a close friend in Pune that Nilina passed away late last night. She was in a coma. Mercifully it must have helped to ease the pain. At the end of her mortal life, she looked peaceful is what I gather from news from London.

We had a long conversation on her birthday 26th July when she completed 69 years. We chatted and she even spoke in Tamil and we both laughed. I was imploring her to try 'wheat grass' juice to bring up her immunity and the trooper that she always was, she promised she would check out with Health Food stores and get some ...on Monday.

Sadly, that was not to be. She was so happy that her "Darling son " had been to see her the day before...there was a lilt in her voice which I hadn't heard of late.. there was much to look forward to, once, just once she got back her strength...

This was the inimitable and most outstanding feature of my darling, feisty friend Nilina... She was always of positive mind. A challenge was just that... a challenge. To be met with and tackled. She would help out with her Pune Housing Society's Accounts, correspondence, even the gargantuan task of getting the entire complex repaired and painted.

Now, whenever I pass the Kalpataru Habitat at Koregaon Park I feel happy to see the sparkling new cream and green buildings.. her own handiwork.. Where did she get all that energy from? All this while her own flat was turned inside out and refurbished.. new tiles, new veneer, new colour on the walls and woodwork. How completely happy and satisfied she felt with the place looking so new and inviting... for her next trip to India.

I could go on & on. But, my heart is too full and I think this is time to keep quiet and pray to God to accept this loving, genuinely courageous spirit in His/ Her Fold and to set it free to enter Nirvana.

Nilina, we will always love you and miss you !

Om Shantihi, Shantihi, Shantihi !


in grief,


The funeral will take place at Putney Vale Crematorium, Stag Lane, Putney, SW15 3DZ( Tel: 0044 208 788 2113 ) on Friday 8 August at 1.40pm

Her son :
Raj Parker, 31 Rosehill Road, London SW18 2NY (Tel. 44 208 875 1580)

Prayer meetings will be held in Mumbai and Pune between 5.30 and 6.30 pm on August 8th
Three minutes silence will be observed at both the meetings at 6.10 p m to coincide with the time of the cremation.

Mumbai venue:
Minal Patel's residence at Malabar Court, Ridge Road, near WIAA, Malabar Hill.

Pune Venue:
Chandrika Naker's residence at 9-C Cjurina, Marigold Apartment Society, Kalyani Nagar, (behind Gold Adlabs.) Pune

Then I received the very sad news of the demise of a new friend, a 64er Jean Maneckji. This was the tribute that was sent to me about another womderful Cathedralite.

When one experiences death so close by, even something as "just" an animal, one understands the pain and suffering of those near and dear to the one lost. Our hearts bleed. But as many told me when I was in tears,

"Just remember the wonderful years that you enjoyed with your friend".

The bundle of joy 17 years ago.

Iitu waits for the share of my birthday cake.

Every day since the passing, as we enter our home, we think of Iitu. Tears well up in our eyes.

Then I think of all the wonderful other Cats who have passed on.

Annikki and I reminisce about all the loved ones who are no more. We think of the many blessed minutes, hours, days and years we enjoyed with our friends. Sadness can turn to a warm feeling, that they are safe from harm's way and yet very near to our hearts.

May Nilina and Jean rest in peace.

Do let their loved ones know that they are not forgotten in our hearts.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Kuruvilla Jacob did not teach me...

I have heard a lot about the late Kuruvilla Jacob from several people, many relatives and friends. Those who studied in Madras Christian College School, Madras and later in my alma mater, Cathedral and John Connon School in Bombay, have talked about this great man and his wonderful personality.

Family photo taken in 1974 on the steps of our home in Madras,
which belonged to the late Kuruvilla Jacob.

I, however, knew Kuruvilla Jacob, as a family man, a relative, my landlord (our lovely house in Velacheri Road in Madras, and as a friend. He was always ready to pass the time of day with you whenever or wherever he met you. His wife, known to us as Graciekochamma, was equally effervescent and a person who one had to love.

I have received the following invitation to the Fifth Annual Function of the Kuruvilla Jacob Initiative Promoting Excellence in School Education from several sources, including the President of the Cat Alumni, Rajiv Bhatia.

My cousin Vinoo, Chairman of MRF Ltd, also known as K. M. Mammen, is one of the Convenors of this event.

The Guest of Honour is Cat Alumni Member, 80er Somi Hazari. The function will start at 16:25 at the Museum Theatre, Pantheon Road in Egmore, Madras.

I am sure that many of you who are in Chennai will make it a point to attend this function to honour a great man. I would love to get some photographs from this event.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Shocked by Google 3 level warning

Yesterday, when I was writing the piece about the reply to the Cat Alumni President, I decided to do a search about the School Governing Body.

I entered the terms "Governing Body Cathedral and John Connon School". I got a page of results with the Cat Alumni Site as the No. 1 result.

However, I got a shock when I read the warning attached to this site.

As it may be difficult to read the text, let me tell you what it says:

Welcome to The Cathedral and John Connon School Alumni Association
This site may harm your computer

Despite the warning I decided to try to enter the site, whereupon Google gave me a much more explicit warning.

I decided to investigate the warning, and this is what I got.

This may be unreadable here, but I suggest you see it for yourself as Google warns you why it advises you NOT TO ENTER THE SITE!

This is the first time in my entire computing experience where I have got such an explicit 3 level warning and where the Search Engine has explained exactly what is the problem.

I think the Cat Alumni Association better wake up and ensure that the problems associated with the web site are eliminated.

Google will spider the Cat Alumni site daily to ensure that no one enters it through their Search Engine Result, and if they do, they are doing so absolutely at their own risk.

The last update from the Google spider (as is explained in the detailed warning notice) was as late as the 17th of July 2008, just a day ago!!!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Does the Cat Alumni President have a point?

In the most recent post by the School Alumni President, Rajiv Bhatia, he asks a couple of questions:

Isn't the 150th year significantly about the Alumni celebrating their educational institution?

Shouldn't the construction of the 150th year events give due recognition to the Alumni Association as the official representative body of the Alumni, rather than involving only select ex-Cathedralites?

In short, the answer to the first question is NO.

The second question may merit discussion, as it will depend on the attitude and relationship between the School Governing Body and the Alumni Association.

The Alumni Association obviously has no locus standing in the affairs of the School. I noted this in the sort of agreement that was made when the Association wanted to use the school premises for some of its affairs.

To me, that was a very sad document.

The reason for this is far reaching and depends on the members of the Alumni who represent us on the School Governing Body as well as the composition of the Governing Body.

I, however, do not care a damn whether the School Governing Body has its own agenda.

If the Alumni has a solid programme and agenda, then the School Governing Body will come running to it.

I was certainly personally disappointed when I wrote a detailed letter to the Principal already last year about my request to make a hi-tech multi-media presentation about the History of our school in time for the start of the celebrations of the 150th Year of the School. That would have coincided with the 50th Year Reunion of the 59ers, which will be the Mother of All Reunions, and for which I will be very much in Mumbai.

I was not even favoured with an acknowledgement to that email, written in the most friendliest of ways. It was very disappointing to see the Principal of our School, who is supposed to set the standards of behaviour, behave in this undiplomatic manner.

Almost every senior Alumni member that I had sent a blind copy of this email was excited and wanted me to prepare this presentation in the way of my dreams.

On the other hand I heard that a similar task was later given to some other people.

I certainly wish them well and hope they make a great presentation. In fact, I am sure they will as some great personalities well known to me are involved with that project.

In my opinion, they will go probably go the traditional way, putting together a nice coffee table book of some of the photographs depicting the history of the school.

That, however, is yesterday's technology.

My intention was something quite quite different. It would have brought our school to the forefront of multi-media technology, making our Alumni and the present students proud of what we could achieve as we move on into the next fifty years of the school history. It would have been what the Apple 3G iPhone is to the Nokia Mobile Phone!

There are wheels within wheels in the driving forces of the School Admnsistration.

Being 7000 km away, I am not privy to the daily ins-and-outs. However, knowing the personalities involved intimately almost 6 decades, I knew what to expect.

The question that the Cat Alumni President asks fits almost exactly with the characters of some of the primary players.

The way to break that mould is to do something the makes every student proud to be part of our Alumni. It is the students who are in school and it is their relationship to the Alumni which makes the difference.

The question posed by the Cat Alumni President may certainly be worth discussing.

However, I would not waste much time trying to flog a dead horse. Let us make the Alumni a galloping stallion straining to be ahead of everyone and everything else!

Happy 90th birthday, Nelson Mandela

Happy 90th birthday to the world's greatest politician, leader EVER - Nelson Mandela. May he have very many more.

Copyright: Photograph from Dismantling Apartheid

He has taught mankind through his sincerity to his cause - the people of Africa.

Thank you Nelson Mandela.

Late P.S.: It is also the 18th birthday of my 59er counterpart, Green House Captain Harmohina Malik (née Uberoi). In my humble opinion, Harmohina was the most popular 59er girl in our school. Our very best birthday wishes go to her on this auspicious day she shares with Nelson Mandela.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Obituary: Husband of Nalini Punnose (née Patil)

In the 50's and 60's we had a wonderful teacher in the girl's school by the name of Nalini Patil. She married an officer in the Railways, Mr. M. G. Punnose.

Today, thanks to 64ers Rajiv Ved and Deepak Deshpande, I heard of the sad demise of Mr. Punnose. (Obituary Notice below from The Times of India.)

Our family knew the Punnose family very well. Nalini was a close friend of my mom and dad. In Bombay, she used to attend the St. Thomas Cathedral and, if I remember right, Mr. Punnose also attended the same church where several of us, 59er David Colaco and his brother, the late 58er Michael Colaco, the Vaney brothers (49er Peter, 57er Herbert), 57er Aubrey Ballantine, teachers Willie Shiri and Willie Patel, were taught to sing a tune under the strict supervision of our choir master, the late Charles Velu.

In Bangalore, Nalini used to attend St. Mark's Cathedral, the church where I used to go to Sunday School in the early 50s. My mom and dad were both members of this church in Bangalore.

I convey our deepest personal condolences, and also from all Cathedralites, to Nalini and her family. They will remain in our prayers.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Sadly not a Savageite!!

The Benjy saga continues. I reproduce his most recent comment from an earlier blog entry (January 14th 2006):

Hi Jacob ~

Thanks for welcoming me aboard, the pleasure is surely mine.

Cathedral School Prefect 1969
1963 School Prefects

I'm in this picture too - middle row 3rd from the right.

Since you asked about me -- I'll go to brag mode now ....LOL

I was in Wilson House.

School Junior athletic champ in '60 also held records in 200m, 400m and 800m. School athletic champ and captain in 62.

School boxing captain - light heavy weight champ 62 -- beat Jalal Agajahn ( of Bollywood fame ) in the finals.

School senior football team 60 - 63.

School hockey team - probably 61-63.

Represented Wilson house in Gymnastics, Cricket, Badmminton, of course athletics, boxing, football and hockey as well.

I was never too keen on studying - but managed to pass ISC 2nd class - which for me was terrific, I didn't continue for HSC.

I remember many from your blog - actually I still bear a scar on my lip when I went to head the tennis ball and Trevor Newnes went to kick it at the same time - a bloody mess of my lip - but was worth it -- quad footy final we were probably in the 8th std and Trevor was in the 11th --and we won !!!

Thats enough for now -- once again thanks a lot for helping to bring back many fond memories and also keeping me informed of my school friends , both here and on the "other side".

Cheers - take care and keep smiling --- always !!

Aby Benjamin

He appears to have something to brag about, but I think Benjy has dementia - He was a real SAVAGE!

Identities resolved

It is nice to know that previous blog entries are being constantly read and re-read and people are adding comments to those old ones.

I was extremely happy when I got information of a blog entry of April 2005. The photograph in question is shown below with the people I could identify:

4. 1960 Senior Football Team - The guy sitting between Trevor and John Kurian on the far right is Sheikh.

1960 Senior Football Team

1960 Senior Football Team

4. 1960 Senior Football Team:

Standing: ?, ?, Armeane Choksi, Roger Cloy, Ajeet Mathur
Sitting: Maurice Belacourt, Phiroze Mistri, Trevor Newnes, Sheikh Zahur, John Kurian
Sitting on the ground: Jaswant Ghatge

It was really wonderful to get a comment which identified the two persons standing at the left. Here was the Comment which was left there just yesterday:

The 1960 senior football team names of the 2 standing from the left are Feroze Mistri -- and the second from left standing - is your truly - Aby Benjamin class of 63.

Thank you Benjy for going through so many blog entries and adding such great comments and resolving issues.

Would love to know which House you belonged to - Savage?

Also. thank you for joining the 59ers Google Group. You are very welcome to be there, as our policy, set out by Armeane Choksi is “Be Inclusive, not exclusive!”

Since this photograph was published on the blog, the following Cathedralites have are on board, including you, Benjy:

Armeane Choksi, Phiroze Mistri, Trevor Newnes, Sheikh Zahur, John Kurian.

We know where Maurice is but he has not yet checked in. Jaswant passed away a few years ago. Would love to get to hear from Roger, a great Savageite!

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Delhi Chapter says "Thank you" to Vijay and Meera

59er Vijay Nayar and his wife, Meera (née Chunnilal) (Bombay, Fort Convent), hosted a Cocktail party of the Delhi Chapter of the Cat Alumni. It was attended by 20 members. This was the request I received from their local Convenor:


On behalf of the DELHI CHAPTER of CATALUMNI, I have the pleasure of conveying that Mr Vijay Nayar (1959er) & his wife, Meera, hosted Cocktails for 20 of us at their Home yesterday (28/06) evening. We are all indeed grateful and would like to express our BIG THANK YOU to them - through your medium !!!!!!!

Kind regards

Deepak A Deshpande
Managing Director
METLLOY Overseas Private Limited
A-7 Nizamuddin East
New Delhi 110 013, India

Here are some of the photographs from the event. (This is an autoplay slide show of the pictures from the Cocktail party.)

In one I noted that Vijay is showing signs of starting a pot belly, which at 65 is fairly good going. Meera still looks the glorious radiant self that I have known for the last 39 years. It is also great to see 57er Tony (Ashok) Jaitly and 49er Yezad Kapadia, one on my favourite correspondents, looking so full of life and vigour.

Ravi Jaitly is also there, but there is no shot of the two brothers together. I remember both of them vividly as they were both outstanding sportsmen, as well as great leaders, and they oozed friendliness.

As I may fall into the doghouse if I comment on some other people there :-) - I will say no more but thank 64er Deepak for sending me this great set of photos to share with you.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Does every year have one?

This is not a criticism, but only an observation with a suggestion! (I made a similar observation on the blog a long time ago, but I thought it was worth repeating!)

45er Desmond Kinnersley in Australia.

I have my emails coming in from former staff members, 45ers to students who are still in the school. My present cross-section of correspondents spans the huge period of 64 years of Cathedralite nostalgic history, and much more when you think of some who write to me about their parents (still alive) who were Cathedralites!

This potpourri is what has kept this blog alive for now over 12 years.

Over time I have noted that in the active year groups there stands out one or two individuals who email news items and jokes to his / her mailing list (and I am usually fortunate to be on that mailing list).

I get wonderful emails from 49er Naval Patel, now living in Mysore, about all sorts of trivia which are in some way school, Mumbai or cricket related. Naval is a real cricket junkie!!

It is always a pleasure to get these from Naval. I do use some of them in creating my blog entries. But usually, I am just being educated, which I love.

Here is what Naval wrote on one occasion when he sent me two attachments:

I have attached scans of the research papers which describe the original Duckworth - Lewis Method, and its later modification. Erudite discussions may follow not earlier than two weeks hence; I will have digested them only thereafter.
Regards Naval

Sadly, both our schedules being what they are, we still have not got down to those "erudite discussions"!

54er Sadhana (from Pune) works in fits and starts - as she forwards me jokes, jokes and more jokes, but they do not have an underlying theme, which makes it difficult as you will understand why a little later.

55er Bunny (from Delhi) also send out emails of jokes to his email list. In the month of June 2008 I have had over 35 jokes from Bunny!

Sadly there is a huge overlap of the jokes that most of those forwarding these emails send out. Maybe because we are Cathedralites we appreciate the same humour - but it is a bit difficult when I get 15 to 20 submissions of the same joke!

56er Ubi from Mumbai sends me wonderful notes on many things I write about (or should write about) and I get a great deal of satisfaction just reading his emails. One feels so connected with someone 7000 kms away to the east who is enjoying what I would like to be enjoying (a tinge of jealousy), but is not destructive like second hand smoke! It is exhilarating.

The late 57er Budni (from Pune) used to also send out jokes, but he was a lot like Naval in that there was a underlying message or moral in each one he sent out. I have actually kept all of his jokes as they form a treasure house for me. Rarely did I get a joke from Budni which was sent by someone else in our group, except that many used to forward me the jokes that Budni had sent out!

Oh, do I miss this friend.

59er Shabir (from Karachi) used to send out a huge number of jokes. When I pointed out that I was getting the same ones from over 2 dozen people, he took me off his mailing list, for which, to a point, I was quite grateful, as it did unclutter my Inbox quite a bit.

59er Chini (from Toronto) sends me great submissions of history of Mumbai and the school, usually pictorial. Although Chini is westward to me, we know we are on the same frequency as the relevance of his submissions is just like Naval and Ubi.

60er Sheikh (from Saudi) does send me photos and other submissions, which I greatly enjoy.

There are some many of you, 54er Gracie (California), 56er Doreen (N. Carolina?), 60er Joan (England - such a wonderful submission about Jazz in Bombay in the 60s), Cynthia & hubby 62er Monty (Toronto), 63er Mithoo (Florida) and Ranko (Cerbia), 64ers Deepak (Delhi) and Rustom (Mumbai), 67er Shobha (Mumbai) , 68er Ravi (Phillipines), 69ers Barbara (Italy) and Prakash (Mumbai), and on and on...

Take this great one I got from 67er Shobha just this morning, and it is not just because I am a banana lover!

Vazhakula with 2846 pazhams- U can count if you want

Or take this email I received way back in November 2005 from Ravi Nangia from the Phillipines (Hey Ravi - Did you know I keep such great submissions as yours for a hailstorming Midsummer's Day!):

Hi Jacob,

Thought I would take your lead and reply promptly.

I can't off-hand recall Ajeet Mathur. Your site had indicated that he graduated in 1974 - so there was just a year when we were both in Stephen's - not enough when set against the 33 years that it has been since College.

Tell Ajeet his photograph on your site doesn't help either -- perhaps a photo of a younger Ajeet, when he was in College, would help!! (Obviously I never read "How not to alienate/lose friends"). There was a Shiv Mathur (not the one mentioned later in this message, this one was History 1973) whom I do remember. He spent the years between graduation and getting into the IAS in brushing up on his general knowledge and would frequently appear on quiz shows on TV and all over the place.

Don't worry about Kapil Mathur and Ranade. Kapil, I know is in Bombay. He has a brother, coincidentally also named Shiv Mathur, who is a friend of friend. Shiv Mathur studied music in Vienna (or somewhere similar in Europe) and between infrequent conducting opportunities writes jingles for Coke and others. As far as Sudhanshu Ranade is concerned, I thought I once saw an article with his by line in the Hindu (the newspaper).

Sadly, no photographs from College, but the one of the Prefects from 1968 is attached (Sorry, had to manipulate image size and number of pixels to accommodate uploading with a dial-up connection, but the image quality isn't bad.) List of those appearing in the photograph is given below.

Yes, we are in the Philippines and yes, there is an ADB connection (good GK, good deduction), but it's the wife who works for ADB. I am compelled to scrounge around as an independent consultant for a living.



Standing Top Row L-R : Heenali Morarjee, Mohan Shivdasani, Malika (Dolly) Grewal, Dharanvir (Tingoo) Khatau, Monica Chudasama, Jyoti Choudhary, Kapil Mathur, Debby Richardson, Shireen Jeejeebhoy, Phiroze Madon, Bina Sanghvi, Harish Uttamsing.

Standing Middle Row L-R : Nawal Seth, Perveez Merchant, Mrinal Melwani, Ravi Nangia, Guloo Chotia, Ruma Roy, Gautam Desiraju, Naila Kanthawala, Jean Bhavnagiri, Cyrus Kharas, Meher Katgara, Guneeta Khera, Suresh Goel.

Sitting L-R : Yohan Jeffereis, Shobhna Patel, Bahadur Shroff, Urmila Bannerji, Sammy Medhora, Mrs Fernandes, Jean Cabral, TAC Barrow, Antica Milos, Dinsa Mehta, Asha Nerurkar, Jeevak Parpia.

As I go through later years of Cathedralites (80 to 2000s), there are so many of you who are making my life so interesting. You all relate to me as a friend, which I greatly appreciate.

We now have a new entrant into the joke field, 64er Sol S, probably from somewhere in England. Thank you Sol for putting me on your mailing list. It is an honour.

Of course, if you are only receiving these forwards from one source, then they are great, but as I am getting the same jokes from so many of you, it is sad to filter them out. The joke about "Ian and his wife" came in from 5 different sources last week - 2 Cathedralites and 3 from other origins. (Too smutty for this blog, though! We have a few kids reading this blog, including me!)

Indiscriminately sending out what you may think funny to your mailing list may be bothersome for some, and you may get a reaction which is not exactly what you may expect.

I do hope each class co-ordinator will take this up in his / her group and explain the circumstances, or ask the person to read THIS blog entry.

Please do not stop sending your emails to me, as you are the lifeblood of this blog.

Like 49er Naval, 56er Ubi, 59er Chini, former Staff Member Willie, and many others, do try to be a bit more selective in that you see something of value in your submission to the huge audience of Cathedralites that I am catering to.

It makes coming to my email Inbox a pleasure to get such inputs. I am not here just to be titillated, but am really looking for valuable contributions.

Happy Midsummer to everyone from the land of the Midnight Sun where a ferocious hailstorm (for more pictures of the hailstorm visit my Jacob's Blog) with thunder and lightening, each hail the size of a walnut, is pelting down on us.