59er Golden Reunion Directory

59er Golden Reunion Directory
59er Golden Reunion Directory

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!