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.
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.”
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