59er Golden Reunion Directory

59er Golden Reunion Directory
59er Golden Reunion Directory

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

GPS Navigator - Good or bad Development?

As my main Jacob's Blog entry for today, I have considered the Global Positioning System (GPS) Navigator, which I used for the first time yesterday, and whether it is a boon or a curse to mankind.

Do check it out and let me have your views.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

What is talent?

(Also posted on Jacob's Blog and the Kooler Talk Blog.)

I usually do not have much time for TV except to throw off my shoes, put my feet up, watch a comedy or detective play and sleep through half of it!

One programme, however, that I have come to like is GPS hosted by Fareed Zakaria on CNN International, late on a Sunday evening.

Zakaria has some fascinating guests. He runs his interviews which do not show his personal bias.

Today was a show in which he had a discussion with an author, Malcolm Gladwell.

Gladwell has written a book called "Outliers". Although I have not read the book and will probably never will, I was fascinated by the discussion and interview.

The main thrust of the view of Gladwell was that "Talent is the Desire to Practice".

I immediately sent this message to several young friends of mine. I wonder how many of them will see this message in all its significance and glory.

The key word is "Desire".

To succeed in anything one must have that "Desire".
To reach that "Desire" one must "Work Hard".
The Hard Work is what we call "Practice"
And Practice leads to "Talent".

Gladwell gave the example of the Beatles, who in 1959 worked 8 hour nights in a strip club in Hamburg playing music. This is enormously hard work. It was this hard work which resulted in the moulding of the most famous Pop Group in the world.

Gladwell made very significant points about the influence of culture on failure or success and also about the development of reading aboilities at a young age which results in the possibility of success.

This statement took me back to the days when Annikki was writing her thesis about the Montessori System of Education. What I heard today was the restatement of what Maria Montessori said 7 decades ago when she noted that a small child will continue to repeat a task till he / she masters it. The outcome is talent, in small steps.

I go back to my school days where I used to watch a dear friend, Elijah Elias, more commonly known to all of us as Ooky, come to school at some unearthly hour and keep on bowling at the nets to achieve pace and direction. That was the talent of Ooky in cricket! But it is this Talent born out of Desire and Hard Work achieved by Practice which has made him succeed in his career in later life.

I take the example of our grandson, Samuel, who at the age of 12 simply loves reading - a book a day.

If his reading is focused correctly, Samuel could be outstanding in his career.

I only hope that in his school in England they realise this. I hope at least one of his teachers has read the book, "Outliers" by Malcolm Gladwell or knows the principles of the Maria Montessori Education System!

Thank you Mr. Fareed Zakaria.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

My iMac died, Viva la Mac Mini!

(Also posted on my Jacob's Blog and Kooler Talk Blog.)

My 10 year old iMac finally died. I tried to revive it. Failed.

I went back to my older macs, the Performa 6400 and tried to use that, but it was tooooo slooow.

I decided to splurge and get a new Mac.

I have a perfectly good Samsung SyncMaster 900 SL Monitor. I have many USB Keyboards and Mice, all in good condition. I have USB headphones, a dlink wireless USB adaptor, a La Cie Firewire / USB DVD / CD station, so I decided to buy the Mac Mini.

A difficult decision whether to buy the basic version mac Mini costing Euro 599 with a 120 GB Hard Disk or a 320 GB Hard Disk with 2 GB of memory.

As most of my work will be network computing, the extra hard disk was not important. Also I have many hard disks lying around, from 1 GB up to 60 GB.

I checked the memory prices and found that a 1 GB memory costs just Euro 30 while a 3 GB costs just Euro 60. I will have to determine whether it is user installable and then upgrade. So I spent just Euro 599.

Considering I got the new Leopard system, which costs Euro 128 and also the latest iLife software, which costs Euro 78, Thew Mac Mini actually cost me just Euro 400. Foor a 2 GHZ Core 2 Duo, with a 8 x Superdrive station which is a DVD±R, DL DVD±RW / CD RW, and with a NVDIDIA GeForce 9400M video card with 128 main memory with a DDR3 SDRAM, etc., etc., this must be one of the best buys that I have made in a decade.

On my way to the office I picked up Annikki from home to drop her at church. She was amazed to see the size of my new computer - 16.5 cm by 16.5 cm by 5 cm.

The whole computer set up was done in less than an hour, upgraded to the latest system and it is working just fine. The speaker system is a bit tinny, but as I usually used head phones, this is not a drawback for me. The Mac Mini recognised all the hardware I connected and went to the internet without any problem through the dlink adaptor!

Sunil, who has been commenting on my attachment, sentimental, to my iMac and eMac boxes which occupy almost all the space under my office table, may be quite pleased with the size the new Mac Mini box!! :-)

Friday, April 24, 2009

Felled tree

(Also posted on my Jacob's Blog.)

Have you ever thought how it must feel if one falls to the ground just like a felled tree?

Even during my boxing days, when Neelam Lakhaney (also a Cathedralite 59er Savageite), half my size, was whipping me in the Heavy Weight category, I never fell to the ground.

Today, I was on my morning rounds on my scooter. I got home around noon. I got off the scooter, and as is my common practice, I turn around, take of my glasses, then remove my helmet, put on my glasses, hang the helmet over one of the rear view mirrors and then trot up the stairs, home.

Today was a bit different.

As I got off the bike and was wheeling around, it was as if my feet were stuck in a place while my body tipped over and crashed to the ground. My helmeted head thumped onto the cemented section, just a few centimetres away from a huge cement block.

I tried to figure out what had happened. As I twisted around, I saw that the bottom of my track suit had hooked into the metal stand on which the scooter is put to rest.

As I had tried to move away, one feet was pulled away from me and I crashed to the ground, straight as an axed tree.

As my head smashed into the ground, I was ever so grateful for the glass-fibre reinforced helmet which surrounded my head. I was badly bruised on one knee, while the other was just grazed. The palms of my hand were bruised, as was one elbow.

But my head was intact. Was I grateful for the plastic helmet!!

Felt good to have been a plastics technologist which subject and material have no doubt saved many lives in different environments!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Cricket Lovers: An article from The Hindu of today

from: Naval Patel
date:: 21 April 2009 16:20
subject: Above the eye line

I am attaching a scan of an article in The HINDU newspaper this morning.

The part I found fascinating was how Clarrie Grimmett, the masterly old Australian leg spinner, demonstrated the variations of speed perceptions.

I had long read that these are deceptive when the ball goes above batsmen's eye level, and I guess as a (very) slow bowler I had successfully benefited from these through my playing days, but this is the first mention I have seen of such proof being experimentally provided.

The other mention about the initial movement and position of the batsman's leading shoulder is a new insight to me.

How I wish such knowledge had come to us in our playing days!

Regards Naval

Thank you Naval for sending me this article. I did not use your scan but went to The HINDU and took the whole article, which I have reproduced below. (Copyright acknowledged.)

(I think I know the wife of the writer - a very lovely lady whom I met in 1999 and who is also a journalist in The Hindu covering environmental issues.)

Spinners have delivered the goods so far

S. Dinakar

Warne, Kumble, Vettori and Ojha have been impressive

Chennai: Spin has worked well in the Indian Premier League so far. Shane Warne’s mix of flight, deception and spin was captivating. Anil Kumble scalped five in his match. And, left-arm spinners Daniel Vettori and Pragyan Ojha have also been impressive.

Warne’s bowling took us to the heart of spin bowling. He made the batsman pick the ball from ‘above the eye level.’

Famous coach Vasu Paranjpe recounted a delightful tale about how Australian leg-spin legend Clarrie Grimmett taught former off-spinner Ashley Mallett, a budding bowler then, an important cricketing lesson.

“Grimmett took Mallet to a little hill and then asked him to judge the speed of the cars zipping through in a bridge below. Mallett’s reply was approximately right. Then, Grimmett told Mallett to look at cars moving on a road at an elevated level and the off-spinner found it very hard to assess the speed of the cars,” said Paranjpe.

When Warne flights the ball, he forces the batsman to pick it from above the eye level. To make things harder for the batsman, the rip and the revolution on the ball causes it to dip in the air.

“Since the batsman, on most occasions, has to gauge the flight from above the level of his eyes, he finds it extremely hard to judge the pace, and consequently, the length of the ball,” added Paranjpe.

Warne has the variety — including the quicker delivery such as the flipper, the top-spinner and the wrong ’un — to sow more seeds of doubt in the minds of the batsman.

Aggressive by instinct, he can dissect a batsman’s technique and zero in on the chinks.

Splendid dismissals

Warne’s dismissal of Virat Kohli of Bangalore Royal Challengers is a case in point. Kohli has a rather stiff front shoulder and such batsmen can have a blind spot on or just outside the leg-stump.

The Rajasthan Royals captain flighted one on the leg-stump, Kohli, stepping down for the leg-side whip, missed and the ball spun to hit middle.

Then, B. Akhil found a delivery pitching on the leg-stump, spinning past the bat and hitting middle and off. These deliveries were flighted and spun hard. “If the batsman makes a brief preparatory movement as the bowler is about to deliver, his elbow goes back, so does the shoulder. The batsman is better placed to stroke freely on the leg-side. But if his left shoulder is stiff and locked, he could have a blind spot on the leg-side,” said Paranjpe.

Warne’s skills have not waned with age. He still controls the extent of spin — high on the scale of difficulty — with the ease of a maestro.

Kumble’s wares

Kumble’s bowling is much about subtle variations in length and trajectory, relentless accuracy and an ability to surprise batsmen with bounce.

Attempting to slog Kumble can be counter-productive as Yusuf Pathan and Ravindra Jadeja discovered the hard way. Kumble complements his control with clever use of the crease. If the batsman misses, he invariably hits.

The conditions favoured seam and swing bowling at Newlands but the ball gripped for the spinners.

Vettori’s knack of getting the ball to straighten at the right hander from a touch wide of the crease works to his advantage in the shortest form of the game; he denies the batsman width. Ojha’s drift posed searching questions to the men facing him.

Despite powerful willows and shorter boundaries, spinners continue to turn matches in Twenty20 cricket; the batsman is denied pace and the work on the ball compounds his problems.

“It is much about when you bring your spinners on. If you have a quality spinner, you should introduce him as early as possible, give him a greater chance,” observed Paranjpe.

Indeed, wickets win you matches…in any format.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Our reunion plans

59ers have put together what I think will be the Mother of all Golden Reunions. We are busy getting the attendance figures organised.

I had a great disappointment today morning when I received an email from one of our classmates who lives in Pakistan. He is one of our very active and much-loved 59ers. He informed me that he may not be able to make it to the reunion!


His mother passed away at the beginning of the year. He travelled to Mumbai to perform the last rites.

It seems that if one gets one visa in the year, then Pakistanis cannot get a second visa the same year.

I wonder if Pakistan also follows this protocol?

If so, it only shows the stupidity of the politicians and the bureaucrats in both countries.

What logical reason could there be in stopping genuine travel between two countries? It is not as if the governments are doing anyone a favour. They charge money to issue visas.

I hope some of our friends will draw the attention to people in high places to stop this stop of ridiculous bureaucracy!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

A public tribute to a personal friend of many

(Ed.: It is my privilege to be part of this document prepared by other 59er classmates on behalf of many, and sent to me for editing, correction, modification, so that it represents a true appreciation of the person about whom it is written.

From right: Ashok, his boxer and me in 1993
Not an artificial sunset.

I could add little as the writers did a marvellous job in the first place.

I share this document with you on the birthday of one of our finest classmates, a wonderful friend to each and everyone of us, and a person with whom we would have trusted our lives and limbs. Photographs are from various sources and copyright is acknowledged. Jacob)

November 2008
One of the last photos of Ashok taken at the JOSS Function.

April 16th would have been Ashok Kapur'ss 66th birthday. It is perhaps appropriate to spend a few moments reflecting on a few of our cherished memories about the friend that we knew... an extra special person in many, many ways. This tribute has been composed on behalf of all his friends, but especially on behalf of those who had the privilege of knowing him closely from his school days as well as through all the subsequent years as we journeyed across life from children to youth and onto adulthood and beyond. Some among us were fortunate to have known Ashok over a span of 6 decades - and our lives have been enriched by the experience.

Abbas and Ashok
November 2008.

There was an email from 59er Peter Miovic received at the time of his death which bears repetition. Peter was a Yugoslav who joined us in the 9th standard and knew Ashok for just for a few years. Peter wrote: "Ashok was someone who engaged one at a very personal level. I can still remember his engaging, mischievous smile and the way he would conduct a conversation that could lead anywhere. And he did not make a distinction whether one was from India or Mars. I was sensitive about being accepted by Indians. With Ashok I need not have worried."

Those words from Peter more or less defined the Ashok that we knew in school. He simply got on well with everyone of his own classmates, the ones who were a year or two senior to us, the ones who were junior to us, the teachers, the office peons, the coaches - everyone. And, in turn, it was impossible not to like him. In those years, we were certainly closer than brothers. When you are 10, 12 and 16 years old, the 2 or 3 years that separate siblings is like a generation gap. But there was no such problem between us. We grew up together, we played all the sports possible together, we discovered rock and roll and girls together, and we shared adventures, lots of them. Ashok was the type that all the others in the gang rallied around, a natural born leader, a school prefect by the 10th standard itself, a solid batsmen and wicket-keeper, and Captain of several sports teams.

Ashok was a good student too and managed to rank near the top of the class quite effortlessly. He was particularly good with numbers and we all expected him to go in for engineering, as was the preference in those days. But Ashok had other ideas. In fact, Ashok was always ahead of us in calculating angles that no one else saw, working out the odds. Today it is called “thinking out of the box." In a word he was 'wily' in a smart way. And it showed on the hockey field, where he was a scheming forward, on the badminton court, where he would wrong-foot his opponent, and in the latter years, at the bridge table.

Homi and Ashok
November 2008

If a poll had been taken back then in our graduating class as to whom amongst us was most likely to succeed in our future careers, Ashok would most certainly have won hands down. All of us would have voted for Ashok, and all of us would have been proved right.

Ashok with Ramesh and Piloo in 2003.

So it was that Ashok had worked out all the options and chose not to join college after school, but instead to start his career at the very bottom at Grindlays Bank way back in 1962. By the time the rest of us had acquired our precious degrees, and were just getting started in our own careers, Ashok was well on his way in the banking world. With Grindlays Ashok spent 20 odd years and was a Senior Manager handling a number of business functions when he left them. Then, 5 years with ABN Amro, part of it in Singapore managing their APAC operations . He left ABN to start Rabo India Finance. And after that institution was solidly launched, he decided to start his very own bank, "YES Bank", a very successful venture that is now being hailed as the fastest growing bank in the country, as well as being the best run, most innovative, etc, etc.

Ashok holds forth (undated).
From left: - 59ers Vinay Dabhlolkar, Percy Mistri, Ashok and Ashok Ruia.

In the 46 years that Ashok spent in the banking Industry, he acquired an unimpeachable reputation for his integrity and his honesty. Many times Ashok put his career on the line rather than compromise on his principles. It was no surprise then that Ashok enjoyed such universal admiration in banking circles. Not just for his sheer capabilities and achievements as a visionary banker, but also for his class and his qualities as a human being. Ashok was always calmness personified and had time for everybody. All persons were the same to him, irrespective of whether they were the foreign ex-pats or the boy who operated the photocopier. And it would be hard to find a Manager who could manage his time better.

His friend, 59er Elias (Ooky), had an experience which was probably typical for Ashok, but was a series of shocks for Elias. The first shock was when he called Rabobank to ask Ashok for an appointment to discuss a vague software service - Ashok answered the phone himself! The 2nd shock was when Ashok readily agreed to the date and time requested. The third was to be ushered in immediately into Ashok's office and find that Ashok's desk was totally innocent of any paper or files. The fourth shock was when Ashok gave his undivided attention for the next hour and a half, and the only interruption during all that time was his secretary calling on the intercom to ask if she should serve tea! A truly unique experience for Elias, but normal for Ashok, and one that defined Ashok - the consummate Manager.

(Ed:: Ashok and I were never profeessionally involved, although he knew what I was doing and I knew what he was doing. We kept our professional lives totally separate, so I did not have the experience of Elias as included in this piece. However, I had the same experience when I visited him, as a friend, at his offices in New Delhi, Calcutta and Bombay, I am not surprised how he treated a friend who came on a business visit.)

These same skills in human relations were tested severely during his 3-year stint as President of the Bombay Gymkhana. It was a period of turmoil when several controversies had to be resolved, including the landmark gender conflict. Ashok handled all of them with his usual calmness and quiet diplomacy. At the end of his tenure there was almost universal regret that the 3-year term could not be extended indefinitely.

Ashok liked challenges, especially challenges that kept him mentally alive. When we met him during his time with ABN Amro at Singapore, we were taken aback to hear him say that he was bored with his assignment because it had become routine and there was no challenge left. He had already turned down a posting to Australia and had decided to return to India simply because that's where he reckoned the excitement was. It was hard to believe that he was willing to give up his great life-style in Singapore to return to Bombay. But, as usual, Ashok had worked it all out and knew exactly where he was going professionally. The successful stint with Rabo followed and just when we thought that Ashok was surely at the zenith of his career, he once again surprised us by mentioning casually, over a beer on a Sunday morning, that he was going to start his own bank. He must have seen the look of incredulity on our faces. So he worked out the numbers on a napkin to show us how the venture could not fail and how it would be profitable in its very first year of operation. And thet's exactly how it turned out to be.

Surely the spectacular success of Yes Bank has been the crowning glory of Ashok's career - the one that has defined it.

Three 59er Palmerites, Ashok, Trevor Newnes and Viney Sethi
at the last 59er Mini Reunion (2007) which was graciously hosted by Madhu and Ashok.

Sadly Ashok's golden years were cruelly cut short by a senseless act of violence. The terrorists bullets have robbed Ashok of the chance of watching his grandchildren growing up, playing with them, touring the world with Madhu, playing bridge in the evenings, and his usual high standard of badminton with the same set of friends with whom he has been playing for the last 30-odd years.

Ashok may have been cruelly robbed of his golden years but nothing can ever take away his legacy. Ashok, in his heavenly abode, can be happy in the knowledge that his family is well provided for, the institutions that he has served with and helped grow are all healthy and thriving, and all his affairs are in good order .

Dear Ashok, you touched many, many lives during your lifetime, and you left all of them enriched. Thorough gentleman and dearest friend, may you rest in peace always.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

April 16th in Mumbai

I have been informed that there will be a get together of Cathedralites in Mumbai on April 16th 2009.

This is the message I received from the Alymni Association.

Cathedral Webmaster
4 April 2009 22:17

On Thursday April 16th, between 8 p.m. and 11 p.m., we hope to have a really fun evening and a great turnout at 'Magic', opposite Nehru Centre, (Next to Vitesse) Worli, Mumbai.

Food and drink at a 30 percent discount, but more importantly the old school camraderie for free. Be there and bring your alumni friends.

Shyla Boga Patel & Viral Doshi
Cathedral & John Connon Alumni Association

I hope as many of you will attend. Send me the pictures from the event and also information about this Night Club. Comments on prices, decor, food and snacks variety and quality, sound system and music, privacy, etc. would also be most welcome.

Have a great time folks and thinks of us out here who are not able to attend!