59er Golden Reunion Directory

59er Golden Reunion Directory
59er Golden Reunion Directory

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Founders' Day Church Service

Even with the traffic rush, we managed to reach the Cathedral Church by 16:45.

Our Class photograph session was in progress. This year it was different from previous years where the sessions have been conducted in the school premises with chairs, banners, etc.

I do not know what photographs were taken, but no doubt they will reach me soon. I posed for many.

Then it was inside the church, where there were several rows reserved for us 59ers and we there in full force.

I have never attended a Founders' Day Service ever since I left school but have had many moving descriptions of it. It lived up to my expectations.

Principal Mrs. Merea Isaacs, in her welcome address did mention that previous staff had come from various parts of India, but no one had told her that William Shiri and his wife, Pushpa, had come all the way from Canada and Richard Smith (corrected after Comment) from England. John Billington could not stay for the service, but had attended several of our 59er functions, and he too had come from England. Joe D'Souza in his frail condition, had come from Goa!

We 59ers did get a special mention in her speech as we were celebrating our Golden Reunion.

The Church Service was wonderful. It ended with the rip roaring shout that we as a school are famous for.

The exit from the church was slow and the blistering breathless heat was taking a toll on many. As I headed to the snacks section, Annikki decided that she could not stand the heat. So we left directly.

I will blog the next episode after the Alumni dinner dance at the Blue Sea on Worli Sea Face which starts in about half an hour. Knowing Mumbai time, will it be an hour or two away?

Some pictures from Hasnain

Hasnain has been filling me with some photographs of various reunion events. I am sharing a few with you. 64er Rajiv Ved also submitted a nice picture of me with a couple of dear 64er friends at the "Evening with the Findians".

Ooky, Ratan, Vijay, Frainy (Percy's wife), Armeane, Vikram (Kamdar),
Percy, Naubir and Hasnain kneeling.

Asha, Harmo (Rani), Piloo, Renuka, Parvin, Frahana, Gita and Seeta

Sheryn and Anjula are standing at the back.

John, Armeane, Naubir, Ramesh

Presley brothers - 59ers Shivi and Vicky

Me, and two 64ers, captured by another 64er - Rajiv Ved.

Great pictures - Hasnian and Rajiv. Thanks

What is the mathematical chance of this?

Mumbai is an ENORMOUS City with thousands and thousands of taxis.

I have not been here for 10 years. I found Mumbai taxis to be cheap and efficient.

What are the chances that a taxi driver will pull up on the road, with passengers in the back seat, get out and greet you?

That happened this morning? I felt deeply touched by his actions.

Incredible India, but I have taken note of Ubi's warning - go only where you intend to go in a taxi, never take anything edible from a taxi driver .


Yesterday, for Annikki and me, was a historic one. It was a day that we had worked for for 13 years, ever since I had heard of the passing away of my dear friend and classmate, the late Bala Parasuraman.

The day was one I took easily. 59er Geeta Simoes saw me sitting on the lawn in front of her home and shouted out for me to come in. I declined, so she sent out for water for me on a sweltering day. I was waiting for the decorators to arrive, but it was also time for me to silently contemplate what lay ahead. For over an hour I sat and thought about what I have been striving for, and that it was just a few hours away. The positives and the many negatives streamed through my thoughts. (Thank you Gita for giving us such a beautiful location to host our evening.)

The wonderful support and help of Malathi, over the many months of planning, were foremost in my mind. Even with her busy schedule at work, she was there to help me through these last hours. How can Annikki and I repay this wonderful lady, who through her own work (the way she cared for a young man with no arms and legs in Finland) and that of her husband, Ashok Khembhavi, "the Doctor of Dharavi" make me feel so inadequate?

I went and did some shopping soon after the decorators arrived. I then went home and took Annikki out shopping, just to get the event out of my mind. On our way back we stopped at the roof garden.

I was humbled at the ingenuity of Abhijit and his crew. The ground was too soft to take the load of the chairs. When you sat on one, it sank backwards into the ground and you would topple off. They had the brilliant idea of taking two short pieces of bamboo and tying them under the back legs, distributing the load and preventing the sinking and toppling.

Such genius can only be found in India - this Incredible India!

The florists and the electricians were busy at work. The place was taking a different shape. It was already 15:30 and I was nervous whether they would finish in time. The caterers had arrived and they too were busy.

We returned home. After a shower, I decided that I would not wear the traditional Kerala gear but the more North Indian one. I dressed and was at the site by 17:00 hours. I noted that a huge traffic snarl up was possibly going to occur.

The next couple of hours were hectic as I had to get my Mini Mac working and at the same time I had to answer hundreds of calls from people wanting to know a a multitude things. Abhijit's team were simply wonderful as they did not panic through each major hurdle, showing the experience and competence on every front of organizing an event of this magnitude.

By 18:30, the time I had chosen for us to begin, we were ready to receive the guests except for some things on which I depended on others. But they called and reassured me that they were on their way.

The three ladies who were our hostesses arrived. I took the first sip of our welcome drink - the Coconut Juice served in the Coconut Shell. It was a brilliant thought as it not only set the trend for the evening ahead but it also saved the caterer the job of cutting up all those coconuts and pouring out the juice into glasses! Thank you, Abhijit, for this stupendous idea.

The guests started arriving, slowly, all recounting that the traffic chaos in Mumbai and around was in a stalemate position. But I knew even the latecomers would be in time for the dinner!

Malathi brought me the mundu (dhoti) and I rushed into Geeta's apartment and changed. I looked somewhat like a Malayalee, but I am sure most Malayalees would have thought I was an insult - and I held up my mundu WITHOUT a belt!!

It is hard to say what was the best part of this event, as I enjoyed every minute of it. When I released the book, the Coffee Table publication that Annikki and I had strived to be a fore-runner for other reunions, I was tongue tied for several minutes. My usually nonchalant extempore approach failed me. Several times I had to resort to looking at my notes.

The music of Sibelius and the video clips from Finland through all the seasons, showing the wonderful country that Annikki and I have lived in for 25 years played in the background. I did not let it superimpose itself on the event, as that was not the reason that these people were here. They were here to meet and talk to others.

Slowly the tables were filled and the noise of the chatter was like happy music to me.

The food was served and the very mention of freshly cooked appams had everyone on their feet. Even the late arrivals did not spend much time at the bar - the food was of a quality that matched that of our maestro from Kottayam, the 75 year old wizard, Vasu.

The outstanding preparation was the Pineapple Pachadi, a creation of Abhijit, but it was not the only dish that drew comments from the gathering. They simply loved the food and every single person who attended came up to both Annikki and me and thanked us for opening up the splendour of the Kerala cuisine. (When I had gone to the tasting session where Abhijit had preparaed a spread of over 30 items, the mouthwatering Prawn Starter and the Pineapple Pachidi stood out by a mile, both original creations of Abhijit - and they proved to be the hits of the evening. My intuition and Abhijit did not fail me!)

My heart and soul thanked Malathi and Abhijit and their staff for what was a culinary delight in a surroundings of fairy and Chinese lights, a memory that Annikki and I will treasure all our lives.

I am sorry I cannot post any pictures, as being the host I did not have time to be behind my camera lens. But it has been recorded for posterity on the Class DVD and I did note that my eyes to the world, Hasnain, was busy behind his lens! Chinnie, what would I do without you?

Slowly, as planned, we drew the event to a close by 23:00 hours.

I missed all my classmates who had not been able to attend. I missed all my friends who had not been able to come. I missed my relatives who also had not been able to come. That was my failure.

As Malathi, Annikki and I sat down after the event when all our friends had left, we agreed that 90% of our objectives had been achieved - and both of them were happy. I was sad. Above all, I missed my dearest of friends, Ashok Kapur, and my greatest mentor, 56er Harminder Uberoi (Ubi) who had fallen ill and could not attend.

Friendships have been cemented. Long lost friends found, and new friendships made. Names on the internet have become faces to remember. They are now live persons with whom I can now relate as human beings and not as persons@anywhere.com!

Above all, I would like to thank my three cousin brothers, Rajen, Thambi and Chacko, who have made this trip to India a reality beyond all our dreams. Without them behind me, their tremendous love and care for Annikki and me, all this would have remained just a dream. They way they have taken all their publications to be brand leaders in their categories - the Malayala Manorama, The WEEK, Vanitha, Balrama, the Manorama Year Book, just shows the power of positive thinking and the power of love and affection. Annikki and I owe them an immense gratitude for whatever they have done for us.

But above all, thank you, everyone who attended, for a wonderful evening.

Now the stage is set for the Founders’ Day Church Service and the Alumni dinner. (I still have to buy a tie. Ubi has warned me not to go where taxi drivers take me - my foolishness.!!!)

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Reunions started

Those of you who are visiting this blog regularly should go to my main blog, Jacob's Blog, for my daily updates till the 15th of December.

This week our Golden Reunion is in progress and the news will be mainly Cathedralite oriented.

Thanks for being here.