Memories of a friend who moved on….

memoriesLife – So uncertain, full of twists and turns. Friday, January 22, 2016 in the morning, I got the news on the school group of the demise of a school mate, Ameesh. Shocked was I? Not really even if we are just 48. We knew he was battling lung cancer and doctors had given up. But reality hits you like a ton of bricks. Suddenly you realise that he is gone. The void is never going to be filled up. All this while we knew that he was fighting valiantly against this nasty disease but now it is all over.

All those school memories flash before your eyes. Even if we may not have been the thickest of pals, each of us of the 1983 batch had something to share with each other. And now suddenly, you know that death is lurking right behind each one of us.

But let us remember the good times we spent with Ameesh. I remember we shared the same bench during the 4th or the 5th standard and he used to call me Ladu Singh Taxiwala after a television character then enacted by Paintal. During those days, his Dad would come in his Fiat and pick up my books for him to copy and return. His Dad would always return the books with a chocolate. My introduction to THE hottest magazine in school in the 10th was thanks to him. We had been to see him a couple of years ago too. But now it is all over.

Yesterday was his prayer meeting and I had watched “Chhello Divas” too yesterday, a movie all about friendship and life in those days when we were young. Suddenly you feel like going out and hugging all your friends and telling them “let us all get together. Who knows when next I will see you all.” February 12th is the plan tentatively for the 1983 batch meeting. I do hope to meet as many of us as possible. Kya pata Kal ho na ho.

RIP Ameesh. We will miss you.

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The Brit White Behaviour

These are musings of a DPYA mate who is currently travelling in the UK. She sent it on mail to me as her ramblings but I thought of blogging it for posterity. No offence meant to any of my Parsi or Brit friends:-) All in jest.

The Brit White Behaviour:

  1. Their behaviour reminds me of the PARSIS in Mumbai, India. How they generally pass themselves off as EUROPEANS of INDIA / SOUTH ASIA . The funny thing about PARSIS in the UK is that neither can they identify themselves as WHITES nor do they have the riches that INDIANS or ARABS or the ORIENTS seem to have. Finally, they contend themselves as being ‘KURDS’. But no sooner do they do that, than the MIDDLE-EAST like situation seems to erupt (you know, The Lebanese/Turks/Iraqis, etc crying for the infidels blood, etc.) once again.
  2. The MEN -> Besides displaying their BEEF-CAKE like bodies are not aware that they are also carrying empty upper-storeys (less or no IQs).
  3. WOMEN -> The women are perennially under-dressed (be it any season of the year) and then they complain of sexual harassment in schools, colleges, offices, public transport, etc..Does it never occur to these daft maidens that it is they who are soliciting such behavior and men really are not at fault here ?
  4. The BRIT WHITES (like the PARSIS of INDIA) show disdain for COLOURED INDIVIDUALS, etc and consider themselves to be GOD’s GIFTS to MANKIND.
  5. Now that other cultures (Blacks, Browns, Hispanics, Orients, etc..) have begun to assert themselves and their cultures, these WHITE BRITS are a little taken aback. Just what exactly are they good at?
  • MANUFACTURING->No, can’t be that because everything in UK is practically manufactured in China/India/anywhere else but the UK.
  • ECONOMIC POWER-HOUSES->Can’t be because every other nation seems richer in comparison to UK.
  • SPORTS->Can’t be because the BLACKS and CHINA have taken over.
  • IQ-Not exactly because ASIANS, specially INDIANS will any day beat them when it comes to MENTAL OLYMPICS.
  • What else but their blindingly corpse-like white skin ? Imagine their amazement when people from other cultures seem to be comfortable with their own skin color and really don’t look upto their white skin or white cultures.

Much amused

PS: Talking of white skin, did you know that there are JAPANESE (who stay close to the RUSSIAN border) who are whiter than the WHITES?

Kavya’s Annual Sports Day – 2014

Sports DayThe Annual Sports Day at Shishuvan – Kavya had to report at 0640 so the entire household was working in tandem to wake her up and then ensure she is pushed out of the house on time:-) I too was challenged today as went to bed quite late but was categorically informed by her last night that I had to be present as I had never attended her previous sports days (Why? Search me – Maybe traveling – a very convenient excuse to feign)

I reached at 0705 when they had just begun. Nice weather and the setup looked nice. Reminded me of the Sports days we had at DPYA at St. Xavier’s ground in Parel all these years. Checked in on the phone and as expected got a response from Prasanna about memories of those days. And another friend, Atul confirmed that he attended his son’s sports day last year at St. Xavier’s. Good old DPYA…. Nothing has changed except that the gang of 1983 is out in the open world now:-)

Coming back to the day today – what struck me is the march past. Kavya was one of the two flag bearers for her class. I spoke to one of the teachers there on how every class has a different design. She informed me that they had divided every class into different groups and each group came up with their own design after which the entire class voted for the best design. The selected one became the flag for the class on the Sports Day and the kids then all got together and made the flag in the Art Class. Impressive! Democratic process plus a chance for the group to express their rationale on designing what they did and why. So the children learnt (hard) selling their ideas too. Gearing up to pitch to potential investors in the future? Who knows…..

Another concept that I loved about the school is the chance for all to participate on the Annual Day (something that I had conveniently forgotten when at DPYA and bragged on stage always – apologies to my batchmates yet again). For the Sports Day also, they had the same principle and all the children participated. When I asked Kavya why some other person was not chosen as the flag bearer, she told me that he had done that role earlier. Impressive. Inculcate the leadership instinct in every child and make him / her feel special.

The games weren’t the usual 4*100 metres or such but consisted of fun games but which needed concentration and skill and they performed as a team. Honestly the games reminded me of Tele match that we had on TV during the black and white days. Fun yes but surely needed skills.

The announcements made by the Emcee/s pertained to the skills needed to perform in the respective game. Another notable thing was that children from the different classes read out parts of the speech which contained something that they had learnt. As a toastmaster (who has just given his first speech), realised that every child was playing a different role and was trying to excel in whatever they did however big or small, however visible or not.

I never knew the school had a band of their own (I thought that DPYA was the only one honestly and had then found the idea ridiculous). Having been for R D Burman’s events recently, realised that their band had a lot of focus on the brass section a la Kishore Soda and the children played it with aplomb. Of course they were from the senior section but kudos to them for doing so well.

Different themes they had like Kavya’s class did the Dandi March, the 4th standard children had lezim depicting the monsoons etc. Towards the end, some 50 parents also participated. After which the teachers participated.

All in all had a great time there and learnt first hand that every child is a leader – whether an R D Burman or an extempore speaker or an Olympic sprinter, only time will tell.

Photos uploaded here

Cycling – A week past – Findings

fat-cyclist

I am enthused by my new-found love for cycling. For the past week I have been using it off and on and let me tell you every ride has memories of one form or the other.

Day 1, Saturday March 30, 2013 I went to Hanumanji Temple in Wadala and 5 gardens. A trip to 5 gardens always brings back my educational years – first to pass is Ruia College where I did my XI and XII. Then comes my school, DPYA where I spent my formative years right from Nursery to X. Then further down is VJTI where I did my Engineering so nostalgia is all around.

Day 2, Sunday March 31, 2013 I went to Siddhivinayak Temple which was the farthest I had travelled on my maroon BSA SLR bicycle and from there went to Mahim, passed by the office building and came back home.

Day 3, Friday April 5, 2013 Started from home not knowing where to go so got on to the main road at 0645 and rode on. Reached the Byculla zoo and then turned back. Must admit I was impressed by myself. Wrote on Facebook and was enthused by the Likes and messages from one and all.

Day 4, Saturday April 6, 2013 This was probably a hectic day. Morning 90 minutes of yoga. After that was all set to cycle to office as everyone wanted proof of my having cycled. Went in shorts but admit the traffic was bad. Return journey started at 1400 and it was terrible as the sun was shining mercilessly and the humidity was phenomenal. 1500 to 1600 Swimming coaching (Still don’t know free-style but am learning in all earnestness). Came home and went to meet an ailing school friend at Bhandup. Post dinner at 2215 went for a walk with my better half to Dadar. Came home and slept like a baby:-)

Day 5, Sunday April 7, 2013 After yesterday I was banking on a friend to accompany me for early morning cycling today but he dropped out at 11 pm last night so woke up at 0630 only. Left at 0745 and decided to drive to Priyadarshini building along the Eastern Express Highway and then via Bhakti Park, came home. On the way went up St. Joseph’s slope which during school days was always a challenge.

Takeaways from all these escapades – Please do not avoid a helmet at any cost. Traffic sucks. Early morning the number of cars maybe less but at that time no one pays heed to traffic signals or traffic rules of any sort. “Cycle to the left of the road” – This is what Mrs. Pereira had taught us in Standard III but look at the left of the road and you realise that is the most unkept side of the road. Even the smallest stone makes your bottom go up in the air and thud you come crashing back down on the seat. With a bottom like mine, IT HURTS! Watch out. Don’t expect any car, bus or truck driver to show any respect for you. They are ruthless. While crossing major roads, I have walked across. Can’t take on these mighty vehicles. So better to be safe than sorry. Eyes – Please protect your eyes with some form of glasses. I forgot my spectacles today and went on without them (I have a miniscule number so doesn’t matter) but when going down a slope you need to be extremely careful. Hydrate yourselves – I have been advised by all my cycling friends (rather gurus) to keep myself well hydrated. My 31-year-old habit of 1.2 litres of water first thing in the morning helps me there as I have enough supply of water in my body but will sooner or later need to carry a bottle as the temperatures rise.

Every road taken has brought me memories of one form or another so while I cycle my mind is wandering into the past. Enjoy the ride.

5th September – Teacher’s Day, A day to go back in time.

No this image is nothing with Kavya or me going back to school:-) Just that it being Teachers’ Day, I wanted to go back in time and thank all my teachers. I have lost touch with most of them but their memories are forever etched in your mind as they have been responsible for my formative years early in life. I studied at Dadar Parsee Youths Assembly High School (DPYA for short though the acronym was converted a few years ago to Daaru piyela yeda aadmi by one of my nieces) located at 5 gardens in Matunga / Dadar. School is where I learnt the first alphabet, learnt to speak for myself, learnt English as a language that I am proficient at (well me thinks so at least:-))), learnt to enjoy life and made so many friends along the way. So let me go back in time, back to school way back in the early 70s

I started school in Nursery, then Lower Kindergarten (KG) and then came Senior KG. My earliest memory is my teacher from Sr. KG, Miss Panthaky. She was a strict lady who instilled the roots of discipline. I remember once having gone swimming to Otters and reached school a little late. So when I entered the class, she asked me why are you late? I sheepishly had replied then “I had gone to the swimming pool”. She shot back “Then stay in the swimming pool” Lesson learnt – No one waits for you if you are late. Get in on time.

Standard 1 was when we had Mrs. Dias as our teacher. She was a short lady but was strict too. Once I remember during the short break, I was knocked down by one of the those playful seniors and was hurt on the head. I went to her not knowing how to say that I was feeling like throwing up. But she understood what I was saying and took preventive action. Also once I remember calling her Mummy in class and every one laughed but she was kind enough to say that she was like a mother to all of us in school. I felt good that she did not reprimand me for that:-)

Standard 2 we had a teacher by the name of Miss Bobbinmaker whose Mother (the grand old lady taught me French in the XII) was in the administration department of the school, was our teacher. She was a very sweet teacher and gave us stars in our book for neatness, not over writing etc. After a certain number of stars were collected, we were given a gift like a snack box or such. Small things but they meant a lot. Taught me to keep my handwriting steady and avoid mistakes. She left towards the middle of the second term and came in Miss Elavia who later on married Meenu, our Head Accountant in school and became Mrs. Dubash. There was also this lady who taught us Hindi & Marathi whose name I don’t recall but she was to be addressed as Didi in class. She was a comical characters but her classes were fun always.

Standard 3 is a year I won’t forget. Mrs. Carmen Pereira was my teacher and she was one brilliant individual too. Precise in her English and she taught us the basics of grammar. Hats off to that lady who really taught us well. By then we had two divisions and we had Mrs. Fernandes in the next class who ruled the class with an iron hand. But Mrs. Pereira is someone I still can’t forget. Years later when I went for Kavya’s admission, I asked for her and was told that she retired years ago. Ma’am wherever you are, I hope you are hale and hearty. Would love to meet you after all these years and thank you for all that you taught me.

Standard 4 we had Miss Iyer who was weird. I always thought she was partial to the girls:-) But we had Mrs. Rodrigues in the next division. She was an excellent teacher I felt especially since she was very fluent in her English.

Standard 5 – we had Mr. M. Pathak who taught us Hindi but was the class teacher. We had teachers for different subjects. I think that is when Mrs. Miranda became our Maths and Science Teacher. She was very precise in her explanation of geometrical concepts and I owe it to her. She continued to be with us in Standard 6 too.

Standard 6 – We had Mrs. Desai (nee Agaskar) as our Marathi cum class teacher. I remember once Sanjay Madiyar had got some bottle of perfume or was it some eau de toilette in the class and during her class I pushed the button twice. The fragrance naturally spread and she turned back angrily asking who had done this. I did not have the guts to stand up and own up my mistake. And my friend Umesh, another known prankster was banished out of the class. Sorry Umesh for that. Mrs. Lala taught us English and her son Noshir was a couple of years ahead of us.

Standard 7 – Mrs. Gopa Chakravarty was our class teacher and she taught us History with Miss Babsy Hansotia teaching us English. Ms. Hansotia introduced us to Wren and Martin for Grammar and I still consider it the bible for English Grammar. Mrs. Chakravarty suffered from a fracture and to our good luck she went to our classmate, Sanjay Shah’s Dad and so next day when Sanjay told us, it was absolute rejoicing in school expecting a long break but it was short-lived. We had a substitute by the name of Mrs. Dave who we made sure had a tough time with us. Poor lady just couldn’t control a rowdy lot like ours. Mahesh Khanna had the distinction of putting his finger through her Afro like hair much to the uproar in class as Mrs. Dave did not realise a thing. BTW, Mrs. Chakravarty has passed away.

Standard 8 – Now we were in the morning shift. Mrs. Rege who also taught us Marathi (and later on a ridiculous subject called “Bread and Biscuits” in the 9th) was our class teacher. In came Mr. Khilji who taught us Physics, Chemistry and Biology as well as Algebra and Geometry. Foundations were strengthened once again. I remember the definition of density which he tried to explain so many times to me. “Mass per unit volume of a substance” is something I still remember but did not comprehend it then.

Standard 9 – The dreaded year at DPYA not for studies but for the high handed, tyrannical R Pathak (notice no Mr. mentioned as we have no respect for him till date). French started and a very old and fragile lady taught us. She just couldn’t do anything as people mocked around in her class (Once remember someone opening a huge umbrella inside her class room). We were getting rowdier. R Pathak continued with his tyranny and Rajiv Shinde was his favourite punching bag as he would smile shamelessly while R Pathak punched him and this would irk him further so he would rain blows on him and this guy would keep smiling. Mr. T Pathak, a teacher whom I still revere as my guru was the Head Master then. We had Mrs. Mehta as our class teacher and she truly was a very very nice lady. She taught us the nuances of English grammar and was extremely gentle with all of us. She truly commanded respect by her behaviour. Don’t think we were ever out of hand in her class.

Standard 10 – A year which is crucial to all of us in India. Mr. T Pathak and Mr. Khilji taught us Maths and Science. Miss Wadia who was our Principal taught us History and she made a hash of it honestly. We had our naughty times in the Xth honestly as all of us were attending some form of coaching or another so school was more of time pass. But at the end of it when I sit back and look back at school life there was so much we learnt, so much we shared and so many friends we made. Thanks to all the teachers who made contribution in some form or the other to my life. Even R Pathak for having taught me what the word tyrant meant by demonstrating it all through out the 9th Standard. Could go on and on with one or the other episodes but this will get too boring. There are names that I forgot to mention:

  • Mr P Vyas who was referred to as Bull Dog and was known to collect that farcical Gandhi Fund after Assembly on every Friday after the Assembly.
  • Late Mr. R Vyas who taught us Hindi in the Xth but would always be remembered for singing on stage during the Assembly
  • Mrs. Kapadia popularly known as Dolly because of her size who taught us music and used to hit us with a very very think dandia akin to a thick rolling-pin. Who could forget us making a hue and cry in her class when Mr. P Vyas came from behind and spanked Bhavesh Mehta suddenly. Poor Bhavesh was caught unawares and was so shocked that he peed in his pants. We still recall that vividly during our re unions.
  • Mr. R Shah who taught us Art and Craft in the middle section. He was a hard core follower of the then Janata Party.
  • Mr. Parulekar who taught us Art and Craft in the Primary section
  • Anand Shabajee from Mauritius, studying at Ruia College and who taught us French in the 10th. His duster flung at Adil hit Hiten Thakkar on his nose and he bled profusely. Hiten still recalls Adil’s ducking the duster and he being caught unaware.
  • Thanks to Peterasp for bringing to mind these names – Mrs. Bharucha whom I haven’t seen in years now. Don’t know if she still lives at the same place.
  • Another notable mention thanks to Peterasp would be Mrs. Daruwalla who would sign in a simple manner:-) And she used to hit on the knuckles as both of us reminisced a while ago on Facebook.
  • Some more names that come to mind are Mr. Hodiwala, our Principal. I always remember his speeches during Assembly and most notably his words “Never forget the school that brought you up”. Also whenever we enacted a play or such on school, he would always pull us up loudly “Never show your back to the audience”.
  • Then Mr. Nadkarni who was the Head Master. Awesome English teacher who admonished me for having used the word created against committed in a sentence. Not forgotten that till date.
  • Mrs. Usha Paropkari who taught us geography in 6th standard.

If any of school mates want to add to this list please free to comment and I will add it here.

Childhood memories of Delhi

Am in Delhi as I write this post. Yesterday I passed by the Red Fort in Old Delhi and saw that people still sell water in this age of bottled Bisleri, Kinley, Aquafina and the ilk. Not my point for this post.

I took this picture using the phone and was taken back in time some 37 years back in 1976 when I had come to Delhi as part of the school trip to Kashmir. It was a 21 day trip for a princely 500 Rs. or so!!! Covered Mathura, Agra, Delhi, Srinagar, Pathankot, Delhi again and back. All by train and by second class. I wonder how but then in those days ACs were a luxury and this was a school trip. Remember having met the then Prime Minister Mr. Morarji Desai and a group picture with him is something I still have. Had met Mr. Atal Bihari Vyajpayee who was then the Railway Minister. This water dispensing unit was there even then and it still exists. Water then was sold for 5 paise or maybe 10 paise and now it is a Rupee as mentioned. Remember Delhi was sweltering even then (maybe lesser than now) and at night we had gone to watch a movie, Chacha Bhatija starring Randhir Kapoor & Dharmendra at some Air Conditioned theatre in CP area.

Delhi hasn’t changed much should I say?

Kavya’s first Annual Day at Shishuvan


Thursday 9th February was the much awaited Annual Day at Shishuvan for Standard I. It was held at Mysore Association Hall on Bhaudaji Road. It started at 1530 and went on till about 1715 but it was fun to see ALL yes ALL the children perform on stage. The theme was about stories that they had read around the things they had learnt. Much of it was to do with animals. Kavya was the face of the elephant and 4 other children were with her as the body of the elephant. So far she had only danced on stage as part of the Shiamak Davar’s performances but this time she had to speak in front of a much smaller audience. And she spoke clearly and loudly. The story about the Town Mouse and the Country Mouse was enacted very well and the audience participation in that was good too which I am sure encouraged the children too.

My takeaway from the show was that since all the children were on stage, it was an equal chance given to one and all of them which was very nice. Every child is unique no doubt but when on stage they were all the same which was very nice. Last year she had cried when she was not selected for the Annual Day at DPYA and it had hurt us a lot then but life turns a full circle and she was on stage along with every one else and did well. Proud of you. Thank you Shishuvan.