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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 Billboard music of 80s

Thanks to my cousin, Pranav for sharing this brilliant compilation. Has all hit songs of the 80s that we grew up with. These songs bring back so many memories as we heard them during the college days. The fad then faded away as the music scene changed but these songs still remain in memory.

Another channel to listen to is which I am hooked on to on Sundays when I am not listening to Kishore Kumar / R D Burman. Do give it a shot too.

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friends-memoriesJune 26, 2013 is what it is today….. Circa 1983, 30 years ago, when I left school and entered Junior college (Ruia college). Those were the days. Never realised that you forge friendships at the age of 16 – 19. And ditto for habits. So you could have picked up right or wrong friendships, habits. Am I glad I made the right choice then. Handful of my friends honestly and I know they are not the kinds to even read this except for one. But last Sunday was a pleasant visit of a friend’s Mama who had been to his house and he had back a gift, a watch for me. 30 years ago at the Ruia orientation, he and me got talking thanks to phosphorescence and the watch glowing in the dark. That got us started and honestly time doesn’t come in the way. We still talk like idiots, nonsensical blabbering, cuss words, you name it and it continues as is. I was telling my nephew last week as he embarks on the beaten path at Ruia soon, that these years are formative years of your friendship so make sure you make make the right choice.

Circa 1998….. This is the day Rincon India Solutions Pvt. Ltd. came into being….. So Rincon is 15 years old (as Shirishbhai corrected me not old but young) today. So many people met along the way, such a brilliant team, so many friends made, so many different journeys (including a visit to Buenos Aires via Sao Paolo!). Newer things learnt, greyed, wisened, received bouquets, brickbats …. A memorable journey indeed.

As I sit back and look back at life, I must teach Kavya to make good and long lasting friendships and enjoy this journey called life.

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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.

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I learnt a lot when Kavya started going to school…..

Kavya moved out from my school, DPYA to Shishuvan at the beginning of this academic year. Yes I have blogged about this in the past too but what I want to admit openly is what I have learnt from this transition. In DPYA, they had a class leader by election (which was quite a farce I think now just like the general elections in India:-) and I was the class leader almost throughout the years. I must admit to all batchmates that this was wrong and I guess I was part of this system and so was guilty as well. Shishuvan has a concept of the class leader by rotation so every week they have a new leader and every child is happy. Point learned when 2 weeks ago Kavya was the class leader and she was hyper excited about it. Even Robin Sharma has mentioned about what he learned from his child about leadership at school. Interesting that Shishuvan also follows something similar.

The next point is a burning point which kind of added fuel to hasten our decision in the move. Kavya is good at dancing and she goes to Shiamak Davar too and has performed on stage. DPYA has their annual day and kids are called up on stage to perform for which there is a lot of practice. Last year she came home and cried her heart out just because she was not selected for the annual day and the same set as the previous year was blindly taken in. While we did explain to her it was not necessary that she got selected, I was in my heart recalling what my friends would have felt for those years of school. Guys my apologies to each one of you. I admit I was wrong. I am told that at Shishuvan every student is made to perform on the stage during their annual day. As any other parent, I am looking forward to seeing Kavya beaming as she announces she is part of the Annual Day.

To all my DPYA friends, my apologies go out to each one of you. It took me quite a lot of time to realise how wrong I was. And yes my daughter played an instrumental role in making me realise this.


Kavya and Papa reminiscing

Last night, Kavya and me were looking at pictures and video clips of her as a baby and the progression gradually. I must admit it was a treat reminiscing and she was always asking ‘was I able to talk this day?’. Those of you with young children please take in as many pictures and videos as possible. I am sure you will relish those moments as you relive them. Kavya and me just did.


Revisit to my school after 27 years

This morning I went to the school (referring to it as the School as it is Kavya’s as well as mine) to collect her Sr. KG Progress Report. It was a journey back in time. 1983 was when I appeared for my SSC and thus left the school and here I was walking up the stairs and entering the class room on the 3rd floor after 27 long years. Her report was to be collected from her Sr. KG Class room and that happened to be my class room when I was in the 3rd standard when Mrs. Periera was our class teacher. I remember she had once got some foreign body in one of her eyes and so was covered in one eye. She had to go to the doctor and so I was in charge of the class and was asked to read out aloud some story or such. And the last few words of sentence were: and they lived in peace and I had said and they lived in a peace. Mrs. Pereira had entered by then from the back of the class room and she corrected me. That particular scene flashed before my eyes today as I was standing in the same class. Nothing has changed in the school except that it is much much hotter now than in those times. As I walked out of MY classroom, I saw diagonally opposite my classroom of the 4th standard when Ms. Iyer was our class teacher while Mrs. Rodrigues was for the other division. So many memories today. What a wonderful life it was in those days of yore.