Friday, 29 October 2010

President of India Speech on Cathedral Stamp Issue

Mumbai , October 27,2010 19:13 IST

Dear students, Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am very happy to be here to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Cathedral and John Connon School, and to release a commemorative postage stamp on this occasion. I convey my warm greetings to all teachers, students, alumni, staff, management and all those associated with this reputed educational institution. The school was pioneered and funded by a city philanthropist, barrister and editor, John Connon and posthumously, named after him. This school and the city of Mumbai through a Century and a half, have shared a history of remarkable growth. I wish the school many, many more years of success and excellence in the field of education.

Education is one of the most potent instruments for empowering a population, and therefore, rightly education is a priority sector for any nation. As has been famously said, without education one is like a ship without compass, with no way of knowing how near the harbour is. An effective education system is one that prepares the youth to navigate the journey of life meaningfully. Schools constitute the basic pillars of an education edifice of a nation. Hence, the stronger a system of school education, greater the prospects of progress of a country. Therefore, it is very necessary for schools to impart good education and make students understand the worthiness of discipline, integrity and doing their work with dedication.

As our country is developing and moving towards becoming one of the leading nations of the world, it would need in large measure, the energy, drive and contribution of its people. Every generation looks to its youth with expectation and hope. You are the new generation that can take India to its destiny of a developed nation and for this, I believe your holistic development must receive foremost attention.

Dear Students, the time that you spend in school, which are your formative years, is valuable. It is here, that your first friendships are formed and as you learn about sharing, you develop a sense of camaraderie. It is here, that the process of imparting knowledge begins, and children acquire skills and values, that will help them in fulfilling responsibilities towards families, society and the nation. You begin with learning alphabets and numbers and through the years in school, get an understanding about a range of subjects. By the time you leave school you are ready to look at options for your future career. Hence, you must use your time in school to learn as much as possible. You should develop a habit of reading, not only textbooks, but also newspapers and literature.

India is a storehouse of knowledge. I would encourage you to learn about the diversity of our country in culture, languages, customs, ethos and traditions. It is this richness and multiplicity, which makes India a unique and a great nation of the world. Moreover, we are a democratic nation, in fact the world's largest democratic nation. The students, representing the coming generation, must avoid narrow creeds and seek to build a path for the betterment of society.

Your objective should be to become intellectually competent and technically skilled - your talents are required by the nation. Young students and the youth of the country, therefore, must channelize their skills in developing balanced personalities with positive attitudes. You should participate in sports and other extra-curricular activities, as you are doing. Playing, as a member of a team, develops the ability to work with others to achieve targets and goals. It is sports that can teach you to put in your best and to accept both victory and defeat in the true spirit of a sportsperson.

Like our nation, we must also respect our planet Earth. Nature has been generous to us. Mountains, deserts, valleys, rivers, oceans and forests are important habitats that support ecosystems with diverse life forms. For example, forests host a wide range of fauna and flora, providing us a wide range of products and also giving green coverage. We should teach our children to respect nature for our own good. We must sensibly use its resources, work to conserve its rich flora and fauna, as well as adopt environment friendly approaches.

Teachers have a great responsibility as they create citizens of the future, conscious of their duties towards the nation, the planet and fellow human beings. You should encourage growth, foster a spirit of exploration and discovery, and construct a strong sense of integrity, compassion and generosity. I urge all the teachers present here to promote high moral and cultural values among our children.

I am told that the Cathedral and John Connon School has been promoting quality education with focus on the core values of integrity and responsibility. Its staff and its teachers have demonstrated deep dedication to the development of their students. Teachers must interact with the parents of the students. This dialogue on the various aspects of the welfare of the students, can contribute immensely to their improvement. I am glad that this school has a supportive Parent Teacher Association.

The Cathedral and John Connon School has since its inception worked to provide an atmosphere for academic excellence, as well as encourage sports and extra-curricular activities for promoting the overall development of its students. The reputation of any educational institutions is measured through the success and talent exhibited by its students and alumni. This school has been the alma mater of Industrialist JRD Tata - Bharat Ratna awardee and Scientist Dr. Homi Bhabha, men who have been among the distinguished citizens of this country. In addition, a number of alumni have rendered service to the nation and have achieved distinction in various fields. Students of the school have gone to many parts of the world and carried with them the values learnt in school of putting service before self and made their mark, ever conscious of lessons learnt here. I know some of the old boys of the school who were very keen to invite me here - Avinash Naik and Niranjan Naik are among them.

I conclude by conveying my good wishes, once again, to all - the Principal, Mrs. Meera Isaacs, who is the first lady principal of the school, the teachers, students, staff, management and all those associated with this great institution. I wish the school all success and hope it reaches Olympian heights.

Thank You. Jai Hind!

Thursday, 28 October 2010

An Undefiled Heritage

(click on image to enlarge)

Kudos to Munna for this massive effort! Books can be purchased for Rs. 3000/- from the School Bursar's Office after 15 Nov or from the Turf Club dinner on 13 Nov.

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Reunion Weekend Schedule

(click on photo to enlarge - Ranjit on top of the world!)

From the CATS Alumni:

Dear Cathedral Alumnus,

We are delighted to inform you that we now have all the information you need to have a marvelous 150th Founders’ Day week.

School Play – 9th and 10th November 2010: The School Play will be held at the Tata Theatre on November 9th and 10th. (No details as yet :(

Note: The play and Celebratory Dinner are being organized by the School (not the Alumni Association) and will post info as soon as we have more details about these events.

“Back to School” – 10th November 2010: To kick start this exciting week, the Alumni Association will have a fun-filled “social” at the Olive Bar and Kitchen at Mahalaxmi from 8.30 p.m. onwards. Olive is exclusively for us, but, of course, you can bring your partner or your old school flame. Entry is free and you pay for whatever you consume. The Opus Jukeboxers will bring you a ‘retro’ evening of over 400 hits, across genres and decades, on demand, performed live by some of the best voices around. All you need to do is find yourself a seat, order a drink, some food and request as many songs as you like.

Cricket Festival – 12th November 2010: The Alumni Association is organizing a seven- a-side cricket festival with the alumni and school at the Police Gymkhana, Marine Drive from six p.m. onwards. Contact Sanjay Shah, ’82, on 98210 15871 for registration. The evening will be full of cricket, music and great food. Bring your schoolmates and cheer your side.

Golf Tournament – 13th November 2010: A gala golf tournament is being organized at the Willingdon Club beginning at 8.00 a.m. on this Saturday morning. Plenty of prizes. Register early to avoid disappointment. For registration please click here or contact Akshay Kilachand ’87 at 9821027000.

Celebratory Dinner – 13th November 2010: The School is organizing a dinner marking the culmination of a year full of events to celebrate turning 150. This will be held at the Turf Club, Mahalaxmi, Enclosures 1 and 2, at 7 p.m. Donor passes and table bookings are available at the Senior School from October 26th, onwards between 10 a.m. and 2.30 p.m. We look forward to alumni from every corner of the globe joining us to celebrate this historic event. A coffee table book on the History of the School will also be launched that evening.

(NOTE: Those requiring tickets to the turf club dinner - which is Rs 3500 - please notify Mr. Rungta via email ASAP! For the out-of-towners, we are reserving a couple of tables).

Church Service – 14th November 2010: There will be an evening Church Service at St. Thomas’ Cathedral at 5.30 p.m. This will be followed by a high tea in the Senior School.

The idea of this e-mail is to inform you in advance so that you can plan your lives around these events.

We really look forward to seeing you at the above celebrations. Let’s make this 150th year, one to remember!

Please do visit the alumni website – for regular updates.

Shyla Boga Patel and Viral Doshi

P.S. Remember - the most important event for the Class of 1973 event is at BF :) It will rock!

Sunday, 24 October 2010

Tug-O-War '73

Friday, 22 October 2010

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Straight from the heart

Jo and Nimisha

What a wonderful trip this was to Mumbai - on day 2 I called Rupande and within an hour Rashmi, Rupande and I were at the Crossroads Coffee Shop, no small talk, just do you remember amongst giggles and laughter.

The following Sunday the Merchant of Singapore (Ronita's nom de plume for Rajeev) had remotely persuaded Vik Ahuja to host a lavish lunch where the out-of-towners - Rajeev, Nina and I were made to feel very welcome. Behram had us all in stitches with his fictional anecdotes. Rajeev was the envy of the guys with his 6-pack and constant messages from all his flames. Thanks again, Viks!

The following Saturday, my last day in Mumbai, was a continuation of the trip down memory lane. This time it was a Ladies Only Luncheon hosted by a very gracious Rashmi. There was a lot of rewinding to the seventies and then fast-forwarding to the present. The pics say it all...

Indira and Nimisha

Rashmi, Jo, Geetu

Nina and Rupande

Annahita and Nina

Rashmi, Nina, Divyaa

Tiku, Rupande, Geetu

Once again I toast all those who have been so active in getting this reunion going and keeping the momentum. Old friends - Ronita, Dhaval, Khurshid, Achinta, Rupande, Rashmi, Viks, Rajeev have come back into my life and I have also made new ones - Jo, Nina, Behram to name a few. We may have lost 37 years but definitely am not going to lose anymore!

My heart will be in Mumbai on the Mother of all Weekends.
Have a tequila shot on me...
- Nimisha

Saturday, 16 October 2010

XIB - Commerce

(click on photo to enlarge)

The Cathedral Commerce batch of 1973 was class XIB under the shrill charge of the famous “ Cuckoo “ as Mr. Pande our Hindi master was fondly known. Mr. Pande was both strict and caring and, more importantly, totally unconcerned about disciplinary breaches in other teachers’ periods… in short the perfect classmaster ! Dr. Nahni Davar, (the father of our class’ fastest writer, speaker and bowlers Darab) taught Accountancy while his sister Mrs. Madan was our commerce teacher. Both of them found our class a lot less receptive to knowledge than their students at Davar’s College.

Atmaram Narayana Rao , a maths wizard and thorough gentleman had the misfortune of teaching us Commercial arithmetic. We paid great attention to the nuances of his pronunciations especially in Geometry class where he said “yem” for “m”, “yen” for “n” and “voh” for “o”. GETOUUUT was his favourite chant to many of us who spent more time outside his class than in it!

Miss Hallegua tried her hardest to make us proficient in English language and literature but most of us were busier speaking English than learning it. You could say that we found Blake boring, Steinbeck somnambulant and Shakespeare stupefying!

Mrs. Karat taught geography as confidently as Goh Cheng Leong wrote about the subject, sadly her interpretation of this fascinating subject was somewhere between simplistic and fictional and none of us mastered it! Manu Daftary topped our class with a paltry 67% in geography, rumour has it that the secret of his modest success was a tutor from outside the school.

Our classroom adjoined the main hall and our class had a special affinity for our location. ‘ The Bomb Squad” originated in XIB, a team of ferociously committed boys who spent our early mornings before school setting up time-delayed fireworks which would explode on stage during the senior school assembly. It was a delight watching Mr. Newton, the vice principal leap in fear on stage as one of our Son et lumiere shows would bring the assembly to a halt, the pain of recent canings by him was pleasantly replaced by the joy of watching him quiver!

XIB’s main claim to fame was its large population of incredibly raucous, long haired, indisciplined boys: Neville Sethna, Sanjeev Rajwar, Sanjiv Agarwal, Adi Jehangir,( all co-incidentally Savageites!) Rustom Jejeebhoy, Bharat Sheth and yours truly were the main members of the cast. Strangely all these hooligans finished the ISC exam with 1st class results, which was more than could be said for some of our more studious brethren.

Umrigar, Ahuja and Ganguly were the male prefects of our class and out of necessity became expert “artful dodgers” who ensured that others were nabbed for their crimes.

We had just eight girls in our class:
- Anna Thomas the Throwball colossus and Palmer house captain
- Amrita Matthews who played basketball like Kobe Bryant but looked like Halle Berry
- Geeta Andhare, who was Mrs. Karat’s pet
- Anahita Engineer a gifted elocutionist and pianist
- Binaifer who was superb at accountancy
- Falguni of the Chimanlals stationery family fame
- Madhulika who I have heard married an Italian and
- Kavita Sayal who was easily the most cheerful of the lot.

What, I sometimes wonder, do we all remember about things we studied; Bank reconciliations, South West monsoons, Blake’s “Tiger”, thirty seven years after we first learnt about these things? Not a whole lot I am sure! Yet, I remember every name and every face of every classmate from 1973!

As Keats wrote in “Ode to Autumn” which we dissected and learnt backwards, our school-leaving year was truly a “season of mists and mellow fruitfulness".

- Behram Gamadia

Monday, 11 October 2010

Benefit Auction

School Benefit Auction & Dinner
Save the date: 22 Oct 2010
The Taj Mahal Palace and Tower

Drive in with one
drive out with two

A sparkle in your ear
a holiday is near

A souza on the wall
a jet at your call

Koffee with Bollywood
come and do some good!

Donor passes available at the senior school on 13 ands 14 Oct 2010. Limited seating.

Rangita Bhatnagar -
Nisha Khattau -
Ritu Jaggia -

Thursday, 7 October 2010

XI D Admaths

(click on photo to enlarge)

Room 32 was built specially for us. When Mr. Lewis was in one of his good moods, he used to admit that as we were a cut above the rest of the school, to prevent us being corrupted by them, we should be segregated. At other times he would say we'd been put there, so that he could hide our activities from the watchful (and suspicious!!) eyes of other members of the staff! Well, whatever the reason, Room 32 was ideally situated for a class like XI D.

Isolated from the rest of the school, it was next to the new gym. Through the shutters, 37 bird watchers could also keep a close check on the passing scenery, without being observed themselves. There was only one entrance to the class for such beings as members of the staff, vice-principals etc. However, the members of the class would frequently use the spiral staircase (which was, needless to say, officially out of bounds!), in case of emergencies, which occurred very, very frequently!! Such emergencies were usually offset by incidents which invariably led to maths periods being spent on important meetings.

Mr. Lewis, in the chair, would question why so and-so had behaved in an unmannerly manner in the presence of a certain master or why the class had misbehaved during such-and-such a period. The Headboy, Headgirl and six other prefects (Shyam, David, Ram, Padman, Srinivasin, and Achinta) were made to stand up and questioned as to the possible motives of the remaining members of the class, even though all the prefects weren’t always as innocent as they seemed! All prefects and the two class monitors - Anil Dayal and Vora - were questioned individually, then the guilty party would be questioned, with his friends joining in, in his defence - (always a 'him!'), and with Ranjit Mirchandani (usually a very 'concerned' party!) arguing ferociously whatever the dispute.

While such interesting discussions went on, all over the class "Charile Brown" comics (distributed by Vora), Chase books etc. would be avidly read, with Peter preferring his Polish magazines which formed an essential part of the contents of his school bag. David and Anil Dayal would be absorbed in a game of darts (Compasses and compass boxes ingeniously replacing darts and dart board!) while Hemant and Jehangir watched wide-eyed. Anil Pal and Imran would be absorbed in making their way through a pile of sandwiches. Hussain, Harshad, Faroukh and Kapi would be bent over one of the endless maths sheets which we used to get, with Kapi following his usual brilliant pattern of getting no. II worked out by Shyam, no.12 by Anjini, no. 13 by Hussain and no. 14 by Harshad - and then loudly shutting his book and announcing that he'd finished, and then looking very smug when Mr. Lewis beamed at him.

In between periods, a quick game of cricket would be organized. Achinta would hold his Malhotra and Gupta with great determination in front of him, all bent on making his century; Anil Venkatrao (imagine 3 Anils in the class!) Pradip Mandyan, Sheetal, Vinay, Padman and Bharucha all bent on getting him out and making their centuries. Dhaval and Ali would vainly ask anyone who looked less engrossed then the others to give them their chance at batting.The game would frequently be interrupted by Bharucha shouting loudly and advising all and sundry.

B. S. Anand and G. V. Arun would be bent over one of their numerous games of chess, with Ranjit Shah, Srinivasan, Patwardhan, Purandare and Madhavan watching over and criticising the moves of these two undisputed chess champions. Vora would be hustling up and down, trying vainly to get everyone into their places, and invariably making the most noise himself. Anil (the other class monitor) would be still engrossed in his darts. Sidhant and Anjini were usually nowhere to be seen, but if a search had been made, they would have been found either playing Basketball in the gym, along with Shyam, Imran and David or drinking tea with either Mr. Ram or Ranchod. Sohrab and Atul would be the only two sitting down, while Ram would be holding forth to Rahul Kohli his views on the latest government policy. Sharad Kanga and Ranjit Mirchandani would be at the windows. Once the master was sighted, everyone would be in their places in a trice, with Macbeths open-all at different pages!).

That's our class at a glance-the brainiest amongst the elevenths (I try to be modest, but it's difficult with such a class!!); one of the liveliest classes in the school, as all our masters will willingly endorse, particularly Mr. Krishna!), who, on occasion, ended up with half the class out of the class!

Though at the end of the year the staff arrived at the conclusion that even the brightest of the angels could and did fall, we managed to keep up appearances (very successfully!) right till the very end!

- Anjini Kochar
(published in the 1973 yearbook)

Friday, 1 October 2010

XI-C (Science)

(click on photo to enlarge)
was a motley crew. It was an odd conglomeration of all types of people who were successfully able to overcome their mutual differences and become life members of the creepy club that constituted XIC:

The first person on the class list was NIMISHA GOKAL who had a habit of flashing her nose ring at you when she was angry. Next to her sat KHURSHID PARKER, who loved to get involved in long arguments with Mr. Patki. In front of them sat RUPANDE THACKER who had a fertile Imagination which took her halfway across the world in every English essay and RASHMI PATIL whom we never saw either smile or laugh during the two years we were together.

Then there were the SHAHS. BHOWLI was the first one alphabetically; otherwise she was more of a follower than a leader. EVA was the second one and she preferred to wear tennis shoes without any laces. The third Shah was SUJATA who had a large store of jokes which she reserved specially for the Hindi lessons.

At the front of the class sat KIRAN PRAKASH and MRIDULA SOOD. Kiran had a smile that was wide enough for her to eat a banana sideways. Mridula could never do maths, much to the amusement of Vipul Bhushan, but anyway, even otherwise, she believed that 2 plus 2 equals 5.

NAAZLI VARA WALLA was the unrivalled queen of XC who was deposed in XIC. The usurper was KASTURI HALDAR who took her ISC so seriously that she even abandoned her contact lenses for plain spectacles while the exams were on.

MANJULA VASWANI was seen at "Godspell" when she was supposed to have gastroenteritis.

RASHMI MEHRA left the school to go to Delhi, but returned before going whereas YASMIN KHAN at least went, found she did not like it and then came back. Indeed handsome compliments to XIC!

The first boy on the class list was VIPUL BHUSHAN who had many pseudonyms which varied according to the mood of the class and the time and place. He was variously known as Benji, Benjamin, Sly, Bristles, Vascular Bundle and Sleepy. He also considered himself to be the panja king of the class though there were many contenders for this title, the chief being BISHWARUP RAHA --- ha-ha! In the physics class he could solve the problems which we couldn't and in the exams, he couldn't answer any of the problems which the rest of us could.

His sparring partner in class was FARDUN DASTUR the sophisticated mowla who was renowned for his Parsi-hooked nose.

SUKETU DOSHI (Dosa, Irma La Doshi) was the cricketing companion of PRADIP NILKANT also known as Commander because of his brief tenure of the office of Class Monitor. This Daddy Longlegs was overthrown (also literally) by DARIUS MOOS who was the first moos. 'Jada' was continually exercising his vocal cords regardless of whether he had an audience or not. He could never do gym because allegedly there were no house shirts available in his size. He was unable to come to the cross country because he suffered from car sickness.

FIROZE MOOS, the second moos, was the cousin of the first, known as the English Bawa because he wore a vest instead of a sadra.

RAVI GUPTA the Bhaiya from UP did not come for his physics test because he had a guitar lesson. He claimed that using Bullworker had stunted his height and said he was going to file a suit for damages.

QURESH EZZI, the Mohammed Ali of XIC, was forever willing to take on anyone or anything and then get away with it. His middle name was "Daring".

SAMEER CHINOY who funnily enough sat next to him asked questions the answers to which had been given half a minute earlier.

ERIC DASTUR was the only Parsee in class who was not related to the rest in the class.

DARIO DORCIC had a strange affinity for his greatest rival TEHMURAS "MICHAEL" MODI. How Tehmuras became Michael no-one knew. Michael was permanently a fish out of water where his school life was concerned.

PESHOTAN MEHTA always managed to get injured before a major exam. He broke his wrist while cleaning his teeth the night before the Prelims but unfortunately it was the wrong arm.

KARL KERAWALLA said he would shave his head the day after the ISC because he wanted to stop his hair from falling out.

DARIUS KOTVAL or "Clint Eastwood" as he was sometimes known because the first 'A' film he saw was "Play Misty for Me" was a sleeper and a dreamer. XIB offered a mysterious attraction for him especially in English class.

SUNIL MATHRANI- if you ever really listened to what he said you would find that his words never really meant anything in particular at all.

RAJEEV M - his poetry was in his hair.

Even if given a alarm clock for his birthday VIKRAM MERCHANT would have been unable to get to school on time.




The Commander - to whom our many thanks: MR. LOBO, who successfully led the motley crew through the turbulent waters of the sea of Cathedral. He came through the war with flying colours after bombing Karachi, but paradoxically enough, was almost killed by a kite on Marine Drive while driving his famous motorbike.

- Sunil Mathrani
(first published in the 1973 School yearbook)