What an exciting two weeks. My mention of Kooler Talk has seemed to hit a raw nerve amongst many of you. The mail has been great and it seems that I have enough of you out there to make an effort to keep this Web Version alive.
First and foremost let me inform you that the World Alumni Register has been prepared and part of it includes the Alumni Register for both Delhi University, as well as our college, in the Indian Alumni Register section. I would suggest that you return the Letters to the Editor Section on our main page "Letters to the Editor" and read the letter from Renu Mehta who is maintaining the India Alumni Register. This may, therefore, remove the need for 91er Krishna Kumar to struggle to maintain a duplicate Alumni Register He could come to an agreement with Renu to use that list for all our needs. Only two Stephanians had registered as of Friday 3rd May, so just rush off and register now.
Before going to the correspondence from several of you from around the world, I want to discuss the book by 61er Arun Shourie. "The World of Fatwas" published by ASA Publications. Arun, if you did not know it already, is a Stephanian of the late Fifties/Early Sixties.
Here are some of the questions raised by Arun as excerpts (copyright Stephanian Arun Shourie)
Why does a bath become necessary when one has a thick cloth tied around the organ? And is such an action jaiz or not according to the Sunnah.
If a woman has a discharge like men upon excitation, is a bath necessary?
If a woman discharges without co-habitation, is a bath necessary?
If a man knowingly inserts a finger in the vagina of a woman, is a bath due upon the woman or not?
If to put some medicine or to examine some problem, or even otherwise a woman inserts a finger in the vagina of a woman, is a bath obligatory?
If a minor boy has intercourse with a woman who is a major, or a major man has intercourse with a girl who is a minor, then on whom is the bath due?
A man's semen is thin; he urinates, bathes after that, and then the remaining semen emits, is the bath due or not?
Obviously Arun is trying to answer these questions in his book - so to find out you will have to get hold of it.
The book was reviewed by Saslin Salim in the December 3rd 1995 issue of The WEEK. He castigated Arun for his lack of knowledge. Reading the review seems to indicate that the homework had not been properly done and I get the feeling that Arun probably wrote the book to gain notoriety to become a second Salman Rushdie! I do not intend to comment but if you hear that Arun is now in hiding - you will know why!!.
The Chief Editor of The WEEK, 64er Mammen Mathew, was a Stephanian from 1961 to 1964. The Managing Editor, Philip Mathew, was also a Stephanian (I am not sure which years. but I remember visiting him in college at the end of 1969 or early 1970). It has come a long way as a reliable English weekly ever since it was first published at the end of 1983. It reaches me here in Finland before it hits the newstands in India!
I think Arun did either English or History at college, but from the review I found that he obtained a degree in Economics from the University of Syracuse. He was doing his MA when I joined college. We had a common interest, Hockey. We were part of the same college team. He was the Captain, and a stickler for training and discipline, although not to the same extent as Vijay Singh, the cricket captain of that year who was a glutton for punishment.
My interest was to play as goal-keeper. I had been my school goal-keeper for the previous two years. There was a fierce competition for this place with my classmate, 63er Norval Prakash, who was from Sherwood College, Nanital. I was reasonably fit and always punctual for practice. My six foot two plus frame also gave me a tremendous advantage of reach compared to shorter Norval. It seemed that I would get the place, being chosen to play for the first few games of the season.
Fate played a cruel trick on me. During a hectic game, a splinter of wood from my hockey stick entered deep into the index finger of my right-hand. I managed to get out most of it but did not realise that a small piece had been left inside. The finger became septic. The doctor at the WUHS, in the hospital sometwhere on top of the ridge (wonder if it is still there?), decided to leave the splinter in till it was infection had fully matured, meaning that for four critical weeks I was in sheer agony. The finger grew in size to that of a ripe tomato (non-hybrid Indian variety). When he lanced it I had lost all nerve sensations in that finger and also my place in the hockey team.
Norval was a great goalkeeper. I am sure that in the long run he would have won the place anyway, as in those days, our opponents, especially the Hindu Collegites, had one objective when they saw a Stephanian goalkeeper playing with glasses. They would enter the D and cut the ball straight at the face. I survived my few games by sheer luck. I do not think I would have had that luck through three years as it was not yet the day of contact lenses.
We had some great hockey players in our batch. Ashok Daga was a natural sportsman. Besides hockey, he was also a superb basketball player. Datta Singh, also from our batch, was a tireless centre-half. And, of course, I return to Arun, who was a good captain and a solid full back who got me out of a lot of trouble.
And now to some of the correspondence of the last weeks. I had a letter from one 92er Amitabh Dubey in which he said:
"I was in Stephens 1989-92 (BA Economics) and in my third year Vijay Tankha and I restarted KT. The first issue came out in 1991 if I remember right and while I was editor we brought out two issues which were very successful. Siddhartha Sivaramakrishnan was the next editor and he too brought out two issues (I think). (Tankha, a philosphy professor, was the editorial advisor)."
(Ed: We have reached Issue 2 and I have Issue 3, 4 and 5 ready and raring to go.)
When I replied to Amitabh I mentioned there had been a 63er Suman Dubey in my year who was doing English or Economics. I asked whether Amitabh was any relation. The reply from Amitabh was a
"Wow! He is my dad and he was doing mathematics"
I did then recall Suman was doing just that! I commented to Amitabh that it was small small world. (If you happen to read the next issue of "Seventh Heaven" due on 19th May, you will realise that this true not only for us Stephanians, but for Mumbai Cathedralites, as well.)
Alexander from Canada conceeded that I was the oldest on the web till he got his page up. I replied that I would willingly give up my place to him.
Rahul Siddharthan from the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, did point out that being so fresh out of college, it was difficult to be nostalgic like us older ones. I fully agreed with him as the nostalgia only sets in once you leave the shores of India and lose complete contact with the alma mater for a decade or so.
Well that is all the reminiscences for this week. More interesting episodes in a fortnight. Till then keep well and God bless.