Saturday, April 11, 1998

KTWV03 - Issue 2: Jumping gates

Dear Stephanians in many parts of the world,

I have a slight problem in that my hard disk is so full that most of my email lies on my server. I have to compress and put away several of my programmes on my hard disk. As a result most of the addresses of Stephanians world-wide have been stashed away till better times. (Would you believe that I am managing three webletters and all my other work with just a 120MB Hard Disk and one 100MB Zip Iomega Disk!!)

If any of you are in Ireland - please contact me as we have one visiting Stephanian who is anxious to contact any others who may be there. I do know there are a couple of you on my mailing list who are in Ireland - so if you do get some time drop me a line so that I can put you in touch.

Spring is supposed to be upon us here near the Arctic, but we had heavy snowfall last week and the temperature dipped to -12 Centigrade.

Our daughter had a close shave when she, her husband and our little one year-old grandson were returning from a trip to see the ice castle, which has become a popular tourist attraction during the winter months in a town about 1-hour north of us. As she was driving down the highway on a road which seemed absolutely dry, she saw a patch of what she thought was just water across the road. Before she realised it, the car was slithering out of control as she had hit what we call a stretch of black ice.

Joanna says she does not know what she did, but she managed to reduce the speed of the car as it slid from the fast lane into the slow lane, doing a couple of full circles in the process. As the car continued to slither, it rammed into the packed snow at the side of the road, on the driver's side, and did one more spin before it finally came to rest.

Her husband had just finished feeding our grandson and did not have his seat belt on, but seeing what was happening, managed to cover his head and lay down on the back seat. Little Samuel was safe in his new and expensive car seat that they had bought for him just a week before. He screamed his head off but was totally protected by the seat belt and the excellent seat design.

Cars stopped and the police were there in less than 5 minutes, but there had been no physical damage to anyone. They were all badly shaken, and as the breath test proved, no-one had had any alcohol - Joanna is a tea-totaller, anyway.

Passers-by helped to drag the car back on to the road and Tony limped it back home, which was just about 15 minutes away. One can truly say that God was with them those few moments and saved them any real tragedy.

So you can see, that we are still living in difficult wintry conditions even at this time of the year when many of you are shedding your clothes and complaining about the heat.

Getting back to the sixties, I want to recall a few moments of those days when we used to jump gates to go and see a late night movie. After the movie we used to go to some cheap coffee shop 'dhaba' and spend a few minutes there till we worked out our strategy to get back to college. As we were usually 6 to 8 in the group, we usually had a tough time talking to a taxi driver to get him to accept a reasonable price to cram all of us into his cab (usually it worked out at a rupee per head).

And the route - the Dharayaganj route was taboo as we had to pass to many police points, so it was always the route past New Delhi railway station and past St. Stephen's Hospital till we were deposited a safe distance from the college somewhere on top of the ridge. From there we would work our way back into college and jump in through the hedge behind Mukarji Block.

On one occasion we had all gone through, save, I think, Ajay Verma, when we noticed Dean Rajpal out for a midnight stroll. As we tried to whisper to Ajay to stay put till the coast was clear, Dean Rajpal hearing some sounds decided to come our way. We fled. Ajay was midway through the fence when he saw Dean Rajpal approaching. Luckily there were no lights just at that spot and by the time Dean reached the gaping hole in the fence, Ajay had got through and fled.

The next day there was a great dal of activity as Dean Rajpal personally supervised the mending of the barbed wire fence. There was a stern talk given to all the gyps of Mukarji block that they were to report if any further holes in the fences were noted by them.

Within a week - half a dozen holes were again opened in that hedge and it stayed that way right through my time in college!!

More next month,

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