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I have not been ill or otherwise indisposed. Just very very busy, happy, sad, and going through every emotion that man or woman is capable of.
Over Easter we were especially blessed to know that our three children, Susanna, Jaakko and Joanna, in the UK, were able to get together with their families and also join up with us over the telephone.
This has been recorded on several entries on Susanna's Billinghay Blog with beautifully emotional pictures of all members of the family. They especially enjoyed a buffet lunch at the Lahore Restaurant in Birmingham. Joanna, who has really become quite trim, did say that she did overeat on that occasion. (I must also note that Susanna has also become quite trim - but just wait till they arrive and start consuming their mum's cooking, when they will bloat, like me!)
The grandkids were in their element. Susanna has recorded and put up a few short video clips, using effectively the UTube service.
This has prompted Joanna to think seriously in investing in a better digital camera and to start her own blog - which would be just wonderful for us, the grandparents. Maybe, even Jaakko can be persuaded to start his blog once he gets the old iMac that Susanna is thinking of passing on - Old Macs never DIE. I had promised them my old software, but unfortunately much of te old system software discs are corrupted. Jaakko being an outstanding photographer would certainly add a new dimension to blogging should he decide to take it up.
Last Friday brought Annikki and me much grief when we lost a wonderful friend, a Cathedralite by the name of Behram Badhniwalla, who went by the nickname of Budni. Budni was a couple of years senior to me in school. He stood out as he had been afflicted by polio and was the only boy in school who was on crutches. But that did not stop Budni being one of us. During the latter half of our school years I had an excellent relationship with him.
When I left school, our paths diverged. It was not till 2005 when they came together again. He had been doing almost exactly what I had, in finding his classmates and then making sure that they were kept together.
Introduced to me through our former school Physics Teacher, William Shiri, living in Toronto, Canada, Budni wrote in his first email to me:
from: Behram Badhniwalla
date 21-Oct-2005 10:15
subject Fwd: Hello again
My name is Dr.Behram T. Badhniwalla (Wilson House Batch 57), in school I was 'Budni'!
I used to walk on crutches during our green years.
Of course, I left my disability behind in 1959-60 (Praise be to the Good Lord).
Today my Wife, Carmie and I, have retired, and live in Pune.
From all the Cathedralites of our generation, and many have met u. the common factor is we both are holding on to our flocks!
I am forwarding a message from our teacher Mr Shiri, and I hope we communicate more often!
We have regular get-together of the Pune Cathedralites and shall revert later with more information!
Cheers for Now
From that day we have exchanged many hundreds of emails on topics ranging from sharing pictures of our school friends, sharing our email lists, finding new alumni, our common interests in music, organising class reunions, his idea of forming a health foundation of retired staff and elderly alumni who were not so fortunate financially, and many more. Budni bounced ideas off me. If I gave him the go ahead, he went about his task of rousing the masses.
Not only that, both of us got on like a house on fire. We assisted each other sharing our ideas, agreeing and disagreeing on issues, but above all promoting our "school spirit". Although our styles were different, but the objectives the same.
Budni made everyone feel loved and happy and part of a beautiful family.
On the morning of Friday 13th April 2007, I had two emails from him in the space of just 10 minutes, te first telling me that he would be away from Pune for 10 days and he would take up an issue I had requested as soon as he got back. The second email was about school, pushing the joint working of my Seventh Heaven Blog to be linked with the official school alumni site.
Budni was thinking of what wonders could be achieved if we all worked together.
By evening I received a message from a common friend in Pune that Budni was no more.
When such tragic news reaches me, I become immobile, unable to speak or do anything constructive. Annikki was at my side when I read this email. She comforted me, as she too had learnt to know Budni and his spirit. I was roused to work furiously to let "our flocks" know of the demise of someone who had become my right hand just so much as I had become his left!
The sorrow, grief and the tributes poured in from every corner of the globe. For the past week I have been composing a web page which I will call "A Tribute to Budni". It is difficult, as each time I enter some text or put in a picture, the sadness that flows through my veins makes me realise the frailty of life.
On the same day, we got news that our granddaughter, Asha, who will be 10 in August, had passed her Grade 3 Piano Examination with distinction, 134/150.
Susanna put up a clip of Asha playing the piano on her blog, which helped me greatly to face the sorrow of losing a friend, as he was a great musician.
CEO of Codenomicon, Isaac Sundarajan, has been really jet setting. He flew to Cannes to collect the Red Herring Award, flew in to Oulu, flew out to spend Easter with his wife and elder daughter in London, flew back to the US (San Francisco) to prepare for his next year's strategy meeting, and was here, back in Oulu, yesterday.
We spent the evening together at Michelle's new Indian Restaurant, The Indian Cusine Section of Royal Garden. The last time he had been there, he had said he wanted food as hot as "Jacob's". Michelle and crowd only address me as "Mr. Matthan". So Isaac was a bit disappointed.
This time, Michelle's brother, Philip, dished out a really superb Chicken Vindaloo and a spicy lamb off the bone curry, which both of us relished. This was followed by some Guju Tea, which is laced with Indian spices.
I think the levels of spice in Michelle's Indian and Chinese restaurants will have to have new labels - "Joanna's level" (which is our daughter Joanna's taste buds saturation point and super not), and then "Mr. Matthan's level", which is only slightly lower, but does bring a fair amount of sweat onto the forehead.
Isaac and I sat and chatted well into the evening. Michelle and Philip regal led us with stories of their life in restaurant business. they were surprised to hear from Isaac that "Indian Chinese" is the "in thing" in California - so Philip has promised to didh this up for us on our next visit!