Sunday, September 07, 2008

KTWV 9 Issue 22: Reason for no updates

Annikki and I are immersed with the details of organising the funeral of her mother, Hilja, who passed away last Sunday.

Hilja's Orbituary announcement - Kaleva 07.09.2008.

The funeral will take place on at the Intiö Iso saali (Chapel in the cemetery) at 15:00 hours.

We have had two tragic losses of loved ones during the last 45 days.

Our dear cat, and friend for over 17 years, Iitu, passed away with cancer which affected her kidneys. She was part of our day to day life from morning to night and through the night. Neither Annikki nor myself have yet recovered from that loss.

Iitu as a kitten in 1991.

Iitu's first and last set of kittens in 1993.

The perfect mother.

Iitu wants a share of my birthday cake.

A daily routine as Iitu stops me reading the newspaper by lying on it!

Iitu enjoys her TV - Annikki's table top aquarium.

Iitu's coffin.

Iitu at her final resting place in Vesaisentie
- the home of Tony, Joanna and grandchildren Samuel, Daniel and Maria.

Hilja, whom Annikki has cared for the last 24 years and, intensively, for the last 7 years, since her father passed away, (and whom I helped care for during the last few years) was very much part of our daily life.

She was in excellent health when she left home at the beginning of August. She contracted the deadly Hospital Bacteria while she was in the Kielokoti Old People's Home. She was rushed to hospital and then moved to the ODL Hospital.

There, in her weakened state, she was hit by pneumonia.

The old lady fought valiantly for her life. Finally left for her personal paradise at 17:49 on Sunday 31st August 2008 holding Annikki's hand on one side and mine on the other.

But she had told us many many times over the last year that she was ready to go to her "Heavenly Father":

The beautiful Hilja at her wedding in 1942.

Hilja carries Jaakko, with Aino and Annikki
with Susanna in the foreground - Oulu 1969.

Matias, Hilja, Annikki and Tuomas -
Out for a walk in the summer of 2003.

Hilja enjoying her meal.

Hilja with her latest greatgrandchild, Maria, in 2008.

Hilja with daughter, Annikki, granddaughter, Joanna, and greatgranddaughter, Maria - 2008.

Annikki takes her mother out for the last time - August 1st 2008.

RIP Hilja - 31st August 2008 at ODL.

Her passing has left a huge void in our life as we will miss her wit and humour.

Even till the very last she would mimic my poor Finnish language pronunciation.

She was in her senses till the very last . She recognised my voice the day before she passed away. When I greeted her, while she lay in some pain in her hospital bed, she replied in her normal way to me - "Thank you, Nothing special to tell you!"

Annikki used to pray and sing with her after putting her to bed every night. I will miss those quiet peaceful hours they had together before she went to sleep.

It will take us awhile to settle into the new situation where two of the most important family members of our daily life of the last 17 years have moved on.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

KTWV 9 Issue 21: The NEXT Principal - A bold decision is necessary

Out of the 12 applications for the post of Principal of our College, the three front runners, as far of the Supreme Council are concerned, are Rev. Valson Thambu, the Officer on Special Duty who "acted" as Principal, Dr. M. S. Franks, the present Acting Principal and Dr. Shobhana Bhattacharya, who at present teaches in Jesus and Mary College and is the Reader of English there.

Others on the list include teachers from St John's College in Agra and Christ Church Kanpur apart from several other colleges.

Who is Dr. Shobhana Bhattacharaya and what is her association with our College?

I let my good friend, Deepak Mukarji, a grandson of the late Dr. S. N. Mukarji, an illustrious Past Principal of our College tell you about his second cousin:

Shobhana is arguably the most funny warm and intelligent of all my many cousins, who are all rather special in their own way.

She is the daughter of Principal S N Mukarji's fourth son (Nirmal).

My uncle Nirmal, ... God rest his soul ...., was in the nicest way a huge trial to all of us cousins who were constantly goaded to uphold his academic standards.

He never stood second in any examination and ended an illustrious career after retiring as the last ICS officer in India as Governor of Punjab.

A Christian man he was unswerving in his service to his country and his faith.

It is these qualities of hard work, faith in God and a sense of duty and fair play couched in warmth and understanding that Shobhana brings with her.

A PhD in English literature (the works and life of Byron was her subject), a much loved teacher for many years at Jesus and Mary College in Delhi and a wonderful daughter, wife and mother (and I am sure a doting grandmother), she is a lady with grace in everything she does.

A love of education comes to her not only from the Mukarji side but also from her maternal grandmother who was the iconic Mrs Constance Das of Isabella Thoben College in Lucknow.

Please do join the Mukarji family in praying that the Supreme Council of St. Stephen's agrees that she is the best candidate to steer the College through difficult times.

She will truly be an asset to life in the College and its Christian character of opening its arms to all who choose to pursue excellence with warmth and love.

The prestige of the College is in its open acceptance and embrace of all including divergent views and that in essence is what Shobhana embodies.

Warm regards

Deepak Mukarji

Need I add even one line or even an extra word to what Deepak says about his cousin?

I throw my prayers in the direction of Shobhana, someone I do not know, but whom I can identify with as I hope and pray that God will give her the strength to pull the name of our College out of the slime it has been through for the last two years!

But first we have to ensure the Supreme Council does its work and appoints this outstanding personality as the Head of our College.

So pick up your pen and write to every alumni you know to flood our Supreme Council to get this lady as our Head.

[P.S. Just by the way, Shobhana is a output from Miranda House, so she knows the behaviour of all us male egoistic Stephanians probably better than we know it ourselves! :-) ]

Friday, July 18, 2008

KTWV 9 Issue 20: Happy 90th birthday, Nelson MandelaHappy 90th birthday, Nelson Mandela

Happy 90th birthday to the world's greatest politician, leader EVER - Nelson Mandela. May he have very many more.

I hope the Supreme Council of our College will humble itself and learn just one single message from the life of this human being! Service before self.

Copyright: Photograph from Dismantling Apartheid

He has taught mankind through his sincerity to his cause - the people of Africa.

Thank you Nelson Mandela.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

KTWV 9 Issue 19: Teachers Strike

Two stories about College reached me this morning:

Times of India: At Stephen's, teachers boycott lunch

National Network of Education: Teachers stay away from orientation at Stephen's

Is this what our College is about?

Was Christ a divisive individual?

Saturday, July 12, 2008

KTWV 9 Issue 18: " terminally ill?"

In my mail today were two alerts about our "College". The first Stephens gears for principal challenge was that the "College Authorities" had decided to challenge the fact that the Delhi Vice Chancellor had a say in the appointment of the Principal of the College.

The second is an article Campus Christi by Stephanian Barkha Dutt. I agreed to a T with ALMOST every word he wrote.

I do not which era Barkha belonged to in Collge, but the sentiments he expressed are ones that existed during my days in College in 1960 - 1963.

How I wish that saner voices would prevail and tell the Bishop and the Church to stop playing "THEIR" politics with OUR COLLEGE.

But do refer my Blog entry "Is this for real?" where I questioned the validity of cut off points as a mode of choosing students for admission.

In this I wish to relate a story that was sent to me by a young man about his sister in Pondicherri. A young girl from a poor village background being raised by her abused and disfigured, now single mother, who tends the land for survival, has been an outstanding student all her life. When she and her mother turned up at the gates of schools to see about her further education, they were turned away because they did not "look right".

At one school, as they stood dejectedly at the bus stand after having been turned away by the chowkidar, a teacher saw them and asked them what they were doing there. They explained their plight and the teacher gave them the Pricipal's telephone number and asked them to call the next day.

The girl has been given free education for the rest of her schooling.

I spoke to this girl on the phone from Finland about a year ago, and was impressed by her in every way.

When I delved this case further I understood that the education system in India is not education but a test of memory - and that is the only reason one has these high "cut-off" points.

If our College wants to be at the forefront of "education" in India, it should not use these "cut-off" points to regulate entrance, just as it should not allow a chowkidar to allow a person the right to enter the premises because of the dress their wear or their physical looks.

Our College should use a test of the Education of an individual.

That would be a mark of a good selection process and it may ensure a seat for a person with even a 50% mark, Christian or non-Christian, backward class scheduled class or not.

Thank you Barkha for your article, which got me thinking, hopefully positively, and I hope the wonderful alumni who read this will prevail on "The Authorities" to set up a system which ensures that we get the best "educated" students of India to be part of OUR COLLEGE!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

KTWV 9 Issue 17: The fine “Gentlemanly World”

Last week I had a copy of an email from a Mr. Kapadia to a Mr. Chopra.

It appears that in Delhi they have a Club where people get together to see movies. These two gentleman attend this club and share their company with a few others.

Mr. Yezad Kapadia (Yesh to me) is a Cathedralite of the 49 era, 10 years my senior. He discovered that Mr. Dev Chopra was a Stephanian, also of the 49 era.

Mr. Kapadia got talking to Mr. Chopra, and of course the topic came up about me, a Cathedralite and Stephanian. Mr. Chopra expressed a desire to know more about my blog.

A few minutes after an email from Mr. Kapadia to Mr. Chopra (introducing me), I had a nice email to “Dear friend Jacob” from Mr. Chopra.

I replied “Dev” with a copy to “Yesh” thus:

Jacob Matthan
15 June 2008 11:10
To: “Dev Chopra”
Cc: “Yezad Kapadia”, “Jamila & BGV Verghese”, Ajay Verma, “Sarwar Lateef”, “Montek Singh Ahluwalia”, “Suresh & Meera Philip”, “Aftab Seth”, “Raj & Roshni Sircar”, "Rahul and Rupa (née Gholap) Bajaj", "57er Ashok (Tony) Jaitly", “Niranjan Desai”, “Deepak Mukarji”, “59er SUJIT BJHATTACHARAYA”, Ajeet Mathur Prof, Swaminathan Aiyar, Sreenath Sreenivasan, John Dayal

Bcc: 64er Deepak Deshpande

Dear Dev,

It is a great honour that you have chosen to be in touch.

I have chosen to share this email with many of whom I know will be pleased to hear about you. These include Raj Sircar (Canada) and Deepak Mukarji (Mumbai), whose association with our alma mater is not just as students! I am also copying Sreenath Sreenivasan, Professor of Journalism in Columbia University who runs the New York Forum of Stephanians and is also the Moderator of the South Asian Journalists Association (SAJA) in the US.

B. G. Verghese and his wife, Jamila, are the oldest Stephanians that I am in touch with presently. Both are just a tad younger than you. I was in touch with Col. Shafat Hussain in Canada, but I seem to have lost contact with him over the past 5 years. He was in college around 1945.

My time in Stephania was 1960 to 1963. It was an exciting three years. I was probably the first and last 2nd year student to be elected as President of the JCR. The first JCR evening of music was the highlight of my Presidency as also the introduction of various JCR tournaments - Bridge, Chess, Caroms, Draughts, Table Tennis. The Rai twins, Chandra and Suraj, beat Ajay Verma and me in the very last hand of the Bridge Finals with an unbelievable call of 7 Spades on the very last hand where Ajay and I had bid 7 Hearts! It was only the intuitive communication that twins have that prompted that call! Both were makeable contracts!

It was also during my years that Sarwar Lateef (World Bank), Montek Singh Alhuwalia (Planning Commission), Swaminathan Aiyar (Economic Times), Dr. Peter Philip (MRF), Zaffar Hai (creative films director and producer), Prakash Joseph (the artist), Aftab and Roshan Seth, and a few others started the college rag - which was called Kooler Talk as the name Blacksmith was rejected by Principal Sircar and Dean Rajpal. Niranjan Desai (ex-Ambassador), Ajay Verma (who lives in Lund) and myself were known as The Heaps and we did write exposés for the rag during our time.

Kooler Talk as a hard copy has had a chequered life. I started the online web version from here in Finland in 1996. It has a worldwide readership of Stephanian's interested in a bit of nostalgia. Over a thousand Stephanians correspond with me regularly and help me keep my spirits up in that I know I am not writing to thin air.

Originally it started as a web page monthly. But times have been changing. About 5 years ago I changed it to a blog. Others have copied my style and presentation, but my Kooler Talk Web Version Blog keeps going. Now I am experimenting with the new fashion - FACEBOOK!

Ashok (Tony) Jaitly, in his book about our college, kindly gave my online efforts a nice reference. I do try to stay above politics and stay with nostalgia, although I have been drawn into the recent controversy which surrounds the College Principal fiasco. Friends, such as John Dayal, keep me abreast of happenings behind the scenes.

I also started a similar online web site / blog about my school, where Yezad and I went, Yesh being 10 years my senior. Seventh Heaven is extremely popular and also more active than Kooler Talk Web Version.

There are a few of us who share both the alma maters - including Industrialist and Rajya Sabha MP Rahul Bajaj, Ashok (Tony) Jaitly, Dr. Peter Philip (MRF), Sujit Bhattacharaya (son of the former Governor of Reserve Bank), Prof. Ajeet Mathur (now Director of Manpower Planning in the Planning Commission and also at IIM, Ahmedabad).

Rahul celebrated his 70th birthday last week and I did a small tribute to him on both my blogs. He was kind enough to spare a few moments to write a word of thanks to me.

I would love to broaden the horizons of my efforts which is purely a labour of love of both my alma maters. I am happy that many former staff and ex- and present students stay in touch with me and give me a pulse of the institutions today.

My wife and I will visit India in November 2009 to take part in the 50th Year Reunion of my school class. We will also visit Delhi to meet with several tens and tens of my friends who are there. I hope too organise a joint Stephania / Cathedralite reunion session while I am visiting the capital, our last visit being as long ago as 15 years ago!

Do let me know what ideas you have in mind. You can read the blog and delve into its archives at the Kooler talk Blog. Thank you for being in touch and a special thanks to Yesh for having put you in touch with me.

Yours most sincerely

Jacob Matthan
Stephanian - 1960 - 1963
JCR President 1961 - 1962

It was great to see that because I copied many who were mentioned in my email, that a large number of sub-converaations resulted, people remembering each other and their previous associations.

And the two gentleman, Mr. Kapadia and Mr. Chopra, exchanged an email marvelling at the rapidity of communications of today across continents.

No doubt, at the next film viewing session in Delhi, Mr. Kapadia and Mr. Chopra will exchange a few words about the Kooler Talk Blog and the Seventh Heaven Blog.

Thank you, Yesh and Dev, for being part of our alma maters communities and may your wonderful gentlemanly formality live for ever!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

KTWV 9 Issue 16: Is this for real?

I was just reading about the cut-off percentages required for admission to the various colleges in Delhi University. In the Times of India Stephen's cut-offs up by 1-2%.

My initial thoughts were values around 75 - 85%, but I was astounded to read that cut off percentages were around 98%.

Delhi may have managed to score a high of only 97% in English in the Class XII CBSE exams, but at St Stephen's, applicants from the commerce stream need 98% to qualify for the English (Hons) course. The college, which came out with the cut-off list late on Tuesday, has hiked the marks almost uniformly across all the courses by 1-2%.

Either the kids of today are super geniuses for 98% to be used as a cut off percentage, the marking system is so poor or the examination content is so low that it is possible to set such a high cut off percentages.

In our days we were happy if we got 80% as 75% was considered as the distinction level. Only the super brilliant got over that mark - and they were super brilliant - I was never in that class.

Parents were happy if we came home with a good report card which had a couple of subjects in the high 50s or low 60s, but your best subjects had marks in the high 70s or low 80s.

The only subjects where we could score 100% were the Mathematics - Maths and Additional Maths!

In addition, our teachers were so strict that they graded us even on the quality of our handwriting, page presentation, neatness, and other factors which showed we were educated.

Some comments on this cut off percentage, just to educate me, would be greatly appreciated! According to today's norms - I AM A JACKASS!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

KTWV 9 Issue 15: Demise of Vinod Chowdhury

It is with great sadness that I announce the passing away on Tuesday of one of the most loved present day teachers of our college - Vinod Chowdhury. He was just 58, and passed away after a brief illness followed by a cardiac arrest. He was the senior Reader of Economics at our college.

Younger to me and 7 years after my time, many have mentioned to me his contribution to College life. He taught Economics for more than 30 years and was an outstanding debater. He set up the Commonwealth Collegiate Debating Society a few years ago.

Vinod acted as Head of the Staff Council. He was the media adviser to the former Officer on Special Duty and Acting Principal Valson Thampu.

Vinod deeply loved his alma mater and served it well.

His last rites were performed at Nigambodh Ghat.

My deepest condolences go to his bereaved family.

Monday, June 09, 2008

KTWV 9 Issue 14: The ever youthful Rahul is 70

Young and dynamic Rahul Bajaj in 1986
Copyright The Hindu

At the top in 2006, Rahul Bajaj
Copyright The Frontline

Do whatever you think best, but be best at whatever you do.
– Member of Rajya Sabha Padma Bhushan Rahul Bajaj

Like a handful of people of the 1950’s as 57er Ashok (Tony) Jaitley, 58er Dr. Peter Philip, 59ers Sujit Bhattacharaya, and myself, 54er Rahul Bajaj was a Mumbai Cathedralite and a Delhi Stephanian. (There is an earlier blog entry on both blogs listing several more who share this common heritage.)

Ashok Jaitley, Tony to most of us, wrote a book about St. Stephen’s College. Rahul released the book where Mani Shankar Aiyar, another Stephanian of our era spoke. Here is a quote from Tony’s book:

"The same spirit of striving for the best was infused in all other activities despite the cultivated air of nonchalance that Stephanians have always sought to project about themselves. But this has not deterred the real achievers from being clear about their own perspective. Rahul Bajaj, one of the most innovative and successful captains of Indian industry, recalls his days in College as the second most powerful influence after his school in Bombay: 'It was the first whiff of freedom...and as the Cat Stevens number goes, "the first cut is the deepest." The notion of a performing elite was imprinted in my mind at College. We are all here to make a difference and we should be very good at something, is the essence of Stephania."

Also like Peter and me, Rahul was a Savageite and also House Captain. There, however, the similarity ends, as Rahul is one of the topmost industrialists in India and also ranks extremely high in the world.

It is reputed that Rahul was a sportsman. He was an outstanding boxer and won his weight most years. He is remembered as being part of the School Table Tennis Team. I also remember him as an long distance athlete. As I was just a newcomer to school in 1954, the year Rahul graduated, I am not fully and personally conversant with all his accomplishments at school.

The Bajaj Enterprise started as a sugar manufacturing factory in 1931. It has now grown to become one of the country’s largest business houses.

Rahul took over the running of the Bajaj Auto company in 1965. Activities encompass the manufacture of a whole range of products.

In 2001 the Bajaj Group had a sales turnover in excess of US$ 1,300 million. The Net Assets were worth US$ 1,333 million and the Net Profit was US$ 58 million. It was ranked as the 5th largest business family in India by the Centre for Monitoring Indian economy (CMIE).

It has under its umbrella over 25 companies and a strength of over 25000 employees.

It’s core strength, however, is the unshakeable foundation based on its tradition of trust.

Rahul's most recent interview with Chris Morris from the BBC was about the small car of Bajaj Auto, in relation to the Tata Nano. It can be found at this link.

The interesting similarity between Ratan Tata and Rahul Bajaj is that when Ratan was Chairman of Air India, Rahul was Chairman of Indian Airlines. (I do not remember Ratan as a Cathedralite but younger brother, Jimmy, was a 57er and played hockey and cricket with us.)

Rahul received the Padma Bhushan in 2001.

Cathedralite 54er and Stephanian 57er, Independent Rajya Sabha member, Chairman of Bajaj Group, Rahul Bajaj will turn 70 this Tuesday.

I hope as many of you that can will wish this outstanding Cathedralite / Stephanian and wish him many many more years of service to our nation.

(Many thanks to Cathedralite 56er HS Uberoi and Cathedralite / Stephanian 57er Ashok Jaitley (and his brother Ravi, Rahul’s classmate) for their valuable contributions when writing this tribute.)

Friday, June 06, 2008

KTWV 9 Issue 13: Facebook experiment continues

Although I am not blogging as regularly as before, I am around on the internet. I am still experimenting with Facebook.

I have two pages of photographs associated with my Facebook page at the moment. The first is called "History of JM" where I am putting up photographs of me from my childhood days till today. As I discover new photos from my past in my collection, I scan them and put them up in the annual order I think they were taken. Not much interest to others, but a sort of interesting work for me.

The second page is my experiment with photojournalism of today, where I am recording the days activities in the form of photographs and uploading them on my page called "Jacob's week in pictures". I am trying to make it more interesting as the days go on, but I am not quite a photojournalist as yet.

I am planning to start a new photo page on Facebook. If one wanders around our home, each and every nook and cranny which has the touch of Annikki (not my den which is a mess) is the creative paradise of a great artist. I am trying to photograph all her artistic creations that lie around the house, not as individual items but how she transforms even the simple wasp's nest into a creative artistic form. I am still searching for a name for this page, so if you have a suggestion, please do let me know.

I was planning a page of pictures from my alma mater, Cathedral and John Connon School in Mumbai, but I discovered that one already existed on the alma mater Facebook Group page. I plan to put up the older pictures from my collection on this page rather than start a new page. I do not know whether the younger crowd that populates Facebook will appreciate this history, but it is worth the effort.

there is also a Stephania Facebook Group page, but I have not yet played around much in that group as yet.

There is much to Facebook that I have not yet discovered. Hopefully I will be able to separate the wheat from the CHAFF and create an experience which is rewarding to all age groups that populate Facebook, not just the younger crowd.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

KTWV 09 Issue 12: Never heard of the NOROVIRUS before Wednesday!

(Cross-posted on all my major blogs.)

I have been missing on the Blogosphere and in my Google Groups for a few weeks. It has been because of the sheer workload and also as I have found the Facebook experience quite fascinating. I found many relatives, even quite distant ones, many many friends, Cathedralites, Stephanians, CHAFF and many other groups, including my School House Group, SAVAGE, on Facebook, that I have been familarising myself to all what could be done by me on Facebook.

Although I am achieving quite a lot in creating my corner in Facebook, it is no match for the direct Blog or a Google group - and that is why I am back at blogging!

In my 24+ years in Finland I had never missed a days work or events because of any form of serious illness. I have been ill (including a bout of painful herpes inside the mouth), but it was always possible to get to work and work without having to take time off.

But this last week was different.

While at the funeral of a dear friend, Willie, Michelle's husband, I felt claustrophobic in the Small Chapel, which meant I had to go outside for some fresh air. Annikki and I went back inside to place the wreath from the whole MATTHAN Family on the coffin, but I continued to feel very weak.

Michelle (with Willie) owns the best Chinese / Indian Restaurant in town - the Royal Garden.

Michelle is from Calcutta and is a close friend of our daughter, Joanna, and consequently, a close family friend of ours. Any visitor to Oulu usually gets a treat at one of her restaurants. So Michelle is known by our family and friends around the world. (Cousins Chacko and Ammu, niece Nirupa, niece Preminda with husband Chris and Malayika, Cathedralites Sunil (and Kamal) Sahni, Sadhana Madhusadan (née Shah) Viney Sethi, Stephanians Ajay Verma, Prof. Ajeet Mathur, are just a few who have enjoyed the hospitality of Michelle and Willie.)

I suggested to Annikki that we go home and rest before attending the farewell reception for Willie at the Royal Garden Restaurant.

After getting home and resting for about half an hour I was violently ill and unable to lift my head. I did not know what had hit me. Annikki treated me all the best remedies that she has up her sleeve, Silica to line the stomach, magnesium tablets, and one pain-killer. I managed to retain a bit of everything to help me sleep off the next four to six hours, but the vomiting and diarrhoea did not abate. It was absolutely miserable.

Next morning Annikki read in the local newspaper about something known as the NOROVIRUS and the symptoms were exactly what I had been through.

A quick Google Search yielded all the important data and I was sure that absolute fasting with only liquids was the right answer.

By evening I was able to consume some of Annikki's great Fish Soup and it stayed in.

By the next morning the main symptoms had vanished, but at 5 am the Norovirus hit Annikki.

Despite her agony she took quick action to ensure that her mother, Hilja, who was supposed to be brought home that afternoon, was looked after while Annikki recovered from this virus. According to Jonana, who sent us a text message from Newcastle, it can be fatal for the elderly.

I had a good friend from Tampere, a town 500 km south of Oulu, coming to visit me on Friday evening / Saturday morning.

I did not want to disappoint Nadir or miss meeting him as his visits to Oulu are only once every two years. Rather than ask him to cancel, I booked Nadir in at a hotel across from the Railway Station, as the Norovirus is extremely contagious. I was clean but the house would have been disturbingly filled the virus.

We spent a few wonderful hours together and he was on his way on Saturday afternoon.

I would like to know which of my efforts you appreciate more - my blogs, my Facebook entries, my direct posts to you - or maybe I should just SHUT UP....

(OK Ubi, I know what you will say, but believe me you are not too old for Facebook. However, although it seems easy, it is quite complicated to work out all the ins and outs and it is not intuitive as it should be.)

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

KTWV 09 Issue 11: I Wish You a Sandpiper

Posted on all my major blogs.

I received this in an email from Joan & Kevin Dean.

Thank you for sending this to me as I am blogging it exactly for the reasons outlined in this story.

I Wish You a Sandpiper

The . Sharp-tailed Sandpiper.

The Sandpiper by Robert Peterson

She was six years old when I first met her on the beach near where I live. I drive to this beach, a distance of three or four miles, whenever the world begins to close in on me. She was building a sand castle or something and looked up, her eyes as blue as the sea. "Hello," she said.

I answered with a nod, not really in the mood to bother with a small child. "I'm building," she said. "I see that. What is it?" I asked, not really caring. "Oh, I don't know, I just like the feel of sand." That sounds good, I thought, and slipped off my shoes. A sandpiper glided by. "That's a joy," the child said. "It's a what?" "It's a joy. My mama says sandpipers come to bring us joy." The bird went gliding down the beach. Good-bye joy, I muttered to myself, hello pain, and turned to walk on. I was depressed, my life seemed completely out of balance. "What's your name?" She wouldn't give up.

"Robert," I answered. "I'm Robert Peterson." "Mine's Wendy... I'm six." "Hi, Wendy." She giggled. "You're funny," she said. In spite of my gloom, I laughed too and walked on. Her musical giggle followed me. "Come again, Mr. P," she called. "We'll have another happy day." The next few days consisted of a group of unruly Boy Scouts, PTA meetings, and an ailing mother. The sun was shining one morning as I took my hands out of the dishwater. I need a sandpiper, I said to myself, gathering up my coat.

The ever-changing balm of the seashore awaited me. The breeze was chilly but I strode along, trying to recapture the serenity I needed. "Hello, Mr. P," she said. "Do you want to play?" "What did you have in mind?" I asked, with a twinge of annoyance. "I don't know. You say." "How about charades?" I asked sarcastically. The tinkling laughter burst forth again. "I don't know what that is." "Then let's just walk." Looking at her, I noticed the delicate fairness of her face. "Where do you live?" I asked. "Over there." She pointed toward a row of summer cottages. Strange, I thought, in winter. "Where do you go to school?" "I don't go to school. Mommy says we're on vacation."

She chattered little girl talk as we strolled up the beach, but my mind was on other things. When I left for home, Wendy said it had been a happy day. Feeling surprisingly better, I smiled at her and agreed. Three weeks later, I rushed to my beach in a state of near panic. I was in no mood to even greet Wendy. I thought I saw her mother on the porch and felt like demanding she keep her child at home. "Look, if you don't mind," I said crossly when Wendy caught up with me, "I'd rather be alone today." She seemed unusually pale and out of breath. "Why?" she asked. I turned to her and shouted, "Because my mother died!" and thought, My God, why was I saying this to a little child? "Oh," she said quietly, "then this is a bad day." "Yes," I said, "and yesterday and the day before and -- oh, go away!" "Did it hurt?" she inquired. "Did what hurt?" I was exasperated with her, with myself. "When she died?" "Of course it hurt!" I snapped, misunderstanding, wrapped up in myself. I strode off.

A month or so after that, when I next went to the beach, she wasn't there. Feeling guilty, ashamed, and admitting to myself I missed her, I went up to the cottage after my walk and knocked at the door. A drawn looking young woman with honey-colored hair opened the door. "Hello," I said, "I'm Robert Peterson. I missed your little girl today and wondered where she was." "Oh yes, Mr. Peterson, please come in. Wendy spoke of you so much. I'm afraid I allowed her to bother you. If she was a nuisance, please, accept my apologies." "Not at all -- she's a delightful child." I said, suddenly realizing that I meant what I had just said. "Wendy died last week, Mr. Peterson. She had leukemia. Maybe she didn't tell you." Struck dumb, I groped for a chair. I had to catch my breath.

"She loved this beach, so when she asked to come, we couldn't say no. She seemed so much better here and had a lot of what she called happy days. But! the last few weeks, she declined rapidly..." Her voice faltered, "She left something for you, if only I can find it. Could you wait a moment while I look?" I nodded stupidly, my mind racing for some thing to say to this lovely young woman. She handed me a smeared envelope with "MR. P" printed in bold childish letters. Inside was a drawing in bright crayon hues -- a yellow beach, a blue sea, and a brown bird. Underneath was carefully printed: !A SANDPIPER TO BRING YOU JOY.

Tears welled up in my eyes, and a heart that had almost forgotten to love opened wide. I took Wendy's mother in my arms. "I'm so sorry, I'm so sorry, I'm so sorry," I uttered over and over, and we wept together. The precious little picture is framed now and hangs in my study. Six words -- one for each year of her life -- that speak to me of harmony, courage, and undemanding love. A gift from a child with sea blue eyes and hair the color of sand -- who taught me the gift of love.


NOTE: This is a true story sent out by Robert Peterson. It happened over 20 years ago and the incident changed his life forever. It serves as a reminder to all of us that we need to take time to enjoy living and life and each other. The price of hating other human beings is loving oneself less. Life is so complicated, the hustle and bustle of everyday traumas can make us lose focus about what is truly important or what is only a momentary setback or crisis. This week, be sure to give your loved ones an extra hug, and by all means, take a moment... even if it is only ten seconds, to stop and smell the roses. This comes from someone's heart, an d is read with many and now I share it with you... May God Bless everyone who receives this! There are NO coincidences! Everything that happens to us happens for a reason. Never brush aside anyone as insignificant. Who knows what they can teach us?


SANDPIPERS Scolopacidae

Sandpipers are a highly diverse family which include the ground-dwelling snipes and woodcocks to the highly pelagic Red Phalarope Phalaropus fulicarius. Biochemically they seem to have arisen from a single ancestor but underwent an explosive evolution in the early Tertiary after a great wave of extinctions in the late Cretaceous period (Piersma 1996). Today, the wide variety of sandpipers, and the close relationships of many, present numerous identification challenges. The identification literature alone is impressive. Further, the beautiful patterns and colors on juvenal-plumaged birds are among the most striking in the world, while the striking breeding plumage feathers serve to camouflage adults on their breeding grounds on the arctic tundra. Many of these arctic breeders spend the non-breeding period well south of the Equator, brightening the lives of birders in the austral summer (our winter).

Friday, April 04, 2008

KTWV 09 Issue 10: Knowing how it feels to be LOVED!

Yesterday was a strange day. Joanna rang me early morning to tell me that I should take Samu to school as he was going downhill skiing and would I look after Daniel at our home as she had to go to town?

She was over before noon to leave Daniel.

Daniel, Annikki an I did several things including taking Daniel to the City dump to get rid an old TV and to the Tropical Spa to make sure the arrangements for one of our Indian Groups in Oulu were OK for the company party. When I came out of the Spa I found I had a flat tyre. As usual, my good friend, Kamu, in the spirit of CHAFF rushed to help me as I was not carrying my silicone foam repair kit.

Joanna rang me to tell me that she was very tired and would I keep Daniel till we picked up Samuel from the school and then came over so that we could go out for dinner to celebrate my birthday.

I passed by her house at about half past five and I was surprised to see Ildikó and Ilari's car parked in the driveway, but thinking that they were off for a holiday, they may have dropped in to say goodbye, it did not register. When I dropped in at the International Centre (Ville Victor) I was puzzled when Shahnaz said she would see me in the evening! Again, that did not register!

Well, the email I sent out today below explains it all and the composite picture made out of photographs taken by grandson Samu show some of the the people who made it such a great day for me.

Dear Findians, O-Indians, Chaff Participants, 59er Cathedralites, Other Cathedralites, Stephanians and many other friends all around the world,

Yesterday, I was given a great lesson - knowing how it feels to be LOVED.

As I reached the turning point to my senior years, the outpouring of love from all corners of this globe gave me a lesson which made me feel that a new era of my life is opening.

Thank you to all of you, some on the groups, others directly, others by text message, who took the trouble to communicate with me on my 65th birthday.

Ashok, as I took early retirement to help her look after Annikki's mother, I have been enjoying all the benefits and now move from half to full pension. So, I was already enjoying all the free benefits of a social security system I was taxed into the earth for when I was working!

From our daughter's family in England, Susanna, Chris and Asha, Hasnain and Willie in Toronto, Bill Patel in ???, Barbara from Italy, Ellis in New York, Ashok, Percy, Ooky and Rivca, etc., etc, etc., in Mumbai, friends from Helsinki, Tampere, Turku, Chennai, Bangalore, Tokyo, London, New York, and of course Oulu, I received personal greetings. (Sorry I am not mentioning all of you as I still have not had the time to go through all the messages.)

It will take me some time to respond personally to all of you, but respond I will.

But the height of my birthday was a surprise party organised by my daughter and her husband in her home in Oulu. Neither Annikki nor I had a clue till we arrived at her home and found a string of cars parked outside. As I walked in, there was a steady stream of friends, a veritable United Nations, Australia, China, Finland, Hungary, India, Iran, Italy, Peru (in spirit), Turkey, Venezuela, trooping out to greet me.

Ilari gave a profoundly moving speech which had me in tears and Ildikó gave me the gift on behalf all the persons from so many organisations that I felt overwhelmed. I was in shock and was hit even harder by giving me a birthday present that I really love and need - a Canon Digital camera - so that the photographs on my blog and groups will improve! Burcu, Bala and Sameer gave me their own presents. Thank you all.

It was a bring your stuff party so we had some really great grub and the spread was enormous, so much so that Joanna forgot to take out the delicious chicken salad from the fridge!

Top Row: Joanna, Samu, Daniel;
Second Row: Ilari & Tony, Kiran & me, Andy;
Third Row: Shahnaz & Yrjö, Benjamin, Sreekanth, Ani with Maria;
Bottom Row: Elina & Ildiko; Burcu, Bill.
Missing: Annikki, Bala, Pooja, Mani and Anusha, Mathias, Sameer,
Vishu, Esa, Manuel, Osku

My sincere thanks to Joanna and Tony, Ildikó and Ilari, Pooja, Mani and Anusha (who drove down all the way from Raahe (80 km away), Shahnaz and Yrjo, Andy, Ani, Bala, Benjamin, Bill, Burcu, Elina, Esa, Kiran, Manuel, Osku, Sameer, Sreekanth, Vishu, nephew Mathias who just happened to be in Oulu, grandchildren Samuel, Daniel, Maria and above all my dearest of dearest, Annikki for making it such a wonderful birthday.


Tuesday, April 01, 2008

KTWV 09 Issue 09: Now comes Irresponsibility

My last blog entry was labelled as "Incompetence and stupidity".

The latest moves by the Supreme Council borders on Irresponsibility.

Not everything under the sun can be reached by claiming to be a minority.

Christians are part and parcel of being Indian. The using of the label of minority in every instance makes it even more difficult for many to enter mainstream life.

In the latest news item which reached me today Principal row dogs Stephen’s again we have this quote from a college representative:

“We are a minority institution and have specific rights under the Indian Constitution because of that. We will try and reopen channels of communication with DU. But our position will not change,” a college representative said.

"We will try and reopen channels of communication with DU." borders on anarchy!

Does violating te law of the land fall within the remit of powers of a minority institution? Holding up selective parts of the Indian Constitution cannot be used to violate the law.

Either our alma mater is part of the University of Delhi or outside of it. It cannot straddle the fence neither being in it or outside it.

If it is the intention of the Supreme Council to quit the University, then let it say so. Then one will know what one can do to this body of individuals whom we have seen have acted corruptly.

I hope that this sort of intransigence will end and the wisdom of Christ will prevail!

Friday, March 28, 2008

KTWV 09 Issue 08: Incompetence and stupidity

In my last posting about the "affaire Principal" I drew attention to the Supreme Council having reached its "level of incompetence" as defined by the Peter Principle.

Being 7000 km away from the problem, there are many caveats that apply to any comment by me on this subject. I can only go by the media reports that I read and the inputs of persons on the frontline.

The last few days show that the Supreme Council is certainly not a body being led by "Christian" principles as it seeks to wield power, pointing fingers of lawlessness by others but failing to recognise that it is their actions which were lawless which has led to this ridiculous power struggle.

In the most recent media report Stephen’s dares DU on head, the audacity of the Supreme Council to say that being a minority institution it stands unique and outside of the laws of the body that it belongs to, is just plain playing games with a college which has provided many of the law makers of India since its independence. If such a stance is what it takes to preserve our alma mater as a Christian institution, it is not worth it as the Supreme Council is distancing it from all things Christian.

All the sympathy that I have had for the management of the institution is vanishing into thin air.

The fact that the Supreme Council appointed Rev. Valson Thambu as the Officer on Special Duty officiating as the Principal, showed the lack of respect of the law by the Supreme Council. Now that it has been publicly humiliated across the globe, it seeks to flex some muscles it does not have. This makes the Supreme Council appear even more stupid!

I do not know any of the individuals involved with this incident - but it is obvious that the players are not acting in the interests of our alma mater but their own selfish agenda.

I do wish that some of our respected "Christian" alumni in Delhi will prevail and bring some sense into the running of our beloved institution. And there is no shortage of such people.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

KTWV 09 Issue 07: Hopefully back on line

(Posted on all my major blogs)

Yesterday, after some 33 days of being without my internet connection, I was put back on line. Several errors were found at the connections outside our premises and also in the Gateway.

The first thing I did after getting back my connection was test my speed. I pay for a 8 M line, but I was shocked to find my upload and download speeds were less than 500 kbps.

Additionally, I have a fixed IP and I found that the IP that I was using was not mine.

Thirdly, all my computers are connected to the internet through a Router. i found that if I went on to connect my router, I lost the internet connection.

Lastly, during the last 7 years I have used DHCP to connect to the internet. I have not used PPPoE. I found that I was unable to connect using DHCP and my own Fixed IP but only through the PPPoE which was assigning me the random IP.

All these problems has made life continue to be difficult as I am using just a single computer to connect to the internet.

I have a backload of about 6 weeks of work. With this situation I will only be able to catch up by the end of April.

I have lodged my complaint with my ISP .- and hopefully I will get some action by the end of this week.

Please bear with me till I get back into full swing.

Friday, March 21, 2008

KTWV 09 Issue 06: Urgent Warning to ALL Stephanians

When going through my spam folder which consisted of many thousands of emails, I came across this one.

prasad vijay hide details 20 Feb
date 20 Feb 2008 10:41
Dear jacob matthan,

Greetings to you this day.

I am writing you urgently for your cooperation in an issue I need you to handle with me. My name is Mr. Rajiv Vijay, I am a disabled Indian Guyanese presently based in London and a cathedralite. I was actually helping a friend Mr. Neenus Y. Khoshaba, an Australia businessman. He wants to transfer some of his Money from Iraq. Islamic people unjustly destroyed his properties without any form of pity or compensation. Mr.Neenus Y. Khoshaba, was an unfortunate victim of this attack, he was Kidnapped and Murdered .

Before his death,I assisted him to deposit the sum of $12.2 million dollars in a finance vaulting firm. These were proceeds he made secretly from various oil deals in iraq. I had the opportunity of knowing this because I was his banker. He also appealed to me to ensure that the funds were safely kept and if anything should happen to him I should make his fiance his next of kin.

I have made frantic effort to contact any relatives of Mr. Neenus Y. Khoshaba for the past two months without any success, his fiance died of shock after hearing of his death. At this point I am contacting you to act as the next of kin/original beneficiary to Mr. Neenus Y. Khoshabas fund in the bank because the bank is planning to hold the funds as "uncleared funds" and thus make it banks money since no one has come forward to claim it.

I need you to stand as the next of kin so that the funds can be processed in your name and also transferred to your account. I cannot do this alone neither can I make claims to it myself that is why I need your assistance.

If you agree to take up this responsibility, then I will facilitate the process in making you the official beneficiary to the funds and you will be required to contact the bank to instruct a transfer of the funds to your account. I want to really appeal to you that as soon as these funds are transferred to you, you will be trustworthy enough to keep it safely and also to keep it confidential.

As soon as this funds is transfered to your account I shall come over to your country for sharing of the funds accordingly. i was told that you are in finland which is where i intend to relocate to invest part of this fund and become a member of your organisation.

If you agree to assist me in this matter, you will definitely be entitled to 20% of the total for your participation and we shall use some of the money to charity and help the poor and disabled .send mail to me if you are interested in this deal. I await your reply.

Best Regards,

MR Rajiv Vijay

See how this rascal has used my alma mater connection plus the sympathy card, my current location, to get my attention.

I was one of the first to expose the Nigerian Scam which you can read on my Findians site Greed - Missile of Black Gold.

I wrote that article in 1995 and it has saved many lives and much money for many people around the world.

So please be warned, as GREED is something that lives in everyone's heart! And this scam is not just in Africa as you can get such post from Indians, Chinese, English, etc!!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

KTWV 09 Issue 05: Now its gone; No it has not!

Today's media all around India, and as far as Bangkok in Thailand, is filled with the news of the departure of Rev. Valson Thambu as the Officer on Special Duty / Acting Principal of our alma mater.

The HINDU - Chennai
Valson Thampu quits St. Stephen’s

Sify News - Online / Mumbai
Thampu resigns as St Stephen?s principal

CNN-IBN - New Delhi
Thampu resigns as St Stephen's principal

The Telegraph - Calcutta

Row outlasts Stephen’s head

Thaindian News Bangkok, Thailand
St. Stephen’s acting principal resigns

One would have thought that this would have satisfied those who were after the blood of Rev. Thambu.

But the lack of managerial skills by the Supreme Council of the College has only fueled more controversy.

Firstly, they appointed Dr. M. S. Frank as the Acting Administrator, with no administrative powerrs as all decisons have to be referred to the Head of the Supreme Council, the person who has caused all the controversy to being with, The Bishop of the Church of North India (CNI).

It is the Bishop that started the entire slide with the appointment of his son to the Supreme Council of the College!

Although the appointment of Dr. Frank may be technically correct, as he was appointed by Rev. Valson to the post of Vice Principal, it only adds fuel to the fire.

Dr. Frank is also not the seniormost member of the Faculty as Dr. S. V. Easwaran, the Head of the Department of Chemistry is. However, as Dr. Easwaran is not a member of the CNI, his seniority was ignored by the Supreme Council.

Additionally, the controversy continues in the appointment of Advocate Sunil Mathew as the new Media Adviser to the College, although he is not a faculty member.

It is obvious that it is the Supreme Council which is the problem as they do not have the skills necessary to administer the College we all love.

The slippery slope continues to draw our alma mater into the news cycle and there is no one who has the ability to do the right thing - act as Christ would have wanted us to act!

Is this a classic case of the Peter Principle? :-)

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

KTWV 09 Issue 04: For all the wrong reasons

I had not taken sides in the case concerning the appointment of Rev. Valson Thambu as the Officer on Special Duty (OSD) for the College, officiating as the Principal.

I had taken objection to the anonymous emails that were circulated but also pointed out that Rev. Thambu was proceeding in all the wrong directions as, he was, at what is commonly referred to as, "at the edge of the Peter Principle".

In short the Principle reads as: "Every man reaches his level of incompetence!"

On the 23rd February, I had seen a couple of news items in my Inbox:

St. Stephen’s ‘closes matter’:Regarding show-cause notices to two senior lady lecturers, and

DU writes again to St. Stephen’s: ‘Ad not in conformity with UGC provisions’: ‘Issue a fresh ad after incorporating changes’.

Today, the first thing I saw in my Inbox was:

HC holds: Thampu appointment ‘illegal’.

The article started with this para:

New Delhi, February 25 The Delhi High Court on Monday refused to oblige St Stephen’s College with a stay on an order by the National Commission for Minority Educational Institutions (NCMEI), holding Officer on Special Duty (OSD) Valson Thampu’s appointment as “patently illegal”.

Over the last year the College has been continuously in the news for all the wrong reasons. There was a desperate attempt to change the subject. But the opponents have remained focused.

The total lack of management ability showed through on the part of the Church hierarchy and Rev. Thambu.

What they continued to do was patently not Christian.

When a Christian is this situation, the first thing he / she should do is ask the question:

"What would Christ do in this situation?"

This was hardly the question that was asked. The ones who were pushing Rev. Thambu forward chose to behave in a totally Un-Christian manner, and the law of the land has correctly prevailed.

I do hope that this entire episode will be brought to a close quickly so that the College can get a truly qualified Principal who will drive our alma mater to the great heights that it has been accustomed to being during our time in College.


Monday, January 21, 2008

KTWV 09 Issue 03: Pleased as punch?

Posted on my Jacob's Blog, the Oulu CHAFF Blog, the Mumbai Cathedralites Seventh Heaven Blog and the Delhi Stephanians Kooler Talk Blog.

Does the term "pleased as punch" refer to the condition after drinking an ample amount out of the Punch Bowl (remember Annikki and I are teetotallers) or is it some condition of Punch in the "Punch and Judy" Show?

However, Annikki and I were pleased as punch yesterday, whatever the origins of this phrase.

As was conveyed to most of you by "Manorama JM" yesterday, our younger daughter, Joanna and her husband, Tony, have produced their 3rd child, 3.49 kg in weight, 52 cm in length, at 15:35 on Sunday 20th January 2008.

Samuel and Daniel are very happy with their new baby sister, who is our second granddaughter, and just as beautiful as lovely Asha in England.

Our new granddaughter.

Daniel with his sister.

Samuel and Daniel with their sister.

Samuel with his sister.

Joanna watches her brood after the proceedings of the day.

I took these pictures (with my camera which is held together by sticky tape) at the hospital for Annikki, who cannot leave the house as she is looking after her mother. Grandmom was so pleased to be part of the event! And greatgrandmom was also quite thrilled to hear the news.

Annikki is the only one, who from the time she saw Joanna in mid-December, has been saying that the baby would be a girl!

Knowing Samuel and Daniel, this little girl is likely to grow up as a tomboy!

Friday, January 11, 2008

KTWV 09 Issue 02: A postcard from John

Posted on Jacob's Blog and the Stephanian Kooler Talk Blog.

John Dayal is a Stephanian much junior to ma and one I have grown to respect and appreciate for the work he does selflessly for the intersts of all minorities in India. I give below the text of an email postcard I just received from him. It speaks volumes of the situation in India.

A postcard from the Kandhamala, Orissa 10th January 2008

Dear Friends

Thank you very much for your support.

I returned home to New Delhi a couple of hours ago after spending fourteen days in Orissa – six days in two phases in the hills of the Kandhamala district of Orissa in the week of the Christmas 2007 violence against Christians, and unfortunately four days in an Intensive Care Unit of a Bhubaneswar hospital after a diabetic ketoacidosis collapse. I am grateful to Doctor Neeraj Misra of Kar Hospital, and Father Bernard and his brother priests at Bishops House in Bhubaneswar who nursed me back so I could travel home. I had gone to Orissa on 28th morning, after meeting Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil and his officers in North Block, New Delhi.

Kandhamala still shivers under a mist laden with a foreboding – that something dark and violent may happen on what is called Makar Sankrati, a pleasant and happy occasion that should mark the beginning of spring, but which, in this part of Orissa, marks the season when the Vishwa Hindu Parishad maverick resident abbot Lokhmananda Saraswati, the man at the root of all trouble, who reserves his most vituperative fulminations against Christians for this occasion. The gentleman is currently in Cuttack-Bhubaneswar but threatens to go back in the next three four days to his forest ashram.

The Orissa Government’s own blanket of darkness over Kandhamala does not help. No one really knows the full plight of the Christians in the refugees’ camp at Barakhama village-town. Relief groups and civil society are still barred from the area, despite repeated pleases by organizations of the stature of CARITAS, EFICOR and the like, and personal appeals by Archbishop Raphael Cheenath.

There has been an unreported death – the death of civil society in Orissa. There is no Digant Oza, no Teesta Setalvad, and Javed Anand, no Harsh Mander and Harsh Sethi, no Shamsul Islam-Neelima Sharma and their street theatre Nishant, no ANHAD and SAHMAT equivalents in Orissa, and the above name too are yet to come to the State and to the national Press. In their absence, mischief and white lies have a field day. Television News anchors quote Lokhmananda and speak of debates on conversion. Not one paper calls for relief and assistance and legal aid.

I intend to go back to Orissa after about a week or so after regaining health and writing out the White Paper. I released the preliminary report in Bhubaneswar, just before I took ill.

The following needs to be urgently done in Kandhamala, other than the work of relief and rehabilitation.

1. Re-building civil society. We need to, and I hope to be able to, organize at least four national seminars – one each in Calcutta and Hyderabad, which have had an organic relationship with Orissa in the past, and one each in Delhi and Mumbai to focus attention on the growth of fascism in hidden parts of India and how to meet the challenge as collective civil society, and not as a response only from the victim communities.
2. Organizing legal assistance: This has to be on a par with the organized legal assistance that helped put the trauma of the Gujarat victims in the lap of the legal system. This has to be multi tiered. We need par algal activist to help villagers file FIRs for their burnt houses and shops and their displaced families. We need legal assistance to trace out culprits. We need legal assistance to defend innocents that are being trapped by the police in the guise of `parity’ between communities. We need this before evidence is lost or false `evidence’ manufactured by a governance system that has totally sold itself out to its Coalition Dharma with the Bharatiya Janata Party. And we need to investigate issues of impunity in the matter of the mysterious police firing in Braminigaon.
3. We need to tell Civil Society in India and abroad that the attack on Christians in Orissa is at par with the repeated mauling of Muslims in Gujarat and other states, and an integral part of the Sangh Parivar’s ideology.

I hope to be able to analyze some of threes issues in larger essays soon.

I am sorry to record that till the film maker Mahesh Bhatt came to Bhubaneswar and addressed a press conference with Maharashtra Minorities Commission vice chairman Abraham Mathai to denounce the Sangh Parivar and warn of its designs, no other worthy had dared do so.

And till All India Christian Council president Dr Joseph D Souza and New Methodist Bishop Joab Lohara shared the stage with Dalit leader Udit Raj, there had been no visible protest of any magnitude in the capital of Orissa.

I regret that Union Home Minister Patil did not visit more places even more than I regret that the National Minorities Commission did not visit any place other than the town of Phulbani.

In a way, I thank the handsome and smug Inspector General of Police Kapoor, who had me escorted out of Phulbani on 29-30 December 2007 and the sarcastic Divisional commissioner, the subdivision police office and the circle inspect tor of Braminigaon whose language and behaviour, in a flash, made me understand that the apparatus of governance stood firmly on the side of a particular ideology.

I wish to close with my thanks, and those of my family, once again to the Catholic Fathers of Orissa, in particular Fr Bernard, Fr Nicholas Barla, Fr Mrtiyunjay and Fr Madan, Rev Pran Patrichha, Dr Anna and the MC Sisters for their love and care.

I salute the brave Nuns, Pastors and Priests of the Kandhamala, tribal, Dalit and always rooted in the soil of their mother hills.

And I wish to salute Archbishop Raphael Cheenath, SVD, who defies his 73 years, to provide Orissa the sort of leadership the late Archbishop Alan de Lastic provided us all in 1998 and later.

Happy New Year

John Dayal
New Delhi

Safe in a country far away from where John is, my heart bleeds for all those in such distress. My prayers go out to all those who have a belief that India will remain the wonderful secular society that I was brought up in.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

KTWV 09 Issue 01: Back again to our teeny weeny world

Posted on my Jacob's Blog, on the Mumbai Cathedralites Seventh Heaven Blog, on the Stephanian Kooler Talk Blog, and the Oulu CHAFF Blog.

Glad to get back to regular blogging. And it is a new Volume of the Kooler Talk Web Version Blog. I hope good sense, peace and prosperity will see this year through at our alma mater!

The last two weeks were a delight in that we were were not snowed under by snow, but with love and affection and greetings from all over the world.

(Sadly, as an aside, this is the first time in the last 23 winters we have been in Finland (and Annikki's some 40 winters she has been in Finland out of her 63 winters) that we did not have snow in this near Arctic location. Remember we are just 200 km from the Arctic Circle! A sad reflection of the effect of global warming!)

Into our 10 email addresses, 5 Blog Accounts, 3 Google Groups, our mobile phone number, our landline phone and our snail mail postbox, a total of just around 70000 (YES 70000!) season's greetings poured in.

I had a task sorting them out and then updating mailing addresses in our numerous mailing lists, grouping them into the various groups, i.e., family (Maliyakals and Kandathils), friends (Indian, Finnish, world), Mumbai Cathedralites, Delhi Stephanians, Bishop Cottonians (Bangalore), Findians, CHAFF Participants, O-Indians, past colleagues, present colleagues and others - making sure we were not sending out duplicates or to dead addresses and then send our greetings to all on our lists. (If it was not for 3 trustworthy Macs working round the clock this task would have been impossible for just one computer idiot!)

Out of a total 37000 postings (the last ones were today), I am glad to say that this year we had hardly around 300 returns! I had taken out all those who had university addresses in the US and UK (the majority of these were Stephanians), and that had cut the mailing list from the 80000+ to this more manageable figure.

We are sorry to all whom we may have missed.

But this is proof that we have a teeny weeny world of our own. But this teeny weeny world is even smaller than we thought!

A few weeks ago I had about 6 emails, all with the same attachment - some pictures of the Old Bombay - a truly great collection of pictures. Most of the emails were forward.

One of the persons who forwards me great emails is Cathedralite from Mumbai) 56er Ubi (HS Uberoi). (Another is Cathedralite 49er from Mysore, Naval Patel.)

When I looked at the forward I noted that it was from his daughter-in-law, Anahita. Besides Ubi, she had forwarded it to one Farookh Mehta.

I sent an email to Ubi asking him whether this "Farookh" was the same "advertising" Farookh who was married to a great Maharashtrian stage actress, Vijaya. I explained to Ubi that we had sailed together from Venice to Bombay in 1969, round the Cape, and Farookh had beaten me in the Table Tennis final on board the ship. Farookh played well on a tilting and listing ship!

Ubi's reply was swift as it was amazing. Yes, this was the self-same Farookh, who was also a Cathedralite of the 47 era, married to the Maharashtrian stage legend, Vijaya, and whose daughter, Anahita, who had been a few months on that voyage was Head Girl in Cathedral School in 1985, when Ubi's son, Samir, was Head Boy, and the two were married!

A year or so ago, Farookh and Vijaya's son, Ravi Khote, had passed through Finland and I had talked to him about his parents.

Since this exchange of emails I have had emails and photographs from Farookh, which I will blog soon.

But the moral is that our teeny weeny world is much much smaller than we thought!

Cathedral, Alumni, 47er, 56er, Farookh, Vijaya, Ubi, Anahita, Samir