Thursday, September 29, 2011

KTWV 12 Issue 9: Old values vs new ones

Many of you are expecting me to keep Kooler Talk (Web Version) as a daily news letter.

This is quite impossible. This is a nostalgia site and not an up-to-the-minute news site about our College.

Stephanians and Laal Sitara are doing an excellent job on this front. I think the competion is spurring them to do things bigger and better than the other!

 Laal Pitara is not a Stephanian site as its objectives are just to have a great time on-line. I notice it has been used as a StephLeaks site.

But I am  sure that will sort itself out.

There is a wonderful effort by all sides to bridge the gap. Athough I do not want to be a wet squib, I am not of the opinion  that there can be a Fidel Castro, or Mao Tse Tung, or Col. Gadafi at the head of our bunch. Any person cannot stand up and take genuine criticism cannot be the head of our alma mater..

What is more important is that I have been informed that some traditions seem to have been maintained but locations changed. One person lamented that the staff were not part of the fun and frolic.

The reason staff were with us in the sixties was because there were many who had been students just a few years earlier and still had a "student mentality". They had not become steeped in the staff / student divide.

57er Ranjit Bhatia returned to College after his stint at Oxford and participation in the Olympics. He was very much a glamour figure amongst the students and hence did not fit the staff profile. So also 58er Raj Sircar.

The Cafe used to have a liberal sprinkling of staff members enjoying the mince or scrambled eggs. Even older staff members used to make it a point to interact with us in the Cafe. Principal Sircar, Vice Principal Shanklind and Dean Rajpal also dropped in occasionally and had a cup of tea with us. So we were never remote from the senior staff members. Princi and Vice-Princi had no reservations, but Dean kept a stiff upper lip.

I do not remember many alumni members dropping in. When they did, they were usually quite well known and they would make it a point to interact with all of us. Cricketers Prem Bhatia, Inderjit Singhji  and many other prominent sports personalities were those who did come to College to mingle with us humble students - and we really enjoyed their company. It was so good to share the table with such greats and revel in their success. It spurred us lesser mortals to try for the moon.

When I visited College in 2009, I did drop in at the Cafe. Not a single person went out of their way to ask who I was or what I was doing there. Not that it matters, as  I am not a very noteworthy person!

The Cafe seemed a very strange and distant place after 46 years. The atmosphere appeared to be somehow "wrong". I(t was not the small friendly warm environment.

After I attended the Founders Day Chapel Service a lot of peopledid talk to me and express their joy at reading this blog. Also after the Founders Day ceremony in the Assembly, where Past Indian President A. P. J. Abdul Kalam addressed us, I did take part in the gathering outside and met a number of students and Alumni.

The difference between my day is vast. When there is a gathering now, students get-together in their own groups and talk to one another. We used to look around for people you did not know and go and talk to them. After all, you have already exchanged many views with those you know, but you open doors when you meet with the new people around you.

That was the biggest difference I noted in the throng.

I also did wander around the staircases and corridors and took pictures of pictures. These are part of my memories of the College.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

KTWV 12 Issue 8: Stand corrected

I am very grateful when someone takes the trouble to correct something I have written.

I had said that the Holy Spot where we used to be dunked and dunk others on Holi was no more. I had seen a barbed wire fence dangerously near the spot when I visited the College in December 2009.

12er Sherry Mathews emailed me to say the tradition continued but the dunking was done by digging a pit in front of the JCR.

Was the dunking just a childish prank meant to get prudes on the same level as the rest of us.

Although it did not have any religious significance to roll people in mucky murky water, it was when we threw in a few staff members, including one year, Principal Sircar (rather gently and to the roars of almost all the residents), that it had an impact on all the students and staff that we were one community. Usually it was quite cool on a March morning and the water could be quite cold, but by the time festivities were in full swing, after breakfast, the warm sun was out and dried us rather quickly. Then we used to march to the VC's house and greet him, still caked in mud.

Would I like to roll in muddy waters still?

To be honest, I still do as I play with my grandkids, who love spurting water at us grown-ups in the sand pit.

One year I was very harsh on one of my grandkids, as I rebuked him for doing that. That evening I felt terrible as I thought of the days when I was much much older than him (he was only 7 and I had been 16+ when I had done just that).

I only thought of it again today, thanks to Sherry. I must apologise to this 14 year old for my harsh words. It is never too late for an apology, although I do not know whether the young lad will even remember the incident.

However in an apology, the important thing is for me to get it off my chest and to really feel sorry about what I did. Otherwise just saying some words has no meaning.

Yet another value I learnt from days in College.

Friday, September 16, 2011

KTWV 12 Issue 7: Taking Stock of Online Activity

15 years ago, Kooler Talk (Web Version) was the lone voice of Stephania on the internet. We were a happy family which grew to about 3700 people who would occasionally read my musings and compliment me on driving up the nostalgia. I do not think I had any problems. Principal Wilson and even Valson Thambu, made an effort to communicate with my readers and me at various times.

It all changed with the advent of Orkut, LinkedIn and Facebook. I am sure that there must also be some other places where the presence of the alma mater exists.

The Orkut  SSL, St. Stephen's College Group has been dormant since 2009 and has just 61 participants listed. There are 2 Groups on LinkedIn, St. Stephen's College Alumni and The Stephanians Network. Some discussions do take place there occasionally. I would have thought more of our Stephanians would be part of these, as LinkedIn is a more professional oriented site.

Coming to Facebook,  we now have 4 Groups, Laal Sitara, Stephanians, St. Stephen's College and the last one which I assume is supposed to be a parody site, Laal Pitara.

(I do not want to quote Facebook numbers as they are really quite irrelevant!)

To be the truthful, I do not know which site represents which viewpoint, not that I should care. Some claim to be the Official Voice of the Alumni and the other claims it is the Official Voice of the Alumni.

Facebook is a site for social intertaction - not a site for Alumni Associations to be fighting over the right to be the Official Alumni Association.

Whenever I see a site which is linked to any of my alma maters, I join it to see what is happening. I find many discussions, some good, some bad, some indifferent - and I absorb them all. But it does not mean I endorse everything that is claimed by the Administrators of the site. Because of my running Kooler Talk (Web Version), many try to impress me with their site.

After all, I am a Stephanian, and therefore I have been brought up to make up my own mind about thrings.

I stand on my own principles and that is why Kooler Talk (Web Version) which has been online for 15 long years, with occasional breaks to recharge my batteries and my finances. It has stood the test of time. It is my take on the nostalgia that I experience whenever of I think of my alma mater.

I do have a similar site for my Mumbai School, also 15 years old now  and it has also been very popular.

We have many who have been in both institutions. I came to India in 2009 as I organized the 50th Year reunion of my class of 1959 from my Mumbai School.

My plan is to hold the 50th year Reunion of the Class of 1963 in Stephen's College in the year 2013. We would recreate some of the very nostalgic events of the 3 years that I was in College. But it is a little more difficult than my school Class of 59. In 1963 all those who joined college in 1958 and left in 1968 could be considered to be in my Group of 1963.

To this end I intend to start a Google Group for this 50th year Reunion.

If all of you from these years are interested, do get in touch with me through any channel we share in common. I expect that it will be an historic event as people as 58er Rahul Bajaj, 61er Kamlesh Sharma, 63er Montek Singh Alhuwalia, 60er Mani Shankar Aiyar, 62er Swaminathan Aiyar, 65er Mammen Mathew, 66er Philip Mathew, 63er Suman Dubey, the 63er Seth twins (Aftab and Roshan), the 63er Rai twins (Chandra and Suraj), 62er Rathikant Basu, 63er Siddarthh Singh, 61er Bulbul, 63er Badrinath, 82er  Niranjan Desai, 63er Ajay Verma, 62er Dr. Peter (Tubby) Philip, 61er Ashok (Tony) Jaitly,  and many other great names would be in the participants list.

If I am to toast the Staff as well of that period we would have Anthony Stone, Raj Sircar, Ranjit Bhatia and quite a few more.

I am looking forward to interacting with all of you as I slowly but steadily move to getting the Google Group online in then next couple of months.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

KTWV 12 Issue 6: Being drawn into a controversy

One seemingly clever individual has been pushing me andy KTWV to come out against his rivals. Very shoddy and shameful. He wants to promote his vision against another, through me thinking he has pushed me into a corner for being a member off another Facebook Group.

Rather un-Stephanian behaviour led by personal rivalries.

Gloating is not Stephanian behavior.

Firstly, Kooler Talk (Web Version) is only MY take on things. I do not represent the views of even one other Stephanian. So what I expound here has nothing whatsoever to do with anyone else and their views.

I do not know the present laws of India as I have not lived there for the past 27 years. In the past 10 years, I have only made one visit to India, a 2 month Bharat Darshan in 2009!

The present controversy about one of the Stephanian Facebook Groups certainly requires a comment.

It was written that if a Facebook member of that Group did not inform the Group about her/his not wanting to be a member of an Alumni Association, then she/he would automatically be counted as a member of that Alumni Association. It implied that she/he would be required to pay Rs. 1000 as membership fee.

Correct me if I am wrong!

In Finland, such a statement is not valid according to Finnish Law.

If one wants to join an Association, the Association has to send all the information about it, in hard copy, along with an application form. This must be filled in and signed by the individual. (Pdf formats and electronic signatures are now permitted.)

There was a scam here where people used to send bills based on such a situation, where a negative was taken as a positive.

So to think that because you are a member of a Facebook Group, you automatically become a member of an association is inherently wrong. Facebook Group membership, which is social interaction, does not make you liable in any way to something else.

Not that I have anything against the particular Association, but the procedure to become a member of an Alumni Association must be correctly followed.

As I said, I am domiciled in Finland and the laws of Finland apply to me. I do not know the relevant laws in India.

Regarding the membership fees of Rs. 1000 - I could donate this money to this Facebook Group (or the Alumni Association) for bringing out such an excellent publication - they new SPICE.

Also there have to be different categories of membership - Honorary Members, Life Members and also Members who could pay annual fees. The Memorandum of the Association must be available to all potential members before joining the Association. There must be laid down procedures of how the money collected is used - the annual budget. There must be rules as to the cheque signing authorities granted to people at the helm. etc., etc..... There must be rules of joining as well as removing people from membership!

Neither of the present Stephanian Alumni Associations adhere to the very format of an Association (as the laws of Finland dictate). I am a member of both the Facebook Groups, as also many other Facebook Groups.  But none can claim that I am a member of any Associations formed under their banner. (I am a member of the Oulu University LinkedIn group but that does not automatically make me a member of the University Alumni Association!)

My request to all Sterphanian Facebook and LinkedIn Groups is to sort out differences and come together to form an Alumni Association OUTSIDE of the College. Allow room for different opinions and have a representative selection of people on the Board.

In two of my other alma maters - Bishop Cotton School, Bangalore and Cathedral School, Mumbai, the Alumni Association is in no way linked to the schools. They function independently of the Schools and that is the way it should be. The Alumni Association should not be a rubber stamp for the institution.

A healthy Alumni Association would work well with its alma mater but would also be a balance to greed and nepotism that sometimes creeps in!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

KTWV 12 Issue 5: Vir Sanghvi on Mani Shankar Aiyar

Although I have great regard for Vir Sanghvi, I must take issue with him when he headed his recent piece - "Parallax View: University fundamentalism is no different from religious fundamentalism". 

Belonging to any club, society, hobby group (philatelists, numatists, etc., bears exactly the same conotations as belonging to an alumni chapter. I could rate him belonging to a "foodie" group on the same parallel of Foodie Fundamentalism to Religious Fundamentalism.

There are literally hundreds of alumni chapters of alma maters spread around the globe. (I think Vir Sanghvi's Mill Hill School in London has a very active alumni association.)  

I remember asking my friends to become a member of their alumni association, being a money making proposition on the internet in the mid nineties. I did try my hand at that!

It has absolutely nothing to bring it on par with religious fundamentalism. It is related to man's basic need to be part of a social group with which one can identify oneself and one's interests. 

Religious fundamentslism is about usurping power with deception to control the masses.

In this process of alumni bonding, there has to be a catalyst. 

I started my online webletters to my alumni colleagues in the mid nineties because of a very personal experience. 

With the advent of the internet, it was fun to go through the hundreds of search engines (prior to the advent of Google) to see if one could track down old friends. In 1996 I hit the jackpot when I traced a long lost friend, him in California and me in the European Arctic, our roots, Indian. Within a short pace of a few months we were having a whale of a time exchanging notes about our lives after we had parted.

Then one day he told me to put him on hold as he had got a match and was going for a kidney transplant. He never came back!

That day I vowed to re-establish contacts with all my past friends so that we could share our appreciation of each other. In 2009 we held the 50th reunion of our school classmates, and it was if not a day had passed since we went our different ways. 

We paid tribute to those that were no more, gave comfort to those who had been left behind by them, and revelled in each others success. Classmates, and their spouses, assembled in Mumbai from USA, Canada, Malaysia, Finland, UK, and those that could not join us from Germany, Australia, were there in spirit.

This had nothing to do with fundamentalism. It had everything to do with friendships and bonds built by us having been in close proximity with each other, not only in the classroom but also on the sports playing fields.  Not only were we friends, but we shared our parents. Many of our children were also friends. We were a community with common interests in our nostalgic past. There was no power politics or fundamentalism involved.

I definitely take umbrage at the spin put on University comradeship by Vir Sanghvi - he certainly got this one wrong. And Mani Shankar Aiyar (and yet another Stephanian of my time - Arun Shourie) certainly do not represent the views of Stephanians . Exceptions prove the rule.)

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

KTWV 12 Issue 4: Hansraj / Kirori Mal / Stephania ruckus

The recent rather denigrating statements by 60er Mani Shankar Aiyar has drawn much debate in the local press in Delhi as well as Stephanians who are communicating via the internet.

What Mani said was  totally nonsensical, obviously meant as a booster for his sagging political fortunes.

(But I do not understand why Valson Thambu had to visit Hansraj College to apologize on behalf of the College. Will he now run to apologize to Kirori Mal college? Valson Thambu should have rung Mani Shankar and talked to him about it! Neither the College nor the alumni have anything whatsoever to do with any of Mani Shankar's many out-of-order remarks!)

But Mani Shankar has been famous for these rather wild sarcastic remarks even when he was in college. It was his way of trying to be snooty, but it did not wash with most people. He would occasionally stand at the head of one of the dinner tables in the dining hall, rather nattily dressed, and make a comment about something or someone. Nobody laughed! He just smiled to himself, pleased as punch with his clever wit.

His brother, however, 62er Swaminathan Aiyar, used to be equally sarcastic, but he always had a twinkle in his eyes, which meant we understood what Swami meant, and we laughed it off or laughed with him.

And the difference between the two brothers is as between chalk and cheese. Swami was always dressed in a very casual, almost untidy, way, and he walked around with his hunched shoulders trading remarks with everyone. Everyone liked Swami, crazy as he was.

Not so with Mani Shankar, who had his close band of friends.

Their professions show the difference. Mani Shankar was in the Foreign Service for 16 years. He had to maintain a stiff upper lip and clean exterior. That lip got loosened when he joined politics. He has been the centre for many controversial statements, such as the Veer Sarvarkar incident in the Andaman prison, which even had the then Prime Minister disassociate himself from Mani Shankar's outburst.

Outspoken as he is, Swami is a excellent journalist and a good economist as well.

Mani Shankar never related much with us juniors, so I was a bit surprised when he stood for Parliament. Swami was, however, one of us, as he was friendly with everyone. He used to enjoy the crowd in his smoke filled room playing Flash or Bridge!

There have been a few Stephanians who have made remarks quite out of keeping with our Stephanian heritage. One only needs too think of 59er/61er Arun Shourie who has written and said the most outrageous things so as to draw attention to himself. While in College Arun was a very controlled individual. He was my hockey Captain and a very dedicated and disciplined individual. He went on to win the prestigious Magsaysay Award in 1982 for his outstanding journalism. His columns were full of valid criticism.

Then his head got bigger than his boots. He had a love-hate relationship with Ramnath Goenka of the Indian Express. When he was publicly humiliated by Indian Express owner, Goenka, he wound up a very bitter person and focused on the method where he would be in supreme power. He then used some of his journalistic ability very unwisely. Many of his radical statements offended almost every rational thinking Stephanian. However, we did not have the Principal of our Institution running after those deeply offended by Arun  to apologize for what Arun had written.

I hope that Mani Shankar has the decency to personally apologize publicly to those offended by his remarks, as any true Stephanian would do! Mani Shankar's statements have nothing whatsoever to do with our College and our Alumni.

KTWV 12 lssue 3: Sudoku Junkee

Ever since the wife of 67er Philip Mathew (aka Thambi), Beena, got me hooked on Sudoku, not by saying anything, but just by spending a few passing minutes in the living room in Mumbai in December 2009, I came back to Finland and found our local newspaper had 3 levels published every day.

With great difficulty, I managed to finish the lowest level after a few days. I struggled with the second level. Occasionally I would finish it before I went to sleep at night. Then there came the day when I completed all three levels and I proudly blogged picture of that.

Over the last 2 years there had not been many days when I completed all three. Having a mild form of ADSL, my 20 to 30 minutes in the morning would see the easy one completed and parts of the the medium and hards levels also done. I would become agitated and bored at the same time.

Annikki would keep the newspaper in a special place. In the late evening, before I went to sleep, I would try to finish them - not very successfully.

Suddenly, about two weeks ago, I hit winning streak as I completed all three levels in the morning. I was happy. After a few days I found I was completing all three levels in the morning but usually taking about 45 minutes.

Voilá - today, I completed all three levels in 25 minutes! This is well within my ADSL time limitation.

As I convince myself of the dementia that I suffer from - and that is not a joke, as I learnt a few weeks ago, when I could not remember where I had put down my glasses, and I am blind as a bat without them, I am pleased to note that my senses, although failing, could be revived by some special actions.

I discovered a site called Lumosity, where it became evident that my dementia was not a problem related to my brain but my failing eyesight and hearing. The site is great as I was able to establish that if I tried hard enough, I would be able to reverse part of this deteriorating situation. (I only did the free stuff which they have to introduce the site to you, but that was enough to pinpoint my problem.)

Unfortunately, I am living in the fast lane, and I have not had the time to work at this faithfully.

So, if like me, you feel that dementia is setting in, all is not lost.

I am physically stronger than most of the young Indian IT engineers that come to Finland and stay in my apartments. Also, I am am quite multi-faceted in that I can do many things, such as change a light bulb :-) - which most of my young friends who are engineers, find it difficult to do!

I am not joking, as most of these very talented guys who come here as outsourced engineers, have a very limited do-it-yourself skills.

I think our colleges, and probably our dear alma mater, should have a screening room to televise MacGyver, the guy who manages to create things out of normal day-to-day stuff to get himself out of a jam! Bit dramatic, as it is a television series, but thought provoking in itself to drive one to think out of the box. This is a description of MascGyver (McGyver in my day) from Wikipedia:
    "MacGyver is an American action-adventure television series created by Lee David Zlotoff. Henry Winkler and John Rich were the executive producers. The show ran for seven seasons on ABC in the United States and various other networks abroad from 1985 to 1992. The series was filmed in Los Angeles during seasons 1, 2 and 7, and in Vancouver, British Columbia, during seasons 3–6. The show's final episode aired on April 25, 1992 on ABC (the network aired a previously unseen episode for the first time on May 21, 1992, but it was originally intended to air before the series finale). The originally aired episodes for the initial seasons (? - ?) used the title 'McGyver' but later changed it to 'MacGyver' to apparently provide him with a first name. All current copies show the later spelling. The show follows the intelligent, optimistic, laid-back, resourceful secret agent Angus MacGyver, played by Richard Dean Anderson. He prefers a non-violent resolution to violence where possible and refuses to handle a gun. MacGyver works as a troubleshooter for the fictional 'Phoenix Foundation' in Los Angeles. Educated as a scientist with a background as a Bomb Team Technician/EOD in Vietnam ("Countdown"), and from a fictional United States government agency, the Department of External Services (DXS), he is a resourceful agent able to solve complex problems with everyday materials he finds at hand, along with his ever-present duct tape and Swiss Army knife."
I can assure you that such skills are absolutely necessary in tomorrow's world. Let us hope we can ensure that future Stephanians are equipped with this ability. (I will touch upon another serious lacking of these brilliant minds in my one of my forthcoming issues of KTWV!) Stay tuned.

Monday, September 12, 2011

KTWV 12 Issue 2: What has this to do with Stephanians?

When I woke up this morning at 4 am and picked up my locals newspaper at the front door, I was feeling on top of the world. I glanced through the Finnish newspaper, as we have division of responsibilities - I read the international press while my wife covers the local one I moved to the Sudoku page and finished all the three levels rather quickly. I was feeling rather chuffed about getting through the early part of the autumn morning so wonderfully. Then I received an email from a dear school friend in Canada attaching a UTube clip. After I watched it, I felt how inadequate I was. I learnt in my subsequent email exchange with my friend that it was our school Physics teacher, now 85+ and also living in Toronto, that had sent him this clip of a composition by Johann Sebastian Bach. I replied him (and our Physics teacher) with copies to my two elder grandchildren, both very talented musicians. The clip shows us how mundane and boring, as well as how untalented many of us are. Here is precision skill and knowledge which has been uniquely expressed through wine, champagne and brandy glasses! Something we Stephanians must learn to do without emptying the contents of the glasses, which would probably be our first reaction? :-) I am now in the swing of Kooler Talk (Web Version). I shall have some exciting posts ahead, so keep the lines open and knock me down, if you can!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

KTWV 12 Issue 1: A time for KTWV to come back?

Kooler Talk (Web Version) is BACK.

It is sad that I restart Kooler Talk (Web Version) at this time of great problems within our

I have to now stand up and have my say. That is what Kooler Talk (Web Version) has always done during the last decade and half. Unfortunately, for the first time I have to be vicious - quite against the natural grain of my character.

It has been over a year since I made a blog entry. As the old cliche states "Much water has flowed under the bridge".

In my old age, dementia has been slowly setting in. Although past events are crystal clear in my mind, much of what I have written during the past decade, or even the past week, has faded from my memory. (A test at the Lumosity web site revealed that it the disassociation of the various faculties, eyesight, hearing, the sense of smell and taste, that causes this form of dementia. It is not really the traditional form of dementia.)

I visited my blogs to read some of my past scribblings. (During my Bharat Darshan in 2009, I was only blogging at my main blog "Jacob's Blog", which presently remains locked. Much of what I wrote during that period, which included a visit to the College and attending the Founders Day event, is at the moment still unaccessible to Stephanians.)

What a shock I got! 

I seem to have written, with uncanny accuracy, what I see happening today in our alumni and in the College. I takes no credit for this. It was something which was obvious to anyone who could read the lines - not between the lines. I never make people to read between the lines.

I had written:

"The college is in the media limelight for all the wrong reasons".

Let me be crystal clear.

The common factor "for ALL the wrong reasons", then and now, has been and is Valson Thambu!

I am very happy at the positive and constructive things the alumni Facebook GROUPS (Stephanians and Laal Sitara) are doing. I am also thrilled at the Groups on LinkedIn, and many blogs run by Stephanians.

Yet, there is room for more involvement and improvement.

All the young Stephanian alumni at the helm of these various presentations of their take about our College are very sincere in what they are doing. They have the great respect for our alma mater and want to do something positive. I do hope they will resolve their personal differences and work towards a common goal.

The only person who is scared of their activity has to be one with a guilty conscience. That person feels that his "authority" will be usurped. His real intent would stand exposed.

I sort of laid out part of the goal I saw for the alumni in one of my blog entries last year. (Remember, I have been online for 15 years!!! I have said a lot during that time.)
    "I would like to state some of the obvious:

      We should have the finest faculty in all branches we intend to teach in our learned institution.
      We should have the brightest and best students in the College.
      We should have professional management to run the College, both the teaching, the education and the premises.
      We should optimise all the aspects of running an educational institution.
      We should modernise in keeping with similar institutions around the world.
      We should involve alumni who have experience in managing a national education institution.
      We should change our focus to handle the problems that face the India of tomorrow.
      We should stop the reservation policy for anybody which is only detrimental to all communities in the long run.
I note that one leading contributor recently posted in one of the Facebook Groups about being open about what one says. I have always refused to publish details of subject matter sent to me with an anonymous label.

Let us go back a few years when we had the ad hoc appointment of Valson Thambu as the Principal of our College.

During the short time he was there he tried to change the secularity of the college into a fiefdom for a narrow band of Christians. He brought great disrepute to our alma mater!

I am born a Christian but value all the good of all religions.

Our college was not set up just for Christians. Read 61er Tony Jaitly's history of our College. You will see the first four students admitted to our College were Hindus and the fifth a Muslim!

Then Valson Thambu was removed. We hoped an experienced Administrator would be appointed!

While the process of re-appointment of the Prtincipal was going on, back Valson Thambu was, with a "doctorate" in theology from an Agricultural University! Do read an earlier blog entry of mine on this subject.

Despite the excellent credentials of many of the candidates to head our College, Valson Thambu was again appointed as Principal in a very clandestine manner. The collusion was more than obvious, again bringing great disrepute to our alma mater.

Then, there was a huge public war between the Bishop (the Chairman of our College) and Valson Thambu as they battled to get control of the funds of the College. 

This unseemly washing of dirty linen in public was screamed across the headlines of many national newspapers.

I witnessed all this sitting here close to the Arctic Circle, 7000 km away from Delhi. I wrote to many Stephanian alumni to DO SOMETHING!

The College was again the headlines for all the wrong reasons. 

And now we have the alumni scandal, where Valson Thambu has taken a "cease and desist" approach to something creative, constructive and positive done by a section of the alumni.


What has this alumni association done to degrade the name of our alma mater? Why this dramatic over-reaction?

Who gave Valson Thambu ANY authority over my right as an alumni to discriminate  or accept the good of two alumni groups? Certainly not me!

If one reads his 8 page "cease and desist" letter - it would be easy to put the name of Valson Thambu to all the accusations he has leveled against what he calls the "Imitator" alumni association!

It is Valson Thambu who is the Imitator Principal!

If people want to do good for our alumni, why attack them publicly with such a ridiculous liturgy rather than talk and sort things out in a Stephanian way.

Although I belong to both the Groups on Facebook, neither Group has asked me for any money. Nor have they made any demands on me, except for my time and my good wishes.

As I said in one earlier posting, Valson Thambu is past the maximum level set by the Peter Principle.

Conflict diverts attention from the real situation, his legitimacy as the Principal of our College. 

Valson Thambu has no management skill that I am aware of. His actions from Day 1 when he took over as the Principal proves my point. His doctorate is highly questionable. The doctorate relates to a subject not even taught in our College (or was so when I last enquired).

There very "cease and desist" letter signed by him proves beyond a shadow of doubt his lack of competency to head our alma mater!

So on what grounds was he appointed to head our College? 

His knowledge of the English language or a hidden agenda?

I hope all the wonderful members of the alumni will get together and make sure that we have a harmonious relationship amongst ourselves and not be at the beck and call of the dubious holder of the title of the Principal of our College.

Valson Thambu is all what our various previous Principals were not - a very divisive personality. And as I have said before - there is not one Christian bone in his body. 

I will be back on line with my traditionally nostalgic reminiscences of OUR College. Stay tuned.

My approach is quite different from the wonderful SPICE or any other College related group.

And your inputs, criticisms, brickbats, are always welcome.

I am so happy that new SPICE is out. It is a great read. It is a wonderful professional alumni presentation - and Valson Thambu wants to kill this creativity? WHY? 

(The original SPICEs were way after my time in College. I understand they were controversial and racy!)

Kooler Talk (Web Version) will remain what it has always been - MY personal take on life in and after my wonderful experience in St. Stephen's College, Delhi.

Welcome back to all our regular readers. And welcome to our many new readers.