Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Old, Lonely and Not Safe at Home

That's the heading in the third page of The Times of India. Crimes against the elderly are on the rise in the capital and rest of NCR. This year, eight senior citizens have been been murdered so far, while 2006 witnessed 26 such cases. Breaking up of joint families has brought loneliness and alienation to the elderly. In almost all the cases, the victims were living alone. The Delhi policeboasts to
have the largest police force in the world, but the culprits have made jokers of them, just as one sees in Indian movies. In most cases the culprits are never apprehended. It's really a tragedy. The elderly people who live alone are now afraid to meet outsiders. The husband dare not step out of the house leaving his wife alone. They don't trust the police any more. Joint family is the solution to this problem. But when a family becomes large, accommodation problem arises, and somebody will have to shift elsewhere. So, gradually , the joint family automatically disintegrates. Then, what is the solution to this evil? The police will have to be more active. The public avoids the Indian police because they harass those who go to the police station to lodge a complaint. Most thefts are never reported to the police because of this harassment. The Indian police is a special brand of force, which the public avoid. The attitude of the police has to change. They'll have to regain the confidence of the people.They'll have to serve with a smile. Protection to the senior citizens living alone must be beefed up. Service to the masses must be the motto of the police.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Reflections on the state of International Relations

Mr. Jayanta Ghosh and Mr. Radheshyam Sharma have provided some very deep and disturbing facts on the state of India’s democracy. Looking in from the outside, it is often impossible to sense the deep seated divisions of ethnicity, religion and economic strife that remain as major skeletons in India’s troubled closet of democracy. Both Mr. Ghosh and Mr. Sharma should be commended on their frankness and their reflections make for some good political commentary.

India’s key problems have undoubtedly been masked by the falsity of globalization and unreal expectations and changing value systems have served to ignore the problems of India’s humanity. What is often overlooked is the nature of the world-system today. Despite the media’s portrayal of false freedoms and the image of one big “MacWorld”, the essential instruments of “core-peripheral” relations remain unchanged. Have the temptations of globalization obliterated India’s ability to empathize with its own suffering masses? One is inclined to submit to a growing theoretical construct that describes India’s liberalization as “the IMF’s direct rule”.

We live in morally troubling times - greed, falsity and callousness are the hallmarks of all world governments today. India could certainly review its recent history and salvage the ideals of freedom and justice.

The “state of affairs” is particularly troubling to those that uphold the value systems (non-MTV and CNN based!) seated in spiritual humanism and the supremacy of the almighty. I wouldn’t expect anything less in view of the traditions that were imparted to us at school. Unfortunately, this makes life more difficult as the majority of people we rub shoulders with, are terribly immune to such high standards.

What is true for India (in terms of politics) perhaps applies across the board, to the spectrum of corrupt arrangements that dictate our world order, today. In India’s case, it’s particularly troubling as we see a nation of struggle and endurance; submit so easily to the material temptations of globalization.

Life, nonetheless, goes on ……and the unhealthy state of world politics notwithstanding…… we must continue to lead, win the good fight and do all things well

Terrorising India

More than fifty years ago, when my father was posted in some place in Bihar, one local gentleman remarked to my father that Hindus are unfit to rule a nation, especially Brahmins. Pandit Nehru was then the Prime Minister of India. The remark still stands good today. The terrorists have taken advantage of the political doldrums to create mischief. We Indians are lethargic and always want others to do our jobs for us. It is a mystery why crores of rupees every month are being spent in giving protection to the so-called VIPs. Every MP and MLA is surrounded by Black Cats and what not whenever they step out on the roads. The roads are blocked and traffic diverted to make way for these humbugs, creating traffic jamns and misery for the general public. If these humbugs are so afraid to move out of their house, they should remain indoors. It'll make no difference to the country whether they live or die. The public needs protection from terrorists, which they are not getting. India requires President's rule immediately. But, unfortunately, our present President is simply a doll, decorating the President's house. She was chosen to be so. The country is in a chaos. God only knows for how long this will continue. Till everything stabilises, the terrorists will have a hey-day.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Terrorism in India

Just read Radheshyam's blog on Mudslinging in Ahmedabad. Now we have terrorism in Ahmedabad. 14 serial bomb blasts in Ahmedabad today following the bomb blasts in Bangalore. This bomb blasting has become so easy in India, showing the laxity in security throughout India. The lapses in security in U.S. had caused the plane crashes into the Twin Towers and the Pentagon.
India is a very soft target. Just like the criminals becoming our netas, it is also very easy to plant a bomb anywhere one likes, nobody will question. If the police catches a suspect, pressure for his release soon follows. It becomes a torture of minorities. Our intelligence network appears to be very weak. The government announces that the blasts occuring all over the country are the handiwork of Pakistan ISI. Yet, we continue talks with their government for controlling the terrorist groups. It is a routine exercise and an eyewash. The government officials have a pleasure trip, good food at the tax payers' expenses. The meeting is telecast for all the world to see. But the bomb blasts and killing of innocent people go on at regular intervals. When terrorism is sponsored by a government, a thousand meetings will not solve any problem.
In West Bengal, the C.M. specifically pointed out that several Madrasas had been identified as source of terrorism. These Madrasas were hording arms and ammunitions and harbouring terrorists. He said that they will be searched. But, for some unknown reasons, that search was never made.
At the Dum Dum Airport there is a small Masjid in the middle of the old runway. The funny thing is that the runway could not be extended because of this Masjid. The Airport is surrounded by a high wall with barbed wire. A path has been specially made for the Muslims of the area to go to the Masjid. The path enters the security zone. The path, of course, has walls on both sides, and is about a hundred metres. But, if it was a temple instead of a Masjid, it would have been razed to the ground long back. This cockeyed policy of the governments at the centre as well in the states is encouraging terrorism. The policy should change, even if it means loss of votes. The government is only playing with fire. Bomb blasts will continue as long as Pakistan and Bangladesh exist.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Mudslinging in Ahmedabad

Hello friends,

Religious leaders and great thinkers have always been persecuted from time immemorial. Whether it was Plato or Gautam Buddha, Jesus Christ, Kabir or Mira Bai.
Why should we in the 21st Century be different.
Ealier, there was only physical torture but now with the electronic media, they are being tortured mentally.
First Sankaracharrya was the victim, followed by the Sai Baba and now it is the turn of Asharamji.
It is another matter that after their deaths, we start respecting them and even praying to them calling them Awtars or Son of God.
I would not like to say much.
I have just added today the link to the Ashram site for all to see the persecution being done.
Of course the language is in Hindi and most of our boys from abroad may not be able to understand it, but the pictures would speak for themselves.


Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Double Standards of Electronic Media

After reading Radheshyam's article in the Ahmedabad riot case, it's really very strange that the electronic media should get involved in the incident without verifying the truth. Or maybe the whole matter was stage managed to embarrass the Narendra Modi government, as suspected by many, including Radheshyam. Nothing is unlikely. If a government can throw crores of rupees to purchase votes, to give bail to convicted criminals to earn their vote, anything and everything is possible.
We're living in very strange times, very difficult times. When inflation is increasing day by day, and the prices of all essential items, including vegetables, edible oil, cereals, cooking gas are rocketing beyond the reach of ordinary people, the MPs are squabling amongst themselves and the government has turned a blind eye. It has buried its head in the sand and announces that everything is under control. What a government, my God !
The media also seems to be subdued in this matter. The political parties are engaged in maintaining their position and trying to control infighting. The media is the spokesman of the ordinary masses. It is their duty to reflect the opinion of the masses, their problems and difficulties. But it appears from several incidents the media has always taken the wrong side, the
side of the ruling party. The media is more interested in showing reality shows, fashion shows, marriages of celebreties for days on end. As if the media has no other job. Remember Abhishek Bachhan's marriage. Whatever channel you open, only Bachhan's marriage. Day after day. What the couple wear, who prepared the wardrobe, the places they visit after marriage, what food they eat, etc. etc. Then Sanjay Dutt's trial and jail, then bail. The media must have thought that the masses have nothing else to do but follow the marriage and trial. Sometimes I have a suspicion that the government must have instructed the media to broadcast these petty things and shove them down the masses' throat so that they don't have time to think or discuss the more important inflation and price rise. Serve opium to the masses, just like ICL and IPL. Keep the people happy. Don't give them time to think. Thinking people are dangerous. Do you remember Julius Caesar who said of Cassius, he thinks too much. And thinking people are dangerous.

Shame, shame Indian

At long last the trust vote is over. And what a way ! The public is disgusted with the shameful drama that took place in Parliament yesterday. What was expected ultimately happened. The
Congress and its allies won the trust vote, purchasing votes with crores of rupees, hanging carrots
before criminals like Shibu Soren, who has been promised the Coal Ministry and his son a deputy
minister's berth. The world had eagerly watched the proceedings of the biggest Democracy.
I quote the Times of India, as I could not put it in a better way :
"Over the past several days, there's been a flood of stories of MPs on both sides being bribed to switch loyalty. The payoffs are reported to have ranged from Rs.3 crores for abstaining to Rs.25 crores for Cross-voting. On Tuesday, when three MPs started to disgorge stacks of money from a bag on the table of the House, allegedly given to them as "advance" for a much larger bribe, our worst suspicions seemed to have been confirmed.
We abrutally and re a nation proud of our democratic traditions. But along the way, our political class has systematically subverted every institution of democracy to a point where it has all but lost the faith of the people it was meant to serve. If the allegations made in Parliament are true, then the guilty must be made to pay a very serious price. And if they aren't, it would imply an extremely cynical conspiracy, for which there should be sevre retribution, too. The facts need to be established, and exemplary action taken. Anything less would be a betrayal of the nation's faith in democracy."

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Death of Indian Democracy

Horsetrading has begun in real earnest in the capital to save or topple the Congress-led UPA
government. The present government will either remain or exit depending on the purchasing power of the side concerned.
We all know in India that most MPs and MlAs are hardcore criminals. In fact, having a criminal
record and muscle power are two of the important criteria for being selected for a seat in Parliament or state legislature. Winning an election for such criminals is no problem. The goons
will see to it that the don wins.
In the present scenerio we find that the government's sutvival or fall is in the hands of six hardcore criminals already jailed for various heinous crimes. I give the list below :

1) Pappu Yadav alias Rajesh Ranjan - RJD MP from Purnea, Bihar.
Sentenced in Feb. 2008 for life for murder of former CPM MLA Ajit Sarkar in 1998.

2) Suraj Bhan - LJSP MP from Balia, Bihar.
Sentenced to life imprisonment last month for murder of a farmer in 1992.

3) Afzal Ansari - SP MP from Ghazipur, UP. (brother of UP don Mukhtar Ansari) In jail facing
charges for murder of BJP MLA Krishanand Rai in 2005.

4) Ateeq Ahmad - MP from Phulpur, UP.
Charged in : 21 criminal cases, including some involving murder. One such was the murder
of BSP MLA Raju Pal in 2005.

5) Umakant Yadav - BSP MP from Machhlishahr, UP.
Jailed for razing shops and houses while trying forcibly occupying land in Azamgarh, UP in

6) Md. Sahabuddin - RJD MP from Siwan, Bihar.
Convicted in : 3 cases between March and August 2007; Life term for kidnapping leading
to murder of a trad er in 1999, 10 years for attack on Siwan SP in 1996 and 2 years for
attack on CPI(ML) office in 1998.

These criminals will, no doubt, be welcomed in Parliament by bouquets and garlands.
It's very strange and confusing why the Election Commission does not have the power to
withdraw the MP status once such criminals are charged and convicted. The antecedents of
each aspiring candidate should be thoroughly verified before accepting their nomination papers.
No known criminal should be allowed submit his nomination paper. The Times of India had
conducted such an excellent and innovative programme in "Lead India" to encourage young,
educated and honest youth to take active part in politics. But all the sincere efforts of TOI
will be in vain if these six criminals are allowed to defile the sanctity of Parliament
and permitted to vote. It is a much more heinous crime than the attack on the Parliament
House by terrorists.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Holidays and ideas... (Richard Johnson, July 14)

I’m back, after a holiday in Phuket and a conference presentation at the Sunshine Coast, Queensland.

I consider myself so fortunate to be able to experience travel and all the luxuries that attend being in warmer weather and experiencing other cultures, great food and the occasional glass of wine or beer. I often wish my parents could have been present to enjoy all this. I can’t remember us ever going away for a holiday in my first 23 years in India. We lived in Muzaffarpur for a part of my time at GMS and my father took me up to Kurseong for the first year, but that was no holiday for him. I remember, we stayed at ‘Plains View’ for a few days … on the left, just before you get into Kurseong. Mum visited once. It was all so expensive. My Uncle George (Jeff (GMS’64) Knight’s father, sisters in St Helen’s, Patsy and Susan) worked in the Railways and was able to visit Kurseong on a somewhat regular basis and I remember great holidays in Kurseong with the Knight family and also with the Alphonso family. That short break from school was soooooo memorable.

In my last post I mentioned I was going to Phuket and joked about a meeting a Goethalite there and guess what, I got an email from one of our bloggers to say that he was also in Phuket at the same time. Now, would you believe that! I didn’t get to meet him though because I only read my email when I got back. One of my definitions of a holiday is – NO emails and NO computer.

Phuket was fantastic – great people, friendly, soft and accommodating – 33 degrees C and humid which called for plenty of swimming – perfect beer weather – great food – I just love Thai curries … with all that coconut milk … hot though … it all seemed so reasonably priced – I understand all that is relative and I am talking through the pocket of the Australian Dollar. Friends of ours have rented a house there for three months and they invited us to spend two weeks with them. It was great to have time to ‘just holiday’ and do things like talk to monkeys and enjoy the scenery. By the way, that's me on the right...

I also had the opportunity to do some ‘holiday reading’ and I have a great book to recommend to all Goethalites – you may even want to discuss it in this blog ‘Life of Pi’ – a fantastic read – the recollection of ex-teachers … there is quite a bit there that it reminiscent … please read it and let’s know what you think.

The Sunshine Coast, Queensland was also a good escape from the Grey and miserably cold Melbourne winter. The vastness of the Australian coastline, especially in sunny Queensland is breathtaking …

So, I have quite a bit of ‘Blog catching-up’ to do, but I couldn’t help being struck by Radheshyam’s email (4/07/08). I think it is clearly an ideal and worthwhile project for a group of ex-Goethalites like us to be involved in. I support Radheshyam’s recommended approach and I can commit to making a contribution. However, I do believe that we need to keep the discussion going … as Radheshyam suggests and see if we can come up with other ideas and approaches.

As I said, I can commit to making a contribution but I think that in the long term, that is not a sustainable approach. As a collection of active minds focused on a worthwhile project such as this, we should have a sustainable set of projects in place by say January of 2009, that could see the necessary funds being generated on a regular basis that would involve us and possibly the student population. I am about to put forward two ideas, but I do think that we need to set a ‘time limit’ on the ‘ideas stage’ – we could spend a whole year collecting ideas and doing little or nothing. So, let’s say we notionally set September 30 as a ‘brain-storm period’. Then in the first two weeks of October we, as a group, decide on the project(s) that we will drive. We put that to Brother James and his school committee and then start ‘the drive’.

An approach such as this would need a coordinator and possibly a coordinating team. I would nominate Radheshyam as the coordinator and I would offer my services in any capacity, if required.

You may think I am getting a bit ‘carried away’ or a bit ‘ahead of myself’ in making these suggestions, but that’s all they are – just suggestions. This could be a worthwhile initiative, let’s support it – fully. I see it as an opportunity to ‘put something back’. While giving money is a good way to start, there are many examples to prove that it is not sustainable. We also need several ways for contributions to be made, not just by monetary contributions. I also believe that a level of interactivity or engagement would be good – I am not meaning or suggesting interference – the focus has to be on support. Maybe the question could be asked within our group: How can you (each one of us) support? What support can you offer? Maybe at some stage we could have more information on the school. I saw it when I was there in ’07. How is it known – does it have a separate name – does it have the same curriculum? Is the school represented on the GMS website? Is Bro. James an autonomous principal managing ‘his own school’? Does Brother James’s school manage their own budget or is it part of the GMS budget?

I would love to see Matt Lobo involved in the ‘project approach’ that I am suggesting. Matt has been following a theme in his recent blog entries (I hope I am not misrepresenting him!) – he has lamented the loss of formal music and ‘physical education’ (sport) instruction at GMS and also the lack of opportunity for students to go onto year 11 and 12. I fully agree with his position. Maybe, as our support initiative develops we could also target areas for which we wish to offer additional support.

So, here are my two suggestions:
Passing the Baton: messages from ‘old boys’ was the title of the book I suggested we write. I propose that ALL monies raised from the sale of this book go to this project. I received a lot of positive support for the idea, but only three contributions. We need 100 to 150 contributions for a book. I have been doing quite a bit of thinking on the book idea and in my next blog entry I will be proposing other, more accessible ideas for contributions and I will also propose a few variations for stories that Goethalites may write. This could be a good focused project that a large number could contribute to and even from now, I would anticipate a Nepali edition.

The second idea aims to involve students. This could take several forms. The idea would be for a group of students doing ‘Art’ or ‘Art and Craft’ of ‘Digital Literacies’ for example to make a photographic presentation for individual ‘old boys’. So, they would start by taking ‘orders’ – If you would like a photograph of your name (and the few names around yours) enlarged, from the Goethals Honour Board on display in the main GMS corridor (It was an Alumni initiative of Rajah Banerjee and the Alumni Committee organising the 2007 Reunion) then send your details … a fixed price for orders within India and a fixed price for all overseas orders – ALL money coming in would go to this project. You would receive an enlarged photograph of your name on the ‘Honour Board’ identified by the year you joined GMS with maybe an enhanced image of the school. There could be the option of it being framed (by the students).

There was a picture of the Goethals Honour Board published on this blog a while ago with some ex-Goethalites who attended the reunion in the foreground, I would like to have shown it here but I just couldn’t locate it.

There are many examples of Alumni groups around the world that give significant assistance to their school. The examples that I know of are in Australia, US and England. We should/could look at (research) what is being done and what is possible for us to do. Of course all this needs to be done is consultation with the school principal and community – Radheshyam communication with Brother James is promising and through him this project could go ahead.

Best wishes to all and I look forward to sharing ideas with you on this great space.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Msgs from Old Boys 31

Msg from Amit Garodia

Dear Mr.Sharma,
I would like to inform that one of our classmates of batch'97 Zakir Hussain has successfully entered the Indian Film Industry and 2 of his films are going to arrive and "The Little Godfather" will shortly arrive in September. I think he's worked hard for it. Hats off to him.
Amit Garodia

Dear Amit,

My congratulations to Zakir.
What is Zakir's role in the film.
Is he an actor, director?
Could you give more details.

Dear Mr.Sharma,
He is an actor in the film.

Msg from Pinaki Mitra
Dear mr.sharma,
I fully appreciate your cause and am willing to donate the sum of money mentioned in your letter.But can i be rest assured that all the money we raise will be properly utilised.Just look into this,as i have had some bitter experiences in my life .We the batch of 1977 atleast the ones in Cal and i am in touch with will definitely come forward for this donation.Let me have more details when you are ready.
Thanks and have a great day!
Cheers for Goethals !!!!


Dear Pinaki,

I understand your misgivings.
We see these things in our daily life.
A beggar will come to you in a bus crawling on his knees. You give money to him and then you see he walks properly on his feet after he gets off the bus.
Or another beggar comes to you with eyes closed as if he he blind but then walks without difficulty after getting off.
These incidents will put off anybody and start doubting all human beings.
But still there are people like Mother Teresa and different sants in India who spend whatever money the shishyas give them.
We have to believe somebody if the world has to go one.
During the centenary, we saw the girls who were being educated and fed during the sports functions. We heard about them and now since we are being asked to support them, I feel it is not a fraud.
Then we have Br James who is behind the project. He has been in Goethals for the last 10 years or so.
Foreigners are coming from abroad to look after our poor in India.
Shouldn't we in India, whom God has given more than average, try to help our less priveledged bretheren.
If we do not raise the standard of the people below us, they will in time bring us down to their level.
There will always be people who will try to steal the money which people provide for the poor. But then, they are the ones who suffer in the long run.
They say, if you give a man, fish, he may have one or two square meals.
If you teach him to fish and give him implements, he can feed himself and his family for the rest of his life.
If you give him education, you benefit him and all his future generations.
The rest is up to you.
Mine is only an appeal.


Dear Radheshyam,
I admire the student for doubting. Its a global sickness to ask money for the poor and use it for something else. I have lots of photos in the computer but they are not of this year's students. There is one little voice recording of one of our girls and this was sent to Ireland to represent an Indian student of the Christian Brother school. Apparently, in Ireland they have set up a sort of museum where when you press a button, a student from one of the countries appears on a screen and says a line or two about himself/herself. We had the privilege of sending one for India and I will send that to you. You will need a ear-phone to hear what she is saying. I will send some more recent photos tomorrow.

Br. James

Bank Account of Life...........Sent By Lalit Narayan

A 92-year-old, petite, well-poised and proud man, who is fully dressed each morning by eight o'clock, with his hair fashionably coifed and shaved perfectly, even though he is legally blind, moved to a nursing home today.

His wife of 70 years recently passed away, making the move necessary. After many hours of waiting patiently in the lobby of the nursing home, he smiled sweetly when told his room was ready.

As he manoeuvred his walker to the elevator, I provided a visual description of his tiny room, including the eyelet sheets that had been hung on his window.

"I love it," he stated with the enthusiasm of an eight-year-old having just been presented with a new puppy.

"Mr. Jones, you haven't seen the room, just wait." "That doesn't have anything to do with it," he replied. "Happiness is something you decide on ahead of time. Whether I like my room or not doesn't depend on how the furniture is arranged ... it's how I arrange my mind. I already decided to love it. " It's a decision I make every morning when I wake up. I have a choice. I can spend the day in bed recounting the difficulty I have with the parts of my body that no longer work, or get out of bed and be thankful for the ones that do. Each day is a gift, and as long as my eyes open, I'll focus on the new day and all the happy memories I've stored away just for this time in my life.

Old age is like a bank account. You withdraw from what you've put in. So, my advice to you would be to deposit a lot of happiness in the bank account of memories! Thank you for your part in filling my Memory bank. I am still depositing!

Remember the five simple rules to be happy:

1. Free your heart from hatred.
2. Free your mind from worries.
3 . Live simply.
4. Give more.
5. Expect less.

Appeal Result

I was standing on a railway station platform when a person came and opened his bag, took out a piece of cloth and spread it on the platform. He then took out a pack of cards and started shuffling them. Requesting the commuters standing for their trains to come forward as he was arranging a magic show.

When a small crowd collected, he then showed some good tricks

When his onlookers interest had been raised he halted one trick in the middle and said he would show how the tricks were done. In the meantime, his friend who had stood by him so far started doing feats which are possible only by people who have done yoga their whole lives.

When all this was over. Both of requested that the by-standers contribute something for their food.

Well, except for a few, most of the spectators who were till now watching enthusiastically till then vanished from the scene.

It reminded me of a joke I had heard in school

Three friends were in a church hearing the Sunday sermon. (The joke says they were Jews or Scotsmen or Marwaris) They may have been of any race as no race holds the monopoly in miserliness and none of them hold the patent.

Well, after the sermon, the padre proclaimed that he hoped that they had enjoyed the sermon and his assistant would go round with a hat for their contributions.

The three men watched disconcertingly as the hat approached them and they could not leave as they were wedged in the middle of the pier.

Suddenly, one of them fainted and the other two carried him out.

My appeal last week has had similar effect.

At least one of our boys has mailed me a request not to send him any further mails as he was already donating to a charity.


Friday, July 11, 2008

No short cuts, please

There was a game which people played earlier.
They used to stand in a large circle each person some distance from the other.
The game was to start by one person whispering something in the ear of his neighbour.
The second person was supposed to whisper that same sentence in the ear of the next person.
This would go on from person to person until it reached the last person.
The last person would then say what he/she had heard.
This would be compared would what the first person had said.
Natuarally, what the last person had heard was a completely distorted version of what the person had said.
That had happened in verbal communication.
But did you know this happens in written communication as people are too lazy to write properly and prefer short cuts.
I am giving below an example to prove my po

Memo from CEO to Manager:
Today at 11 o’ clock there will be a total eclipse of the sun. This is when the sun disappears behind the moon for two minutes. As this is something that cannot be seen every day, time will be allowed for employees to view the eclipse in the parking lot. Staff should meet in the lot at ten to eleven, when I will deliver a short speech introducing the eclipse, and giving some background information. Safety goggles will be made available at a small cost.

Memo from Manager to Department Head:
Today at ten to eleven, all staff should meet in the car park. This will be followed by a total eclipse of the sun, which will appear for two minutes. For a moderate cost, this will be made safe with goggles. The CEO will deliver a short speech beforehand to give us all some information. This is not something that can be seen every day.

Memo from Department Head to Floor Manager:
The CEO will today deliver a short speech to make the sun disappear for two minutes in the form of an eclipse. This is something that cannot be seen every day, so staff will meet in the car park at ten or eleven. This will be safe, if you pay a moderate cost.

Memo from Floor Manager to Supervisor:
Ten or eleven staff are to go to the car park, where the CEO will make the sun disappear for two minutes. This doesn’t happen every day. It will be safe and as usual, it will cost you.

Memo from Supervisor to Staff:
Some staff will go to the car park today to see the CEO disappear. It is a pity this doesn’t happen every day.

I know, many people would love their CEO to disappear, but this is no way to go about it.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Think Different – Do We Dare?

The Underachiever's Manifesto: The Guide to Accomplishing Little and Feeling Great

Lower the bar. Turn it down a notch. Get off the Stairmaster. The Underachiever's Manifesto is the playfully persuasive pocket guide to living life to the least and loving it. With sharp humor and genuine wisdom, this welcome little book extols the fabulous benefits of underachievement in our overextended society. A witty introduction makes the case for the right amount of effort, a lot less than we've been led to believe. Ten principles of underachievement establish the basics (#8: The tallest blade of grass is the surest to be cut); and practical applications show how mediocrity is the key to happiness at work, in relationships, dieting, exercise, investment, and more. Devilishly enlisting examples from philosophy, economics, science, and good common sense, The Underachiever's Manifesto is a lighthearted, life-changing rallying call for those who dare to do less and enjoy more.

"The nail that sticks up will be hammered down"
- Japanese proverb

"Look out! Here comes the boss; look busy!"
- The Rock and Da Judge

The Underachiever's Guide™ to Leadership, "The Art of the Duck and the Dodge", is an enlightening and humorous approach to leadership, not foregoing the critical elements of true leadership skill development. A quick and easy read that gets to the heart of leadership, in a unique contrarian (opposite) approach. We may or may not recognize ourselves in this book but I guarantee you will recognize people and situations from your past. Learn to avoid the pitfalls of poor leadership.

Some of the principles you will learn are:

*how to stay "below the radar"

*strategic ducking

*the art of miscommunication

*the trouble with character

*the art of survivorship

*tactical dodging

*the philosophy of "hakuna matatta" (do less, no stress)

Monday, July 7, 2008

Drinking Warm Water

Heart Attacks And Drinking Warm Water

This is a note sent by a friend not only about the warm water after your
meal, but also about Heart Attacks.

The Chinese and Japanese drink hot tea with their meals, not cold water. Maybe, it is time we adopt their drinking habit while eating.

For those who like to drink cold water, this article is applicable to you.
It is nice to have a cup of cold drink after a meal.
However, the cold water will solidify the oily stuff that you have just consumed. It will slow down the digestion.
Once this 'sludge' reacts with the acid, it will break down and be absorbed by the intestine faster than the solid food.
It will line the intestine.
Very soon, this will turn into fats and lead to cancer.
It is best to drink hot soup or warm water after a meal.

Common Symptoms Of Heart Attack...

You should know that not every heart attack symptom is going to be the left arm hurting. Be aware of intense pain in the jaw line...
You may never have the first chest pain during the course of a heart attack.
Nausea and intense sweating are also common symptoms.
60% of people who have a heart attack while they are asleep do not wake up.
Pain in the jaw can wake you from a sound sleep.
Let's be careful and be aware.
The more we know, the better chance we could survive.
A cardiologist says if everyone who reads this message sends it to his friends,
he can be sure that we'll save at least one life.
Read this & Send to a friend.
It could save a life.
So, please be a true friend and send this article to all your friends for whom you care.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Pearls of Wisdom

Lalit Narayan has sent the next lot of one liners.
They are gems.

1. I say no to alcohol, it just doesn't listen.

2. A friend in need is a pest indeed.

3. Marriage is one of the chief causes of divorce.

4. Work is fine if it doesn't take too much of your time.

5. When everything comes in your way you're in the wrong lane.

6. The light at the end of the tunnel may be an incoming train..

7. Born free, taxed to death.

8. Everyone has a photographic memory, some just don't have film.

9. Life is unsure; always eat your dessert first.

10. Smile, it makes people wonder what you are thinking.

11. If you keep your feet firmly on the ground, you'll have trouble putting on your pants.

12. It's not hard to meet expenses, they are everywhere.

13. I love being a writer... what I can't stand is the paperwork.

14. A printer consists of 3 main parts: the case, the jammed paper tray and the blinking red light.

15. The guy who invented the first wheel was an idiot. The guy who invented the other three, he was the genius.

16. The trouble with being punctual is that no one is there to appreciate it.

17. In a country of free speech, why are there phone bills?

18. If you cannot change your mind, are you sure you have one?

19. Beat the 5 O'clock rush, leave work at noon!

20. If you can't convince them, confuse them.

21. It's not the fall that kills you. It's the sudden stop at the end.

22. I couldn't repair your brakes, so I made your horn louder.

23. Hot glass looks same as cold glass. - Cunino's Law of Burnt Fingers

24. The cigarette does the smoking you are just the sucker.

25. Someday is not a day of the week

26. Whenever I find the key to success, someone changes the lock.

27. To Err is human, to forgive is not a Company policy.

28. The road to success.... Is always under construction.

29. Alcohol doesn't solve any problems, but if you think again, neither does Milk.

30. In order to get a Loan, you first need to prove that you don't need it.

??.and here's the best of the lot

31. *All the desirable things in life are either illegal, expensive, fattening or married to someone else *

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Msgs from Old Boys 30

I had written sometime back with reference to Richard Johnson’s article that I consider life to be a horse race.
Some horses race fast right from the beginning to the end. Others are fast in the beginning and soon tire out. Still others are slow in the beginning but pick-up speed as they proceed and gallop home winners. Still others race throughout with the same speed. They are neither winners nor losers.
Parents should not force their ideas on their children. They should guide them not force them.
You never know when the ugly duckling will convert to a beautiful swan.
We saw such a transformation lately in a beautiful movie:” Tare Zameen Par”(Stars on the ground). I would suggest to those who have not seen not to miss it.
During our times, the ratio of Boarders to Day-scholars was 10: 3.
Nowadays, I found during our visit to Goethals during the Centenary that the ratio has reversed in favour of day-scholars.
Managing boarders does require more effort.
Having to cope with the journey to and from home and also being involved in the family chores, the results of the boarders were always better than the day-scholars.
I don't knpw how it is now.
One suggestion is to complete all chores of the day-scholars in the school itself.
They could have games and then evening studies with the borders and then go home to sleep and come back next day, all refreshed.
I have posted some photographs of a friend who was a very good artist.
I still have his autograph with a beautiful couple sitting in a sunset and the following words
“May your life have just sufficient clouds to make a beautiful sunset”
Very poetic. Well he did go on to become a poet, that too a German one.
We all left school and went our ways.
Recently, we have made contacts and this is what he has made of his life, in his own words.

I'm a multi-published writer, lecturer and poet based in Freiburg (poems, fiction, non-fiction) who also writes on ethno-medical, culture-ethnological themes. I write regularly for The American Chronicle (, and am a contributing writer on and also I've studied Zoology and Botany in Nepal, Medicine and Social Science in Germany and Creative Writing in Freiburg and Manchester. I like to describe myself as a mediator between western and eastern cultures and see my future as a writer and poet. I was awarded the German Academic Exchange Prize and am a lecturer in Basle (Switzerland) and a writer cum artist in Freiburg.
This is what have to say about him
Writing experience: Satis Shroff has written an anthology of poems 'Katmandu, Katmandu' ( and 'Through Nepalese Eyes' ( and a German collection of poems "Im Schatten des Himalaya (" He has also written two language books on the Nepalese language for DSE (Deutsche Stiftung für Entwicklungsdienst) & Horlemannverlag (Bad Uhonnef). He has written three feature articles in the Munich-based Nelles Verlag's 'Nepal' on the Himalayan Kingdom's Gurkhas, sacred mountains and Nepalese symbols and on Hinduism in 'Nepal: Myths & Realities (Book Faith India) and his poem 'Mental Molotovs' was published in epd-Entwicklungsdienst (Frankfurt). He has written many articles in The Rising Nepal, The Christian Science Monitor, the Independent, the Fryburger, Swatantra Biswa (USIS publication, Himal Asia, 3Journal Freiburg. Also read his poems, articles in & search under: satis shroff.

Msg from Satis Shroff

Hi R.S.!

Yes, that's me, although it was ages ago. You mentioned Mr. Lobo: how is he doing? Does he live in Calcutta or DJ? Nice to receive a mail from you. I've lost contact with DJ & Kgn but I still have good memories from my school days. Have a nice day.



Hello Satis,

I am Radheshyam Sharma of the 1965 passout batch from Goethals Memorial School, Kurseong.
I just wanted to confirm whether you are the same Satis Shroff who was with me in school.If you are, you may find interesting, the class photo which was sent by Mr. Lobo and posted on our blog . You will find both yourself and me in the photograph
I just read one of your articles on Gorkhas "Drinking Tea in Darjeeling" and would like to put in our blog as it is pertinent to what is happening now, if you agree.
Cheers and regards


Msg from Partha Sengupta

Dear RS
I enjoyed your msg of this week.
I think the point is, is any politician pledging not to be corrupt or not to give in to corruption.
Bimal Gurung has a great opportunity to make such a pledge and walk his talk.
Is he willing ???
Once this happens we shall have real progress be it Darjeeling or CPM`s Bengal.

Msg from Lalit Narayan

God Created Woman
Two beautiful legs, so long and so slender,
Round, slim, and firm, and ever so tender

Two lovely hips to increase his desire,
And rounded and firm to bring out the fire.

Two lovely breasts, so full and so proud,
Commanding his eyes, as he whispers aloud.

Two lovely arms, just aching to bless you,
And two loving hands, to soothe and caress you.

Soft, cascading hair hung down over her shoulder,
And two dreamy eyes, just to make him grow bolder.

'Twas made for a man, just to make his heart sing.
Then he added a mouth, and ruined the whole damn thing

Friday, July 4, 2008

Messages for NIOS

Dear All,

Below is an appeal received from Brother James who is stationed in Goethals for more than 10 years. The appeal is self explanetory. For any further information please write email to Br. James directly who is in the to column. The income tax exemtion certifciate is in the attached document.

An Appeal.

GMS Alumni (Regd.)

February 28,2008.
All Generous Ex-students of GMS.

Subject : Funds for looking after very poor local school girl drop-outs.

Dear Sir,

Our Founder Blessed Edmund Rice had founded the Congregation of Christian Brothers solely for educating the very poor street children of Ireland. First, a rich lady by the name of Nano Nagle started a society of women who decided to educate the girls among the street children. Then Edmund, inspired by God and Nano Nagle turned his stable into his first school for boys. Initially it was tough going because the boys were unruly. But his determination and trust in God helped him to make gentlemen out of these boys. Then other generous young men joined him in his good work and the number of such schools and brothers grew. Hence the Charism [ main purpose for starting a society] of our Founder was to educate the very poor. As the number of schools grew, Edmund began to run out of funds. Initially, the brothers taught in their schools in the morning and in the afternoon they went from house to house asking for donations of any kind to run their schools. Later Edmund came up with the 'bright idea' to run a few 'pay schools' for the well-off people, so that the pay school subsidising the 'free schools'. This idea worked well during his life-time. After his death, the brothers preferred to work in the 'pay school' because of the comforts and amenities that come along with the availability of funds. Over the last 150 years the trend has been to close down the free schools and cater to the rich / upper middle class in posh schools.

The 20th and 21st centuries has ushered in so many new opportunities for young people, that few young men are joining our society. The result is that we have very few brothers to run our schools and many of them are too old. So many of our institutes have been shut down or are being managed by lay-people who are not brothers. Mother Teresa's sisters look after the poorest of the poor in the world. The sisters do not enjoy facilities like fans, T.V., computer, A.C.s etc and yet hundreds of girls join their society each year to work with the poor. This has led us to believe that if we go back to the charism of our Founder and look after the poor also, then perhaps it will attract young boys to join our society and increase the number of Christian Brothers in the world. For this very reason and the need to help the poor who are being left behind, the Brothers all over the world have gone back to the Charism of our founder and are now concentrating in having 'pay school' and 'free school' side by side. Our free school for school drop-outs, gets 6.5 lakhs from Goethals memorial School. But this is not enough . Like the earlier brothers we have to 'beg' and ask you for donations, no matter how small or big it is. 'Begging' is become easier with the existing information technologies. Some of you have enquired about income tax exemption [ Form 80G (5)(iv)] which exempts you from paying income tax on the amounts you donate. Our society has the required certificate which is attached along with this appeal. A copy of the pamphlet describing the kind of work we do at Edmund Rice Free School is also attached for your kind perusal.

Thanking You.

Yours sincerely,

Br. James Joseph.
[ Superior ]


Hello friends

Bro James Joseph has sent an appeal to all our boys to send contributions which would go in running schools for the underpriviledged boys and girls. It is a worthy cause and I am sure all our boys will send in their donations as per their pockets.
In our religion we call it Gupt Dan, meaning Secret Donation, unlike those made by our politicians under the full glare of the TV and other Electronic media. You will not get votes here, just the gratitude of the benefeciaries, one of whom, who knows, may become a great Industrialist or Engineer or Doctor or any other leader in his profession.



Dear Radheshyam,

It is great to receive and read your messages and also feel your frustration at what is not working in parts of the country. It is a sign of attachment to your land and fellow people.
And it is also great to read through your mail and the blog the thoughts and opinions of ex Goethalites on how we can improve things. That is what we need to continuously strive for. Pradeeps’s appeal is so justified in this world of excesses that we live in where we so easily forget those who have nothing, and you are right to invoke the values we have learnt.

Br. James has the special school going for the poor from the area around GMS. It is a wonderful initiative as it is giving the possibility of getting some education (and lunch) to a lot of children including many girls. Unfortunately in many parts of the world girls still do not get the same opportunity for a good education as boys and any initiative to change that is fantastic.

Br James had sent an appeal for funds for this initiative (which you have also mentioned in your weekly letter some time back). I personally feel that all ex Goethalites have a moral obligation to assist anyone trying to provide education to the poor because most of us today are what we are thanks to having received good education. And particularly in this case as it is in the area where we grew up and got our own education, and also as it is being done by our own school. I have recently corresponded with Br James and learnt that so far no one has responded to his appeal, not a single paisa has come from any of the ex students. Due to lack of funds they have had to reduce the lunch they were providing to 350 girls to only 100 now. I am adding my voice to his appeal to all ex Goethalites living abroad and in India and hope that many of us will send him some amount so that he can continue his programme. Let’s do our little bit too.
Payment can be made by:
Drafts [ Indian ] can be made in favour of 'The Coordinator, NIOS' payable at Kurseong

Cheques [ Foreign Contribution Account ] can be made in favour of C.C.B.I. A/c No. 420058125

Looking forward to your next weekly letter.

Karan Mehta

Dear Karanvir,

Thanks for your mail. It acted as a reminder.
I will have to be more proactive.
There is no point in just taking a one time donation.
We must try to see that they receive regular funding so that they do not have to appeal continuously for their regular programmes.
Could you please find out from Bro. James and let me know what is their monthly budget for their ongoing activities


Dear Radheshyam,

I have written to Br James and am waiting for his reply. It would be good if also you and some others wrote at least to give him the support that some Ex Goethalites are thinking about him. from his last message he seemed pretty depressed as there had been no feedback.
Also, since he is the only qualified teacher, and does not have the money to hire other qualified teachers, I believe he is also really usy and a tired man. So till the cash does not roll in let's give him some moral support.
Hope that once you get this message on the blog and through your weekly message we'll be able to get some old boys to do something concrete.


PS: In case you do not have his email address it is:

Dear Br. James,

Karan informs me that you have been disheartened because of lack of response from our end, and rightly so.
With so many of our boys placed in good positions and not a single contribution to help the poor, indeed a very poor record. I shoould have followed up my appeal but did not.
Well, we'll make amends now.
I had asked Karan to let me know the monthly budget for your school.
Do let me know and I hope that is met by our boys.

Warm regards


Dear Sir,

I have been reading your mail regularly and I admire your concern for the school and the political situation in W.B and the whole country. I wish every citizen was like that. I have already sent attachments to Mr. Karanvir regarding the budget and a description of the kind of work we are doing. Due to lack of funds, I have asked 150 of the less desperate kids to bring some tiffin from home and the remaining 100 desperate cases are given a vegetarian lunch. Also the GJMM agitation has resulted in strikes which has affected our classes to a large extent and it is a sin to say that I am spending less because of that. Our teachers are paid Rs 200 for a day and on holidays and strikes they are not paid. These teachers are not as qualified as the GMS teachers but they slog hard and like mothers and sisters to our girls of the open school. You must remember that the girls joining us are drop-out from mainly government schools and some of them dropped out as early as class 2 and have been doing house work for years. Most don't know English and we start with teaching A,B,C. Our teachers must be good to get 74 such girls through class 10 in 2007. This year, 35 have already passed out in the May 08 exam and another 60 would attempt the next exam in October 08.

My budget for a month is at present about 2.5 lakhs and if I were to give lunch to all, it would be about 4 lakhs. Our Founder Edmund Rice, when asked about funds for starting projects for very poor street children said that "Providence is our Inheritance" which simply means God will Provide. The very fact that you ex-students show your concern for the poor girls of this neglected area is heartening. The school is still running and will keep on running because God is working through great people like Karanvir, yourselves and God knows who. Our children are aware of the funds crunch and are happy with whatever little we can do for them. The poor will always open our eyes and hearts with the simplicity of their lives. Anytime I am down and out, I just visit one of the homes of our children. I have always returned vitalized and satisfied that we are doing God's work just as our Founder had envisioned. I'll try and attach the same documents which I sent Karanvir. The budget amounts [ attached ]are somewhat bloated because I was advised that if you ask the funding agency for 50 lkhs, they will sanction only 30.God bless You.

Br. James

P.S. I could not attach any of the above mentioned documents because the attachment mechanism of hotmail is not responding. Please Karanvir to forward it to you

New Exam Pattern for India

Ashok Goyal has his reliable sources in the HRD Ministry in Delhi.
He has been able to sneak out some new proposals on the exam system being introduced by Mr Arjun Singh, our Honourable HRD Minister.
God bless him (Arjun Singh).

New Exam pattern in India (Revised): FOR ALL BOARDS IN ALL STATES

1. General students - Answer ALL questions.

2. OBC - WRITE ANY one question.

3. SC - ONLY READ questions.




Thursday, July 3, 2008

Alishan Farm - A Goat's Initiative

Dear classy goats,

Hope all of you and your families are keeping well. Some of you are already aware that I have left my job a couple of months back and I am into making the first truly Village Resort in West Bengal in my ancestral hometown in Malbazaar in Dooars (North Bengal). The resort will cater mainly to an up-market clientele both from within the country and overseas. Vikram Verma (ISC70) who is into tourism in a big way has been guiding me, along with Jigme Tenzing (ISC70) and of course Aggie (ISC70) has been very kind to give me some financial support and of course Pradip Lama (ISC70) who is always ready to give some good and correct advice and moral support. I will always be grateful to them for their support. Thank you guys.I had initially proposed to start from October 2008 but in view of the political disturbances in North Bengal it is most unlikely that the inflow of tourists to this area will be there till such time as things settle down. Anyway, I have made some changes to my plans for the project and I am now going to open it earlier as a day resort cum picnic spot. I will now do the inauguration on 15th August, 2008 when I intend to invite some ministers of North Bengal along with the top bureaucrats and defence personnel and my entire tea fraternity, school friends and of course all other ‘Goats’.Work in the resort is going on in full swing and I slog from 6 8 p.m.every day and believe me guys there is nothing like sincere hard work as I am enjoying it. If only I had worked like this for the last 35 years.
Anyway no regrets, as at 55 I am still going strong and I can still take on 20 year olds on the ground both in hockey and football. In the village I have trained 24 youngsters in the 7-17 years age group to play hockey and believe me guys, they are so talented that they just need guidance and proper coaching. Unfortunately, I did not have the money to buy them hockey sticks and hence I got them to make Bamboo hockey sticks which they did and their performance with that also is good. Are there any sponsors for the same? If so please contact me. Now that the hockey season is over we have started football and again I am training up another 24 boys. We have a fantastic football ground in the school which my father had founded and donated in 1974 before he expired in 1975. (It was his dream to see village girls get educated since boys could go to the town to study but girls could not study after the primary level. Our family ran the school for about 10 yrs with some voluntary teachers and just a handful of students. Today the school is run by the government and boasts a strength of about 1,200 students out of which about 800 are girls.) I have marked the football ground as per international standards for football. On August 15th after the inauguration and various activities are over we will end the day with a football match between my team and a team from Siliguri where some ‘goats’ are also players.
I am forming a private limited company with about 2 lakh shares and one of our school junior boys Mr Shyam Agarwal is my C.A. and he is doing all my necessary documentation.Can I expect investments from any of you?!!! If so please get in touch with me. By mid July I will have the brochures and website ready.It is a dream project and hospitality is something I always wanted to do from my college days. I guess it is never too late to do anything if one has the determination.Regards to all your family members and most of all keep in good health and make a programme to be at my resort on 15th August 2008. I am attaching a little write-up along with some photographs which are computer generated. – Abdul Samad (ISC70)

Abdul Samad (ISC70) spent ten years in GMS (1961-1970). He was an avid sportsman and was in the Hockey and Football 1st XI. He graduated from St Joseph’s College and represented Darjeeling district in football whilst in college. He was till recently in the tea business. - Bishan Dewan (ISC70).

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

The Humble Farmers

The farmer has a very difficult life. He toils all day, all through the year against the vagaries of nature and then depends upon market forces and speculators to reward him. In spite of that some are bogged down by simple problems while others come out top to solve these problems.
Here are two stories which illustrate my point, taken from Rex Barker.

The Foxed Farmer

A farmer went out one day and bought a brand new stud rooster for his chicken coop. The new rooster struts over to the old rooster and says, 'OK old boy, time for you to retire.'
The old rooster replies, 'Come on, surely you cannot handle ALL of these chickens. Look what it has done to me. Can't you just let me have the two old hens over in the corner?'
The young rooster says, 'Beat it: You are washed up and I am taking over.'
The old rooster says,'I tell you what, young stud. I will race you around the farmhouse. Whoever wins gets the exclusive domain over the entire chicken coop.' The young rooster laughs. 'You know you don't stand a chance, old man. So, just to be fair, I will give you a head start.'
The old rooster takes off running. About 15 seconds later the young rooster takes off running after him. They round the front porch of the farmhouse and the young rooster has closed the gap.
He is only about 5 feet behind the old rooster and gaining fast. The farmer, meanwhile, is sitting in his usual spot on the front porch when he sees the roosters running by.
The Old Rooster is squalking and running as hard as he can. The Farmer grabs his shotgun and ...
... he blows the young rooster to bits. The farmer sadly shakes his head and says, 'Dang it!
...That's the third gay rooster I bought this month!'


Farmer John lived on a quiet rural highway. But, as time went by, the traffic built up at an alarming rate. The traffic was so heavy and so fast that his chickens were being run over at a rate of three to six a day.

So one day Farmer John called the sheriff's office and said, "You've got to do something about all of these people driving so fast and killing all of my chickens."

"What do you want me to do?" asked the sheriff.

"I don't care," said Farmer John. "Just do something about these crazy drivers!"

So the next day he had the county workers go out and erected a sign that said

Three days later Farmer John called the sheriff and said, "You've got to do something about these drivers. The 'school crossing' sign seems to make them go even faster."

So, again, the sheriff sends out the county workers and they put up a new sign:
SLOW: CHILDREN AT PLAY. But that sped them up even more!

So Farmer John kept calling, and the sheriff kept changing the signs.

Finally, Farmer John said to the sheriff, "Your signs are doing no good. Can I put up my own sign?"

The sheriff was ready to let Farmer John do just about anything in order to get him to stop calling every day. He said, "Sure thing, put up your own sign."

And after that, the sheriff got no more calls from Farmer John.

Three weeks later, curiosity got the best of the sheriff and he decided to give Farmer John a call. "How's the problem with those drivers? Did you put up your sign?"

"Oh, I sure did. And not one chicken has been killed since then. I've got to go. I'm very busy." He hung up the phone.

The sheriff was really curious now and he thought to himself "I'd better go out there and take a look at that sign... it might be something that WE could use to slow down drivers..."

So the sheriff drove out to Farmer John's house, and his jaw dropped the moment he saw the sign. It was spray-painted on a sheet of wood:

*** Go slow and watch out for the chicks ***