Friday, December 27, 2013

Motorwagen by Benz

This amazing replica was on display at the Codissia Fair held recently in Coimbatore: This vehicle featured a rear mounted horizontal engine with a vertical crankshaft and final transmission to the rear wheels by side chains all mounted on a tubular chassis.The 984 cc IC engine developed a then spectacular 0.9 HP giving a top speed of approx. 8 K mph amidst a veritable cacophony of sounds smells and vibrations. Today the Motorwagen may be considered primitive to the extreme but Benz's patent of 29 January 1886 was indeed "state of the art" The original car was donated to the Deutche's museum by Papa Benz in 1906. This one is a replica built in Yorkshire England a few years back. Attractively presented with black framing and iron work, varnished wood platform & wooden tool box, and a plethora of brass fittings this fabulous exhibition piece can also be made to run but with care.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

St.Xavier's Old Boys Reunion - Farewell Dinner

The farewell dinner on Day 2 ( 17th November 2013) was held at the Patna Golf Club.
Patna Golf Club History:
1916 was a hallmark year in the history of Patna with the founding of the ‘South Bihar Gymkhana Club’ which was later rechristened as the Patna Golf Club. Sprawling over 165 acres this is the sole club for the golf lovers. The ‘South Bihar Gymkhana Club’

stretched from Government House in the west to Bihar Gymkhana Club in the south. The 1st secretary and president of the club were H.K Briscoe and W. Maude. Formerly, the club used to serve as the ground for playing golf and polo by the British Officers and the socialites. After the Second World War, the British lost interest in maintaining the club’s ground and polo’s popularity as a sport also diminished. In 1956, the District Judges J.G.Shearer and K.Banerji stepped in and decided to take necessary measures for the revival of the club’s golfing activities. The name of club was changed from the ‘South Bihar Gymkhana Club’ to ‘Patna Golf Club’ and consequently, the ground, solely began being used for golf.
Through its glorious journey of 96 years of existence, Patna Golf Club has pioneered and encouraged the game of Golf amongst all ages and sections of society.  The vast course serves as a training ground to the young budding golfers to achieve their dreams in the days to come. Many popularl golf tournaments such as Basant Utsav, Heat and Dust Golf Tournament etc, are hosted by the club annually. Due to all these endeavours the magnificent game of Golf has found an irreplaceable place in the state of Bihar.
The farewell dinner commenced around 8.00 pm at night.It was as usual cocktails, snacks & dinner. There were also many speeches by participants and thanksgiving to the organizers. The reunion had been a wonderful event and by the time we reached the finale at The Patna Golf Club there was a tinge of sadness as the proceeding were coming to an end.The mood that prevailed at the farewell dinner is aptly demonstrated in the below video & pictures. Cheers. Adieu until 2015.

And for the final session - We all Xavierian's 56-65 meet again a t the Golf Club.
Vinay Sinha regaled the gathering with his melodious voice - he kept belting out the golden oldies from the 60's and 70's. Kavitha Shivaji, Luxmi Shil& Meena Jayanth look on in admiration.
The ladies are all seated as usual - Meena Brajeswar, Mrs.Prabhat Sinha, Mrs.Mukku Parimal, Mrs.Anoop Grover.
Mrs.Luxmi Shil, Mrs.Kavitha Rai Shivaji Nath, & Mrs Meena Jayanth Thakur    looking completely relaxed !        
Binny Kochar normally balances his budgets - here he is seen balancing his Chivas Regal :) Prabhat looks on in amazement.
Dr.Eqbal reciting a poem which he has composed especially for the occasion.
Ashok Varma in colorful head gear looks cheerfully and intently at the camera.
Prabhat Sinha takes center stage and has the audience enthralled.
Mrs.Mukku Parimal Dayal climbed on the sofa set and gave a big vote of thanks on behalf of the ladies.
And finally it was time to bid adieu - Sayonara. What a fantastic two days it was. It was with a tinge of sadness that we departed.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Island of Bali (Indonesia)

Bali is an island and the smallest province of Indonesia. The island is home to most of Indonesia's Hindu Minority.According to the 2010 Census, 84.5% of Bali's population adhered to Balinese Hinduism. while most of the remainder followed Islam. Bali is also the largest tourist destination in the country and is renowned for its highly developed arts, including traditional and modern dance, sculpture, painting, leather,metal working and music. A tourist haven for decades, the province has seen a further surge in tourist numbers in recent years.
This a popular dance form from Bali. This troupe of young girls is colorful costumes are enacting the Ramayana as part of the entertainment during a cruise we took during a visit to the Island of Bali.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Gol Ghar Patna (Bihar)

Gol Ghar with the dry bed of the river Ganges in the back ground
After the devastating famine of 1770  which killed nearly 10 million people in regions of Bengal & Bihar and modern day Bangladesh,Warren Hastings , then Governor General of India, ordered the construction of this beehive shaped structure (Gol Ghar) for the purpose of storing grains for the British Army. It was conceived and built by Captain John Garstin, an engineer with the East India Company and has a storage capacity of 140,000 tons, it construction was completed on 20 July 1786.
 Built in the native Stupa architecture, Gol Ghar has a foundation of 125m, and a height of 29 m. It is pillarless with a wall of thickness of 3.6 m at the base. One can climb atop the Golghar through the 145 steps of its spiral stairway around the monument. The spiral staircase was designed so as to facilitate the passage of the coolies, who had to carry grain-bags up one flight, deliver their load through a hole at the top, and descend the other stairs.
 The top of the Gol Ghar presents a wonderful panoramic view of the city and the Ganges flowing nearby. At time of its construction, it was the tallest building in Patna. Golghar has never been filled to its maximum capacity and there are no plans to do so. The reason for this is a flaw whereby the doors are designed to open inwards. Thus, if it is filled to its maximum capacity, then the doors will not open.

Friday, December 13, 2013

St.Xaviers Patna - Old Boys Reunion - Day 2

The party at Chanakya on Day One ended pretty close to midnight and by the time most of us got to our homes/hotel rooms it was close to 1.00 am. So it was decided we deserved to sleep till late on Sunday morning have a leisurely break fast and then meet up at St.Xavier's School around 11.00 am. The entry into our school after a gap of 48 long years was nostalgic and my mind was filled with so many fond memories.We old boys were all wearing our blue striped school ties and we felt so proud of this.
We took a tour of the school campus around the old school buildings, to the hand ball courts,  the old auditorium, swimming pool,  basketball & tennis courts. Alas some of the important landmarks like the huge tamarind tree and the shuffle boards had vanished.The aviary which used to house little birds and small pet animals had also been dismantled. The swimming pool was in a state of disuse and the tennis court in a poor state of maintenance. A new additional block has been constructed opposite to the old blocks basically with an idea of expanding and adding more students.The school had over the years also switched syllabus from Senior Cambridge to Matriculation. Also the exclusive boys school had now become co-ed.
Once every one arrived we started the days proceedings with light refreshments - the traditional bun,butter,chops & chips accompanied by soft drinks and beer/vodka/gin etc. The camaraderie,fellowship and the bonhomie continued to overflow.We had a super entertainment session involving both men and ladies. Men were asked to pick up folded slips of paper from a basket and then they had to do what ever was written in the slips - stand one one leg for one minute, bleat, moo, meow, cluck, bark,dance,hum a tune till it was identified,sing a song,jump, skip,propose to a girl at a date.......The list went on. Surprisingly some of the men were a bit shy to perform and the women had a jolly good time.Next we had a musical session of Antakshari, Here the men scored heavily. Majority of the old Bollywood numbers were belted out by Vinay Sinha who is gifted with a wonderful melodious voice. Binny Kocchar too sportingly contributed to many songs.Then it was time for lunch. The Chinese menu of noodles,rice,sweet & sour vegetables,garlic chicken was delicious.The lunch concluded with mouth watering gajar ka halwa and yummy kulfi/ice cream. After lunch we walked through the polished corridors of the school, went into our old classrooms,trekked upstairs to see the dorm, barged in to the Principals Office...........................
Amarendra & G.P.Singh posing in front of the school gate
We enter St.Xaviers. I ( Ramanathan) am entering the portals of the school after 48 years. It was nostalgic and I was flooded with many fond memories.
The main school block was unchanged - the Tamarind tree had disappeared & so were the shuffling boards.
Posing in front of the swimming pool Left to Right: Ramanathan, Abhai Choudhary,G.P.Singh,Vinay Sinha,Chandrasekhar,Prashant Dutt & Rai Shivaji Nath.
Looks like exam time with the invigilators providing extra sheets.



Relaxed and having a Teta a tete ! The ladies provided the entertainment - the men danced to their tunes.Some stood on one leg, others bleated like lambs and clucked like hens. Some were asked to hum tunes while others danced. In the end there was an entertaining Antakshari - where Vinay Sinha took the strangle hold belting out old tunes in quick succession.
Enjoying the meal of Butter,Bread, Beans,Chops & Chips. There was plenty of Beer & Vodka also going around.
The Stair case leading to the first floor - where the dorm was situated.
The corridor with mirror finish polished marble floor on the ground floor. The classrooms & the furniture were virtually unchanged. This was a trip down the memory lane.
The majestic main entrance doors with stained glass clicked from the inside.

Ramanathan & Rai Shivaji Nath posing with the Vice Principal.
The School Motto - The plaque was in the Principals room.
The water taps and cement trough remained unchanged
This awesome B & W was found hanging outside the Principals Office. The Rev.Father Murphy (our Principal during the 60's) shaking hands with the then Governor of Bihar Dr.Zakir Husain.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

St.Xaviers Patna - Old Boys Reunion - Day 1

About 22 of us old boys(some accompanied by wives) from St.Xavier's High School Patna 1956-65 Batch had a happy reunion at Patna on 16-17 November 2013.Many of us were seeing each other after 48 years - but the recognition was immediate and the chemistry instantaneous.Basic structure and general looks of most of us hadn't changed - we were older, heavier,weaker, had paunches, grey hair, bald pates,some looked more mature,others sillier ...........................
On 16th morning we had the inaugural meeting and lunch at the Bankipore Club - This club established in the year 1865 on the bank of River Ganges at Patna, Bihar.Originally known as "European Club" and used exclusively by Europeans.The club was renamed "Bankipore Club" as Bankipore denoted the civil station of Patna District.
We started with registration of participants followed by a round of introductions.A 2 minutes silence was observed in memory of about 20 of our fellow classmates who were no longer in our midst on mother earth. A special cake had been ordered for the occasion which the ladies were accorded the privilege to blow the candle, cut the cake and distribute. Next was fellowship with a round of cocktails,juices & snacks followed by lunch.Post lunch we all gathered on the sprawling lawns facing the Ganges for a group photo session. 
After this we all drove off in a convey of cars to the Ganga Ghat for a river cruise. We had a wonderful two hour cruise and watched the beautiful sunset. It was Kartik Purnima and after dusk we saw the full moon in all her glory. We also had the good fortune to view the special Arti on the Ganga Ghat on the auspicious occasion of Kartik Purnima.
After the cruise we all dispersed to our various homes & hotels only to reassemble at the Hotel Chanakya for cocktails and dinner which was being so graciously hosted bt Vinay Kocchar  - a leading hotelier and successful businessman who also happens to be one amongst us old boys. Cocktails and snacks were served in the well stocked and brightly illuminated Takshila bar on the roof top and dinner was at open roofed terrace.
The camaraderie and bonhomie was excellent. The men were turned out smartly and ladies dressed in gorgeous colorful attires. We all had a grand gala time. Here are some pics of the adventures of Day one:

Brigadier Amarendra Singh regaling the ladies at Bankipore Club
Exchanging cards -L to R : Amarendra Aingh, Prabhat Sinha, Dinesh Mishra (green checked kurta) Priyadarshi (smiling),Dr.Abhhaya Choudhary (blue shirt) & Professor Akhoury in grey coat.
Dinesh Mishra and Prabhat Sinha (in waist coat) in bear hug
Dr.Eqbal Husain & Brajeshwar Mishra
Special Cake ordered for the occasion
Group picture on the lawns of the bankipore Club: L to R: Anoop Grover,Anil Kishore,Binny Kocchar,Dinesh Mishra,Abhai Choudhary,Vinay Sinha,Shiladitya Sinha,Indrajit Singh
 Ladies: Have a relaxed chat on the lawns
Ladies looking satisfied with the lunch served at Bankipore Club !
The steam ship is ready for the cruise
A group picture before embarkation
The glorious sunset as captured from the steam ship
The captivating moon as we saw it on Kartik Purnima day
Gorgeously dressed ladies in green pink blue yellow & gold.
Shiladitya & Jitendra Sahai posing for the camera while Akhoury seems to be silently enjoying a joke
The weather was lovely - there was a little nip in the air. Binod Yadav, Vinay Sinha, Amarendra & Abhai Choudhary enjoying their souffle & ice cream. To be continued.............................................................         


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