St. Joseph's Boys' High School, Bangalore
Reading the heading one gets the impression that this is a 'Chat' session
page, that's the impression I got myself! I ended up chatting to myself.
Yes, as one goes down the long corridor of the mind running thoughts, one
does tend to let go. I was tempted to just let it go, but it kept on gnawing
at me, after all I am a Josephite, and we don't flinch ( I don't want to
say there were exceptions, but many ducked , I did, and many an uneasy
moment was always to be experienced at the crease when Massimo the big
Italian Ox bowled!! Understand that he still bowls, and I don't mean 9
pins!!! Must be in the 'spaghetti' at the Italian Guest House that was
on Convent-Residency Road, 'Popeye had spinach'!! Italians had large families,
if they didn't, they had large men!!Hey, Chris Rai, back me on this!!)
Sometime last year 2001, I was passing through the good ole school -
just 'school' to most, even if you did go to the 'Harvard School of Business
Economics', "School" always meant "St. Joseph's", and that was in Bangalore,
India. Some of us have been lucky to go through this power house of basic
life-time education, and the results have been established in the local,
national and international scenes. Don't worry, I will put links to the
earlier pages on 'the school' so that you will get the drift.
Now, for those of you who have gone through the grind, looking from
the college side of the field, planting one's feet right in the middle
of the cricket pitch, you would remember and visualize the enormous two
wings of arches , joined and peaked together in the middle by the high
roof of the Chapel, (inmates, would remember, big-dorm, middle-dorm, and
study halls, later these became class rooms as the number of sections increased
and the proportion of students exploded also. It was like as though someone
pierced my stomach with a knitting needle when I first saw the shattered
wing (nearer the Bank), ... Black Bird, by the Beatles came to my mind.
I took some photos so that the memories of the pillars that we did wipe
our sweat and inky hands to were being downed. Nothing could be done, the
giant had to come down and slowly she did, fighting every brick of the
way. The size of the girders were around a foot plus thick and length forty
feet, twisted, in an expression to say that 'I won't go down easily,
Come on the Blues never to Lose!!', but in the end victory was not the
result, only the fight to remain back. This was the time when I did discover
the sketches drawn on the walls in the remains of the 'Scouts Den'. someplace
that when I was in school never did venture to go into, one did link wolves
and the occult of darkness and secrecy with the 'Pack, and 'Be Prepared',
people like Fr. Biscaro and Mr. Bhatt did not encourage much. These charcoal
and crayon sketches must have been done in the first decade of the 1900's
the latest, and I am sure must have been the priest who did the other paintings
in the school. I did manage to get a few photos of these sketches and they
really impressed me as an artist, and it was indeed sad that these were
never really shown to people or made aware of before the demolition, and
I am sure was never recorded for prosperity.
Later the new block of the school was built over the ruins of the old
wing, and after that the demolition of the East Wing which housed the
dorms and study hall facing the swimming pool and the primary sections
was demolished. Now only as of writing, only the Chapel is left standing
in the middle, with nothing to the east and a new block to the west. The
Refectory and Chemistry lab ( this has been turned into the 'Site Office'!!)
are still standing only as buildings. In this environment, I am sure if
you stand where I stood you could hear the thuds of the sledge hammers
banging on the solid walls, and it effected your pulse beat and you will
not be able to stand it very much. As an old boy, does bring a little choking
at the neck, not from the dust, but from the memories and emotions of the
best years of ones life. Some photos are linked below.
In this environment also would have sat David Chatterjee
(Dr.), to most just "CHAT!!", siting in the stillness of the underground
Chemistry Laboratory, where he first sat as a student under the sharp
and twinkling eyes of Mr. Alec Alverez. I am sure that the pressure of
the demolition would have got to him and to think that his kingdom was
being broken around him, would have felt it and without anyone in that
lonely laboratory took the decision to resign (retire
say others) and call it a day. Mind you I did meet David (I call him
David, as I grew up with him as a classmate, when he used to stay on Myrtle
Lane where presently Xavier Hall Chapel exists, and many a day we did have
to dodge his mothers' umbrella, poor George Webster didn't!!) in
November of 2001 where he was waiting and excited after getting his much
worked for Ph.D. in Chemistry. He told me 'Ronnie, we have some of the
most expensive and best equipment around, and I am waiting for the school
to start the "Plus 2" section." (that is the XI & XII std, in the old
days ISC and Senior Cambridge.), which shows his dedication to the school
was 'total', and only a Josephite will understand what dedication to the
'school' was, and especially those who came up under the old guard of the
Pereira's, Alverez's, Yates, DeSouzas, Diaz's !!
I think I may have him on tape also, must check with my sister in Australia
if there was an interview, I think David did say a few words, then with
his charming smile through his mustache and pulling out a cigarette, ambled
to talk about the old days, and mind you my brother David (not too sure
if my late mother was impressed with him and named my brother after him,
because nobody in my family was a 'David' before!!) as well as my son Andrew
went through him. David only told them that he knew the brother and father
and that was all. He never took out any of the mischief we played on him
on them, although he was excitable, he never meant what he said, and that
was his undoing as we played more pranks. I did meet Aloysious Friedle
at the memorial service who did recount that David did chase him around
the school till he had to be rescued for teasing him. David was brilliant,
eccentric was more like it. His love for Chemistry was always his first
love, blowing up his roof at home as part of an experiment confirmed it
(one was reminded of William, Ginger.. , where instead of William being
blackened with soot, it was David!!). His father being a doctor wanted
him to follow, and so he did get into St. John's Medical College fulfilling
his duty , and did his Pre-Professional Course, but made sure that he had
a fight with his Anatomy Professor to get out of the college when his father
I am not sure of Chat's love for music, perhaps he did, but unfortunately
none of us were aware or invited him to be part of any of our rock groups
when he grew up, but I do know he did have a love for the English Language,
and loved acting and expressing the language even when he was scolding
his boys. I wonder if he did pick up this from Papa Yates or Lugan? because
Chemistry he did from Alvy (Alec Alverez in front
of his Lab). David, like Alvy, his mentor, always encouraged his students,
and my brother David in his mail to me mentions that it was his master
Chat, who encouraged him to take up Veterinary Sciences, and that is what
he did. I think there must be many a student who was motivated to do better,
to make decisions in their futures with the help of Chat. Even those who
found Chemistry a pain, and tried other methods of passing his class were
literally made to digest the subject, and as it turned out they fared very
well in their futures. Like his mentor and masters of the '50's -60's,
Thinking of Alec, it was really a sight to see the great man at David's
Memorial service, sitting quietly looking at the coffin of his prodigy,
somebody he just handed his keys over to and never a day had to worry about
his laboratory in amateur hands (32 years in charge!!). I just went up
to him and shook his hands, nothing needed to be said, it was all in the
way he looked at you, because David was like 'family' to him, and someone
who was very much like himself. I understand that there is now a lady teacher
for Chemistry!!! I think that David came to school the day he died to sign
his Provident Fund forms?, and it is very ironical that he should die in
a spot that faces the Chemistry Lab from the roadside. It is a good thing
that the Lab is being brought down, as David was very attached to it and
it is a possibility that his spirit linger there for a while. He died crossing
the road to go to Gautham Hotel for a cup of tea and I guess to replenish
his cigarettes, but he never made it across the road. An autorikshaw hit
him and he had a head injury which according to Dr. Tommy Chandy of Hosmat
who attended on David (they were both students of St. John's), was brain
dead on the spot. There were over a thousand plus old students and
parents who came for David's Memorial service on the 1st August 2002 at
the school hall, but only a handful proceeded to his burial in Whitefield,
as he had shifted his residence to Whitefield after his tenure with St. Joseph's.
(I met Tony D'cruz at the funeral who stays at Whitefield, and who gave me quite a few insights into David and
his last days, and his feelings after leaving St. Joseph's.).
I tried to get a lift and when I got negative replies about people who
were not going, I decided to bike it down to Whitefield. The greatest tribute
paid to him was from Fr. Hedwig Dacosta a fellow Josephite and his principal
during his tenure. I was a bit confused seeing some boys, a good
number of them in Cotton's School blazers, and I was wondering if he was
taking tuition for them, but then my son mentioned that those were his
old students from the "Plus 2" of Cottons come to pay their respects, as
there is no Course in our school. No comments.
I had sent a mail
to the President of the Old Boys with a suggestion to be confirmed at the
AGM that the Chemistry Laboratory when rebuilt, be named "The ALVEREZ-CHATTERJEE
Chemistry Laboratory", in honour of both the
teachers. Let us hope that some wisdom come on those that have the clout
to stand up and be counted for their master's sake and speak up and get
this confirmed, I am sure that if I do so myself, I am too little to be
seen or heard..(see section below "Update: Flash! OBA Day..")
hope that they preserve the War Memorial and the solid cast-iron Gates
(these gates have parts from ammunition boxes
used during the World Wars!! Anyone noticed?).
I don't know what happened to the photographs
that were in the Refectory, as that place is closed down. I am willing
to digitize the photographs (for free) as I can borrow a camera as I don't
own one and save the photographs, anyone listening to what I am trying
to say, someone please speak up to the top. Let us not lose these valuable
Now, you know what the OBA CHAT!! is all about. Chat is Chat!!
Update: Flash! OBA Day, 1st September 2002, Sunday.
After reconsidering about going for the OBA Day Function, keeping in mind that I had a late
night (No, I did not go for the Blue & White Ball held on Saturday night 31st August 2002, at Catholic Club, I had
a family Engagement Ceremony to attend!!) I decided to go for the Mass at 7.15 am, it still foxes me all these years about the
odd time of "seven fifteen". The Mass was well attended, and one was surprised to see a
few of the "Old Boys" with their "Medals". One distinguished guest was I think Tony Gernon, the President / Hon. Secretary of the
The St. Joseph's OBA (UK Branch), who carried the "Foreign Legion" flag, and marched
with the Scouts to the War Memorial adding a lot of solomenity to the process. The two army buglers were also empressed with
this gentleman with a sloping beret, braced with a couple of shiny medals from the wars, perhaps before they were born, and like
a Roman Legion general, flag with 'spike' on top!! (Looked like the spike was pinched from the helmet of an old Prussian officer!!)
After the School Band rendered Auld Langsang (sp)? in the begining and 'Abide with me' at the end, mind you they are still
using the old wire folding frame music stands. The gathering broke up and went to sing the School Song and unfurn the flag, the honour was given to the UK President. Other choice would have been Jimmy Ankelsaraia who was also present.
Next was the 'traditional' breakfast, I finally decided that I would attend, and quickly ran to the OBA Office and got myself a ticket for the much avaited 'sausages and eggs'. Poor Ivan Yates
would have been really disappointed as the breakfast was in a shamania infront of the new West Wing, and the tables were smaller so that there was no chance of the organised
seating we follow, 'leave a seat, take the next' so that we always have an extra plate to start the breakfast with. There was a tremendoous delay with the serving of the eggs, and so
one had sausages and coffee and then later when the eggs came, another round of coffee was wrangled!! Items like wooden plaques (with pieces of 'The School' stuck on them along with your name, I had made the suggestion long ago to encase the tiles and sell them as mememtos, my 'idea' seems to be taken and modified but they will deny it, a very good modified production), t-shirts, 'special covers'.
Next came the "photocatching"ceremony. Gone are the days when GK Vale came with his 'assistant' - umbrella, dothi, black cloth, tripod, wooden and brass camera in tow. Now it's one guy with a rather large looking format camera (2x2) who
kept on clicking, not chancing his luck with just one shot. Also he had a rather large 'light meter' for the bright and warm morning. My guess he has been seeing too much of cricket and umpires!!. For once, they used their imagination, infact they were forced to do so because of the demolition, and had the photograph infront of the Chapel building. It will
be the last photogaraph taken of this building as they are going to bring it down soon. With a little more imagination, the background could have been a blend of both the New West Wing and the Old Chapel perhaps by taking the photograph from the entrance side, or moving the shamiania towards the field, why not the group stand in the middle of the field so that the whole school becomes the background!!
Terance deNazereth commented that 'it took them more than 50 years to realize they had it wrong all these years, and that the group standing for the photograph should not have their eyes squinting in the sun!!'
AGM Meeting was called to in the Concert Hall, perhaps for the last time as that too is slated to fall. A rather sober crowd attended and not many contras were raised. The plaques were distributed, Jimmi Ankelsaria was given
the 'Life Achievement' award. The usual proceedings were given which you no doubt will get in the next Annual Report directly, or maybe in the OBA Webpage.
When the time of 'other matters' came, as usual and as I expected, my request through e-mail was not taken up, so I went up myself and made two requests:
(1) That the new Chemistry Laboratory when ever built, be named
"The Alverez-Chatterjee Laboratory", quite a few seemed to favour the idea. Fr. Micheal John, did mention that someone has given 25 lacs for the Lab already in the name of "Mr. Alverez", and if another '25 lacs' can be gathered, then we can have
another in the name of "Dr. David Chatterjee"!! I am still confused as to why there should be 2 Chemistry labs!! But I am sure that the great man that Alec is would not mind sharing his name for the lab, and in fact, would bring joy to him that his own student in Chemistry, came back to the School to teach in his place!! I think I will have a talk to Alvy on this!!
(Out of curiosity, I asked some 'influential old boys' if my request was ok, but was surprised to learn that it was not, and the way they said it was aggressive, whew!!!
I believe that if a proposal is made, it must be backed up 'financially' and so I would require '25 lacs' to get a Laboratory named after Dr. David Chatterjee!! Any of David's students feel like sponsoring '25 lacs' for their late master? Strange, I had written to the President on this request,
and he did not bother to reply to my mail. Perhaps, if he did explain the 'workings' of proposals, I wouldn't have brought the topic up. It only proves one thing, that you "have to be somebody" or else you will never get an answer. Sad for Josephites, or it just could be me).
Follow-up: On 5th September 2002, my wife Maisy and I went to see some of our 'Retired' Teachers, being "Teacher's Day". As Maisy is a Teacher, she gets plenty of flowers which we felt we should share with the Teachers who may not receive them being 'retired', hence 'forgotten' [We covered Mrs. Ann D'Souza (once our Primary Teacher, and the wife of the late Luke D'souza) and Mr. Alec Alverez].
I did broach the subject with the 'great man' Mr. Alec, if he felt offended that I had asked
to have a 'joint name' for the Chemistry Lab. He was very happy that I did ask, and stated that he would have been pleased to have his student's name along with his. Also he had very high regard and praise for David Chatterjee who followed his methods, and came and consulted him from time to time, infact, did so even the week before he died. Mr. Alverez was surprised that someone had given
Rs. 25 lacs for the Chemistry Laboratory to be erected in his name, so the 'donor', please consider the 'great man's' thoughts of having his 'student' as a joint name when putting up the Lab., even though it has been given in Mr. Alverez's name alone. It won't hurt to ask Mr. Alverez his opinion on the subject. What he did say that only students 'pre-'74' would remember him, and 'post-'74' would remember David.
(2) The next request I made was that I would "digitize" all the photographs that were in the Refectory and transfer them onto a CD for the OBA 'free of cost'.
These images could be added to the Movie on CD of the school that was shown to us at the meeting. The clipings are good, and will really keep one's memories at Rs.100 each CD it is worth it.
I did not seem to get a response from the Committee, and I am sure I won't. I shall write to the 'New' Committee regarding this. Mr. Alverez on the 'digitizing': He was very interested in the saving of the old 'Paintings' that adorned the
Refectory. He remembers the beautiful paintings of the 'Oliver inquisition', and some of the 'British Royal Family' that has since disappeared. If these can be located, and photographed digitally not so much for the 'contents', but because of the 'artist', which apparently was an old priest of the 'Foreign Mission', and possibly one who did the 'Scout Den'.
I have seen some paintings in the 'New Fathers' Residence' which faces 'Rest House Road', and parallel to the Refrectory, old boarder boys will faintly remember where the 'kitchen' was located (Photographs of the kitchen remains can be found in the UK Journal, someone please ask Cary Thomas.).
Most of the 'old' committee members are in the 'new' committee, including the President, Secretary and Jt. Treasurer of last year.
After that the meeting broke up for lunch. Since no one could take up issues like 'Bill', so it ended up early (did not see Maurice Rebello, he usually asks some questions).
I made it a point to meet the 'President' of the 'UK' Branch, and asked him to pass on my regards to Cary Thomas, who I am grateful for sending me a copy of the UK Journal faithfully.
There was a 'Proposal' made during the meeting regarding the 'War Memorial', and how to add new names to it.
Strange that someone suggested that the present slabs be removed and placed in the chapel,
and new names added to the 'Memorial' as the present names belonged to the '1914'(1419!) period.
Little do people realize that a 'Memorial' is sacred, and that it should not be altered. If new names are desired to be added, they could be
put on slabs/tablets placed around in the garden (like they have done in the MEG parade grounds without altering the original '2nd Queen's Own Sappers & Miners' oblisk), making it a 'Garden of Remembrance' for the old boys, leaving the original monument intact.
Another choice that I feel they could make is
to make a change in the foundation base two rows of stones, perhaps making them sloping against the base instead of steps, and engraving the names of 'new' old boys lost in Service on these slopes.
The background to my ideas is that we have been doing restoration of graves and memorials at the 200 year old Agram Cemetery under the guidance of Admiral OS Dawson and soon we will be planning two Memorials ( I have submitted designs for them) for all the Regiments (Army, Navy, Airforce, and Police) that have lost men/women from Karnataka during the wars and terrorist activities.
As part of that Team, I am not just talking out of my hat,
I will make a representation to Col. Tommy John on this matter, as he is also a great friend of the Admiral.
If I am not mistaken, the present School
War Memorial pertains to only to the 'Great War' and not the 2nd World War?. Some of the
names on the tablets are those of Boys and Staff who were in the school at that time,
and not so much as those who had passed out,
which gives greater meaning to why the Memorial is special and should not be altered.
Memorials are usually kept outdoors for all to see and honour,
so the question of keeping the tablets on the walls of the Chapel may be lost, also the
slabs of the tablets are rather heavy for embedding into the Chapel wall.
I spoke to Col. Tommy John about this (4 Sept 2002), and he does agree that
Memorial Tablets or stones can be placed at the base or around the garden and further names can be inscribed without
disturbing the original Monument design or dedication.
Like me, the Colonel also thinks that some suggestions from 'Senior' & 'Services' old boys around the world could be sent
in and seriously be discussed by the Principal and the new OBA Committee,
(who I hope is open to outside suggestions and broader vision)
before taking a final decision.
Mr. Alverez's views on the Memorial: He remembered that there was an article in the 'Jubilee' Report that gave the history of the Memorial. He was not happy with the idea of dismantling the Memorial and putting new names. He said that people today want to get rid of anything old, and tend to forget the past, ( I am not sure if he jokingly put it) and he said that
soon they will also want to 'forget' him also, as they have done all the old staff.!!
Anyone thought of consulting him anymore?
Does Mr. Alverez matter to the 'old boys' anymore?
Or is it that only on 'OBA Day' do they do a lot of
'pre-beer' flag waving and cheer lustfully bringing
to memories all the 'old teachers', and then hibernate
till the next OBA Day, when some of them will be missing,
and some will be attending, repeating the same charade over and over again. Some will remember because 'Mr. Alverez' just did not teach us Chemistry and Additional Maths, he taught us a 'way of life', and how to share. Let us make him feel that he is still the 'great man' we all believe made some of us what we are today. A 'pure' Josephite! Please bring him back into the picture by consulting him in the planning of the 'future' of St. Joseph's School. He may have a perpective view which we out in the world may be missing!
It strikes me that the names of past Staff who are no more with us do not have their names listed anywhere
in the school. Only past Principals and OBA Secretary & President lists can be seen. Why not have their names inscribed in one of the passages, (as they cannot be put in the 'Garden of Remembrance' as Col. Tommy says that this place is 'only' for the 'War' Memorial where boys had laid down their lives in a 'war', or else we will have every old boy or anyone connected with the school wanting their names to be placed in this garden!!). I understand that
any 'Proposal' has to have a 'financial' backing, I wonder if there is a difference between a 'suggestion' and a 'proposal', what I write above is an 'idea' and so is a 'suggestion'!!.
If one cannot come up with 'ideas', then there seems to be a hint of an 'ego' issue, not 'eco' that is clouding the skies!!
The End of a tradition, the hope for a future to be continued in
the same spirit... a collection of photo memories.
Stage One Demolition:
Stage Two Demolition:
A panoramic view of a sectioned left wing (Bank side).
Christmas tree in the background (near the Concert Hall) snapped and fell
to the ground one night in a strong gust of wind, and now the second one
has been trimmed for safety sake.
The passageway between classes leading from the Concert
Hall, now without a top floor which used to be the Fathers Residence,
View through the classrooms, now void of the patter
and shuffle of a thousand feet.
Looking through the classroom window for the last
time, St. Joseph just peeps over the tarp.
A view of the garden from the ruins of the Fathers
Rooms. Gautam hotel can be seen in the background.
This view is from the landing between the Concert
Hall and the Small Dorm
Looking up from the passage, and the Small Dorm
roof just peers through the bars (ex-boarders, no pun intended!!).
A Memorial on the Chapel entrance, hope they
retain this slab as part of memories.
Once more, looking at St. Joseph over the tarps.
A view from another classroom of St. Joseph over
the tarps. PS. I landed during the construction, and hence they had already
strung up the tarp which interfered with the view of the garden, please
bear with me for the miserable shots that I got, but it's the last of your
and my memories.
A view of the crumble from the cricket pitch.
The staircase between the concert hall and the
small dorm. It was pretty dark there and my small camera just didn't have
Scout Room Sketches:
Stage Three Demolition & New Look of West Wing of the School:
Stage Four Demolition: The East Wing:
Demolition, East Wing,Fathers Refectory, Big Dorm!
Demolition, East Wing,Physics Lab no more!Anyone Remember Dick and Francis!!
Demolition, East Wing,Primary Section, no more! Poor Gerty Dias must be tossing about!!
The Giant goes down gently! , Oh! God! Thank God! The Chapel is still up!!!
Demolition, East Wing, The last view of the Big Dorm, Refrectory & Chemistry Lab!! Au revoir Alvy & Chat!!
- View taken from Rest House Road, almost at the gate of Mr. Alec Alverez's house. The Red/White building on the left is the new Father's House, the stone building is the 'Last Stand' of the Refectory!
- Another view from the road, with the new school block in the background and part of the Chapel on the right.
- Taken from the East side external Chapel steps, with Gautham Hotel & ITI Office in the background
- A view of the playground from the College PUC block end
- Another close up of the Refectory's last stand!
- Another view before it falls taken on 26 October 2002
- Close-up of the gate with the engine block parts for the frame
- Close up of the top decorations of the gate
- Mr. Alec Alverez on Teacher's Day, August 2003, at his Residence on Rest House Road.
New Degree College Block at the Hostel Grounds
Date: 10th November , 2003 Mail sent to some of the Old Boys.
Is the OBA
Many stalwarts would say, "No way!, you must be out of your mind!", that's
exactly what I am at present, 'out of my mind'. I have received with sadness,
news about our UK Branch and its activities. "TO BE WOUND UP" end of the
Stunning, but true, for 'LACK OF FRESH YOUNG BLOOD' (I am not talking about
Vampires!) and interest by the Old Boys settled down in the UK. 'In the
good old days', as 'Lugan' would say, most of the old boys went to the UK
or Africa. US was an option for the studious IITwallas, and Oz or Australia
followed suit because of immigration. Somehow, the UK with her stiff 'upper-lip'
hardly gave any motivation for young 'indian' blood to come aboard, and
it is no wonder that the hereditary feeling has been passed down generations.
Is it a phenomena that today's' generation has no historical love, for
anything for that matter, leave alone their 'alma mater'? Going by the interests
in 'history' of our own local city of Bangalore, we get a very poor response,
and one is encouraged to believe that some of them even go all out to make
sure that the 'past' is buried under the foundations of so called
'development towers' of the city. So then, do we blame what is happening
to the lot that is in UK? I am especially talking about those old boys who
are not only doing well, but also of a younger age then our present OBA
UK Committee stalwarts, who have been fighting for survival, not so much
financially, but for 'mobility'. As per the records of the OBA Bangalore
Office, there are quite a few 'Old Boys' in the UK. If they haven't updated
their location changes to the OBA database, they still remain at present
listed as 'in the UK'. It is not very different in other places I presume,
or is it different? The most active circle are those in the 'middle-ages'
group, we could categorize this into those who passed out of St. Joseph's
E.H. School, and those passing out of St. Joseph's B.H. School!!, Pre- 1950's,
Post- 1960's to 1970's, 1980's to present continuous. Those Old Boys who
are running the OBA UK belong to the 'Pre-1950's' - the real 'Faithful and
Toilers' and their average age group would be in the high end of '70's!,
what they lack is participation from the 'active' group of the 'Woodstock
days' - "post 1960's to 1970's" whose average age would be around the 50's.,
and what would be most welcome is those of the '80's to the present, to carry
I ask the question, what is the trend we find among old boys? The old ones,
the not too old ones and the young ones. What is the spirit that has led
all these generations to 'common' the blues, never to lose' , and I can imagine
our hero Neri looking down from above and saying 'you bloody traitors' when
any boy belonging to St. Joseph's spoke a good word about a Cottonian or
a Baldwinian. That is the dedication I haven't seen around. It's all cheering
and nostalgia and emotional talk at the OBA Day, Sports Day and perhaps
when they meet at the St. Joseph's feast days. What about the rest of the
year? I remember giving a 'suggestion' to the PTB (Powers That Be) many
years ago when a 'suggestion' was a 'suggestion' and could be made without
any 'weightage' required, to make car stickers with the School Badge, so
that a Josephite would recognize another one in any part of the world by
just that connection. I think that someone even suggested that a discount
be given to a fellow Josephite? Does that feeling exist in today's world
for the OBA? Do 'Old Boy's' have that same feeling towards their 'past' and
their school? I quite understand that many are upset about the bringing down
of the 'school' and they may feel that the 'spirit' of the Josephite has
left with the pouring of concrete for the new foundations, but the building
had to come down as per experts, and more accommodation, better lighting
and ventilation, etc., provided for the present and future boys of
the school. Now, perhaps there is too much accommodation, and re-location
of the Laboratories and the High School section and supposedly the introduction
of the 'plus two', another word for 'Senior Cambridge' or 'PUC', and perhaps,
even the Chapel is being moved to the East Wing (Refectory - Chemistry Lab),
from the center of the School. I am not sure what is going to come in the
center structure, at present, the old School Concert Hall and Small Dorm
are remaining for practical purposes.
Now with all this pouring out of one's soul, grieving about the past glory
of the school, and 'in our days' memories, we still haven't been able to
secure a good OBA Magazine. 'OBA Calling' which is brought out by the OBA
Bangalore, is not that exciting, and needs a drastic change in the presentation
and inputs. So far, the only good product that came out of any of the OBA
Centers was the UK OBA Journal. It was really superbly done, in quality,
inputs, contents, and even catered to cover other news items of the Sacred
Heart's Girls' School, and some news of Bangalore and Bangalorewallas from
other rival schools that would have made Neri red in the face!! Are we resigned
to let this happen? Do we care for the efforts of our Old Boys of UK? Do
we have friends and fellow Old Boys in the UK whom we can needle their conscience
to take up arms (not a collection, that is easy, giving one's time and true
dedication is what is needed) and revive the OBA UK, and not let it wind
up. If you are a true 'blue and white', you should feel that twinge in your
heart and appeal to all those 'able and willing' Old Boys in the UK to come
forward and raise the flag, and take over and not let the effort of the Present
Old Boys of UK to be lost forever. It is so difficult to start a publication,
to bring it up to an international standard, and I am sure if there is an
attempt to start it again once the OBA UK has closed, could be next to impossible,
and I am sure the motivation of the 'Josephite' will not pour out as it
has done in the past.
Let me remind you of our School Song, and let's hope it will stir up the
memories of those great teachers who taught us about english, geography,
history, biology, mathematics, dramatics, figure running, club swinging,
religion, and above all 'life' and mounded us into what we are today. Let's
hope that it touches a 'wee' percent of your conscience and motivate you
into doing something about the situation and not sit quiet and feel that
if I ignore this, than I will not be obligated (this specially for those
of you in the UK). I know many of the Old Boys do not like being contacted
as they may feel that a 'touch' is coming to them for donations for the school
building. Maybe it could be true, but then this is an appeal not for 'financial'
but for your 'time' and dedication to give back to the OBA what you got from
the school. One would think and say 'time' is money, I really wonder how
our old masters felt about this thought when they tirelessly gave their time
and energy to make us what we are today. It is a shame to even consider a
feeling like this comparison, it just cannot be compared. So those of you
who have contact in the UK and are in the UK, I appeal to your memories of
your good days at St. Joseph's E.H. School and (B.H.) School, come forward
and save the OBA UK, by giving it your commitment, time and love. If we have
sung the school song in our time, can we sing it truthfully today? I am sorry
I am not in the UK or else I would not have let this happen, but it is never
too late, I may have even have appealed to the old boys of Cottons and Baldwins
to come forward to help keep this going , and I am sure they would come
forward, as they know how 'strong' the 'St. Joseph's OBA' is, is it really?
Extracts of the 'Motion' from the minutes of the AGM can be found at the
end of this letter.
Request you to please forward this mail of mine to all your Old School
friends, and those you feel could come forward and voice their support.
I can be reached on email at
and site is http://www.geocities.com/ronnie.johnson
, my telephone in Bangalore, India is 091 80 2240145
Tears and Cheers, Come-on' the Blues, Never to Lose!!
Ronnie Johnson, The Bangalorewalla (Class of 1966, the guy with the Mohawk
The School Song
Ring out the battle call of Duty!
Unfurl the flag of Faith and Toil!
We deem our soul's eternal beauty
A life-long Victor's worth spoil.
A thousand such have proudly gone before us
To win and spread our School's renown:
'Tis our's to swell with our voices the chorus
And with our deeds enrich her crown.
Faith and Toil, conquerless alliance
Wherein we clasp human hands unto God's!
In His control find we true self-reliance;
My hand and God's - Whate'er the odds
My hand and God's - Whate'er the odds
My hand and God's - Whate'er the odds
My hand and God's
Evil's onset hold in defiance!
from the "Motion" Received from the UK!!
"In view of the lack of response to requests for assistance and interest
in running the St Joseph¹s OBA (UK Branch), it is proposed that the
organisation is wound up. Remaining funds will be used to meet all expenses
consequent upon the Family Social and the final issue of the Journal in December
of this year, and the remainder will be disbursed equally to Mr Alec Alvarez
and Mrs Anne D¹Souza, widow of Luke, before Christmas 2003...
The motion was carried and as a result, I must announce, with much regret
that the (UK) OBA Branch of the SJBHSOBA is now no longer in existence. As
explanation, we are unable to attract any new members of the younger generation,
and the older generation have age and lack of transport as their main obstacles.
We do not seem even to attract all elected committee members to attend Committee
meetings. The AGM attracted only 10 members, five of whom were Committee
Return to the Bangalorewalla
Homepage or The
Old Boys Corner of my collection.
Sorry Old Boys:
Apparently it seems that I have lost a precious 'geocities site' on which "The Legends" of St. Joseph's were published.
I will try and reload the same into a different site and give links. Presently any link
with "http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Acropolis/8860" will not work. Some of the pictures on http://www.geocities.com/ronnie.johnson will also not come up unless you
use "http://www.geocities.com/bangalorecity2001/filename", as "Athens/Acropolis/8860" is replaced by "bangalorecity2001".
The inconvience is regretted, I still dont know why Geocities removed the site!
Thought for the
Blessed are you poor, For yours is the kingdom of God. Blessed are
you who hunger now, For you shall be filled. Blessed are you who weep now, For you shall laugh.
Blessed are you when men hate you, And when they exclude you, And revile you,
and cast out your name as evil, For the Son of Man's sake.
Rejoice in that day and leap for joy! For indeed your reward is great in heaven,
Fon in the manner their fathers did to the prophets.
But woe to you who are rich, For you have received your consolation.
Woe to you who are full, For you shall hunger. Woe to you who laugh now,
For you shall mourn and weep. Woe to you when all men speak well of you,
For so did they fathers to the false prophets."
Holy Bible: Luke 6:20-26
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