Mehta: Never Forgo Humility
Lall: A Rare and Lasting Experience

Mukherjee: Love for Open Spaces

Ashim Mukherjee
The Doon School, 44T, Batch of 1958

Ashimmukherjee_2 It is difficult to write anything about JTM without first mentioning his love for the open spaces. No wonder he taught Geography at the Doon School, a subject that best displayed his natural talents, albeit in the confines of a classroom.

Yet Gibby's Class room was one of the biggest in School next only to the lecture room on the western corner of the first floor in the main building. Frankly I really didn't know Jack Gibson that well, but then my older brother Arun Mukherjee (Ex-213T and Batch of '52) was a virtual devotee of his and through Arun I too got to know Gibby quite well.

His very handsome tall frame was well endowed with flesh and bones which made him an endearing sight whenever he strode about in the Chandbagh. Although I was not in Kashmir House  of which he was the House Master yet I began to adore him very early in life. Masters in those days and Iam talking of the '50's & 60s were a very  different breed altogether. Apart from pure academics, they imparted several training skills on life's many finer aspects  all of which has stood us in good stead through these years. Gibby, Holdy ( R.L.Holdsworth), John Martyn, Arthur Foot along with many others made the Doon School what it is today. They instilled in us values and cultures that have become inseparable parts of our life.

JTM was a lefty or in more graceful terminology Southpaw.  Those of us who saw him play Tennis will remember his shots which carried the power of several cannons. Gibby had a love hate relationship between Cricket & Fishing. As Sufi (Arshad Rashid) Ex-234K, batch of 56 and one of his more famous House and School Captains said that if there was a Cricket Match on the main field, you could be sure Gibby would be out fishing either at Satnarain or somewhere around.

All of us at the Doon School were heart broken when he was chosen to become the Principal of Mayo College but then as John Martyn said where would they find a better man. Later whenever we visited Mayo to take part in Inter School Games, Jack Gibson treated us just as his own children.  Thereafter I lost touch with him for a while and not until I heard about his autobiography As I Saw It which I read with so much nostalgia and genuine pleasure.

Around that time I also got to know that he had been made to part with a lot of money by some fly-by-night characters. I was not surprised for men like Jack Gibson trusted people quickly, implicitly and without reservation. I dare say that many of us have also suffered similar fate in the hands of such wheeler dealers.

And now for the grand finale. Everyone who attended Gibby's class will remember his very strange system of marking - much to the Headmaster John Martyn's consternation. If you did well , you could get something like 12 out of 10 or alternatively if you were like me, you could get a low of minus 2 out of ten. All these of course left John Martyn red faced because he just couldn't account for such a unique system of marks.

Well then that's it really but then I think it fair to say that  if the chap up there had to give Gibby marks for the quality of life he led in this world, I have no doubt he would give Jack Gibson a glorious 15 out of 10.


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