« December 2007 | Main | February 2008 »

January 2008

Bharat Ram: A Great Friend

Arun Bharat Ram
The Doon School, 36K, 1952-1958

Abr_photo_4 It was at the end of January, 1952, when I went with my mother to leave my younger brother Vivek at Welhams where he had been admitted. After settling him in, my mother took me to meet John Martyn, the Head Master of the Doon School and he casually mentioned that there was a vacancy at the school as somebody had dropped out at the last moment and I could be admitted. Those were the good old days when there were no admission lines and before I knew it, I was a Dosco. Since there was no place in Holding House I joined Kashmir House with Jack Gibson as my House Master. In the two years he was there during my time, I was a recipient of the best of six on the backside as well as bowls of ice cream with strawberries for jumping off the top board of the swimming pool in my first term. Mr. Gibson, to youngsters like us, was at the same time a tall imposing character as well as a great friend and reconteur. Two of my most memorable mid-term breaks were with Mr. Gibson when he took us to Shivpuri on the Ganges and Khara on the Yamuna. These were early reminiscences of Jack Gibson.

What I want to relate is my relationship with him after I left the Doon  School.

Right after finishing school, I was packed off to study in Germany. After having spent four months learning German, I had to cut short my stay as I did not get admission into the university which had changed its rules and required Indian students to have a minimum of Intermediate equivalent certificates. Coming back to India, I found there was no way I could get back to Doon, as my seat had been given up. I was resigned to finishing my Intermediate by correspondence but as a last resort my mother, who had become good friends with Jack Gibson, requested him to help me in any way he could. He immediately offered both my cousin Vikram Lal, 1957 batch, who was in the same predicament as I was, and me to join Mayo College to finish our Intermediate there. Since there was no space at the regular Houses, he offered us to stay in his bungalow which we happily did for the next one and a half years. Vikram and I roomed together in Mr. Gibson’s beautiful house at Mayo.

We were attached to one of the Houses and had the same privileges and responsibilities as all other students of the school. In fact I had a unique opportunity to play in a cricket match against the Doon School while I was at Mayo College.

It was just like Jack Gibson to have helped out his old students at such short notice. I personally learnt a lot of good values from him which I have tried my best to put into practice throughout my life.