Managing Committee 2016 - 17
The Presidential Address at the AGM held on September 6, 2015
Good morning Ladies and Gentlemen:
I love to say this “I said this last year, and I shall say it agaayn”
I like to have a little drink before I speak, to dull the pain
In my throat, so I can be heard at the back, now that you are so many
Since you have made me an instrument of all your….money!
I stand before you on this, the 97th Annual General Meeting
Before we get to the drinking and the eating
To tell you what happened during this past year
A year of many firsts, that much is clear.
The OBA year went off to a good start
And to keep up the tempo, we did our part
Ten events, with games, song, fun, and food
Overall, last year was pretty good.
Coorg, Kerala, and Goa, lovely in every aspect;
We wait for these events, drooling at the prospect
Of wonderful experiences we cannot forget
While those who didn’t come, wallow in regret.
Some come with families, laughing and giggling
Kids swimming and playing, wives chatting,
The others, in their wisdom, simply arrived single
With no one in tow, possibly just wanting to mingle.
To make these events succeed, our agents out there
Pool together their resources from everywhere;
We, spoilt by the hospitality they extend,
Would urge you all, at least, to attend
The food is exceptional, it’s local, it’s traditional
The atmosphere is festive, the bonhomie, emotional
There’s nothing that’s not right about every Connect
They’re enjoyable, relaxing, and perfect in every facet.
Despite this, we’ve asked those good men to pep up their shows
To include more fun and games, so people would raise eyebrows
In wonder that they’ve put up a better show, with each passing year
And ask themselves, “Hey, what’s that I’m missing here?”
I have said this last year and I will say it agaayn
That, when you attend a Connect event, you only gain
Come take a pledge to attend at least one, you can’t lose
It’s more about bonding and sharing; than just about the booze.
Nadeem Ahmed, will you please stand up?
Not on the bench, but on a pedestal, so we can look up
To you, and admire you for your commitment
Year after year, providing us so much entertainment!
Played the tournament in March, traditional rivals four
In limited over’s cricket, oldies talent to the fore
The best of Bangalore’s, North, South West, and East
At our very own, St. Joseph’s Feast.
Commentator and scorer concentrated on the show
How many actually watched, we’ll never know
Old and young; a super time was had by all
Even if they played with a humble tennis ball.
One fellow is posted in the bank’s compound across the wall
To save time after the sixer, and just to bring back the ball
Back into play, without using a new one from our stock
So we don’t waste time, and we play to the clock.
The commentator, that old buzzard, Shakeel, from Baldwin’s,
Drew peals of laughter from those watching the proceedin’s
When after the bowler had delivered five of his best
He said, “This bowler has only one ball left”!
The umpires were neutral and professional, though it was our show
Our dear cousins, the Germanians, won, making it five times in a row
Breakfast was great, Lunch – even better, for which we charged no fee
Because, ladies and gentlemen, it was The Saleh Ahmed Trophy.
Nadeem Ahmed, We are in absolute awe of your attitude
And, please accept the heartfelt gratitude
Of not just our OBA, but also of the other three schools
We only did our job; but, hey, it was you that gave us the tools!
We’ve moved to a new office, as you’re all aware
All set, everything in place, even some space to spare
A far cry from the old “lorry office”, the new one is, you see
A great place to meet and catch up – it’s even got an AC!
Use it, then, browse through some pictures and some books
We haven’t, you know, preserved them for their looks
An Ancient picture here, an old School Annual there
So you can see what you looked like with a head, full of hair!
We hadn’t quite finished it last year, we took some time, the project wasn’t dead
There’s wi-fi, a pantry, new hardware, some furniture, even a projector overhead
So we can talk to and see our friends anywhere, telling them what we’re doing
So that they know where all their money is going!
We’ve scanned all the school annuals from 1904, all those we had in stock
You can search for anyone you want, even if he now lives in Vladivostok
Track the fellow down, give his name and batch and, if he’s not so sidey,
We might even be able to give you his email ID!
So many donors have made the office such a great place
Old boys and the batches of ’72 & ‘78 have all given with grace
We want to thank you, really, for doing it all,
So, we’ve written your names on the glass wall!
Now, there are a couple of chaps on the committee
Who said they’d get the work done completely
In four days, well before the Old Boys’ Day
To which all I could say was “No, way”.
Umakanth, Frankie and Siddharth said, “It will be done”
A dozen ancient pictures were scanned, framed and done
Two A.C.s, grill, shelves, and the board, all done
Stickering of main door, donors list, all done
Well, the office is now, done, duna done.
There are so many things that the OBA owns, over a century
An incredible collection of books, mugs, flags, even some crockery
Some of that stuff was donated, some dumped, some bought.
In the old office, we kept everything; though, it was space that we sought.
Well, it carried on, the stocking and the dumping, until we were shocked
When we saw this motley collection of stuff that we had stocked
We knew, for instance, that we had T-shirts, for an event, to organize
But, by god, we didn’t know how many or what size!
I took it upon myself to end this; I found it very confusing
So we did something that rivaled any spring-cleaning!
Hundreds of relics, silverfish and all, of a period long past
We had to get rid of these, and had to do it pretty fast.
The MC came in with cartons and brooms, to make a clean sweep;
The dust that we raised, as a result, made us cough, even weep!
We shipped the junk out of the office, retaining things unique
Some for reasons emotional, some because they were antique!
We set most of the paper on fire, along with silverfish on almost every page
For they had no worth, empty envelopes with holes, nothing we could mortgage
And augment the Administrative Fund, though that would have been really nice
But by the time we had got to these papers, so had the mice!
Once we had the cabinets cleaned up, we took out the good stuff
And found things of which, we thought we hadn’t enough
All kinds of things, badges, tie-clips, T-shirts, even staple pins
We counted, classified, and kept them all in storage bins.
I use the word “we” pretty freely here, but I must say
That of this exercise, one man was the mainstay
When we asked him if he’d do it, he said “Sure, yeah”
That man, my friends, is Mr. Greg D’Sa.
Everything, and I mean everything, listed, noted, checked and valued
It mightn’t have happened at all, if I hadn’t pursued
This critical activity till it was done, and when done, it was so sweet
That now, the numbers are perfect in the balance sheet.
We have it every December, this Christmas dinner; I’ll have you know
We lay it out pretty well with everything Christmassy but, unfortunately, no snow
There’s always an MC member that makes the perfect Santa
You must realize there’s so much work, yeh event aise hi nahi banta!
My friends on the MC, put in a lot of fide et labore, so that things work out fine
And hope that more people come with families, to have a good time
They send messages, send emails, and do things as best as they know,
But, sadly, sometimes there can be such a poor show!
They take the trouble to plan things for the old boy, and old girl too
For the kids, there’s a bouncing castle, candy and they can get a tattoo
There’s, of course, there’s a goodies pack, a bonfire, and good food
And, even, a chap singing carols, to put you in the right mood.
There are liquids to keep you warm; you don’t have to stand near the bonfire;
It’s not a formal event, so we’re flexible about what you wear, your attire.
Bring along a bag of sorts to take back the gifts and prizes you have won,
It could be a toy, a board game, or a book, colour pencils - not just one!
Now, I am not cribbing here, but please tell me, is it impractical, boss?
For you all to show up, enjoy, and keep the OBA from making a loss?
But this year, I hope all of you will come, bring the kids and the missus
And we’ll have a blast, sing, eat, and wish each other a Merry Christmas!
The entire MC is pooled into this show each year
Have we ordered too much, or too less? we fear
Brian leads the effort, the rest of us follow suit
Guys buying, hanging, arranging and sweeping, to boot!
The OBA, in June, completes a Josephite’s education
With the OBA Buzz, an inter house competition
Debate, Music, Dramatics, Essays, Art and Elocution
And events that test them better than any examination.
This year, we had events, a whopping fifteen
For all the students aged six to eighteen
They spoke, they sang, they drew, they clicked, they played their part
Without dropping a stitch, highly enthusiastic from the very start.
A thousand such, literally, appeared for the drawing competition
To draw and paint scenes from their summer vacation
Others drew and painted their version of life as a Josephite
And, man, did those kids enjoy using paper and graphite!
The older boys and girls, gave one another a good fight
Though they’d forget a bit here and there, by oversight
Only to recover with alacrity, as they had done during their practice
Hoping that the judges, old boys themselves, wouldn’t take notice.
For standards one to twelve, so many events this year
Across schools worth their salt, this event has no peer
The OBA Buzz has grown and it needs you all to volunteer
To be judges, to own events, to manage, and to just be here!
So, before lunch, do leave, at the OBA office, your name, and number
And the OBA Buzz team will count you in as their member
They’ll contact you well in time, to remind you of your offer
Because, understandably, after today’s lunch, you might just not remember!
Now, you all, ladies and gentlemen, must say “Hello”!
To Shashi Lewis and Maurice Rebello
Who, have kept the OBA Buzz from going out of hand,
Along with two young chaps Vivek George and Ashwin Leyland!
There’s this bunch of God sent men and women
That toil year after year, with great acumen
To make men out of the boys, to make them swell with the voices of Glory
So that, later in life, they can tell their grandchildren their story.
We count among them such greats as Alec, Luke, Papa and Dick
Or, Even Anne, Dorothy, Lenneth, Mary – you take your pick
On the field, McBride, Wilson, Vickers, Dass and, of course, Eric
In the lab, Wilfred, Mathew, Mathai, and Bro. Calligaro, when you were sick.
School days are made of these legends, whom we revere
Every boy has had his “Cop”; some gentle, some severe
All loved, respected and remembered each and every day
So, I started a programme to help teachers in a small way.
The OBA Teacher Kaizen or Pragati Programme, call it what you will
For our school’s teachers that I started – I know they’re good, but still
Went through its first pilot of six sessions with twenty teachers
The programme went down well, with both, the teachers and the preachers!
Their participation, whole-hearted, positive and that too after school
Delighted us all. We hope we have strengthened their talent pool
We played games that they can replicate in their classroom, given the freedom
And deprive their “hooligan” students of their planned boredom.
We explored the use of Dramatics as a pedagogical tool
So that any student can understand the subject, even if labeled a fool
They enacted emotions without dialogue, to see if they could convey
Complex concepts in a simpler, and a more enjoyable way.
The content and delivery, over time, will evolve
Our teachers will learn and let their knowledge devolve
We hope we have delivered more than we said we would
And are asked to continue, to keep at it, as we should.
The teachers say when the Old Boys do it; it’s never driven by greed
OBA’s Kaizen Team seeks your involvement whenever we need
Inputs and your time, as Kaizen takes a lot of doing, it’s not all milk and honey
Because, this is one OBA effort that doesn’t run on money.
Krishnaswamy, aur Siddharth Raja ne is programme mein achcha saath diya
Main ne, chey haftey tak, toh teacher ko achcha se bore kar diya
Ab, karoon kya, aadat se majboor hoon ke jyaada bolta hoon, uske alava
Kuchch aur toh aata nahin, toh dimaag khaya bagal men baitha tha Umakanth Alva.
Thanks chaps, for all the understanding of this crazy project
And now you’re willing to continue, and you don’t object
To my outlandish ideas and look askance and some of my quirks
And you chaps are convinced that the damn scheme actually works.
After months of learning, comes studying
Followed by weeks and months of cramming
Nary a day passes without some tension,
For right around the corner is the examination
Results. The marks card, teacher’s remarks, boy with dread
All numbers are in black or blue, save for some in red
Some are toppers, some come first, if ranked from the bottom up
Ink on the card is smudged with tears, or with exultation faces light up
The toppers are awarded with prizes for their comeuppance
Not just for their marks, but even for full attendance
That’s when the OBA steps in, giving trophies, certificates and cash
So the kids and their parents can celebrate with a bash!
A total prize purse of over a lakh is disbursed to these deserving
In the names of teachers long passed, whose memory we’re preserving
They, who taught with a passion and fervour of which are now so proud
That, which makes a Josephite stand out in a crowd.
There are forty cheques to write with all sorts of stuff on them
The Secretary, he does it all, that’s where the problems stem
The names could be similar, the monies too, the problem is the changing
Of the wrong names, and sometimes we don’t know if we’re coming or going!
But Brian D’Lima has his methods, it is his long habit
My thanks to him, for doing this sort of thing, I must submit
Because, whether it looks like too much work to you
It doesn’t matter to him, he’s always at it, and this work, he will continue!
The boys, they slog it out before the dreaded boards
The exams over, they stream out of the halls in hordes
The results are in; they’ve cleared, saved from rout
That’s when they well and truly pass out
Each year, nearly 300 boys graduate from the school
This entire lot is our new membership pool
They’re all of sixteen, many not knowing what to do next
And cannot defer career decisions under any pretext.
It is a gathering of such young souls, trapped inside the auditorium
At the mercy of the Guest Speaker and the OBA, like fish in an aquarium
You can see the impatience, you can see them fidget, whisper and squirm
Putting on an earnest appearance, under the gaze of a teacher so firm.
It is difficult to believe that they actually sat through it
Quietly, bravely, without as much as a pit
Looking bright and eager, waiting to hear us out
To understand, what the noise was all about.
Once we’re done with all the talking,
To instill in them, the spirit of giving,
Saying how lucky one is to be a Josephite
How you can tell from afar, that blue and white!
They’re given a school crest pin, and a parchment
Nicely printed and packed - an important document
The text of which they know by heart, never getting it wrong
That document, contains Faith and Toil, our school song.
When they line up for their drink and snack
Which, some of them simply pack,
You wonder, if they, now playing with their toys
Know that in a few days will be called Old Boys?
That’s the way we say to each new member,
“Join in, dear fellow, see you next September”
At the AGM of the, well, August body of alumnae
Well, my boy, Welcome to the OBA!
Your Association is steeped in a century of rich and hallowed tradition
So, it takes some doing to change anything without opposition
The Awards they said were random, and some people, you don’t even recognise
The new process was for the good of all, so that no one needs agonise.
For years, the Lifetime and Young Achiever Awards were given to those
Whose achievements we knew, but then, one day a question arose
Do we really know of achievers across the globe, are we being fair?
Then I decided to set a system that could unearth those gems so rare
A system of nominations, from Josephites across the globe
Of achievers wherever they be, whose deeds we could probe
With attention to detail, to verify, and present a list of those who passed the test
To a committee of past Presidents, letting them decide which one is the best.
But to my utter dismay, nominations barely trickled in, despite extending the date
And left me wondering if all the effort was actually a complete waste
Six, yes only six nominations in all, from thousands gone before us; what a pity
We could have easily found that many, on our own, right here in the city!
I hope, for our own good that this year you will have more names to send
Won’t it be worth your while, and won’t you be proud to nominate a deserving friend?
So that his achievements are there for all Old Boys to see, even if a bit late
To clap, applaud, and whistle – it’s a recognition he is bound to appreciate!
In the working of a sub committee I never interfere
Will they do the right thing? Of course, of that I have no fear
Zaki, Rajeev, Umakant and Vinay framed the rules & the policy
The wonderful result of their deeds is plain for all to see.
Oh, is 2018 or 2019 - depends on your arithmetic
It is 2019, and here’s the logic
There’s a document that says Founded September morn, Nineteen nineteen,
That’s year zero, so it’s a hundred in two zero one nine, not twenty eighteen.
We can go on like little boys arguing at lunch time
If it is or it isn’t, but this date is in line
With the arithmetic, algebra and Geometry
That dear papa Yates, had taught me!
We’ll do stuff over the next few years that will glorify
The things that we’ve done over the past century
And treat ourselves with beer whisky and arrack
Of course, raise funds so that we can give back!
We must never forget to pat ourselves, soundly, on the back
For being an awesome set of fellows, our thoughts always on track
We’ve come a long way, from being all white and now, all brown
Through the century, doing deeds that always enriched her crown!
And we have to chronicle the path from then to now
I’ve applied my mind to this for a year and now know how
We’re going to tell the world what we’re really all about
In a book, that’ll be inclusive, contributory, and pretty stout!
So the MC’s appointed Siddharth Raja to be the editor
(Actually, we were just looking for someone to volunteer)
He’ll pick a team to work with, he’ll need one, it’s going to be a long slog
You know, interviews, meetings, pictures, anecdotes – it’s a book, you know, not a blog!
The chap’s got three years, which isn’t masses of time; it is a lot of labour
Is not so easy, for a fellow so young, to research his way with the fervor
That a commission like this requires, and I must say to Siddharth Raja
Ke agar ye kaam theek nahin hua, toh samjho there baj gaya baaja!
Over the past three years, and I say this proudly
We’re getting across to more boys, and pretty loudly
Since 2014, 1600 Old Boys have been getting our short messages
And about 4000, by email as well, with long winding passages
So when you get an sms from OBASJB, it is not just an intimation
Say, for St. Joseph’s Feast; that is, really, an invitation
We follow up with details on sjbhsoba.net, which is our website
We never miss posting all the stuff, not even by oversight.
So, the team that leads the communication
And, I must say, they do it with great passion
Rajeev, Anotnio and Greg are the three men (though, not in a boat),
To whom, I would like you to raise a toast.
It’s been a pleasure working with them, to see them when in action
God knows I’ve piled them with work, but have never seen adverse reaction
All communications and uploads happened promptly, never delayed
Whether sms, email or website, all information, being promptly relayed!
His boyish smile is disarming; and his attitude, amazing
His countenance, beguiling; his affection for Old Boys, endearing
Open, witty, quick on the uptake, accessible, yet firm, and decisive, and a man in control
He keeps the school together, hands on; he’s always on patrol.
Now, we all know, being the hooligans we used to be, it is no mean feat
To keep three thousand kids in line, while in the driver’s seat
Sometimes, he presses the clutch, sometimes the accelerator, but rarely the brake
But he knows which is which, and does it for St. Joseph’s sake!
In my years as President, I have always enjoyed meeting with this man
Whatever, whenever, he has always listened, supported many a plan
These sterling qualities, are crowned with humility; and a gentle aura
That, Ladies and Gentlemen is the Principal, Fr. Clifford Sequeira
Dear Father, thank you for being the person you are; and while I demit office today,
I will be back; I will not go away
I am available, while you strive to keep the flag high and repair past damages
And, as all Old Boys have been doing for ages,
I’ll do my best for the school and, as always, work without wages.
There are these gentlemen - an entire baker’s dozen
These, who helped me through Connect, the Awards, Inventory, and Kaizen
They’ve have been on the committee through the years
Suffering my ideas, but supporting me and allaying my fears!
What a team! What a time we had; always doing what is right, these thirteen
They worked together, at all times, never letting the OBA lose its sheen,
I want to thank them all, each one of them, and their suffering wives
For sharing their husbands with the OBA, allowing disruption of their lives!
These thirteen, they took my calls, by God those long calls, even in the dead of the night
I made those calls without thinking; not waiting till the morning; almost as a matter of right
My apologies, gentlemen, for driving you around the bend
And thanks for your wisdom and support till the very end.
I now take the names of these blokes, whose company I enjoy
Uma, Brian, Kuppu, Anotnio, Greg, and Rajeev Shenoy
Zaki, Rabindra, Kiran, Frankie, Sid, Vinay, and, Shashi
That’s the gang; all of them deserve your shabhashi!
Thank you, ladies and gentlemen, for bearing with me
I couldn’t help this lengthy speech, that is my habit, you see
At some time, I thought to set this speech in verse
There’s plenty of time over lunch, for you to curse
I decided to let you have it, for better or for worse
As I leave today, after two years and more; my stint as President complete
Making way for the next man, I am not, in the election going to compete
I am available to the MC for any work they wish me to do, however
Because, once one is committed to the OBA, that commitment is forever.
So, a great year it has been, and lots of fun
On another OBA year has set, the Sun
With Oh! So much to do,
And, Yet, so little done.
It appears to me that since the passing of William Fernandes
No one asks anything about the accounts and the finances,
So, I have some answers to questions unasked, suo moto, if you will
All in memory of that Grand Old Boy, good ole Bill.
Now, as I uncover the facts and figures, bit by bit
Of income and expenditure, subjected to audit
I will be grateful if you held your horses
And pose queries after all my verses.
The OBA now manages a corpus of about three crore
Which, all things considered, is not a bad score
We hope to take it to ten crore, and then we can preen
As we get to a hundred in two thousand nineteen
Since last year, the overall corpus increased by six million
Including transfers from current account, in rupees, not bullion
It’s all in deposits in different banks, and not cash in sacks
For all of us Indians, that’s an increase of sixty lakhs!
To help children of poor parents who cannot afford
An education here in Joseph’s let alone one in Oxford,
The OBA gave 10 lakhs as fees, on their behalf, to the school
As donors gave 30 lakhs to that corpus, which is pretty cool.
We earned more than we spent, and even bought some furniture
And we have Rs. 3.7 lakhs as excess of income over expenditure
Of which Rs. 3.11 lakhs was accounted as depreciation
The rest, Rs. 55 thousand went as capitalization.