Net result: Camaraderie after 50 yrs
Neena Sharma
Tribune News Service

Dehradun, November 12
As the clock struck 11 this morning, the lawns of Akash Ganga Guest House (MES) came alive with the chatter of friends who assembled here, some having travelled thousands of miles from as far as the US and the UK, to be part of the golden jubilee reunion of the 1958 batch of St Thomas School.

(From left) Gen VN Malik with Vijay Dougall, Ravish Puri, and Lt Col A. Speedie.
Kiran Sehgal with Col Amarpal Singh
Kiran Sehgal with Col Amarpal Singh
Dr Ranjana Malik with classmate Ravish Puri and his wife
Dr Ranjana Malik with classmate Ravish Puri and his wife

The all-pervading enthusiasm lent the event a unique vitality. The group comprised seasoned travellers, on the voyage of life, having undergone its rumble and tumble.

The day belonged to them, and they were in a hurry to exchange notes with friends whom they were meeting after decades.

Those present were Manjeet Sethi, (UK) Col Madhav Kukreti, (Doon), Kiran Kapur (Doon), Lt Col Andrew Speedie (Doon), Col Amarpal Singh( Ambala), Ravish Puri (USA), Dr Ranjana Malik, (Panchkula), Tilotma Jain (Dehradun), Vijay Dougall (Herberpur), Premla Rao(Lucknow), Kusum (Nasik), Brig Dinesh Mathur (Gurgaon), Indira Sehgal (USA) and Elanor Mann (Doon).

Ranjana Malik greeted the guests. There was spring in her gait. “ I am ecstatic to be back among my group. Some of us are meeting after 50 years. I still carry vivid images of my classmates with whom I parted after completing Senior Cambridge. We carried slices of our school life as memories though we moved on, ” she said.

But for her initiative, the reunion would not have taken place. “A mere suggestion by me four years ago culminated into a movement. It was, indeed, difficult to get in touch with the batchmates -- so much has passed and changed. I was a 14-year- old girl then and today I’m in my sixties. So are the others.

“ Thanks to the Internet, we managed to locate all 18 of our classmates and 14 of them are here today with their spouses,” informed Ranjana as she moved on to meet Col Andrew Speedie, recalling how his hair seemed to jut out as a school boy.

In her search, Ranjana Malik was supported by Col Amar Pal Singh. “ The interest generated among our classmates was palpable after we established communication with them. There was exchange of e-mails, we even managed to trace and contact our science teacher Subash Jalota, now settled in Australia. He agreed to join us. It was as though our heartfelt wishes were turning true, ” said a nostalgic Col Singh, who was accompanied by his wife Bini. The couple now resides in Ambala.

Col Singh could not miss the opportunity of a photo-session with Indira Sehgal, now settled in California. “ You see, she was the girls’ captain and I the boys’ captain. Together, we shouldered responsibilities assigned to us and it was a lot of fun,” he remarked.

The class of 1958 is proud of its achievers. “ It was not as if we had planned to opt for a particular career, five of us joined the Army because we wanted to do so, but none could anticipate that several of us would be doing so well in life,” said Col Singh.

Their spouses too seemed affected by the buzz generated by the reunion. “ My husband, General Malik, is a busy man travelling, but because of our get-together, his dates had to be adjusted so that he could be part of the group and he showed a great deal of enthusiasm in our effort to locate our friends,” informed Ranjana Malik.

“ It is such a pleasure to watch them exchange notes like eager kids. I have heard so much about my mother’s classmates that I know most of them,” explained a visibly excited Sumu, who accompanied his mother from the UK and was busy clicking pictures of the group to carry these back home.



Drunken driving on the rise
Are the cops watching?
Umesh Dewan
Tribune News Service

Dehradun, November 12
Notwithstanding tall claims of the traffic police, accidents in the capital on account of rash driving by drunk drivers are being reported almost daily.

On Monday, Aditya, who was in an inebriated state, was injured after he rammed his bike into a jeep parked on Haridwar road near the Combined Medical Institute (CMI). Last evening, a man astride a motocycle smashed his bike into another bike on Lacchiwala Road, grievously injuring two persons. The injured were admitted to Doon Hospital.

These are not isolated incidents. Such accidents are a routine affair. “One can spot people in drunken state, driving two- wheelers and four-wheelers but traffic cops rarely take action against them”, alleged Samir Bhatia, a resident of EC Road.

Residents of Dehradun, particularly those residing in the vicinity of the busy Rajpur Road,said the situation had worsened with autos being driven by persons obviously drunk.

“Under the affect of liquor, autorickshaw drivers disregard traffic rules, but I have yet to see the traffic police checking them”, said a housewife, Rajni Gupta.

Mussoorie Road seems to be a favourite of drinking youths. “High on alcohol, youngsters on bikes, in a show of daredevilry, zig-zag city roads, causing accidents ”, pointed out Jaswant Singh.

Drunken drivers do not follow traffic signals. “They often ram their vehicles into those of others, jumping the red light”, said a student Jatin, adding that it was sheer laxity onthe part of the police that the nuisance continued unchecked.

In some areas having liquor on roadsides is a common practice, says senior citizen Rajiv Goyal, urging the police administration to use alco sensors (device for detection of alcohol intake), available with them to check drunken driving in the city and on highways. 



Empowering the rural poor
‘Yuva Shakti’ at Purkul village aims at providing holistic support to children and the youth by providing them access to quality education
Divya Semwal
Tribune News Service

Dehradun, November 12
Coming from lower middle-class families with no support or hope for a future, life for Sonali Pundir and Ranjan Kumar, Class IX students of a school run by the Purkal Youth Development Society, today holds a different meaning.

Both have been selected for a cultural exchange programme. Sonali Pundir, a member of “Yuva Shakti”, will be going to Singapore on November 16 to take part in an international convention for youth leaders. She will take part in a five-day conference with other young girls from around the world.

The same day, Ranjan Kumar will travel to Thailand to take part in a cultural programme. He will be staying with a Thai family an will learn Thai culture. On return, the two will be looked after by the foundation for another five years.

"This is a launching-pad for these students who have the intellect but no money," said G.K. Swami, founder of the Purkul Youth Development Society.

Thes two were selected by Global Education and Leadership established by the Khemka Foundation, transforming attitudes by addressing the needs of the "younger generation".

The Khemka Foundation has been working with the youth in different schools of the country.

Gauri Ishwaran, chief executive officer, Global Education and Leadership, who was here to interact with the youth pn Tuesday said : "Children are our tomorrow and we strongly believe that leaders can be made, but by nurturing the right values and providing an opportunity to each one of them."

With the help of various NGOs, the foundation gets in touch with various students and conducts tests for them to excel on the global platform.

"The foundation is working with 22 schools at the national level, catering to the topmost schools as also government, private and rural schools,'' said Gauri Ishwaran.

The endeavour of the foundation is to provide an opportunity to children from various backgrounds to excel and perform on the international platform.

The foundation at the same time takes interest in overall development of teachers. Teachers work in collaboration with programmes run by Columbia University, USA, and the foundation plans to send them to countries like Bhutan, Libya and Abu Dhabi to work in schools.

“Yuva Shakti” at Purkul village aims to provide a holistic support to children and the youth by providing them access to quality education, mentoring them and paying attention to nutrition and healthcare.

This effort at societal change has grown over the years.

"I am happy for these kids and I am glad that such kind of effort is helping the society to change. This kind of platform has made the community of Purkul to react in a positive manner and attitudes are changing for 
the better. 



Execute plans to clear city of garbage

The MC councillors on Tueday took various decisions regarding poor sanitation conditions of Dehradun. We are thankful to the councillors that at least they have understood the seriousness of the problem. But now we hope that they execute what they have planned.

Outsourcing of sanitation workers for big wards could be a good move as it will reduce the burden on workers and let them cover wide area.

New machines should be introduced for removing and dumping garbage, which will make it easy for workers to complete ther job faster.

Lack of coordination between workers and councillors is also a cause of poor performance of MC in the city. We suggest them to leave behind their personal issues and work hard to make the city clean and beautiful, as a state capital ought to be.

Despite write-ups in papers on the unsanitary conditions in the city, the authorities have done precious little in this regard so far.

The councillors seem to be ineffective to get work done. Perhaps, that is why they decided to raise their voice at the MC board meeting on Tuesday. If even now nothing is done towards cleanliness of the city, one wonders what more will it take to move the authorities. An epidemic? Hope not.

Sudesh, Dehradun

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