We visited London on a few occasions . On one of these trips Anthony Bull hosted Anjean and myself. Our daughter Larissa was single and staying with the Bulls ōver the past two years.
Anthony ānd Julie have a loving family . They are active in Community life . Their interests are varied . Anthony is a senior professor in Imperial College. He is a sportsman at heart and very fond of rugby. His keenness to keep fit results in him riding to the college on his bycycle.
Julie is an engineering scholar. Students of maths have benefited from her proficiency in teaching this subject. She has a passion for pottery and I was impressed to see some of the crockery in use, which was her handiwork. They have 3 very accomplished children.
Our stay was short and sweet. But some interesting memories still linger.
On one of the days the assorted cookie jar was kept for evening tea . I think those cookies were one of the best I’ve had, of different flavours and most enrobed with chocolate .
Now when the home members had left for work, next morning I began to feel the pangs of hunger by mid-morning. Visions of the delicious cookies came to mind. I searched for the jar and then helped myself to a few.
Later that evening , when all returned from work, Anthony enquired “ Lets have some of the cookies”
Wonder of wonders ….the level of the cookies in the jar had reduced considerably .
You can imagine how surprised we all were.
Where did the cōokies disappear… I looked āt Anthony, and saw a faint smile appear …..
“Can you guess who ate the cookies?”
Anthony shared some interesting aspects of his life. His interest in sports led him to work on the study of the cricket bat dimensions . His research on this, led to the standardisation of the bat, based on his inputs. His efforts on standardisation of the tennis racket however did not progress as those in authority did not accept his inputs. The result of this shows today , as tennis players use rackets of various dimensions and materials, which may not heip in keeping a level playing field.
I was very impressed to hear Anthony’s story of how he met Roger Bannister the famous athlete who was the first to break the sub 4 minute barrier for the mile.
Lastly I remember their pet cat , Tiger. He adopted them rather than the other way around. Tiger had occupied the premises before Anthony and family had moved in and begun the renovations . Tiger too became a friend and even posed for pictures.
We were grateful to Anthony and Julie for hosting us, but importantly that Larissa had a home to stay during these few years.
It was lockdown time since April in London due to the Covid 19. Here again Anthony and Julie were a big support to Larissa on her wedding day 21st March 2020 .Larissa wedded Lloyd in a quiet ceremony with only a dozen guests present in the church. We had already returned to India in November 2019. The plans for an India wedding did not materialize due to the corona virus pandemic.
Anthony has been very active in raising awareness of Mental Health and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Through challenges on Facebook, with the pushups , it certainly gives hope at these times of the lockdown and social distancing. Thank you Anthony for this initiative with your brother Andrew, and getting so many involved.
We know that even though Larissa and Lloyd are now settled in their rental apartment, they do have a family who will always reach out to them.
Who knows , on our next visit we may see some more cookie jars.
Malcolm’s bravery showed as he lived through the years, facing his challenges with acceptance.
He had a good track record having served in Gulf Air, Emirates, and Mahindras , where he served for 14years of which the last 4 years was with its Travel desk .
He was jovial, outgoing, fond of a good life, and good food.
He had a wide circle of friends and at the end some very good friends ..Ratnakar Shetty, Winnie, Jason and myself.
His story is a saga of living alone for about 20 years. His friends were very helpful to him. I began to understand Malcolm during this time.
His favourite game was hockey . In fact it was through his links with Hillary Gomes, well known in hockey circles, that he began his final tenure at Mahindras. He accompanied the F United women’s hockey team to Dubai, Canada and New Zealand .
He represented his school and college teams in hockey too.
One of his friends Cherian, recalls Malcolm’s conversations later dwelt on his passion for hockey, the airlines (his career) and a wish to visit places of pilgrimage . That wish was fulfilled when he made a trip to Holy Land with a group led by Cherian many years later.
He grew up in Bandra and I was surprised that one of my good friends Shailesh was a friend of Malcolm too. I asked Shailesh to share some interesting incidents , when he knew Malcolm then, but he was too embarrassed to share some crazy things they did when in college.
My earliest memories of Malcolm was when he was at Gulf Air. He was a ḥandsome and popular young man . At that time I was with the Air India Dining Facilitiies , and he often visited the snack bar outlet at the ground floor adjacent to the Gulf Air office. Of course with his wit and good nature , he was generally in very good and interesting company.
His career graph improved when he joined Emirates and helped a host of people who needed international tickets to be confirmed. There was a time when he had two mobiles in his hand , speaking to different people , while solving their travel requirements. Malcolm also helped me at different times for my ticket confirmations or to get a good deal while booking with other airlines. Today times have changed ever since bookings can be done online.
A travel agent friend recalls when he approached Malcolm for a waiver on excess baggage for his passenger. Malcolm looked at him, stamped the voucher and left him with ‘choice words’ for his passenger. “Tell him to take it and ………..!”
During the last 4 years at the Travel Desk of Mahindras, Malcolm enjoyed his work. Captain Pandey HOD of the Aviation department of Mahindras greatly appreciated his work of coordinating the Pilot’s programme.
Malcolm lived a lonely life at Mazagon. He once mentioned that it is not easy to come to an empty home. He had good friends who were his anchor. They visited him and even had an occasional party .
His career ended when his health began to gradually fail . The few friends kept in contact with him . Ratnakar Shetty his former boss, took on a role of a father figure to guide him in important matters . Winnie was a dear friend and former colleague, who checked on him and visited occasionally with some favourite food items. He liked ‘Kane’ a Manglorean fish preparation. Any green curried preparation was always welcome. Anjean and I too, knew Malcolm’s favourites, Goa sausages , sorpotel, pork vindaloo, veg au gratin and fried prawns . He loved to hear his piano being played on. I occasionally obliged , with some simple tunes to keep the piano in tune. I visited him with Holy Communion , as a Eucharistic Minister, and even otherwise to chat for sometime.
His two good friends , Richard and Jimmy visited him often to check on any requirements. His neighbours Sunny and Maxy , too were helpful, to him. He had relatives Swithin and Blossom staying near him who were always willing to help when needed.
His final years were a struggle due to failing health. Visits to the hospital were frequent and the list of medicines quite long, He was very organized at home not only about these medicines, but also with the cleanliness of the home .
Jason recalls that Malcolm liked the NonVeg Club Sanwich , from the Bandra Gym ,and waited for a visit from Jason and his father. He relished it slice by slice. One cannot forget his interest in ‘ Housie’ at the Catholic Gym, which he enjoyed with his friends on a Sunday.
Malcolm was financially stable and did not require any monetary assistance from anyone. He was generous. The elderly maid who worked at his home finally became very sick and went to her nephew’s home. Malcolm ensured that she was given a monthly sum of money for her medical care, until she passed away.
Winnie and Shetty arranged for two ward boys to care for him towards the end, by day and night, and also a regular supply of meals. Shetty ensured that the wardboys were monitored , through phone calls and guidelines for them.
My last visit to Malcolm was sad. He had gone down in health and my brother Gerald his doctor, recommended hospitalisation. Its a pity that within 15 days he breathed his last , Those days were consistently in the ICCU. Two friends were constant visitors. Jason from Bandra and Winnie wḥo commuted from Santa Cruz. Winnie was with him the last evening , and Malcolm had tears in his eyes, when he heard his name being called. He knew it was time to go. That night my mobile rang at 2.30am . Nitin his faithful wardboy , informed me that Malcolm was no more.
I must mention that Malcolm made his peace with God . He left with a heart of forgiveness and reconciliation. He received the last sacraments and holy anointing before he departed.
He is at peace. His sufferings ended. Sadly, due to the corona virus lockdown, only 5 persons were at his funeral.
Many of us missed bidding him farewell. Shirley a relative, Jason, Winnie and Fr Shavito were present with the undertaker Abbas who was very helpful .
In Cherian’s words “ His soul finally embarked upon a joyous journey of peace, happiness and eternity .
Adieu, Malcolm, auf wiedersehen! Our prayers are with you.“