My Writings

My lessons in my life

My life experiences as blog post.

An experience of a lifetime!
15Mar

An experience of a lifetime!

An experience of a lifetime. We were returning from Coonoor after a Stanes School Council meeting. Wilfred Davidar, the new Chairman and I were in a taxi on our way down to the Coimbatore airport. There were several  hairpin bends before we reached Mettupalayam. I usually carry a neck pillow to snooze in the car […]

Dr. P.J. Philip – author’s father!
01Mar

Dr. P.J. Philip – author’s father!

Dr. P.J. Philip Born: 1st May 1916 Died: 22nd November 2012 Son of: Rev. P.J. Philip and Elizabeth Philip of Chengannur, Kerala Married to Grace Philip – 1922 – 98 Father of: Philip John (Philji) – Santa Clara, California, USA John Philip (Ravi) – Oregon, USA Educational Qualifications: A. (Hons), Madras Christian College (1937) – […]

Our trip to Europe in 1972 – Part 2
17Jun

Our trip to Europe in 1972 – Part 2

Recap from Part 1 of the story …. In August 1972 I persuaded my boss T.C. Satyanath to let me have six weeks off for a holiday in the UK and Europe. We were married at the end of 1969 and this was sort of a delayed honeymoon.  My friend Vijay Swaminadhan lent me his […]

Life in Cochin during the ‘60s – A conversation with T K Madhav
12Jun

Life in Cochin during the ‘60s – A conversation with T K Madhav

I sat down with my good friend T K Madhav earlier this year to talk about old times.  He had come to Cochin in 1963 to join Carritt Moran & Co (Tea Brokers). He was a Ranji Trophy player representing both Kerala and Madras State (Tamilnadu), and Dick Luff, head of CM Cochin, a cricketing […]

Europe on $5 a day!!

I must apologize to my readers for my long absence from publishing new episodes of these stories.. Before I go on with our life at Icklesham I need to back up a few months to 1972. Our honeymoon in January 1970 was a brief one. We flew to Bangalore and stayed a week at the […]

Life begins at Icklesham
19May

Life begins at Icklesham

I was amazed that several people reacted to my last post – Icklesham. This story also got a large number of Likes on Facebook. Many people remembered our Coonoor home fondly. Here are some of the comments: Rachel Varugis Chakola Where, many lasting impressions were made. The introduction to Jimi Hendrix & Lou Reed, memories […]

Icklesham!
08May

Icklesham!

I had taken a long break from writing but now feel compelled to continue my narrative. My first two years in Coonoor (1971-73) was taken up in establishing the J.Thomas branch office and putting down some roots. It is one thing to rent a place and hang the company’s name board but getting a business […]

Coonoor and Beyond!
17Feb

Coonoor and Beyond!

If I thought I was going to miss the Cochin social life I was in for a pleasant surprise. Sure, I would miss my friends but most of them were from the tea business in Cochin and I was sure to meet them from time to time. However, Coonoor, Ooty and the plantations in the […]

The Coonoor Auctions!

My wife and I were delighted with our move to Coonoor. She liked the cooler climes of Coonoor which had an amazing climate and vegetation. It was also just 10 miles away from Ootacamund (Ooty) where her mother and brothers lived. I was overjoyed by the opportunity to build a JT branch from scratch! It was […]

A difficult but important decision!
06Jan

A difficult but important decision!

The visit of Guy Routledge from the UK and Dipak Roy from Calcutta was more than a “coming to inspect the men out east” visit – which was the term used when overseas Directors visited plantations or factories during the days of the Raj!  Dipak Roy was new at the helm in Calcutta and Satyanath […]

A bit of history and our first home!
01Jan

A bit of history and our first home!

  Guy Routledge, the last expat Chairman of J. Thomas, visited Cochin in October 1969, accompanied by Dipak Roy, who had taken over as Chairman from Vinod Parekh. T. C. Satyanath (Sat), the South India boss laid out the red carpet and there were a series of lunches and dinners in their honour. Sat informed […]

Whom God has joined…
28Dec

Whom God has joined…

Our wedding was fixed for 29th December. The year was 1969! This was an era in which ‘love marriages’ were frowned upon. Parents would filter candidates, and check whether the girl and boy had similar backgrounds and educational qualifications, also whether the boy had a good job or family wealth. When all the I’s were […]

The most important decision in my life!

An unforgettable UPASI Conference! Today I would like to talk about an UPASI week that I would never forget! The year was 1969. I had entered various competitions and as usual won nothing. It was time for the Sports Club dance at Wellington Gymkhana Club. For the young this evening was far more relevant than the […]

An annual event!
20Dec

An annual event!

After a break I thought I should get back to my Tea story… Goings and Comings at JT Life in Cochin was idyllic but there were comings and goings at JT. As I wrote earlier Govind & Promie Jauhar had returned to Calcutta and Vijay & Shamlu Dudeja had taken their place. Since I got […]

Dogdom series: My life with dogs – Part2
15Dec

Dogdom series: My life with dogs – Part2

The making of a Dogshow Judge I realized that I had a passion for dogs but did not know where best I fitted in. I was doing very well as a Tea Auctioneer and Tea Taster. It was a gentlemanly profession and well paying. The dog-game was all outflow with no inflow, so it  had […]

Dogdom series: My life with dogs – Part1
12Dec

Dogdom series: My life with dogs – Part1

A unique sport and wonderful hobby – Part 1 I was interviewed recently by Ante Lučin in his popular weekly program on Facebook. Click to see the interview  –  TALKING DOGS WITH ANTE It was a 2-hour interview but when I listened to it the other day I realized that there were more things that […]

The churn
14Nov

The churn

I must apologise to my non Tea readers for the granularity of this blog. You are welcome to gloss over the dates and details and go on with the main story. Since this is a kind of my personal dossier I would like to keep these details as part of the ongoing narrative.  Read on…. […]

A wrong start!

As I wrote in my earlier blog Jani had travelled all the way from Calcutta by train to Tiruvella in Kerala to attend my wedding. The evening before a wedding is usually a solemn occasion when a minister (Christian priest) joins the bride or bridegroom’s family for the evening meal and says a prayer of […]

A perfect gentleman!
29Oct

A perfect gentleman!

You hear this term less and less these days. When someone describes a man as  ‘a perfect gentleman’ the name that pops into my mind is my friend, Jani Uthup! I was happy to have met Jani in London when we were both training as tea tasters at Thomas, Cumberlege and Inskipp. As I had […]

The urge to diversify

In a couple of years we had gained palpable momentum. Many South India tea producers realised that JT was a professionally run organisation with well-trained executives, and was here to stay! Financing We had started offering finance to the Bought Leaf factories in the Nilgiris and now other tea producers who wanted to upgrade their […]

The amazing story of Sivaram

I wonder whether you recall my comments about Sivaram who J.Thomas & Co.  had hired as their HOD of tea sampling operations. Sampling was a vital part of the Tea Broking – Auction process. I have alluded to it in my earlier blogs. The Broker draws samples from each Lot of tea that is catalogued […]

Missing the Bus!
16Sep

Missing the Bus!

There are some interesting stories connected with some of the dog shows I have judged during my forty plus years in this hobby. Let me jump in and write a few I remember. This one is set in the early nineties when I was invited to judge for the Småland Öland Kennelklubb in Sweden. The […]

Odds or Evens?

I remember learning the rudimentary skills of 3 Cards in my closing years in School. Flash was another name for 3 Cards. This card game required very little cerebral and cognitive engagement but required the guts to take risks and bluff your way through situations. They say that Flash is akin to Poker. In my experience it […]

Sunrise at Cape Comorin!
17Aug

Sunrise at Cape Comorin!

After the snakeboat races we decided to drive on to Cape Comorin to see the sunset. It was as if the Cape was just around the corner, and not at the southernmost tip of India! Both of us dozed off from the beer and sheer exhaustion of shouting for our favourite teams. After, what must […]

The Kerala Snakeboat Race!
17Aug

The Kerala Snakeboat Race!

A dear friend of mine, Captain K.G. Thomas who ran the Cochin Shipping Company invited me to watch the famous Snake Boat Race, at Champakulam. The best way to watch the race is if you are on the water, and so he had rented a motor launch. I invited the Jauhars but Promie was not […]

Back at Cochin…

I am afraid I have to start this blog with an apology as I may have got my dates wrong. Govind Jauhar (GKJ) sent me a couple of photos of a party that Promie and he threw for Richard Warren’s farewell! That meant that Richard was in Cochin when I returned from Calcutta, since I […]

A bit about the family
22Jul

A bit about the family

By the time I returned to Cochin from Calcutta, Richard Warren had left for London. He was a Partner with Thomas, Cumberlege and Inskipp, and he would take up the thread from where he left off. I was however disappointed that I could not give him a farewell party! I inherited Richard’s flat. I was […]

Social life, Golf and Work at Calcutta!

­After my return from the tea garden tours, life in Calcutta  was hectic as I did not have much time left in the City. Entertaining was a strong tradition at JT and there were rounds of farewell parties that I was invited to. I remember being asked home by Vinod & Lolly Parekh, Dipak & […]

Koi Hai?

Since publishing the blog of my visits to Darjeeling, Dooars, and Assam I have been befriended on FaceBook by many ex Planters from that era, people who resonated with my story. In the process I have joined a group called ‘Koi-Hai Tea Planters Assam, Darjeeling, & North East India’! The group members post great stories […]

Darjeeling, Dooars, and Assam!
03Jul

Darjeeling, Dooars, and Assam!

The company had planned trips for me to visit tea gardens in Darjeeling, Dooars, and Assam. I was to accompany Peter Naharwar to Darjeeling, Harish Parekh to Dooars, and Prafull Goradia (PDG) to Assam. These were life changing trips with regard to my knowledge of tea. At Darjeeling, we stayed at the Planters Club, close […]