RICHARD FRANCIS SELVARAJ
Years in Barnes 1960 -1972
Year 1955 day 23 June. I was born and brought into this world and named, Richard Francis Selvaraj.
My Father's name is Robert Selvaraj and my mother's name is Edith Lillian (Fredrick) Selvaraj
My life was linked with Barnes much before I was born. M grandfather worked as the chief foreman of the Manmad Railway workshop and was eventually the head of Manmad junction. He had bought a big 7 and a half acre piece of land and built a house on it and called it Mars Villa (I still wonder why)? He needed a big house as he had 11 children and nearly all of us grew up there so you can imagine the 11 children plus their herd of kids. It was the best place on earth that we loved and had great times. He put his kids into boarding school to reduce the number of people for Granny to cook for. Some of my Uncles joined Christ Church in Jabalpur and 1 uncle, 2 aunts, and my mum joined Barnes. They were in Barnes from 1934 to 1943; their names were Marie Frederick, Kenny Fredericks, Dorothy Frederick, and my mum Edith (Featherboo) Frederick. My mum has seen the site and remembers Ernest Proudfoot from it and seems to have known the Arklie's and remembers her friend Trilby West who's sons were with me in Barnes they were the then known as Arnold's; Clyde was a friend of mine.
My Uncle Norman Frederick later became the Chairman of the Bombay Education Society and headed the board of directors of the school till he died a few years back.
I was admitted to Barnes, which became my second home from 1961-1972. Apparently my Dad was not doing so well and they were constantly changing homes so my Grand Father made Mum stay with him in Manmad and he then suggested to put me into Barnes. As my Dad couldn't afford the fees they had to find a way out to get me there, they contacted Mr. Coles who suggested that they should join the Anglo Indian association, as my Dad was not an Anglo it was difficult, Mrs. Cookie Fernandes helped us out. She made Mum a member and then got me admitted (there was a lot of resentment at this action of hers and sad to say it came from members of the family), but Mrs. Fernie was such a big hearted person that she fought them and got me admitted and this action of hers not only helped me but also my younger brother and sister Roger & Lorraine who ended up studying in Barnes.
On being admitted to school, I had a lot of company as my cousins were already students there, there were Uncle Harold's kids; his wife Aunty Anna Frederick was a Matron in Prep House. Uncle Horace's 2 daughters Kathleen and Evelyn. Uncle Norman's son Carlyle and Uncle George's kids were there. I was the youngest new entrant. My grand Aunt &endash; Mrs. Dorothy Frederick was also a teacher at the time.
Grandaunt Dorothy was my Class Teacher in Std. 1) and her assistant was an ex-student called Geraldine Watts, who later in life came to stay beside my house in Bombay as my neighbour. My standard 2nd Std. teacher was Miss. Brown (Chew chew mama as she was called by us), 3rd Std .teacher was Miss Bisset, 4th Std. teacher was Miss.G.Fernandes who later married Mr.Flight. I remember being in the class play and learning how to do cartwheels for the play (what it was all about I can't remember). Miss.Clair (Michaels) was next and them in the 6th Std. it was Mr.Micheals, 7 std was Mrs.Hoffman, can't remember the name of the Teacher in Std. 8, in the Std 9d it was Mr.Paul, Std. 10 it was Miss.D'Sa and Std. 11 it was Mr.Smith (Gatty).
I was a good sports man and represented Barnes in Football and Boxing. Got certificates for swimming and athletics. I was in Royal House. Royal was the leading house from 1970 till 1972.
My friends were mostly those who joined Barnes with me in 1961 unil we finished in 1972. Some names are: Richard White who is a master now teaching in a school in Kanpur, Rustam Parveresh he is running his own business with his brother Sharukh in Bombay; Narendra Kriplani lost touch with him after school, Musadiq Haggighi, he is here in the UAE runs his own business in Oil Field supplies and is married to another Barnesite whose sister Armeen was with me in class and is also here working for the Air Wing of the ruler of Abu Dhabi, Alan Whiter (who is Perth, Aust.), Prakash Ghanekar a CA in Bombay.
I still keep in touch with Ernie Flannagen, Clyde Arnold & Pervez Rizvi. My list of friends could just go on and on. We all keep in touch via the e-mail, which was started by Pervez and which has grown in to a very large number of members. All of us visit the site very often. A tremendous piece of work, something that has now become part of our lives and rekindles memories and inspirations in all of us. A BIG THANK YOU to Mrs. Gladys Flight and her daughter for this wonderful piece of work.
Above: Richie in 1975 - 3 years after school
After school I did 3 years of Aeronautical Engineering but could not complete it for various reasons. I then joined the TAJ group of hotels.
I then went to work for the Sheraton Group in Iraq during the Iran/ Iraq war in 1980 to 1982. Returned to India in 1982 and joined National Airways as an operations assistant. I then joined Evergreen International Airlines and did a Load Master's training with them and began flying as a Load Master and was able to see many different countries that we flew to. Incidentally I was the first Load Master that India ever had. I had arranged for the Horses to be transported from Delhi to Seoul for the Asiad. I have also shipped the largest poles used for the scoreboard and lights that are now in the stadium at Eden Gardens in Calcutta. I used to fly with the Boeing 747 freighters. I then joined DNATA here in Dubai and later moved to Emirates Airlines where I am presently working as a Crew Scheduling Superintendent.
In July 2001 I visited Barnes and met Mr. & Mrs. Davis. They both look real old but were happy to meet us. I was lucky to meet "I SAY MAN" (Mr.Gadre), who happened to be in Barnes giving tuitions and looked just as he did when I left school - amazing. But then he is living in Deolali the best climate on earth. The visit to school was so touching and rejenuvating it was like getting recharged to live another 100 years. The saddest bit was when I visited the swimming pool it seemed like nature was reclaiming what it had lost. Spoke to the current principal who has promised to bring back the school to it's glory days. Visited the old Banyan trees were we played catch the monkey up the tree and saw that some of the roots that we use to swing have now imbedded them selves in the ground, remembered the painful falls and the broken hands and legs. Saw the saplings that we planted and which have now become trees; it makes the area around the school green. Met the son of 'Bansi the Barber'; Bansi was still alive and strong. Also met the tuck shop man.
Above:July 2001, Richie with his two sons Ridge and Royston visiting Barnes.
Above: July 2001 Richie's wife Sunita, his sons and the 2 oldest ex-students to visit.Richie's Mum, Edith "Featherboo Fredrick Selvaraj 1936-1943 and his Aunt Dorothy "Fredrick " Greve. 1934-1940.
(Richie with his family Dec 1999.)