A New Year's rocking Eve
From the albums
This picture was taken at the New Year’s Eve party on December 31, 1967 at the Bowring Institute. It has me (extreme left) with my team members Babu Joseph and brothers Adolf and Malcolm from the music group called ‘Spartans’ which my friends and I formed in the 1960s.
I was 17 years old in this picture. In college, I also played and sang with ‘The Missing Links’, and from what I earned, I paid for my medical textbooks.
As a group, we used to perform in various clubs, and New Year’s Eve was always special for us. What’s also unique about this picture is that our costume and our haircuts were also coordinated.
The four of us were wearing pastel shade shirt with a polo collar and skinny pants. We got these outfits especially stitched for this New Year’s Eve performance with our pocket money.
That night, we performed a lot of pieces, including a few from ‘The Beatles’, ‘Rolling Stones’, ‘Simon and Garfunkel’, ‘Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young’, Cliff Richards, Elvis Presley etc.
We performed at the ballroom of the Bowring Institute which has now been converted into a tambola room. I also vividly remember that the New Year’s Eve those days were lively and colourful. There were just a handful of people at the clubs, very few vehicles on the roads and no traffic whatsoever.
I completed my schooling from St Germain High School, did my pre-university in St Joseph’s College and went on to study medicine at St John’s Medical College. I?then went to New York, to specialise in orthopedics. I returned to India 17 years later and founded the Hosmat Hospital in 1993.
Medicine is my first love and music is a hobby that I’ve carried forward from my childhood. I work very hard and music acts as a great stress buster. There’s a commonality between music and surgery as both require immense practice, concentration, a relaxed mind, and perfect coordination of the eye, hand and the brain.
I am still in touch with the three friends in the picture. Babu Joseph is a blues singer and teacher based in Barcelona, Spain. Adolf and Malcolm Fernandes are based in Australia. We hope to have a reunion of the members of the old group some time next year. I miss those days for they were carefree and wild. We enjoyed every moment of our time together.
Today, even while I am committed to my medical profession and surgeries take up a lot of my time, I still grab some time to spend in my music room which houses over 300 instruments that I have collected over the years. Since 14 years, I am the leader/vocalist of the ‘Jazz Revival’. Singing and playing are great stress busters. I advise every youngster to take up music as a hobby.
Thomas Chandy(chairman and chief of orthopaedics, Hosmat Hospital)
As told to Nina C George