Friday, March 4, 2011

This is me, Joe Pinto, since 1967 - for the smobs of 1967

My dear family, students, friends and colleagues,

After being a boarder in St. Stanislaus, Bandra, during 1961-63 in stds VI-VII, I joined St Mary’s (SSC), Mazagaon, and was there during 1963-67 in Stds VIII to XI. I passed out from school in 1967, winning the Esso Prize as the best all-rounder. I got my first pair of long pants to wear at the prize distribution ceremony and Vullu Uncle gave me a Sowar Prima wrist-watch, as a present.

I finished my B.Sc. with Chemistry from St Xavier's College in October 1971. In December, the war broke out with Pakistan, resulting in the formation of Bangladesh.

Then, I took a break from my studies.

From 1973 to 1983, I worked as a full-time volunteer in Maharashtra with:
1. a rural development agency in some drought-prone villages (1973-77)
2. a science popularisation organisation (1978-83)
3. a trade union and a slum-dwellers organisation (1977-83).

By 1970, ie, the third year of college and at the age of 19, I had had decided, on ideological grounds, that the competitive “rat race” was NOT for me. Since then, I prefer to compete only with myself. So the spirit of cooperation, team-work and peace pervades what I have done during the last 40 years, am doing and may do in future.


I moved to Pune in 1983, after getting married on 26 January 1982 to Kalpana Joshi, a Pune girl. I stopped chain-smoking, as a wedding present to my beloved wife.

Our only child and the loveliest daughter of my life, Pallavi, was born on 23 October 1987.

You can say I am based here in Pune – for now.

Since 1983 to 1996, I worked with Maharashtra Herald (MH), the one and only local English daily in Pune - and one of the greatest local dailies the world has known, if you fondly imagine (as we did at the old MH) that "Pune is the centre of the world".

During 1990-93, we were in Leeds, Yorkshire, England, where my wife did her Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering. I took three years leave without pay from MH, to take care of our daughter, who was three years old then. I recommend such a sacrifice to all fathers.

During 1996 to 2003, I was part of a team that set up the Corporate Communication Dept at Deepak Fertilisers, Pune, and was editor of
its unique newsletter "Mile Sur Mera Tumhara (MSMT)" for seven years.

Then I went back to print journalism, as editor, Gomantak Times, Panaji, Goa, during 2003-04.


Side by side with working at the Desk in Maharashtra Herald, since 1987, I have also been teaching print journalism as regular visiting faculty
in the Pune University Dept of Communication & Journalism and other mass communication institutions, including Symbiosis Institute of Media and Communication (SIMC), in Pune. I teach mainly “Editing” and also Feature Writing, Current Affairs and Development Communication.

I have hundreds of journalism students, all over the world. But only a few of them, I call “my sincere and serious students”. If you are my student, you can earn this honour, by starting to awaken and listen to that inner voice, namely, your conscience.


Today, my wife Dr Kalpana Joshi is Reader, Dept of Electronics at S.P. College, Pune. She also holds eight (8) patents -- three US and two European -- in microwave engineering.

Pallavi (23) is working as a software engineer with Marvell Semiconductor in Pune, since July 2009 -- her first job.

My mother was killed, on 2 May 1969, in an accident, before she could turn 44. Out-living her by 34 years, my father died on 26 March 2001, five days after he celebrated his 78th birthday in hospital.


Since 2 August 2005, nearing six years now, I am with Bharatiya Jain Sanghatana (BJS) as master trainer, in designing, developing and delivering, training and empowerment programs for trustees of educational institutions; principals and teachers of schools.

I survived a heart attack on 2 September 2006. Now it’s over four years.
And I’m OK -- lucky to be around and still be here with you, my family, students, friends and colleagues.

On 5 March 2011, I complete 60 years, on the one and only beautiful earth we care for.

Have a look at my blog “Against the Tide”. Especially read “Memoir of my Mother” and give me your comments. I plan to bring it out as a book.


This post is a copy of the catching-up piece that I prepared for my school-mates of the Class of 1967, from St Mary's (SSC) High School, Mazagaon, Mumbai, while we were planning to hold a reunion on 11-1-11. This is also for the record.

Your support is my strength.

Peace and love,
- Joe Pinto.

Pune, Friday, 4 March 2011.

Along the line, partly – 25 random things – FB note

My dear students, friends and colleagues,

When Kajal Iyer tagged me on Facebook to write 25 random things about myself, I listed 25 random things on 14 February 2009. The following is an exact copy of that FB note:

1. I am the eldest son of a railwayman, transferred from place to place, so I know what it is to settle down and what it is to be on the move.

2. I am also the eldest son of one of India's greatest playback singers, often called the "Lata Mangeshkar of the Konkani stage" in the late 40s -- Amy Pinto, nee Mary Therese D'Cruz (1925-69).

3. When I was in college, I used to have long hair up to my shoulders. Later I even had a beard.

4. The protest movement against the Vietnam War is a part of my growing up years - a deep and permanent influence.

5. My first crush was virtual: on a character -- Agnes -- from a Charles Dickens novel "David Copperfield".

6. Though a non-veg by upbringing, I can't stand chicken.

7. Now, I'm pure veg and low-fat, with a little fish once or twice a month.

8. I can't remember a day when I was not in love -- with words.

9. The greatest human love in my life -- after my wife Kalpana, ours is a love marriage -- is my daughter, J. K. Pallavi.

10. What would I give for all the money in the world? A chance to meet my school-mates when I was a little boy at Jabalpur and Nagpur (1956), Solapur (1957) and Manmad (1958-61)

11. I used to be a great one for winning prizes in school, till my mother learned me the lesson: "If you have the guts, compete - only with yourself".

12. I am waiting for the student, who can exceed me, who can dare to go beyond imagination.

13. I am playing my second innings now. After surviving my heart attack of 2 September 2006, life is new and fresh. I'm lucky to be alive.

14. Besides love and peace, compassion for the poor moves me -- beyond tears.

15. If there is one thing I have to learn -- NOT to hate the "chhote shaitan" on two-wheelers on Pune roads.

16. The red mud, swaying coconut trees, fish curry rice, the lilt of my Konkani mother tongue, a few drops of kaju feni, cotton -- these are a few of my favourite things.

17. My favourite movie critic, Pauline Kael of the New York Times, who dubbed the "Sound of Music" as the "Sound of Mucous". Read the review.

18. What do I miss about Mumbai (I won't call it Bombay to pander to the imperial English)? The trams, when I was a little boy; uncrowded local trains on a Sunday morning; the common crows, sparrows, mynahs; textile workers and their great struggle against the robber mill-owners; red flags in a morcha at Azad Maidan; the heady mix of faces and tongues from all over India; the discipline on the roads; above all, the couples clasping hands in municipal gardens ...

19. What do I NOT miss about Mumbai? The idle rich, gambling on the stock market, who have raped the city; the skyscrapers that blot out the sky; the private cars that kill worse and more than terrorist guns; the curse of the Shiv Sena that has brought shame to the glorious descendants of Chhtrapati Shivaji ...

20. I remember the three years in Leeds, Yorkshire, taking care of my three year-old daughter, while my wife did her PhD.

21. My mother, confined to the four walls of her home, teaching us -- her Class of 3.

22. Let me pay tributes to my father, Denis John Pinto (1923-2001), the most upright and fearless man I have known, who faced suffering and deprivation because "Honesty is the best policy"

23. My friends, without whom I would have not known that friendship can match up to love.

24. I am grateful to Mother Earth, whom we do not care about.

25. The approaching age of retirement - I shall be 58 on 5 March this year.

This is a list of 25 random things about myself. I have copied it from the FB note 14 February 2009. This post is for the record, since "Journey Unbegun" is a source-blog of various reference material.

Your support is my strength,
- Joe Pinto.

Pune, Friday, 4 March 2011.