“It’s a small world, but you’d hate to have to paint it”
(Attributed to Chic Murray, Steve Wright and a hundred other wits)
What are the chances of a new dear chum having worked for a school in a remote part of North East India - about which I made a BBC radio documentary 30 years later?
John Coston worked at Dr Graham’s Homes as a teacher from 1963 to 1965. I visited in 1998, in time for its centenary.
Dr Graham’s (DGH) is interesting because it looks after the children of Anglo-Indian families : originally the offspring of British men and Indian women during the Raj. And my programme roughly coincided with the fiftieth anniversary of Indian independence.
The documentary is as much about the Anglo-Indian community as it is of the school itself.
A community which is still accused of favouritism and aloofness - at the same time as it often finds itself discriminated against.
Over time DGH had come to rely more on money from well-meaning evangelist organisations, as old sources of donations withered away. This is what John has told me…
By the way, it turns out that John is a documentary presenter himself. Here are some charming shots of him in action in his BBC TV series from the late seventies : Story Beneath the Sands...