John Monteiro - Like Old Wine he Gets Better with Age

Nov 9, 2009 

Like an old wine that gets better with age - I find this as a perfect cliché to aptly describe our own familiar man, the quintessential journo, John Monteiro.  At 72 he is bubbling with energy and enthu levels of a teenager and his writings on a wide gamut of topics at regular intervals to various publications stand as a testimony to the cliché mentioned above. A happy-go-lucky man who finds pleasure in doing things in his own way John Monteiro has been a living example to demonstrate that age does not withers the zest for life.  Given the right frame of mind and positive attitude, life can be bliss, a challenge and adventure with each passing year. Just two years back John mustered enough courage to start a website title “Welcome to Reason”  ( ) a forum that provides stimulating stuff to the rotten and stressed mind. Now he is all set to revive his website which had taken a sabbatical for a change of dress for the last 3 months and is all set to tease your brain once again. 


“Anything beyond 70 is said to be a bonus” says John quoting Bible and he is bent upon making good use of the generous bounty of this bonus to good advantage.  When people call it quits soon after retirement and settle for a quiet life John has gone a step ahead to demonstrate that age is not a bar in giving vent to the passion he cherishes most – i. e to give work to the brain   I believe he strongly subscribes to the adage that ‘an idle mind is devils workshop’ and does not want to make way for the devil in his active brain. Having begun his Website – “Welcome to Reason”, an interactive Cerebral Challenger, on July 17, 2007 to mark his first bonus year, the ‘young at heart’ man went on with his job presenting an array of subjects for generating debate and discussion in public domain and challenging the cerebral power of the human mind.  From a man who knew nothing about the technical aspects and intricacies involved in maintaining a website John successfully continued with his adventure offering food for thought for all right thinking citizens to debate, ponder and act on issues of public interest and concern.  

Back from Hibernation 

After three months of hibernation Welcome to Reason will be back on November 10, 2009, to coincide with the 40th wedding anniversary of Monteiro couple.  What is more, every year he offers himself new challenges to keep afloat with his young-at-heart image by being agile and alert.  If “Welcome to Reason” marked his 69th birthday 70th birthday in 2008 was marked by releasing a docu-film-CD titled “laugh your way to health – laughter club manual”, authored by him.  Now he is once more all fired up to take up the challenge of running the website in its new avatar providing tantalizing topics to tease the brain, sans any squalid stuff. 

Welcome to Reason was a huge hit outside India as a sizeable chunk of its readers were NRI’s.  “The main idea of the website was to have an original topic dissected in such a way the topic is left open with all possible avenues of arguments and leave it for the readers to conclude”, says John in his usual candor. There was logic in the topic and public service aspect was added to the web content. John wants this website to be a forum for discussion thus giving the people an opportunity to express their views. The flip side of it is that in the process his bank balance has depleted as he never paid attention to the economies of running it.  Not that he regrets the economy part of it.  But the regret of sending the website for brief hibernation is writ large on his face and he will not be satisfied until he restarts the website to generate electrifying debates. 

While his wife Lynette does not believe in the idea of website considering it to be a ‘cost centre’ she has been like a pillar of strength in his adventure by handling the work of uploading the matter to the website which she has mastered in the last two years.  Without her constant backing John would not have been a cakewalk for John to indulge in bonus time activity without losing his peace of mind. 

Doing things Differently 

In fact John is always adept in doing things differently rather than doing different things. Becoming a journalist was not what he aspired for after his graduation from St Aloysius College Mangalore and Post Graduation from Mumbai University.  His first career was a disastrous one. For the sake of taking up a job he started teaching in At Aloysius College at a young age of 22.  With his boyish looks he was taken for granted and to keep the students engaged John started telling jokes and he candidly says “some of them were not clean”. 

The news reached the principle and John was politely asked to look for a new job which took him to Mumbai the dream city. Later he got a job in Maharashtra Post and Electricity Board and some faux pax on his part where he signed 350 circulars just above his superior’s signature resulted in his transfer to a far away place.  Again he was shunted to a remote place when he failed to be the ‘yes men’ to the higher ups was sent to even to a remote place.  John found it unbearable and went on a long leave and his name was in the gazette for his long absentia from work.  “I became a gazette officer without the required qualification”, he says with a chuckle recalling those initial days of his chequered career.

With nothing else to do John got into writing and journalism which proved to be the right career for his talent and temperament.  He started off as an Editorial Assistant (1962-63) at Journal of the Indian Institute of Bankers, a part time assignment that gave him ample time for free-lancing.  Later he was the Junior Research Officer at Financial Express and began his freelancing career in 1964 which he continues even now with aplomb. Since then John has freelanced to every possible daily newspapers, weekly magazines and publications on diverse topics.  The highlight of his career was the book he wrote in 1966 titled Corruption: Control of Maladministration, which won critical acclaim.

It was in 1970 he joined Larsen and Toubro as a Public Relations Officer and his work entailed press relations, planning, writing for and production of 18 internal and external house journals and also prestige publications of the company.  He worked there till he retired in 1998 exploring all possible avenues as a writer of caliber.  He has one more book to his credit “Some Current Issues for Debate”.  Since his retirement John has settled in Bondel but continues with his age old habit of writing, which he says “keeps him alert and attuned to the latest developments”. 

Helping Damsel in Distress!

Bachelor days are the carefree days with freedom unlimited and one weekend our bachelor boy John headed to the hill station Lonawala, about 100 kms from Mumbai to the farm house of a friend as an uninvited guest.  Needless to say there was a girl, a relative of the friend, petite one and like the romantic plot of the film John had to escort her back to Mumbai when his friend extended his holiday at the farm house.  In an interesting twist to the entire saga, John was oblivious of the fact that the girl was carrying a bag of 10 kg rice, a controlled commodity in 1960’s that required permit.  Halfway through the return journey there was a raid on the train to catch rice smugglers and John went to the rescue of the damsel in distress by owning the responsibility of the rice bag by flashing his journalist visiting card which proved to be his trump card. John also safely escorted her up to the last stop at Victoria Terminus.

A few weeks later his friend brought the proposal to marry the girl, whom John initially considered petite.  This petite girl happened to be Lynette, his life partner for the last 40 years, who tied the loose end of his bachelorhood and bring some semblance of discipline in his life. While he rescued her from the anti-smuggling squad and grabbed her for himself credit goes to this petite lady for rescuing John from straying into worst situations from what he actually is – a bindaas guy to the core.  Lynette who had done her BSc was working as Marketing Officer at the corporate office of the cement giant ACC in Mumbai.  They were married at Milagres the same year i.e. November 10, 1969.  One can call co-incidence that in 1970 John joined cement giant Larsen and Tourbo, thus forever cementing their relationship. No wonder this relationship has been going on smoothly for the last 40 years.  Lynette has certainly helped tighten the loose threads in the life of this bindaas man. 

The couple has two children who are settled in Mumbai.  Daughter Primrose is a Journalist working for a publication of Times of India Group.  Son Mohan is Senior HR Partner with Johnson& Johnson in Mumbai.  John retired in 1998 and since then the couple is settled in Bondel in a beautiful cottage.  But John has not retired in the true sense.  The urge to write continues and he contributes articles to many publications including and daiji weekly.

John laughs his way ……… through Laughter Club

With a penchant for doing things differently John had realized the goodness of laughter in the early 1990s.  He anchored the Gateway Laughter Club in Mumbai, when the concept was new in the country.  He was the first one to start the one and only lunchtime laughter club for officer goers in Ballard Estate in Mumbai.  He continued his favourite hobby by being the first one to introduce laughter session in Lighthouse Hill car park in 1998 and in 2002 he started the Bondel Laughter Club which goes on with full throttle even now with some committed members laughing their way in the early morning hours for about 20 minutes 6 days a week.  So John laughs his way to his health, come rain or shine.

True to his image of doing things differently John started drug bank in the city to mark the second anniversary of his website. The drugs collected through this are given to a poor dispensary.  Such diverse activities keep John always on his toes.  He has a sense of humour which cannot escape the attention of any keen observer while interacting with him. 

Here is wishing all the best for the re-launch of his website which is sure to create a flutter in the intellectual circles by promoting rational thinking and exchange of healthy ideas.  Also wishing a happy 40th wedding anniversary for the couple and wishing them many more years marital bliss and togetherness.

by Florine Roche
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Comment on this article

  • Loui Monteiro,141/B 1st Main Rd. S.T. Bed Layout.Koramangala, Bangalore-560 034, Bangalore

    Sat, Nov 14 2009

    Dear Lynette and John. Forty years is a long time but appears as it happened just the other day.A visit to Kamshet our Farm Cottage, the Police catalyst on the train to Bombay and the rice bag to feed the hungry at Loui Monteiro's Tata Housing Apartment created a new world of John and Lynette.PrimRose, Kevin and Zac, Mohan and Nisha, giving you happiness ande excitement to your world.

    May God bless you all. May the 40th wedding anniversary be a stepping stone to the 50th and 60th Anniversaries. This is the third message I am sending and it says Security CodeValidation Is invalid. Hope it goes to your feet now as I click. Love and good luck from May and Loui Monteiro.

  • Marianne D'Cunha, Mangalore/Dubai

    Sat, Nov 14 2009

    Congragulations! to John & Ninette, long 40 years of marital bliss, feels like yesterday I am sure, having someone like John in your life. Full of laughter and fun, a warm person for the petite lady. May God Bless You both to a Platinum together. I am Anala's God Mother now in Dubai. Love and regards....Marianne

  • Jacinta DSouza, Mangalore

    Thu, Nov 12 2009

    Heartiest Congratulations on the occasion of your 40th wedding anniversary! It is wonderful to know about the second anniversary of your innovative website. Your creativity at 72 speaks volumes of your energy and doing things with a difference.

  • Little Sisters of the Poor, Mangalore, Mangalore Bajjodi

    Thu, Nov 12 2009

    Dear Mr. John and Lynette, wishing you a happy 40th Wedding anniversary to you and wishing you many more years marital bliss and togetherness. we are the priviledge one to meet you, you are such a great man yet very humble, your visit to our Home for the Aged brought great blessing to us. Thank you for your great love and concern for the poor. May God Bless you.

  • Dr.Anand & Geeta N Pereira, Sakleshpur/Kadri

    Thu, Nov 12 2009

    It was a pleasure to meet this intellectual couple. John and Lynn are full of warmth and inspire confidence in others. In todays world, they are indeed role models for both the young and old.

  • Vasanthi Nazareth, Orlando, Florida, USA

    Wed, Nov 11 2009

    Hi John and Lynette. What a surprise! John I have not had the opportunity of meeting you. I am Lynette's dear cousin from yester years. Congratulations to both of you. Wishing you luck in your writings and keep up the laughter. It is awesome to learn that we have a fantastic, talented personality in this family. LOL to the entire family. Vasanthi (Brito)

  • Lena Bennis, Mangalore

    Tue, Nov 10 2009

    Here's wishing you both John and Lynette, our very best wishes on this happy occasion of your 40th Wedding Anniversary! Ihave not met you John......but just for you to know........I am the youngest daughter of your cousin Juana Monteiro who married Joseph D'Silva. You have met my eldest sister and Family, Alice Rasquinha of Simon & Co. Our two brothers, Lawrie( Shivabagh) and Charlie ( Chennai) join me in felicitating you ! I am always available at Fatima Retreat House. Lena Bennis

  • Averil, Mangalore - Bangalore

    Tue, Nov 10 2009

    Happy anniversary dearest John and Lynette. Hope to see the Golden next and be present with you to share your joy. John,being your sister-in-law for 40 years, I never knew so many things,specially the naughtier side of you. Thank you Florine - usually John writes about others,but we got to read about him. Lots of love and all the best,good health,peace and happiness to you - Lynette and John

  • Ronald Fernandes, Kulshekar

    Tue, Nov 10 2009

    Dear sir, Its wonderful to know more about yourself through Florine. I wish and hope you write more and more and continue to inspire many (including working journalists). Wish you a very happy wedding anniversary. I wish to see your golden, diamond and platinum wedding anniversary in daijiworld. (Thank you Florine for many details, which I am sure many who know him, may not know). Ronnie. Deccan Herald.

  • Patricia Lobo, Mangalore/Bangalore

    Mon, Nov 09 2009

    What a revealation. His writings which were more serious in nature never revealed the bindass man he is. As they say looks can be deceptive, so did his writings. John is not less than any typical Hindi movie hero the only difference being his life is a reality. His enthusiasm and desire to achieve newness every year or with each passing day will serve as an example for the present crop of youngsters and his analytical write ups should be an eye opener to todays desk top journalists. Happy wedding annversary to the young couple

  • edgar sylva, mangalore/mumbai

    Mon, Nov 09 2009

    Congratulations Lynette & John on your 40th wedding anniversary. We did not think you were such a Bindazz person in the past but then with the cementation you have really achieved. God Bless both of you and keep up the good work. Edgar/Mariette Sylva

  • Antony D'Cunha, Permude/Muscat

    Mon, Nov 09 2009

    This is a beautifully narrated story of an exceptionally capable achiever who has not only contributed for the welfare of our society but also witnessed the good times, bad times and changing times as well. His untiring quest for exploring the possibilities of new ideas and commitment towards that direction will surely inspire many upcoming professionals.

  • Dinesh Fernandis, Mumbai/Abu Dhabi

    Sun, Nov 08 2009

    Hi Uncle. This is Dinesh from Abu Dhabi, Evarist Fernandis Son. I know now you rememeber. It is nice to see your photo with your family. I rememeber the good old days, Aunty, Prima and Mohan. Seen Kevin's photo after a long time. I do read your write up when it is published DW. Keep writing. Dinesh Fernandis

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