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Rekha Bhandari

28.01.1951 -- 05.02.2003


Memorial Video

A 15 minute video that takes you back in time to relive the true spirit of 

Rekha Bulae Bhandari!

Memorial Video

 Life Story

Rekha's Life Story

We are welcoming further additions and insights on this journey - please get in touch with your stories and key dates!

Jan 1951:

  • Born in Nairobi, Kenya into a second generation Punjabi Indian family, Rekha spends her early childhood in Kenya with her parents, 5 sisters and one brother and studies at the British School.

1968 - 1969:  

  • Rekha decides to spend time in Europe and studies French in Tours, Central France, also visiting Paris during the famous May 1968 civil unrest. She adds German to her language skills by studying a course in Ebersberg Germany, 20 miles from Munich. Rekha’s sister Kiran visits her during this time and notes her strong affinity for European culture.  

1970 - 1975:

  • Rekha returns to Kenya after her European travels and takes a job in Nairobi in a travel agency bringing the world to enjoy all the great destinations in this East African nation.

  • Her sister Ashwini remembers fondly how she came back from Europe with a desire to share her classic French croque monsieur recipe and the stylish clothes from France not seen before in Nairobi.


  • Rekha moves to Washington DC, USA. Initially to visit her sister Sureta Bhandari who is studying at Georgetown University, she ends up getting a job with the International Monetary Fund and stays in the city for 4 years until 1979, living most of the time in a suburb of the city called Alexandria Fairlington. 



  • The Bhandari family moves from Nairobi, Kenya to Leicester in the UK. Although Rekha never lives in Leicester, she visits a few times to spend time with the family in the UK.



  • Albert moves to Washington DC to join the World Bank under the Young Professional Programme. 


1975 - 1979:

  • While working for the IMF, Rekha has the opportunity to travel to French speaking West Africa supporting senior development bankers. Rekha meets Albert at the International Students House in Washington DC.

Early 1980s: 


  • Rekha moves to Switzerland and marries Albert Stocker in two ceremonies, one in Leicester (UK) and one in Zug (Switzerland).


  • Albert joins Handelsbanken Natwest based in Zurich and works on large project financings including the development of the Snowbird Ski & Summer Resort in Utah, USA. Rekha and all her sons will learn how to ski at Snowbird.


  • While in Switzerland, Rekha has a number of jobs. She initially works for Time Magazine in their small Swiss office, mainly to support the advertising sales team working with big brands who wanted exposure through the magazine. Through this job she keeps up her German and French language skills.


  • Later on she finds more flexible work that allows her to balance being at home for the children. She works as an independent consultant to the HR department of engineering company ABB. She then picks up  multinational company clients who are relocating foreign nationals to Zurich and need support in getting them set up in the city. Rekha finds them homes in the right areas and the best choice of school for their children. This dovetails perfectly with her own experience moving to Switzerland with her family, and some of her clients from this time become very close friends.


Jan 1984:

  • Rekha’s first son, Anil, born in Gartenstrasse Zollikon, Switzerland. Later that year the Bhandari family decides to move back to Nairobi, leaving Leicester. 


Aug 1985:  

  • Vikas, a second son, follows soon after, also born in Gartenstrasse Zollikon, Switzerland



  • Albert joins Swiss Banking Corporation (now UBS) based in Zurich. It was through this job that Rekha and family were able to move to London in 1993.



  • Rekha’s father Maharaj passes away in Nairobi, Kenya. 


Feb 1990:  

  • Rekha’s third son, Rishi, born in Herrliberg, Zurich



  • Since Rekha and Albert could not buy the Herrliberg house, Rekha goes on the hunt for a large house to move into with the family. She actively monitors the prime areas close to Zurich for a bargain, akin to finding a needle in a haystack given the property prices there. Finally Rekha manages to convince the 90 year old owner of a Zollikon house on Lenzenwiesstrasse to sell it to her by visiting him in his nursing home with the entire family in tow (and by sending a couple of crates of wine to his son who had a crucial role in the sale given the many interested parties). Rekha and Albert renovate the entire house inside and outside before moving in with the family.


  • Albert is given the option to move to New York or London to continue with his team at Swiss Bank Corporation. Rekha and Albert decide on London and move to Chapel Street, Belgravia, London with the family. The neighbour living opposite was Lord Heseltine! Anil and Vikas study at Thomas’ School in Battersea, while Rishi studies at Eaton Square School walking daily past Lady Thatcher’s house each morning.


  • Albert moves to a job at European Capital which allows the family to remain living in London. Rekha enjoys being closer to her sisters in London and meets many new friends through the Indian community and through the parents school network, hosting parties and family events at home.


  • Rekha is keen to buy a large home in London and after much searching for a good location, the family moves into 11 Southwick Place, just north of Hyde Park. Rishi gets into Colet Court School.


  • Pushed by Rekha to take his studying very seriously, Anil gets an academic scholarship to St Paul’s School.


  • Vikas also joins St Paul’s School and earns a senior scholarship for his academic performance in 2002.


  • Albert joins the European Bank for Reconstruction & Development (EBRD) based in London.


  • Rekha encourages Anil to spend one year studying at the Sorbonne in Paris. That winter Anil earns a place at Trinity College, Cambridge to read Economics.

Jan 2003:  

  • Rekha travels to Kenya with Anil for the final time to stay with her mother Nana at home. With her health deteriorating, Rekha, Nana, her sister Ashwini and Anil travel to Mombasa for some rest and recuperation. Albert, Vikas, and Rishi join the family in Kenya back in Nairobi. Rekha leaves this world on 5th February 2003 and is cremated in a Hindu ceremony in Nairobi surrounded by her family and close family friends.

Autumn 2003:

  • Vikas gets into Jesus College, Cambridge to read Economics. Rishi gets an academic scholarship to study at St Paul’s School

Autumn 2007:  

  • Rishi gets into St Hilda’s College, Oxford to complete Rekha’s dream of all three of her sons studying at Oxbridge

2008 - onwards:


  • Anil graduates from Cambridge and spends 4 years working in private equity for Lehman Brothers and Cogent Greenhill. He then launches his own fintech company MarketFinance which he still runs as CEO.

  • Vikas graduates from Cambridge and joins Barclays Capital in London focusing on the metals and mining sector. He relocates to Singapore in 2012 to join a large commodities business called Noble Energy, before transitioning to the solar energy sector. Vikas marries Lara in 2015 and they have two sons Zubin and Taran.


  • Rishi graduates from Oxford and joins the graduate scheme at Unilever. He then helps to launch the European operations of a US technology company, SquareTrade. In 2016, Rishi joins fintech company Revolut as one of its earliest employees and spends 4 years helping to expand its operations across the globe. 


Rekha's principles for life

You are in control of your own destiny. Embrace the power of positive thinking.



  • You should never be defeatist or think that the world is conspiring against you.

  • You alone can take charge of your life. It starts with your mental attitude, and it starts from when you wake up in the morning.

  • You have to believe in yourself, and have a strong vision and put in the hard yards.

  • If you think positive, positive things will happen.

  • Rekha never gave up, especially when the odds were stacked against her. Despite having a small budget compared to others, she was able to convince the old original owner of our house in Zollikon to sell to her when he had better offers on the table. This was repeated again in London when she found a great place to live in Southwick Place. 



Everything happens for a reason.



  • If you’ve tried your best and put 100% into something, even if the result does not go your way you should avoid getting down about this. You need to be confident that you did your best job.

  • An example she would talk about was that I was quite depressed when I didn’t get into Oxford to study Politics Philosophy & Economics, but that set back meant I focused on Economics, applied and got into Trinity College, Cambridge (which was ultimately a better choice), and had a year studying in Paris which was quite life changing. It also meant I was able to travel with her to Kenya in the year that she passed away. You never know what’s going to happen in life, so if you don’t get Plan A, there are always other routes forward.

  • Never lose faith in yourself. It’s not what happens, it’s how you react to what’s happening. 

A home is the most important foundation of your life.

  • Rekha believed that someone’s inner compass and stability comes from a stable home life. It is important to have a home that you can relax in, important that it represents the rock of your life. And that family is very important.

  • Rekha would always prioritise the home financially over and above other expenses as she knew that a comfortable and loving environment where family and friends would come together was the most important investment.

  • You would have seen this in action had you visited any of the beautiful homes that she created in Switzerland and London.

What’s the worst that can happen - they say no. Don’t be afraid to get what you want.

  • Don’t be afraid to ask for what you want. I’m sure you’ll remember Rekha asking to move rooms in hotels or tables in restaurants to get the perfect place for her. As a kid it sometimes felt a bit cringe but in the end she always got what she wanted in the end. Again it’s that single mindedness and focus that achieves the result.

  • Rekha firmly believed that you shouldn’t settle for second best when you can first best! 

  • Sometimes you’ll be surprised when people say yes to what you ask, don’t assume they will say no.

Take the best parts out of everyone (that way you always get the upside!)

  • You don’t need to be best friends with everybody, but take the best out of people. There might be a person who has some negative features to their personality, but try to seek out the good parts of people and don’t focus on the negatives.

  • Engage with their good sides. She liked to believe that everyone has an interesting side to them. Thinking like this allows you to welcome to a broad range of people who bring different things into your life.

  • Exposing yourself to different people opens your mind to different ways of thinking and keeps you learning.

Have a wide group of diverse friends.



  • I always remember Rekha saying that wherever she travelled in the world she would have a local friend. She would be introduced to people through friends of friends. She would follow up, meet new people and invite them home for dinner. She would often get invited to parties and other events. 

  • Mummy put a lot of value into friendships and treated them nearly on the same level as family. You can see that in some of the close relationships she left behind (e.g. Linda, Frances, Rita, Bansuri) who have all kept in touch with her sons over the years.

  • At times she would say that you can choose your friends but you can’t choose your family, so surround yourself with great people.



Don’t skimp on food, always eat well, even if you cut out drinks, make sure you treat yourself to good quality food.



  • Always spend more of your money on eating well and not on drinks! You’ll be amazed how well you can eat if you don’t order drinks!

  • Make sure you get the priorities of this right!



Talk through your issues or problems, don’t bottle them up inside.



  • Mummy was a big believer in being open and being emotionally vulnerable. She would not hide what she was thinking, she wouldn’t hold back.

  • This would sometimes come across as interventionist, she would be direct if she didn’t like something and wanted it changed fast (e.g. when she pointed out that some of my friends were bad influences on me).

  • She liked warm people and people who cared a lot about others, and were able to share emotions openly.



No-one remembers a shy boring person...



  • Mummy would tell me that she was quite shy when she was young and often lacked a voice in a family of six sisters and a spoilt younger brother, but that later on in life she realised that life was too short to be shy and boring! 

  • No-one remembers the shy person in the corner, life is too short to be shy, so don’t hold back and life is always more interesting when you bring the fun. 

  • People tend to remember people who are confident and high energy, rather than low-energy and shy. 

  • She would say this to me a lot in my early teens when I was quite shy (e.g. when I first started St Paul’s) or when I was being overly studious and introverted. 


Together a family is strong, divided a family is weak.



  • In her final days in Kenya, Rekha spoke a lot to me about her desire for all 4 of the Stocker men (the 3 sons and Albert) to be a tight unit. She said that all of us staying close to each other would give us a lot of strength and that if we were not close, the power of a family quickly dissipates. 

  • She said it’s important to see each other spend quality time with each other. Carve out time together, even sometimes just as a group of four. She was a big believer that brothers should be best friends and often talked about how she hoped we would all work together and create a family business.

  • She warned to be wary of anyone who tries to get in the way of brothers being close to each other. She would say that there are people out there who will try to divide close siblings, and that all 4 of us would have to work hard to try and keep a close relationship. 

  • Family was really something that she talked about a lot in the final days, and how she had worked so hard for us to have a tight close family, and she wanted it to stay like that.


Important to be open-minded, and take on feedback.



  • Mummy would find it frustrating when people wouldn’t have an open-minded perspective or take on advice.

  • Important to listen to the advice of people who have been through similar, and not pretend you know it all yourself. 

  • Important to learn off other people as much as you can.

  • She loved travel because she felt it opened her mind. She would rather travel than spend money on other luxuries. She loved seeing new cultures and said that she could blend in anywhere she went to.



Run a tight ship (be organised, be proactive).



  • Mummy would joke that she ran a tight ship at home. Organised, clean, structured. Don’t get sloppy or let lazy habits creep in.

  • She could be quite the disciplinarian if she felt that you were not organised, or that you were avoiding difficult tasks. Better to confront them head on.

  • Nothing comes from nothing. You need kinetic energy to create anything. Have a bias towards action.



My sons are my diamonds! 



  • Rekha used to often proclaim that she didn’t mind not having enough money to buy expensive jewellery or dine in fine restaurants. She didn’t have to buy real diamonds as she already had the best 3 diamonds, which were priceless - her 3 sons! 



Anil Stocker

January 2021

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