FAUJI TRANSFERS – THE BENEFITS OF ELABORATE PACKING!

It was to be our first transfer out of Bombay after marriage and that too to Naval Headquarters in New Delhi. We had nightmares of packing and unpacking even though we hadn’t got much (Please also read: ‘Giving Away Memories’). With the kind of ‘packing-sense’ that comes to ‘faujis‘ almost naturally, I told my wife only to look after our sons, three-year old and six months old and that I […]

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WE DID IT, LYN!

I felt it in my guts when you first came in my life, That you are the one for me in peace and in strife, It started with love, we can never forget that, But, we both knew, for sure, you’d be my wife. And when we wedded, it was the best hour, Even gods, I know, sprinkled many a flower, As we stood before the deity in the temple […]

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INTOXICATION OF A DIFFERENT KIND!

This anecdote has been reminded by my former Engineer Officer of INS Vipul: Syed Shahid Raza. This was his comment on my post ‘Viraat Ship’s Commander Overboard!’: “Lovely Sir. Proud to have served under you on-board Vipul. The ward room of Vipul had also similar sentiments everyday. All officers only used to think about next day 10 Km early morning jog with you always beating all of us. Also remembered […]

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“Babumoshai, Zindagi Aur Maut Uparwale Ke Hath Hai Jahanpanah”

Recently, a number of friends and collegues have left us…… जाने कब सांस रुक जाए, गर्म खून हो जाए सर्द? यह जो महल हमने बनाये हैं, कब हो जाएँ गर्द? जाने कब फरमान आ जाए मौत के शेहन-शाह का? कौन जाने कहाँ है मुकाम ज़िन्दगी की राह का? तिनका तिनका बटोर कर बनाया है जो आशियां, हमसफ़र ओ रहबरों का बढ़ता हुआ ये कारवां, कठपुतलियां हैं सब, जाने किस को […]

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VIRAAT SHIP’S COMMANDER OVERBOARD!

Part I – Sea Harriers My wife and I went for the decommissioning functions of Indian Naval Ship Viraat on 5th and 6th of March 2017. We clicked more pictures in these two days than during my entire tenure as the Ship’s Commander in 1994-95. Our pictures were still better and more relevant than, for example, Times of India publication Mirror that showed the jetty with three Delhi class destroyers […]

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INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY – REMEMBERING DEVIKA RANI AND SAHIR LUDHIANVI

International Women’s Day (IWD) It started in early twentieth century. The industrial era had brought with it problems of aspiring needs of milling populations. Amongst these, the one problem that came to fore was oppression of women and gender inequality. For the first time in the year 1908, 15000 women marched through the streets of New York demanding equality with their male counterparts. This led to National Women’s Day being […]

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NAVY, THE SILENT SERVICE THAT VERY FEW UNDERSTAND

Now that we are less than two days away from decommissioning Indian Naval Ship Viraat, the world’s oldest warship in active service, perhaps it is time that we take in how huge are things at sea in comparison to what we are used to ashore. I remember when I was undergoing the Army Higher Command Course in 1996-97 and it was being discussed how two-third of India’s energy imports are […]

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CARROTS! CARROTS! CARROTS!

I have a Facebook Group on Humour in the Indian armed forces titled ‘Humour In And Out Of Uniform’ (the acronym HIAOOU has become a popular greeting between the members of the group close to 25000). The group encourages original anecdotes concerning humour. Even after more than three years of its inception, the group gets, on an average four to five original posts everyday. Sometimes, of course, I get more […]

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THE BEST SONGS OF SAHIR LUDHIANVI – THE ‘MAGICIAN’ LYRICIST AND POET – PART III

In ‘The Best Songs Of Sahir Ludhianvi – Part I’, I gave you two dozen songs. Initially, I started with a favourite of mine: Aurat ne janam diya mardon ko, mardon ne use bazaar diya, from the 1958 BR Chopra movie Sadhana. I soon settled with giving you his songs chronologically from Thandi hawayen, lehrake aayen (from 1951 movie Naujawaan) to Ab woh karam karen yaa sitam main nashen main […]

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CUSTOM CLEARANCE – “AROUND THE WORLD IN EIGHT DOLLARS”!

‘Around The World’ was a 1967 is a Bollywood romantic comedy that starred Raj Kapoor and Rajshree. It was the first 70 mm movie in India and took the audience on a tour around the world together with Raj Kapoor. The song ‘Around the world in eight dollars’ referred to the number of dollars, or an equivalent foreign currency, that an Indian was allowed, by GoI rules, to obtain by […]

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WHAT’S IN A NAME?

Like Keats’ quote about Beauty being his most famous quote, similarly, the most famous quote of William Shakespeare, the 16th century poet and playwright (the greatest in English literature) is: “What’s in a name? that which we call a rose By any other name would smell as sweet.” It was in his most famous play: Romeo and Juliet. Neither Keats nor Shakespeare served in the armed forces. If they had, […]

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A SHIP NAMED AFTER INDIA’S HOLIEST RIVER

This was published in the Navy Foundation Magazine ‘Quarterdeck’ 2014. Bimal Roy’s 1961 movie ‘Kabuliwala’ had its story adapted from a story by the same name by Nobel Laureate Rabindra Nath Tagore. The movie was directed by Hemen Gupta who had been private secretary to Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose. The movie had a famous number sung by Hemant Kumar: Ganga aaye kahan se, Ganga jaaye kahan re. Families of the […]

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CHEST PAIN!

When I was a Lieutenant (another common-sounding rank with the Army and hence eligible to be called ‘Lieutenant (I.N.)’ by them (Please read ‘Captain (I.N.), Is It A Rank?’), I once reported with Chest Pain after playing a game of squash racquets. I was in an establishment called INS Agrani (Navy’s Leadership School for Petty Officers), in Coimbatore. I reported to the No. 6 Air Force Hospital there (as I […]

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REMEMBERING MY TENURES IN MWCs AND CNW

This was published in the Navy Foundation Magazine ‘Quarterdeck’, 2015 issue: I have had the rare distinction, in the Indian Navy, of having been the Director of all three Maritime Warfare Centres (MWCs) and the College of Naval Warfare (CNW; now NWC or Naval War College). To the best of my knowledge, the Navy hasn’t had another officer who was given all these appointments together. If I count the time […]

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ADIEU PATRICK DESYLVA – MY DOCTOR, FRIEND AND AN ANGEL

Even though I am married to a Catholic, I never considered 13 to be an unlucky number. From now onwards, I have reason to hold it as an unfortunate day. For it is on this day in this month (February) that I lost my doctor, friend and God’s own angel on earth: Patrick DeSylva. He was (it is difficult to think of him in the past tense) special – very […]

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