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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HAPPY ANNIVERSARY VINOD AND SAVITA MOHINDRA

(Vinod Mohindra is a profilic poet in Hindi and a friend. On their wedding anniversary, I too tried my hand at some Hindi poetry to wish them.) कोई आप जैसा नहीं लिख सकता, विनोद जी, लेकिन आज आप जैसे शब्दों में आप ही का अभिनन्दन है: विनोद तो विनोद* हैं, और सविता हैं सविता#, उन्ही के उजाले में विनोद जी की बनती है हर कविता। बधाई हो आप दोनों को, […]

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CHICKEN! CHICKEN!

“Chicken! Chicken🐔!” At the height of one-upmanship between the Americans and the Soviets, they would send uninvited observers for each other’s naval exercises. These would be in the form of ships, submarines or aircraft. The submarines were the most dangerous. They would surface in the midst of a rival ships formation, making the formation to suddenly alter course to avoid collision. Observing this, the submarine would signal: “Chicken! Chicken!” on […]

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THE UNFORGETTABLE RONNIE PEREIRA

I have not written a full-length essay on Indian Navy’s most revered officer: Admiral Ronald Lyndsale Pereira, Chief of the Naval Staff from 01 March 1979 to 28 Feb 1982. My training period included, I have had an acquaintance with him for less than nine years of his active service and thereafter even more occasionally until 14 Oct 1993 when he died at the age of 70. I have repeated […]

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MARRIED TO THE MOB!

Ladies and gents, guys and gals, Did any of you see this rip-roaring American comedy starring Michelle Pfeiffer and Matthew Modine? Michelle Pfeiffer did the role of her lifetime as Angela de Marco, wife of gangster Frank “The Cucumber” de Marco. Matthew Modine acted as Agent Michael “Mike” Downey, the undercover FBI agent assigned the task of investigating her mafia connections. So, you have understood the name but must be […]

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THEY ALSO SERVE WHO ARE IN NAVAL HEADQUARTERS! – PART V – THE URGENCY OF DOING THINGS AND THE NHQ WAY!

The latter, that is, the NHQ way, there is never any panic, never an urgency; you deliberate everything and then either decide or not decide, mostly the latter. I was in the Directorate of Tactics and I couldn’t imagine our forces having reached off Karachi and frantically ringing us up and requesting us to quickly send the next set of tactics! Compare this with the scenario when you are on […]

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THEY ALSO SERVE WHO ARE IN NAVAL HEADQUARTERS! – PART IV – FOR THE LOVE OF NATIONAL LANGUAGE HINDI

People from the South India may not agree and there is a court ruling to the effect that they (the South Indians, that is) are right but most of us regarded Hindi as the national language of India. On the lighter side, after their success in Jallikattu episode, no one locks horns with them. The reason for our (mistaken) belief was that my tenure in Naval Headquarters coincided with a […]

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THEY ALSO SERVE WHO ARE IN NAVAL HEADQUARTERS! – PART III – A – BLOCK HUTMENTS

To the best of my knowledge Henry Wadsworth Longfellow never visited A-Block Hutments, Dalhousie Road, New Delhi. For, if he had, he would have surely revised his famous lines: “Dust thou are and to dust returnest, Was not spoken of the soul.” Those who served in A-Block Hutments had even their souls drenched in dust. And to think that we in the Navy wore white uniforms in summers and black […]

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THEY ALSO SERVE WHO ARE IN NAVAL HEADQUARTERS! – PART II – A GREAT LEVELLER

If you have read my ‘They Also Serve Who Are In Naval Headquarters’, you would remember how I clarified that even though you are in the Navy, you can’t be at sea all the time. You have to serve ashore too. And whilst ashore, you are either posted at headquarters or have to deal with one. No one likes to serve in Naval Headquarters, but sometimes you have no choice. […]

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

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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THE BEST SONGS OF RAJENDRA KRISHAN, THE RICHEST LYRICIST – PART IV

This is the final part of four parts of the Best Songs of Rajinder Krishan. In Part I of ‘The Best Songs Of Rajendra Krishan, The Richest Lyricist’ I gave you 25 songs. After the initial introductory songs, I gave you songs chronologically from the year 1951  to 1955, from Badi Bahen to Azaad. On the 2nd of Sep 16, since it was the first birth anniversary of Sadhana after […]

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