Thursday 30 May 2019


     There are rare fortuitous occasions in Life when one upbeat sanguine event trails as a sequel to another. Adm Nadkarni Memorial lecture by NFPC had been majestic, the previous evening. On Monday morning even as I bid farewell to Cdr and Mrs Madan Lal, who set course for Vasai from our Khese Park Home in their i-20, my Lenovo screen flashed ‘RAdm NN Anand’.

       Adm Anand invited us to his Palghar Farmhouse on Wednesday. I glanced at Meena, who gave a Thumbs up. The Adm was glad that Meena and I would be with him, albeit he had desired Cdr Vijay Vadhera’s presence too, who unwillingly but politely had declined due to preoccupation. Meena accomplished the shifting of decorative artefacts expeditiously to enable our return the very next day, slashing down two days from our earlier plan. ‘Flexibility of Operations’, a vital Principle of War is well understood by Naval wives. The next afternoon  we were speeding on the Pune-Mumbai  expressway, with extra josh and wings to our Tata Manza, to arrive Borivali home prior to the Sun kissing the horizon.

     The drive next morning to the Farmhouse was uneventful barring minor traffic congestion prior to the Dahisar-Surat Toll plaza. The diversion from Manor  to Palghar (22 km) encounters two insignificant ghats. The Farmhouse is located 2 km short of Palghar and following Adm’s explicit directions we landed up sans any complication. The fenced Farmhouse is extensive and magnificent, the plots thick with Mango, Cheeku and Coconut trees. Adm’s help Komal was at the gate to receive us with a smile. We drove in near the house and saw the tall, fair, beaming and frolicsome Admiral smilingly waiting for us. I smartly saluted the Adm, as Anuj touched his feet in reverence. He blessed him as we were lead into the House Veranda and Komal fetched tempting and refreshing cold coconut water, that’s Meena’s favourite. Nine pet dogs; proud sentinels of the Farm, who were in prone position got up and drew closer to Anuj and Meena, for being petted. Adorable pets.  We were escorted inside the Bungalow and shown two huge guest rooms with attached bathrooms, a spacious and well-decorated Drawing room. There was an additional room for Komal too. Komal has been Adm’s help for the past 16 yrs and She along with the Farm manager Prakash and the Guard live in harmony just as Adm’s family members. Komal served us Royale breakfast of hot Idli, Wada, Upma, Pancake and assorted cool Rajapuri, Alfonso and Kesar mangoes. This was followed by hot Cuppa coffee in the Verandah as the Admiral spoke to us about the era of Navy that was in its incipient state after independence. His times on board INS Kauvery, Trishul, Himgiri and Vindygiri. The exciting operation Python of ’71 War during which He was ExO Trishul. His tenure in NDA as DepCom. The memories in the footprints of Time are always exhilarating and makes one Proud.

   The Adm explained to us the layout of the plots prior to taking us around in the Farm. We were all provided with a pair of Gumboots each for protection and safety from snakes. We were explained the scientific way of irrigation of trees lined in the plots. The lay of water pipeline with intermediate valves for irrigation maintaining a fixed distance between the plants that ensure optimum growth and yield. There were alternate rows of Coconuts and Mangoes, interspersed with Cheekus in some plots. The marvellous shade provided by the group of trees on the North-West edge of Farm was akin to that by a huge umbrella. We strolled around to our heart's content before retracting to the Farmhouse for lunch. Komal served us stuffed parathas of cauliflower with curd and ladyfingers. The luscious desserts comprised of  Vanilla and Butterscotch Icecreams along with cool mangoes and savoury syrupy cheekus. The afternoon discussions again continued on Naval memories and Anuj’s future ambitious plans and his modus operandi. Prakash packed some fruits for us on Admiral’s directives and placed those in the car dashboard. Komal served us hot Tea in the evening. The Admiral then showed us the terrace top that had drooping mango branches loaded with supple fruit.

        We profusely exhibited our gratitude to the Adm for the Farmhouse eductive experience that’s rare to come by in today's busy metropolis life. Admiral Anand shook our hands warmly as I raised my hand in a perfect Naval Salute. As we set course for Mumbai the words of Robert Frost rang loud in my mind…

The woods are lovely dark n deep,But I have promises to Keep,And miles to go before I sleep,And miles to go before I sleep. ….Jai Hind.(Pics in sequence convey the story of bonhomie of Naval fraternity)    

Tuesday 28 May 2019


         Being a Military Veteran is an experience that’s second to none. A chance confab with a senior veteran who may have impacted our service career years ago conjures up an electric feeling as the palms grasp warmly and glitter reflects in our smiling eyes.  Genuine Bliss is writ large on our faces and the atmospheric caprice turns willfully buoyant. 

       Navy Foundation Pune Chapter affirmed to hold a Memorial lecture to honour late Adm JG Nadkarni, PVSM, AVSM, NM, VSM, ADC our former CNS,  who left for his heavenly abode on 02 Jul 2018. A great initiative by Pune foundation in the wake of Delhi and Mumbai Chapters who have been conducting memorial lectures since long. Cmde PK Malhotra informed Cdr Vijay Vadhera of the function scheduled for 26th May and the later instantly broadcasted the event details to all NFMC members. Cdr Madan Lal and I conceded to be a part of this gathering by driving down in our cars along with our good ladies after the US club Tombola. [Cdr Madan Lal, a young Octogenarian, blessed with colossal energy, considers it a child’s play to drive from Vasai to Colaba(70 km) and back  every  Sunday with his good Lady for the enigmatic  addiction ‘Tombola’.]

     Meena and I were greeted at the Central Park Hotel Lobby by Cmde PK Malhotra and Cdr Mohan Philip, President and Secy of NFPC and directed expeditiously to the Pavilion Banquet hall as the Chief-Guest was expected any moment. As we gingerly slid the Hall door, we witnessed about 100 senior Veterans in Savdhan pose in 7 rows of gift-wrapped white chairs. One could hear a pin drop, as all were awaiting the arrival of the Chief Guest. Even before we settled down in the rear row, Admiral  Arun Prakash our former CNS was escorted in. He was warmly welcomed by the MC, Cmde Ajay Chitnis in his grandiose baritone. After  a short  introductory brief on the maiden  memorial  lecture initiated by the Pune chapter, he invited RAdm RJ Nadkarni, COS SNC and the illustrious Son of  late Adm JG Nadkarni  for his presentation, that took us down memory lane on Admiral Nadkarni’s timeline. Cmde Chitnis then introduced Adm Arun Prakash and invited him to the stage.


       Admiral Arun Prakash, PVSM, AVSM, VRC, VSM, ADC has been India’s 20th Naval Chief and Chairman Chiefs of Staff in end-2006.  An aviator by specialisation, during his 40-year career, he commanded a carrier-borne fighter-squadron, Naval Air Station INS Hansa and four warships; including the aircraft carrier INS Viraat. He has logged over 2500 hours in various aircraft of IN & IAF. He is a Test Pilot and was awarded the Vir Chakra while flying with an IAF fighter squadron in Northern Sector during the ’71 war. He has served two terms as a member of the National Security Advisory Board and was Chairman of the National Maritime Foundation. The Admiral is an international writer of repute and an eloquent speaker on Military matters. Perfectly fit as a Veteran, he recently achieved a rare distinction of Piloting the Tejas LCA, with Cmde Maolankar, a Test Pilot with HAL. 

The Adm has tweeted,  “With 2 of India's best; Naval Tejas & Navy test pilot Cmde Maolankar! Agile LCA matches best gen-4 fighters & is a superb example of skills in design, flt testing & 'Make-in-India'. New Govt Must back LCA 100% & bring focus on a/c & engine design & production. We can match China.” 

    At the outset, the Admiral paid tributes to Adm JG Nadkarni, touching upon his contributions to the Navy in terms of its expansion during the mid-80s. Admiral Arun Prakash then spoke on a Topic that’s close to his Heart and all us Navymen, “India’s Response to Challenge of Traditional and Non-traditional  Maritime Threats”. He initiated the talk touching upon the division of IOR between US Naval Commands and then elaborated the nontraditional maritime security threats such as piracy, maritime terrorism, climate change, illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing, illegal immigration, and smuggling of arms and drugs.  The traditional maritime security issues such as freedom of navigation, security of sea-lanes, maritime boundary and domain security was also analysed  before dwelling on the Chinese designs in the IOR and the Indian Ocean Great Game between the two emerging regional powers.  Admiral Arun Prakash’s speech was intensely engrossing and the Qs-Ans session was as gripping and fascinating as the Admiral’s elocution. One of the Veterans suggested the establishment of a unified entity on matters maritime for synergy of operations in the maritime domain. The Admiral mentioned that there were about 16 ministeries and agencies having stakes in IOR and the issue was complex. He, however, concurred the suggestion and exhorted the forum to raise the issue. Cdr Madan Lal, who was literally taken for a ride by GPS to locate the destination, entered the Hall midway through the lecture. He missed out on paying his tributes to Adm Nadkarni with whom he had served during Godavari’s salvage operation in male.   

       Cmde PK Malhotra delivered the Vote of Thanks and rewarded the Key personnel who had strived to colour the event in magnificent hues. It was then time for Happy Hours, time to mutually interact with each other. All veterans were delighted to engage with their former CNS. I was joyous to meet a few other members of NFMC from Mumbai; Cdr Guddu Sharma, Cmde Rakesh Anand and Cdr Tanwar. All aviators Cmde Ajay Chitnis, Cmde JJ Verma, Cmde PK Malhotra Cdr Guddu Sharma and self got together  for a group Photo session with  our idol Adm Arun Prakash. I was vivacious to meet VAdm JS Bedi with whom I had interacted in 1992 in connection with Flypast for the Passing out Parade when he was CO Mandovi. The Admiral too very warmly shook hands as we backtracked on the footprints of Time. It was a great feeling to meet VAdm DSP Verma, an aeronautical engineer and former DG- ATV with whom I had interacted as CAVO-II in Vizag in the mid-90s.

      The catering delicacies were sumptuous and the desserts luscious. Meena and I shared some great  moments with my coursemate Veteran from Aviation-Met  Capt Sanjiv Kapur and his good lady. We had been Valsurians together at the turn of the millennium. A blessed couple who have groomed both their children for our mighty Forces. Maj Sumit Kapur is posted to CME and their tall charming Daughter, LtCdr Shweta Kapur is presently posted to NDA. Even the spouces of both children are in the Army and Navy respectively. Truly a blessed the family !! How time slipped we couldn’t fathom as we dived deep into our memory lanes. We were the last to depart after conveying our heartfelt gratitude to Cmde PK Malhotra and Cdr Mohan Phillip for the Wownderful Event. We wished the NFPC more glory in the future.  

      Meena and I then escorted Cdr and Mrs MadanLal to our Lohegaon Bungalow for an overnight halt. Next morning we went around the Duplex house, as  Meena got the Breakfast ready. We insisted on them to stay for a few more days, but their grand daughter’s Birthday precluded it. Even as I bid them Goodbye and wished them a safe journey, I marvelled at Cdr Madanlal’s Colossal Josh, energy and stamina as he set course, providing voice instructions to his Car’s GPS…Hail Cdr Madan Lal, an Octogenarian with a difference….Jai Hind.    

Monday 20 May 2019

NFMC’s  Europe Tour 

        Come 02 Aug 2019, each Veteran and Veer Nari of the 46 member NFMC Team  is going to echo Nostradamus’s last words, “ Tomorrow at sunrise, I shall not be here.”, even as they head for Rome via Dubai on their Emirates flights past midnight 02/03 Aug from  Mum/Del/Hyd . The morning sun of 03 Aug shall beam on their aircraft as they lift off from Dubai early morning to arrive Rome, half past one local noon time.

     This 10 day tri-nation tour to Europe was conceived even before the success of the 40 member NFMC Trination tour of Singapore-Malaysia and Thailand.  To have a peep into that phenomenal tour of last year, please click the link below.

    So while the Tri-nation return team was still basking in the glory of the tour, the mind of Cdr Vijay Vadhera Secy NFMC and the Tour Leader was racing to plan next years tour to Europe. He contacted Veer Vikram Singh, the proprietor of Travel Edge Tours and Travels to work out a similar tour to 3 European nations. By early Feb Veer put forward the prelim plans for Italy, Switzerland and France. The tour became oversubscribed in no time and the group of 46 have already paid up the tour expenses of 2L per head to the operators. The Euro Rail trip Zurich-Paris and the Cable car ride over mount Titlis shall be about 200 Euros extra.

    The bonhomie among the team members of this exclusive, What's App group is praiseworthy. The members have already created their Birthday/ Anniv list and commenced wishing each other on their auspicious Days.


DAY-1  The team shall arrive in Rome on the afternoon of 03 Aug and settle down in Hotel ‘Holiday Inn Rome Pisna’. Day 1 is for Relax and Recuperation with Indian Dinner at a Local Restaurant.

 DAY-2 (04Aug) Next morning after a Sumptuous Breakfast the team proceeds for the Vatican City Tour, a visit to Sistine Chapel Museum and St Peter’s Basilica during the forenoon hours. The afternoon is dedicated to Rome attractions Viz, Colosseum, Circa Massimo, Pantheon and the Roman Forum, Spanish Steps and other tourist attractions. The Lunch / Dinner have been opted for a Mixed Cuisine by the entire team. 


DAY-3 (05Aug) After Breakfast the team checks out from Hotel and proceeds to Pisa (365 km) by Bus for a walking Tour of Piazza Die Miracoli, Piazza Die Cavalieri, the Leaning Tower and some monuments around. After the Pisa visit the team relishes Lunch in a local Restaurant and proceeds by Bus to Florence(90 km) and checks into Hotel ‘Garden Inn Florence Novoli’.


DAY-4 (06Aug) After a grand breakfast, the team checks out and proceeds to Florence City, hailed as the world’s cultural capital and the Birthplace of the Renaissance movement. Here they shall be treated to its most alluring attractions: Florence Cathedral, Bargello, Complesso di San Firenze, Piazza DellaSignoria, Palazzo Vecchio, Ponte Vecchio Bridge, Palazzo Pitti, Giardino di Boboli, Piazzale Michelangelo and much more. Post Lunch it shall be a 270 km drive to Venice, the floating ‘City of Love’ (remindful of the Italian song, ‘Amore Mio…’), where the team shall check into Hotel Crown Plaza Padova.


DAY-5 (07Aug) : Largely regarded as one of the most romantic places ever built by man, the city of Venice is spread across 118 islands collectively earning it the nicknames of the City of Water and the City of Bridges. Other than the bridges, though, the city abounds in museums, basilicas and other historic sights. For a chance to visit some of these and learn more about Venice. Doge's Palace, Campanile of San Marco, Piazza San Marco, San Marco Clock Tower, Basilica Patriarcale Di S. Marco, Fonda codei Tedeschi, Chiesa Cattolica Parrocchiale S. Salvador, Rialto Bridge, Basilica di Santa Maria GloriosadeiFrari, Campo Santa Margherita and much more. (Don't miss the Venetian Delight song 'Amore Mio' below)

DAY-6 (08Aug) : A long Bus drive from Venice to the largest Swiss City Zurich (540 km, drive time 6:30 hrs) via Lake Como. The team shall arrive Zurich in the evening and check into Hotel Swissotel Zurich.


DAY-7 (09Aug) : After Breakfast the team proceeds to Mt Titlis by Bus (90km) for an Excursion over the Panoramic Uri Alps by Cable car, located on the border between the cantons of Obwalden and Bern. At 3,238 metres above sea level, it is the highest summit of the range north of the Susten Pass, between the Bernese Oberland and Central Switzerland. 

   After the most scenic delight of Titlis,  the team shall drive to Lucerne for a City tour. Lucerne Railway Station- The Lucerne Railway Station is the main hub of Switzerland's rail network. Chapel Bridge -The Chapel Bridge is a covered wooden footbridge spanning diagonally across the Reuss River in the city of Lucerne. Jesuit Church (Jesuitenkirche) - This beautiful church is considered to be the first large baroque style church of Switzerland. 

DAY-8 (10Aug) : (Zurich-Jungfrau-Interlaken-Zurich) After a sumptuous Buffet Breakfast the team proceeds to Jungfrau  by Train from Grindelwald Grund- 87 km approx. Drive Time 1. Hrs. Post Lunch proceed to Interlaken visit Roman Catholic Church, Garden of Friendship, Höheweg, Casino Kursaal, Covered Bridge, Stadthausplatz and return to Swissotel Hotel Zurich after a local Dinner. 


DAY-9 (11Aug) : An early Breakfast shall be the need of the hour, to board the TGL Euro Rail at 0934 hrs from Zurich to Paris, Arr 1337 hrs. Have Lunch enroute to Hotel Suites Paris Velizy. The treat for the evening lined up are Seine River Cruise and  Leisure Time at Eiffel Tower (3rd Level ) both before and after Sunset. 

DAY-10 (12Aug) : A city tour of Paris is lined up for Day 10 after a relishing Buffet Breakfast at the Velizy Hotel. A visit to Louvre Museum, Notre Dame Cathedral, Sainte-Chapelle, Conciergerie, Luxembourg Gardens, Pantheon, Montmartre, Sacred-Heart Basilica, Tuileries Gardens, Louvre from outside, Concorde Square, Champs Elysées, Arch of Triumph are all on the cards. The city tour shall continue after Lunch at a Local Restaurant. Overnight at Hotel Suites Paris Velizy. (The song 'An evening in Paris' from the movie by identical name is posted below)

DAY-11 (13Aug) : Last day of the enriching Trination tour. After a delicious Buffet Breakfast, the team proceeds to Excursion tour of Versailles, followed by an exquisite Lunch at a Local Restaurant prior to Airport transfer for the Emirates Flights at 1800 hrs, back to the respective places of Departures, ie MUM/DEL/HYD via Dubai. Of course, the eyes are bound to moisten after Pappiyan-Jappiyan.

DAY-12 (14Aug) : All flights from Paris arrive at destinations via Dubai as follows.

Arrival Mumbai – 1410 hrs,Arrival Delhi – 1445 hrsArrival Hyd – 2015 hrs.


At Venice a ride on a Gondola is irresistible... Let's sail on one of those from the movie 'The Great Gambler'  singing..."Amore Mio" an Italian Love song.

The Tour culminates in Paris...Reminded of our childhood song by Shammi Kapoor singing from the movie by same name, 'An Evening in Paris' .... Do Enjoy.

About the Author

Commander Rajinder Dutta (Retd) has been a Naval Pilot and a Qualified Flying Instructor with about 3000 hrs of flying on various fixed wing Aircraft of Indian Navy, viz HT-2, HPT-32, Kirans, Islander, Super Connie, Fokker F-27 and IL-38.

 He is a Master of Ceremonies and a blogger.

Friday 17 May 2019


  An evening with a gladiatorial Octogenarian veteran is bound to be lofty and cheerfully charged. Cdr Vijay Vadhera, Secy Navy foundation Mumbai Chapter conferred on me the honour to present two mementoes to RAdm NN Anand, AVSM, NM residing at Matunga; One on behalf of the Chief of the Naval Staff and the other on behalf of the President NFMC. The appointment concurred for Friday evening.

       Meena and I were greeted by a tall, fair, beaming and frolicsome Admiral, as we ascended the spic wooden stairway to his first floor Palatial abode. The corridor either side was exquisitely adorned with Naval memorabilia of mid last century. The spacious drawing room was akin to a grandiose royal suite. No sooner we comforted in the grand sofas, the Maid entered with ‘Nariyan Paani’, the sweetest ever that we had ever tasted. Meena didn’t hesitate to ask for more. The Admiral rang up for Dosas from his ground floor ‘Mani Lunch Home’. The distinctive Dosas’ aroma became even more delectable as the Admiral recounted his times in the incipient Indian Navy, from 1952 when he joined the 8th NDA course as a cadet from New Delhi, his specialisation in Communications, his three Ship’s commands including Himgiri and Vindhyagiri, Operation  Python of 1971 War, the formidability of the lone ranger - the Submarine and his tenure in the NDA in the mid 80s as DepCom. The Adm consolidated reforms of NDA improving on the services training teams and making good the full complement of Sailboats for Navy and Gliders for the Air Force. He mentioned of the two categories of the cadets, the ‘Sophisticated Urban’ and the ‘Rustic Rural’ who are poles apart in the first term, transform into one flock by 4th term. I have interacted with a few of his cadets and they have fond memories of the Admiral and remember him dearly.

         The Admiral recounted his times with his family too. Mrs Anand, a Gynaecologist by profession had left for her heavenly abode 6 yrs ago. Both his Sons Amit and Bharat have settled in Boston and happily married. The elder one is a Doctor and younger a Vice Dean of Harvard Univ. Next week Adm Anand shall proceed for his Annual visit to US of A, to be with them for 3 weeks.

         It was then my privilege to present the Mementos to the Admiral as Meena clicked the Pics. The one from the CNS is a Plaque while the NFMC has designed an elegant Sailboat with a Clock, reminding us of the glorious moments spent in our fine Indian Navy.

       The Admiral spends his weekends at his Palghar Farm House and has particularly invited us there, on his return from the USA. He escorted us down to our car to see us off. It was my privilege again to present a copy of Quarter Deck-2019 to him, before setting course to our Borivali Home after bidding the Adm Good Bye. An Evening to remember and cherish. Looking forward to a visit to Adm’s Palghar Farm-house.