Wednesday, 31 July 2019

Sailing Through Life – On a Happy Journey’  

The key to realizing a dream is to focus not on success but significance, and then even the small steps and little victories along your path will take on greater meaning.– Oprah Winfrey 

        Every Veteran’s Life is an Epic to be narrated to the younger generation. Radm GC Thadani has come forward to reveal the inspiring story of his Life with a flashback in Time from his incipient childhood in Sindh where he grew up,  to have risen to the tall stature of an Admiral of the Indian Navy in the mid-80s in our Independent  India.  

                 Indeed it was an honour and privilege for  Meena and I to have been invited by the Admiral for the launch of wonderful memoirs of his life in the form of an illustrated hardbound book ‘Sailing Through Life – On a Happy Journey’. The book was released in ‘CK Naidu’ Hall of the CCI club at Nariman Point at 1700 hrs on Tuesday 30 Jul 19, three days prior to the Admiral's 89th Birthday. Adm Vijai Shekhawat, our former CNS with his good lady Mrs Binu Shekhawat graced the occasion as the Chief Guest, while the Guest of honour was VAdm S Naithani, our present DGNP. Senior  veteran officers  VAdm IC Rao, VAdm  Bharat Bhushan, VAdm SKK Krishnan,  RAdm DN Thukral (with their good ladies), Cdr Vijay Vadhera Secy NFMC and Veer Nari Mrs Kanta Mukherjee graced the book launch event.   A few other Senior Naval officers and Veterans were also invited.  Adm Thadani's close relatives had flown down from the US of A for the auspicious occasion.  

          The programme commenced  with the felicitations of Adm VS Shekhawat and VAdm S Naithani on stage by the Author  RAdm GC Thadani. The Master of Ceremony, Dimple his beautiful daughter spoke about her dynamic, brilliant, noble and inspiring Dad. Adm Thadani spoke about his Life’s memoirs and acknowledged the contribution of various inspiring persons in his Life and in the making of the Book. VAdm Bharat Bhushan, VAdm IC Rao, Adm VS Shekhawat and VAdm S Naithani spoke about their Naval association with RAdm Thadani.

       Adm Thadani very cheerfully inscribed unique uplifting remarks and initialled each and every book for his guests even as we met and greeted all the senior veterans and their charming ladies. It was a grand event that inspired many of us to write a book. Contribution of the Editor Chaya Srivatsa is noteworthy for having brought out a super quality illustràtive book of the Adm's Life. Kudos to her.


         Adm Thadani was born on 03 Aug 1930 in Hyderabad, Sindh (now Pakistan) in a highly respected Sindhi business community. After his primary education in Hyderabad, the family shifted to New Delhi in 1940. The memoirs cover his life in Delhi in the early 40s and he describes vividly the aftermath of Partition in 1947, the largest ever migration of refugees, the Hindu-Muslim riots & massacres that history had witnessed. The Adm accomplished his High School from St Columba’s School and moved on to St Stephen’s College prior to joining BHU for engineering. His destiny directed him to join the Indian Navy in 1949. For the Cadets training, he was sent to Dartmouth College, HMS Devonshire, UK. After his midshipman’s tenure onboard HMS Triumph he joined Manadon, Plymouth for Marine Engineering. Having successfully completed his Engineering specialisation in 1956, he was posted to 4 Coastal Minesweepers as a Technical Officer. 

        During his Naval career, Adm Thadani served in the ships of both Eastern and Western Commands, Naval Headquarters and 3 tenures in Naval Dockyards. His last Sea appointment was  E.O. INS Amba. During the 1971 War, the Adm was Command Engineering Officer, ENC and was awarded VSM for his contribution during the War.  The Adm was a member of  Dockyard Maintenance Team that was deputed to Russia in 1966 to acquire the Repair and Maintenance Technology for Submarines and Petya class Ships that were being inducted. He was a Pioneer in the transfer of Technology and technical implementation of our Navy’s programme of new acquisition of Ships and Submarines.  Adm Thadani had a long stint in Russia and Poland as the Dy Naval Attache.  His last appointment was Director General Naval Projects  Mumbai. Post-retirement  in Aug 1987, the Admiral was appointed Captain Commandant of the Engineering branch.       

         Admiral  Thadani’s memoirs depict our way of life in the Navy during the mid-’50s, an Era when Navy was shaping up and hard-work together with responsibilities were ingrained into officers at a comparatively younger age. The book also captures the Adm’s Life from a holistic perspective, sharing intimate accounts of family relationships and the social bonhomie of our fine Indian Navy of yesteryears.  


      We were among the last few to depart. I warmly shook hands with Adm Thadani congratulating him for bringing out a high-quality Autobiography and profusely thanked him for having invited us for this Grand Occasion. Even as I set course for our Borivali home these words pepped up my morale to write a book, "A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.". , I immediately took that single first step. I have chosen the Title, "Pebbles on the Beach",  following the lead from RAdm Thadani, Cmde MV Suresh (S/M), Capt Mohan Ram (NC), Cdr Sareshth Kumar (P) who have already stepped into the literary world with multiple books..... Jai Hind.






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.



  1. As usual, excellent Blog. You have the magical third eye to see through the hidden treasure.
    Dr Kanta Mukherjee

    1. Thanks for the Gracious remark Ma'am....Naman.

  2. Your description is both vivid n engrossing... Thanks.