Thursday, 31 October 2019

THE  YOUNGEST  OCTOGENARIAN  
CDR VK RAIZADA, NM(G)

        Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young. The greatest thing in life is to keep your mind young. --- Henry Ford


        Those who improve with age embrace the power of personal growth and personal achievement and begin to replace youth with wisdom, innocence with understanding, and lack of purpose with self-actualization. --- Bo Bennett






           I firmly believe that the life of every Veteran is an Epic to be revealed to the World. The moment becomes even more momentous when the Veteran reaches the 80 Milestone to become youngest again, the Youngest Octogenarian. Meena and I were fortunate to share these moments with our very own Youngest Octogenarian, Commander Vishnu Kumar Raizada on 30 Oct 2019 at his Hill Road residence in Bandra West.

         On Cdr Vijay Vadhera’s suggestion to present a memento to Cdr VK Raizada on his 80th Birthday, I had been trying to call him up previous evening sans any response, so I requested his contact details on the NFMC Broadcast group. Next morning I received the same mob no from a number of well-wishers. When I again rang-up on 30th  morning, Cdr Raizada was on his way back from Dharamshala, where he had gone along with his Son Vikram and DIL Nisha for a week’s vacation. The mountainous region had no connectivity. He invited us in the evening at his Bandra home.    

     The ‘Coral Reef’ multistoried building on Hill Road end is  ‘Sohail Khan Productionz’ House, the second floor of which has been Cdr Raizada’s home for the past 20 years. As I wheeled into the compound at 8.30 pm, the sentry marshalled us to a parking slot and guided us to Cdr Raizada’s flat. He has been the building Secy ever since he bought the flat. The Khan brother made their production office much later. We were greeted by smiling Swapan, Cdr Raizada’s Chef who requested us to make ourselves comfortable as the Birthday Boy was getting ready, having just returned from Himachal. Just as Cdr Vadhera made a Video call, Cdr Raizada entered the Drawing room. As greetings were being exchanged in Video conference, Meena clicked on her DSLR camera (Pics below).

        As we settled down, Cdr Raizada instructed Swapan for drinks. Meena and I asked for fresh lime, while Raizada Sir ordered for a glass of Brandy. Offering us a dish of Diwali mithai, his first smiling query was if we were Punjabi Dutta. His smile broadened on an affirmation and he said, “Then we are Mohyal Brahmin brothers, as my surname is Vaid” That brought a cheer amongst us too and the ambience turned buoyant since all Mohyals (the clan of Kshatriya Brahmins) are the descendants of Saptrishis and closely related. The seven Titles that are representative of the Saptrishis are Dutt, Bali, Vaid, Mohan, Chhiber,  Bhimval & Lau.  

         Cdr Raizada took us down memory lane of his Life starting from Jammu. Little Vishnu was born on 30 Oct 1939 in Jammu to a Mohyal Vaid family of Jammu High Court Lawyer  Raizada Amar Chand Vaid who rose to the coveted designation of Addln Advocate Gen J&K. He was the youngest of the four brothers. Two of them are engineers from PEC Chandigarh(1&3). They have lost No2 brother who was a Maj in the Army. The N03 brother and their Sister have settled in the USA. Young Vishnu joined 15th NDA course and passed out in Dec 1958. After 6 months of sea time on Tir he went for Engineering degree trg in INS Shivaji for 3 yrs followed by 1 yrs trg of Electrical Engineering in Valsura. Thereafter he had been LO onboard Darshak, Kuthar, Kamorta and Trishul. While in Vizag as part of standby crew during construction of Darshak,  Lt Vishnu met beautiful Shukla Raut in an evening party and they fell in love. The father of the girl (CMD of HSL, Mr HC Raut) was sternly against the alliance and complained to COMEAST. Despite all hurdles, Love won, and the reluctant father consented and the couple tied the knot on 03 Aug 1965. They were blessed with a baby boy on 08 May 1966 whom they named Vikram. Vikram studied from the prestigious Campion School, Bombay prior to flying off to Australia for his graduation in management. On return, he accomplished his MBA from IAM Indore and has been a renowned Director of MTV and Tara Jewels. He had tied the knot with Nisha Khetan, an investment banker in a destination Wedding in Goa about 9 yrs ago. Presently is giving marketing consultation to a number of major companies in various fields. Cdr VK Raizada was part of Operation X (1971 War) along with Capt MN Samant, MVC and Cdr Vijai Kapil, VrC. He was the Chief Sqn Tech Officer for C2H (Elec) and ensured the fitment of Guns and Nav equipment onboard the 4 attack Gunboats involved in Operation X. He mentioned about the hazardous Delta of Khulna through which they negotiated. He was on Palash, one of the Boats that came under heavy firing and destruction by own Gnats (a case of mistaken identity). They had to abandon the boat, remain in the centre of the channel to avoid bullets from both shores, till rescued by Capt Samant’s Gunboat. Operation X was a great success and later Cdr VK Raizada was awarded Nausena Medal (Gallantry) along with a Wound Medal for the operation. His contribution to the War effort finds explicit  mention in Operation X (A book by late Capt MN Samant and Sandeep Unnithan)

           After the War Cdr Raizada was instrumental in the fitment of P-15 Missile launchers onboard Talwar and Trishul followed by other ships from 1972-76. In 1985 he was sent on deputation to ONGC, Mumbai as Jt Dir. He undertook Pioneering work of setting up ONGC facilities in Nhava. From 1990-95 he was transferred to ONGC in Assam followed by a year in Dehradun from where he superannuated (58 yrs) in Oct 1997. From 1999 to 2016 Cdr Raizada joined JM Baxi and later joined Arya Offshore, that’s part of JM Baxi. He was working in All Cargo from 2016 to 2018. It was extremely unfortunate that Mrs Shukla Raizada breathed her last in Cdr Raizada's arms about 6 yrs ago due to Cardiac arrest. She was 67. We extend our homage to the humble Soul. 

      I asked Cdr Raizada for the Secret of his energy, enthusiasm and longevity, to which he mentioned, “Its simple. The first thing that I do after getting up is drinking a Litre of water (4 glasses) with slices of lime. This can be done before you even brush your teeth as the saliva contains healthy antibodies for your stomach. After half an hour I drink Black Tea sans any milk or sugar. This is followed by half an hour of brisk walk which carries me through the day. Besides I go for Golf every Sunday to US Club.” Having absorbed this Mool mantra, I requested for Cdr Raizada’s leave.

     Cdr Raizada came down to see us off with a promise for a Dinner visit soon.  Before we steered out to set course for our Borivali Home, we once again congratulated him on his most auspicious day, on behalf of all Veterans of NFMC. 

We wish Cdr Raizada many many more glorious years ahead.

Shano Varuna ….Jai Hind.









Cdr MadanLal extr Left, Cdr VK Raizada Centre, Capt Mohan Ram 4th 
















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 Hon Secy of NFMC, a Master of Ceremonies and an avid blogger. 







Monday, 28 October 2019


A  SPIRITED  OCTOGENARIAN

CDR  MADAN LAL SEHMBI


Lets never know what old age is;  Lets know the happiness time brings, not count the years.  Ausonius


The secret of genius is to carry the spirit of the child into old age, which means never losing your enthusiasmAldous Huxley


            Both these wonderful quotes define Commander Madan Lal Sehmbi (85029-N) (NFMC L- 106), whom I  first met with his good lady Mrs Bakshish Kaur 9 yrs ago during the US Club Tombola. What impressed me most was his colossal amount of energy that he is blessed with. Even at 86 yrs today he could beat any young man in enthusiasm ….He drives all the way from  Vasai to Colaba and back (140 km), every Sunday to spend his day there, traversing the entire length of Mumbai central corridor via Thane single-handedly along with his Life companion… I have been meeting him every Sunday at US club for the past 9 years. He is perfectly fit as a fiddle and has been honoured with the Octogenarian Plaque of honour and memento from NHQ and NFMC.



         Cdr & Mrs Madan Lal have been blessed with daughter Meena and son Surinder, (Daughter-in-law Vinni). While the former is a British citizen, his Son’s family is settled in Vasai…Cdr and Mrs Madan Lal are staying in the same building a floor above his Son. One Sunday morning, 3 yrs ago when I met him at US club Tombola, he appeared so happily blushing and at a loss for words for his happiness…Why not… That morning he had received a call from England that His Daughter Meena had become a Grandmother as his grand-daughter Sharan Matharu had been blessed with a cute daughter, later named Ania. That made him and his good lady blessed Great-grandparents…An honour blessed to very few fortunate ones. WOW  !  he deserved to relish the golden ladder to heaven as they say.. …And he said laughing, “Mera janaza toh band baje ke saath jayega”.  Sir, that’s not anywhere near the horizon, God bless your youthfulness, Sir … To celebrate the occasion the couple had brought delectable sweets for all friends at the US club.

          Commander Madan Lal is known for his instant witty Shero-Shayari and has written volumes, which have been published in Hindi and Urdu dailies…He has also been contributing to the Facebook group YKDN (Yaad Kiya Dil Ne) founded by Cmde Ravinder PS Ravi, an active NFMC member,

      Little Madan was born on 29th Jun 1933 in vill Bagwain, Garhshankar Punjab. They were a large family of 3 brothers and 4 sisters. His father worked in MES. After his initial schooling in Punjab, the family shifted to Quetta where Madan did middle school. A day before partition they migrated back to Garhshankar, but unfortunately, his dear Mother passed away within 20 days after witnessing the horror at Attari on 14th Aug 47. Young Madan joined the Indian Navy in 1951 as a Boy of 18, when our fine Indian Navy was in the incipient state post-independence. He served onboard IN ships Sutlej, Gomti, Investigator, Ganga, Cannanore and Vikrant (3 times). He got commissioned in 1963 and was commended by CNS for expeditious overhauling of INS Talwar’s Turbo Alternators prior to its sailing for Russia to escort our First Submarine. In 1972 he was deputed to the Royal Malaysian Navy and during his 3 yrs tenure there he was commended by CNS of RMN for his professionalism in overhauling a number of GTs and upkeep of their speed boats. On his return, he was instrumental in the salvage operation of INS Godavari, when it got grounded on the shores of Male in mid-Seventies for which he was bestowed with the honour of Nau Sena Medal (Gallantry)…

         During his  MDL tenure, he pioneered the setting up of Nhava Yard for the manufacture of Off-Shore drilling platforms in 1981-83 prior to hanging his boots. For his professionalism contribution to Service Cdr Madan Lal was awarded Vishishth Seva Medal, besides NM (Gallantry) and Commendations by the Chiefs of the Indian Navy and Malaysian Navy. An honour unmatched.

        Cdr Madan Lal gets up every morning at 0400 hrs to indulge in his poetry passion. His today’s jottings for you,

FOR SATURDAY = 29 JUNE 2019
-------------------------------------------------
khush to hoon main - is baat se buhat 
ek saal aur badh - raha hai meri ummar mein 
--
magar bhool kaise jaaoon main bhi is baat ko 
ek saal aur kam ho raha - meri baaqi ummar mein 
---
waise to buhat khush hoon - main apni is zindagi se 
har ek cheez buhat achhi milli - hai mujhe is ummar mein 
----
khatam to hoti nahi kabhi bhi - ichhaayein insaan ki 
magar mujhe to buhat kuchh - milla hai is ummar mein 
-----
sajade to main karta nahi - bhagwaan ke raat din 
magar shukkar bajaa aata hoon - mauqe par is ummar mein 
------
buhat badda to nahi - magar chhotaa bhi nahi pariwaar mera 
buhat khiyaal rakhata hai jo mera - is ummar mein 
------
pad-naana ban chukka hoon do baar - main is ummar mein 
sone ki yeh do seedhiyaan - tayaar hain is ummar mein 
--------
pad-daada banane ke chakkar mein hoon ab main 
jis ka be-sabari se intezaar hai - is ummar mein 
--------
sangi saathi kayi mere - bichhad chukke hain -MADAN -
magar saath abhi tak chal rahaa hai hum safar is ummar mein


Sir,  Keep expressing yourself with Shero-Shayari, which is your forte ……May you continue to live long and continue to regale us with your witty writings ….!!  We at Team NFMC wish Cdr Madan Lal Sehmbi and his good lady very many glorious years ahead.

Shano Varuna …. Jai Hind.


Cdr MadanLal extr Left, Cdr VK Raizada Centre, Capt Mohan Ram 4th 




Cdr MadanLal 4th from Left, Capt Mohan Ram 7th 

























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 Hon. Secy NFMC, a Master of Ceremonies and an avid blogger. 




Thursday, 17 October 2019


A VISIT TO OUR NONAGENARIAN ADMIRAL 

Happiness is no other than soundness and perfection of the mind. — Marcus Aurelius


      

          In continuation of NFMC's series of meeting and greeting the Octogenarians, Cdr Vijay Vadhera requested me to pay a visit to VAdm JTG Pereira at his Uran home. I took a detour enroute from Pune to our Borivali Home on Wednesday 16 Oct to reach Hotel Uran Plaza during forenoon hours to visit our Senior most Veteran Admiral, the living Legend of our Navy, VAdm JTG Pereira aged 96 yrs. I had tied up with Adm’s Son Michael well in advance and we both were looking forward to the rendezvous.

    
        Post-retirement from our fine Indian Navy the Admiral and his good Lady Joyce decided to make the sublimely serene Uran coast as their abode to relish their second innings. They bought a 9-acre seaside plot for Rs 9000/ and  founded the Uran Plaza Hotel way back in 1972, that serves as a perfect getaway from the hustle and bustle of Mumbai Life. Their palm and casuarina lined beaches are tempting to the visitors to sink into cosy hammocks to rejuvenate themselves. They have constructed 8 guest rooms with airconditioning with all amenities for the visitors.  The coconut grove has a basketball court. You could take long walks on the beach at low tide on the adjacent Nagave beach or the Pirwadi beach that is just a continuation of Nagave. But during high tide, the waves lash at the fringe of the resort. The Hotel, however, has no tie-ups with commercial sites or Travel portals. Any publicity is only by word of mouth.  

      We left our Lohegaon Home at 0800 hrs to pick up some vegetables from Kirkee market prior to setting course on the expressway by 0900 hrs. The Expressway drive was effortless, with me behind the wheel. The weather was sunny with light breeze enroute the hilly terrain and not much of traffic. By the time we descended the Ghats and transited through Bhatan tunnel and wheeled out on the road towards JNPT, time was 1030 hrs. The google-rani misguided us and took us to the Karanja fishing harbour due South of Uran. The further route due north-west to Uran took us though narrow kuchcha paths through Konkan villages that gave a semblance of Goa. Another half an hour later as we wheeled into the abode of the Admiral, we were welcomed by his dynamic Son Michael. Tall and handsome Michael greeted us with a warm handshake and cheerful smile and escorted us through the elegantly designed Aerofoil shaped mansion that appears like a hang-glider ready to be launched off a cliff or a modern-day state of the art Delta wing fighter about to lift off (Pics below). The starboard side of the Mansion is the glassed half, on the portico of which the Admiral was relaxing. Admiral’s infectious smile broadened as I approached and saluted him. He extended his arm for a warm handshake. I introduced Meena to him even as she clicked Photos of Admiral, Michael and me. Michael instructed Vishwanath for Beer as Meena and I requested for fresh lime juice. In our chat with the Admiral, he told us about his initial training in Dufferin in 1939, followed by Engineering in Plymouth for four years prior to joining back for his sea time as E.O. on board Delhi, Mysore and Kuthar. He recollected his days in the Navy and mentioned that his best tenure was in the dockyard where he was earlier posted as a Manager and later as ASD. He also told us about his instructional time in INS Shivaji. Admiral and Joyce were blessed with talented kids Michael and Jennifer. Michael married beautiful Alakhananda Dalmia (Daughter of Late Billionaire RK Dalmia) and the couple were blessed with adorable Ananth. After the unfortunate demise of Alakhananda, Michael married Zarine. Joyce was very fond of her Grandson Ananth, but her joy was short-lived as She left for her heavenly abode quite early at a young age of 59 due to Diabetes. The Admiral retired as Chief of Material in 1979 after 40 glorious yrs in our fine Indian Navy. During our conversation he pointing towards Michael said, ‘He owns racehorses’. Michael smiled.

        The delectable Seafood Lunch comprised of Delicious Prawn fry, Pomfret curry and Koliwada fry apart from Ladyfinger masala, Dal fry and yummy mixed salad. As the lunch was being laid, Michael switched on soft music, to which Admiral started swaying on the chair. Meena and I gave him company and danced to the musical beats.(video below)

        After Lunch Admiral desired to rest inside and Vishwanath escorted him with his walker to the bed. We bid the Admiral Goodbye thanking him for the wonderful company and wished him many fruitful years ahead. Michael then took us around the resort and showed us the awesome place in nature’s habitat. Meena clicked some wonderful photos. Michael asked us to take some rest but we took his leave, the 90 odd km drive pending. We once again bid Goodbye to Michael thanking him for the pleasant visit to the Admiral’s resort, prior to setting course back home to Borivali.      
       
VADM JTG PEREIRA BIOGRAPHY

Vice Admiral JTG Pereira, PVSM, AVSM joined the Royal Naval College Dartmouth, UK as a cadet in the year 1939. He graduated from the Royal Naval Engineering College Plymouth in Mechanical and Marine Engineering.

A year later he completed his post-graduation from Royal Naval College Greenwich, UK, in ‘Advanced Engineering and Design Propulsion Systems’. He was one of the fifteen to be selected by the Government of India for an Industrial Management Course conducted by the French Government in Paris.

During an illustrious career of forty years, the Admiral had held with distinction many important appointments both ashore and at sea. He had also directed R&D work for the Navy. 

He served a long and significant tenure in the Naval Dockyard Bombay first, as the Industrial Manager and later as the Admiral Superintendent, during which time he created the shipyard’s Production Planning and Control Department (PPC) and computer-based MIS. Prior to retirement he served as a Principal Staff Officer, holding an appointment as Chief of Materials Naval HQ.

Admiral Pereira was born on 13th Feb 1923 in erstwhile Cannanore.  He joined St. Michaels School as a boarder, in the first standard.  At the time Fr Giladi SJ was the Principal. Even at the ripe old age of 96 years he very fondly remembers the maths teacher Ms Julie Wolger, who took a special interest in teaching him.

The entire community of Veterans of Indian Navy wishes many Happy and Glorious years ahead to VAdm JTG Pereira

….Shano Varuna, Jai Hind.  


P.S. - VAdm IC Rao writes JTG as we know him was the CSO (Tech) WNC during the 1971 war. He was awarded the PVSM in the rank of Commodore for the outstanding performance of all our assets during the glorious 10 days. It was the painstaking preparation of the fleet and missile boats under the leadership of JTG which won us laurels.A fun-loving officer who played hockey till age 40 and tennis till 70; an icon to all of us. A well-deserved retirement.































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 the Hon Secy of NFMC, a Master of Ceremonies and an avid blogger.