THE YOUNGEST OCTOGENARIAN
CDR VK RAIZADA, NM(G)
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
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.