Monday, 16 December 2019


True heroism is remarkably sober, very undramatic. It is not the urge to surpass all others at whatever cost, but the urge to serve others at whatever cost.      --  Arthur Ashe

      This dictum by Arthur Ashe is reflective of the ethos and values ingrained that Veterans live by. And this ethos, we perceive, needs hard selling to our citizen friends of Mumbai and ultimately entire India. Having apperceived the Big picture, Cdr Vijay Vadhera, President NFMC has planned a Veterans day Parade at Marine Drive on 12 Jan 2020, two days prior to the V Day. He met the Police Commissioner, FOCinC (West), GOC (M&G), AOC and Cmde Rabi Ahuja (Cmdt SCC)  and discussed the issue. The concept of Veterans Day Parade has generated tremendous inarguable response amongst not only the Veterans of all the three services but the Mumbai Police and the SCC  as well.

     To discuss the modalities of Veterans Day parade Cdr Vadhera had been to the WNC Headquarters on 10 Dec, where he came to know about the ‘Families Day at Sea’ scheduled for 14th Dec. He managed to get 40 vacancies allocated for Veterans, although he himself was preoccupied in Golden Jubilee of 37th NDA course gettogether.

        The Vacancies of 40 Veterans and families was consummated within 2 hours of promulgation and the list was forwarded to HQs the next Day. However, due to some dropouts, the list was amended a couple of times and the Final list was forwarded by me a day prior. On the early morning of 14th, the entry passes were distributed at the Lion’s Gate starting 0615 hrs to the Veterans along with the Indemnity Bonds. Cancellation of 4 members came as a boon for   Lt Vivek Saraswat, who having come to drop his Dad, was fortunate to join us all.  37 members, including 3 Veer Naris embarked onboard INS Tarkash berthed at ‘A’ Jetty on Cruiser wharf by 7 am. We all were welcomed onboard the mighty Talwar class Frigate by the gangway staff and escorted to the Flag Deck with ample seating arrangement behind the Bridge. I went and met the CO, Capt S Vasudev to convey felicitations on behalf of the embarked Veterans. The Capt smilingly acknowledged and wished us well for the outing.    

        There were 9 ships earmarked for the ‘Families Day at Sea’ and we were 5th in sequence with cast-off time 0750 hrs, enough interval for interaction and to meet and greet all cheerful veterans: Cdr SB & Mrs Kavita Sambrani and Daughter Minal, Cdr Kumresh Sharma with Mr Chetan and Mrs Vibha, Cdr AK and Mrs Alka Sharma, Cdr Udaya & Mrs Nalini Shankar, Cmde PC and Mrs Anju Agarwal, Cdr Kewal and Mrs Lovleen Kakar with Grandson Vardaan, Cdr and Mrs DS Korti, Cdr Anil and Mrs Geeta Koshti with Ms Mrinmayi, LtCdr HS Hira and Mr Raj Dorwani, Cdr Sandeep Asolkar with Ms Tanvi, Cdr Man Singh & Mrs Prabha Singh, Lt Vivek Saraswat and Father Mr KN Sharma,  Veer Naris Mrs Rekha Malhan & Son Pranav, Mrs Nandita Banerjee, Mrs Kunj Bali with Mr Arjun and Mrs Sarvapriya Bali.

       The OOD briefed us about the Ship and the sailing programme. A running commentary from the bridge was broadcast during leaving harbour and on crossing Middle ground a pirate attack was simulated (Video below). Breakfast packets with sumptuous eats were distributed to all guests followed by hot tea. The weather was CAVOK (A Met. term for Cloud and Visibility OK) with a chill in a light breeze that picked up as the ship crossed Prongs Reef Lt. All 9 ships were in line astern formation with an nm interval. From 1000 hr to 1200 hrs various exercised were demonstrated, viz SAR by Chetak, Sonar Dunking by Seaking 42B, Formation Flypast and simultaneous RAS by 3 ships line abreast. INS Suvarna was the guide ship formated upon by Tarkash on its Port and Teg on its Stbd (Video below). Station keeping by distance line and Jack-stay was demonstrated for mail and Personnel transfer. The exercises were well spaced out for the guests to interact and indulge in the photo op. The exercise area was 50-60 nm west of Mumbai Harbour. After the OP Demos, Lunch was announced and we were escorted to the Wardroom for an appetizing Biryani Lunch + Chicken Masala/ Cauliflower Pakoras, supplemented with boondi raita of thick curd. The Galley prepared Gulab Jamuns were a delectable treat. While we were enjoying our meal, the ships corpened back easterly homeward bound.

         We once again ascended up to our Flag deck and enjoyed the cool breeze, gazing the Mumbai South skyline of tall buildings. As the ships entered the outer harbour, I was transported back to my Ranvir and Taragiri days of heading onto the Tucker Beacon even as the wingmen yelled out the bearings for continuous position fixing on the chart. As the ship came alongside, I and Cdr Kumresh Sharma went to the Bridge, to convey our gratitude to the CO for the excellent hospitality extended to the Veterans and for the wonderful time onboard.

       Before disembarking, Meena had spread a word around for the Group Photo on the Jetty. Soon after the Group click, cheerfully and heartily we shook hands with one another prior to setting course for our destinations. Just as we wheeled out on Jetty, Meena saw Cdr Udaya Shankar waving us to stop. It emerged that the left rear of his Tata Nano was flat, the car was running with his Key locked in. A queer situation; as he started his car, someone yelled to him about the flat tyre. He came out and involuntarily shut the door that got locked, with the car running idle and windows up. I and Cdr Udaya went to a nearby ship to fetch a steel scale to attempt opening the lock through the window side. Just then Sanket (Car driver) brought a long flat scale and opened the door lock to everyone's relief. With a genuine word of praise, we blessed Sanket. Cdr Udaya’s emergency electronic Air pump was keenly operated by Anuj and Meena to willingly help (photo below).  Cdr Udaya Shankar and Nalini cheerfully bid us a gracious farewell before we set course for our Borivali Home. 

PS- The leadership in organising this Day at Sea for Veterans was so very evident. Starting from CAPO, SSO(ADM), CRSO, Master-at-Arms Ajay Kumar, Ravi Karan LPM and later all the ships' staff had been very courteous. The PMO had been going around with medicines with a smile. The Commanding Officer took time off from Bridge to come and meet and talk to the Veterans. (Photos Below)
Hats off to our fine Indian Navy....Jai Ho. 

       While 3 Veer Naris accompanied the Veterans for a Day at Sea, 8 Veer Naris had planned a Milan the same afternoon at the US Club. Dr Kanta Mukherjee, Mrs Janki Bhandoola, Mrs Kashibai Kori, Mrs Rita Singh, Mrs Poonam Gulati, Mrs Geeta Kasturi, Mrs Yashodha V Alva and Dr Shree Latha M Bhanger. Do listen to the Bhajan Kashibai and Rita Maam sang, awaiting the arrival of their friends (last Video). It must have been an exciting ‘Girls Day-out’ for them, trying to give a flight of fancy to their wings. Veer Nari Dr Kanta Mukherjee has beautifully summed it up : 

      “Hi Girls, It was a wonderful meeting of EIGHT Veer Naris today at US Club. Poonam Gulati from Pune, Yashodhara Alva, Reeta Singh, Kashibai Kori, Dr Shreelatha M Bangr, Janki Bhandoola, Advocate Gita Kasturi and Dr Kanta Mukherjee. After interacting with all of them, I was enriched with knowledge and realized that all of them were JHANSI KI RANIS of today. All of them established in their respective fields and giving back to the society in every possible way they can. My salute to all of them. This proves that the discipline of Navy has percolated into all these ladies who are much more capable than their counterparts in the civil. After meeting the 8 ladies, I feel there is a hidden treasure in all those girls whom I have not met and hope to meet them in future.”

        Cdr Vijay Vadhera, president NFMC and the Navy Foundation Veterans bow to our Veer Naris for the spirited energy  and immense drive despite the hardships endured and for keeping the engrained ethos of Navy alive always...Naman Veer Naris, the Indian Navy and Lord Varuna is indeed proud of you all.

Shano Varuna! …Jai Hind!  




  JACK-STAY 1      
  JACK-STAY 2   


1 comment:

  1. Commendable efforts by entire team and hats off to one and all.