Wednesday 25 March 2020


     Self-quarantined at our Home, nearing Meena’s 53rd Birthday, the obvious phrase that cropped up in our Tombola addicted minds individually, a day prior was -- ‘Joker in the Pack’. The phrase for this B’ day is true to her buoyant nature, a trait that has consolidated in her in the past 30 yrs of wedded life. The celebration was quiet indoors, even as a lot of msgs and calls poured in her cell the entire day, to keep her busy.   

         The first time I saw her at a Biradari fete in Andheri 30 years ago, my hands came together and smilingly I uttered ‘Namaste’. She reciprocated in exactly the same gesture. My next encounter with her was when Shammi (Late Cdr SS Bali) invited me to his H-15 NOFRA block. She was playing the Thhipri game with Boys and Girls on the Road of H block.(that game of 8 square boxes drawn with chalk on Road)  I remember she was in her Pink suit, that was to become my favourite. And I remember She hid my Cigarette Packet in Shammi’s house and refused to return it. On H block terrace she pulled the Fag from my Lips and stubbed it on the floor (we had just been introduced then). That ensured that I do not smoke in her presence,  eventually giving up that vice for good. She has maintained her playful nature throughout for the past 30 yrs, for which most Senior Veterans and Octogenarians are fond of her. She is the darling of RAdm NN Anand,  Cmde SK Bhalla, Cmde AK Chitre, Cdr VK Raizada, Cdr VK Mohan, Cdr RP Singh, Lt and Mrs Bhende many more. During the Singapore tour, She was called with a nickname 'Chulbulli' by Cdr RS Bajwa and Mrs Sunita Vadhera. Janki and Kanta ma'am too love her and feel I don't appreciate her enough. All her Picnic Group friends and Committee members wished her individually sending her virtual cakes and flowers.  She is a person who tries to find happiness in small things in life. She is a person who has kept the child alive in her always. Brusky our Rabbit in Marshal house was her Best Friend, she shed tears for a week on her passing away. Our next pet was a White Rat, presented to her by Aakash on her Birthday a few yrs ago. She tends to about 30 lovebirds in our house. The five Pet dogs look up to her (literally) when she calls out their names from our second-floor window (clip below). 

       I was mighty impressed by the Google App Nametest which says, Meena is a Ray of Sunshine on a cloudy day. She smiles even when She is sad. She laughs and cries too. She is stronger than anyone realises and never gives up. Meena knows that Life is short and precious and there is always hope. She is akin to the Sea - beautiful to watch, but dangerous when angered. She'd go all out to protect her loved ones. 

             She is the Best of a friend one could desire. She'll go all out to help them. But there's a flip side to her; She'd take an aeon to forgive someone, she gets into a confrontation with. To sum up She is full of energy, effusing positive vibes, for that reason She is indeed the life of any gathering. Reflecting back in nostalgia, on my maiden encounter with this bubbly little Girl then in 1990, and peeping through the 'Prism of Life' transports me to 04 Mar 1990 when I first saw her. It was a twist to my destiny on that fateful day….

Read On….

       Let's get shipped to Bombay on the morning of  04th Mar 1990, a day prior to the scheduled return of my Ship INS Ranvir, but the Ship developed a snag and returned back on 4th itself.…I rang up my Thane wali Aunt from the QM landline and noted the address of the Andheri  Biradari Milan…. I was still in two minds of launching myself for this venture amidst strangers….Had I listened to my other mind,  life would have been different today…

 (04 Mar 90)

                  So here was I at the entrance of a Biradri  Sammelan at Andheri totally befuddled amongst strangers welcoming you with folded hands and artificial smiles… I was contemplating on executing an about-turn to return to the ship when my uncle spotted me and escorted me inside at the reception to fill up my personal data and a Questionnaire…. One could see marriageable boys and girls in their best attire being escorted by their parents…My Uncle and Aunt  introduced me to various people of ‘Mohyal’ clan,  the descendants of the Saptarishis…  Just then a gentleman comes and tells me “Bali Saheb is looking for you”…. Bali Saheb? who ?....Where is he ?.... “there at the race tracks…”… When I went there, saw some ladies engaged in a three-legged race, amongst ppl cheering them…there I saw,  OMG! Lt Samsher Singh Bali, who after having read the incoming register had been inquiring about me…On seeing me his face shone with a broad smile as he embraced me, “Oye  Raj, where you had been all these years”…He then introduced me to his mother-in-law, Mrs Bakhshi, a smiling simple middle-aged lady…I did pari-pona (a tradition of feet touching, as a mark of respect ), even as Samsher quipped, “Mummy, yeh wohi Raj hai, jiske baarey mein maine apko bataya tha..”…Next, I met  Shammi’s (Samsher’s nickname)  athletic wife Sweety, who had just won the three-legged race without any perspiration…Just then chirrups  Shammi’s M-I-L, “Oye Sweety,  Moti kithe ?” ..there appears a nice looking girl,  who is introduced by her Mom, “Raj, yeh na Meena hai”…I greet her with folded hands, “Namaste”…She reciprocates exactly the same way…I and Shammi roamed around together, I introduced him to my uncle and Aunt…

3 pm End of briefing… and departure.
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(06 Mar 90)

Two days later self and Lt Bali rendezvous at the lawns of WNC bar, his temple that he has been visiting regularly…He orders drinks for both of us… With a smile, he dips his right-hand little finger into his glass and shrugs out a drop with a ‘Hari Om’ chant…I’m impressed…During the pleasant session he asks me, “Tujhe Maine wine chit pe ek address likh ke diya tha, yaad hai ? “…I give him lost looks, that Calcutta incident wiped off my memory… He then narrated as to how he proposed about me to his MIL aka Sholay style , “Mummyji, Maine na Moti (Meena’s nick name) ke liye ladka dekh liya hai..”…….MIL ,Achha,  kaisa hai ?” …“Bilkul mere jaissa hai, Sharaab peeta hai, Cigarrette peeta hai…jua bhi khelta hai…par ladka badda shareef hai, Mummy, maine usko apka address diya hai , apko milne aayega”……MIL, “ Tu apne kol hi rakh avenje munde nu… agar aaya toh maine usse darwaaze  ke  andar nahi aaney dena” …

        Fortunately uss baat ki naubat hi nahi ayee…God is great, so I thought… After a couple of pegs, he asked blowing a ring of smoke, “Yaar, sach sach batta, tujhe Moti, er.. sorry ..Meena kaissi laggi”…. “Sach sach…?” I laughed…as I put some ice into my next peg… “Haan, sach sach..” he slurs… Just then an ice piece slips from the tongs by me… “Look the Ice has broken on the floor…Let me break the ice to you too… How would you like me to be your relative ?”…Shammi’s  Face brightened with a broader smile like it does at the culmination of each magic trick that he performs in public…His Magic had worked on me…He had taken the revenge of one Gandhi (500) cheque presented at Calcutta.

    As the Bar closed he took me to his home, H block, where his in-laws also happened to be there. I met Cdr VP Bakhshi, one of the first diver of IN a towering personality, but a gentle human being …I had told Shammi particularly “Do not disclose our talk, till I leave for my ship..” …But that excited  Magician couldn’t hide it at the dining table, “Mummy, Raj ready hai” and put me in an embarrassing position in front of everyone, I didn’t know where to look… I don’t know what transpired after our Andheri biradari meet, but I feel I might have impressed Shammi’s MIL with that Pari-pona trick….

            We  met on 04 Mar 90 for the first time and got married on 02 May, two months later in Ashok Van Borivali, where my FIL Cdr VP Bakhshi dropped Achor after retirement…. Here was a case of Love being arranged into marriage by mutual consent of both Parents,  by a Magic trick performed by the Great Magician, my Friend,  Philosopher and Guide…We felt the absence of Cmde Ramesh Kumar, my second co-brother (who was in the USA for his EW specialization) along with his wife Nishi (Meena’s elder sister) during that period.


         That was 30 revolutions around the Sun ago. The journey has taken us to Goa(INS Hansa-IL38s) where we started our Life with meagre resources and plenty of Love, later were blessed with our first bundle of Joy- Aakash in MH Panjim. From Goa, we were transferred to Vizag (INS Taragiri, HQENC and INS Dega) where we were blessed with Anuj. Our later moves to Baroda, Jamnagar, Chilka and Kolkata were equally exciting,  prior to our final destination Mumbai from where I retired in 2014, to drop my Anchor at Borivali for good. 

     Coming back to the present day…..Aakash is sailing as a 2nd Officer on board  the SCI Gas Carrier  VLGC  Raahi, plying between  Fajurah and Dahej in Gujarat, doing his bit, like many other Fauji brats,  in trying to boost our Nation’s economy. Anuj is at her Naani’s place in Jhansi on a holiday. And Meena and I quarantined in our Borivali Flat.

   Meena is Overwhelmed with all wishes pouring in for her on Social Media from overseas (Manju Parmar-USA, Balli- NZ) apart from near relatives and NFMC friends. A Grand Thanks and Salute from ‘Official Photographer of Navy Foundation’ (a title conferred on Meena by Cdr Vijay Vadhera, President NFMC) 

Shano Varuna. Jai Hind.

PS- Imprisoned together in our Borivali Home, this Blog is my lockdown gift to Meena. Gold can wait.

With Varun, Manju, Nishi & Simran

With Sarita Masi & Rahul

 With Rajesh Mehta, Sarita Masi & Rahul


Course Gtg arranged by Cdr Shrimal


Saturday 14 March 2020


“Honor to the soldier and sailor everywhere, who bravely bears his country’s cause. Honour, also, to the citizen who cares for his brother in the field and serves, as he best can, the same cause.” - Abraham Lincoln

“The soldier above all others prays for peace, for it is the soldier who must suffer and bear the deepest wounds and scars of war.” - Douglas MacArthur

            My maiden interaction with Cmde KK Garg was during the 2015 AGM, when Cmde Ravi, Cmde Garg and I were awarded by NFMC for our contribution to Quarter Deck, a rewarding policy to encourage literary talent amongst Veterans, initiated by Cdr Vijay Vadhera (then Secy NFMC). Cmde Garg had encouraged me to make friends with my pen as a hobby. 

          On 12 Feb '20, Adm Shekhawat had messaged Cdr Vadhera informing him of the critical condition of Cmde KK Garg in ICU Nanavati Hospital. I spoke to younger Son Mohit Garg who said that Cmde Garg had suffered a Stoke and was shifted to Nanavati and he desired to shift him to ICU Asvini. I spoke to RAdm Sheila S Mathai (CO Asvini) who was forthright and affirmed to receive Cmde Garg in Asvini ICU after his condition stabilizes in Nanavati. But Alas, Cmde Garg’s condition kept worsening and on 15th Feb the Vivacious Veteran sailed away onto the heavenly shores. VAdm IC Rao was always beside the family in their time of distress. The Funeral was performed the same evening by his dutiful Sons Gaurav and Mohit at the Shastri Nagar Elec Crematorium, which was attended by a large gathering of friends and relatives including Adm VS Shekhawat (Former CNS and coursemate), VAdm IC Rao and Cdr Sati Taneja who were his close colleagues. Full military honours were accorded amidst the sounding of the ‘Last Post’. The Ashes were immersed the next day in the Sea as per Cmde’s last wish. Cdr Shailendra Sharma, NFMC member accompanied the family and relatives in a Boat arranged by COY, HQWNC. A Prayer mtg was arranged in Khatwari Darbar, Khar on the evening of 17th Feb, attended by a large number of relatives and Naval as well as Dufferin Veteran friends to pray for solace to the humble Soul.

          Little Krishan was born in Rori Hissar on 24 Aug 1934 in a fairly extensive family of Capt Murlidhar Agarwal and Kalawati. His father served in the British Indian Army in Hissar and later settled down in Rohtak. Krishan was the 2nd of the 5 brothers and 2 sisters. His Elder Brother grew up to be a Civil Engineer, while the younger brothers graduated in Textile Engineering, Civil Engineering and Bcom respectively. Krishan was a bright student in High School and was selected to undergo TS Dufferin training in 1951. After his successful training in Merchant Marine, he was selected for 7th NDA course and joined the 5th term directly at Clementown Dehradun (JSW) in Jan 1954. After his Cadets and midshipmen training on Tir/Mysore, Mid KK Garg got commissioned into the Indian Navy on 01 Jan 1956.  After the mandatory Subs courses in Kochi and Watchkeeping onboard Mysore, he was reappointed and participated in the battle for Goa Liberation in 1961. 

    In mid-1962 his parents were impressed by a beautiful damsel Prem Pyari, daughter of Dr Kabul Chand Maqbool (Gupta family) belonging to Sikandra. Prem was the fourth child among the 3 brothers and 3 sisters. Her elder two brothers were medical Doctors while the younger one was an Automobile engineer. Both families were happy at the alliance. The young couple tied the knot on 12 Dec 1962 and started their new life in Vizag’s new camp after marriage. Next year Lt KK Garg was transferred to INS Vikrant. During that tenure, the couple were blessed with a cute bundle of Joy at her parents' place in Agra on 16 Jan ’64. The infant was christened ‘Gaurav’. After two yrs Sea-time on VK, Lt Garg was promoted to LtCdr and transferred to INS Agrani. While in Coimbatore they were blessed with their second bundle of joy on 11 Aug ’66 and they named him Mohit. During the Agrani tenure LtCdr KK opted for the Provost branch and after his Provost Course in INS Kunjali (Bombay) was appointed NPM Vizag (1968), followed by Chief Security Officer ND(B) (1971-73), from where he side-stepped as EXO Kunjali on promotion. His next appointment was as CO Dwarka (NOIC Okha) as Capt in 1978, followed by President of Bhopal SSB (1980-83). During that prestigious appointment, Capt Garg earned his First Star as Commodore and transferred as COM Karanja in 1983. In 1986 he was appointed CSO to FOMA prior to his superannuation in 1988.

        Cmde KK Garg settled down in Santa Cruz (West) and joined the SCI as Master (FG) and sailed the World over till 1995. He continued in the teaching faculty in MTI Powai as an instructor and groomed the SCI cadets till 2001. Cmde Garg had been an avid writer and authored a number of articles in periodicals and Quarter Deck. He continued to groom the students of Raheja college in Santa Cruz, and presided over as a Chief Guest for the College’s Annual Day 0n 30 Jan 2020, a week prior to the fateful night of 06 Feb when the tragedy struck and he had to be shifted to Nanavati ICU, Vile Parle. Both Gaurav and Mohit flew down from USA on hearing the tragic News.   


      Akin to their Parents both Gaurav and Mohit had excelled academically in Vishakha Valley, Scindia School Gwalior and St Xavier’s. While Gaurav graduated in Elec Engineering from Maulana Azad NIT, Mohit chose Architecture and did B.Arch from JJ School of Arch. Both then shifted to California for Masters in their respective fields and settled down there permanently. Gaurav is the Chief Information Officer in the City of Santa Clara, whereas Mohit is a Senior Architect in a Private firm WHL Architects in Sunnyvale, CA. Gaurav’s charming better half Alka is a Fashion Designer and the couple is blessed with Avika (19) pursuing a Degree in Data Sc and Aashka (17) in High School. Mohit’s better half is amiable Rupali and the couple is blessed with  Son Mehar in the 6th  Grade.


       Ms Prem hailed from a well educated and learned family of Dayal Baug, Agra. She accomplished her BA/BT from Women's Trg College and after her Masters from St John’s got employed as a lecturer in the same Women’s Trg College, where she graduated from. She taught there for 2 yrs prior to her arranged wedlock with a young handsome Naval officer. When the couple was in Vizag, She got employed as a Hindi Lecturer in the Ministry of Home Affairs (Dept of Official Language). She continued to teach Hindi in ND(B), Bhopal (Translator in IT Dept), LIC and Bombay VT Govt offices. She retired in 1990 and is drawing two pensions. Bravo Mrs Garg,  Naman.  

Commodore Krishan Kumar  was born on August 24th, 1934 in Haryana, India. One of the brightest students in his class, he was selected for entry into the Mercantile Marine Training Ship Dufferin in 1951, being the first student of his school to be selected. Upon completing his training, he was selected by the Indian National Defense Academy in 1953. Commissioned as a naval officer in 1956 in the Executive Branch of the Indian Navy, he held various ranks from Commander, Captain, and finally Commodore in the Indian Navy. Throughout his 38 years of service, he continued to hold great passion for serving his country, including being deployed in several wars.

        After retirement, he commanded Merchant Ships of India and travelled the world over from 1990-1995, including San Francisco, Stockton, Long Beach, Astoria, Oregon and Vancouver, Canada. He then became the first ex-Dufferin cadet and ex-naval officer to be teaching faculty for the Government of India Merchant Navy Academy, where he imparted knowledge of navigation and seamanship to cadets from 1996 to 2001.

        Commodore Garg held many titles, including Trustee of Kandla Port Trust from 1978-1980, Trustee of Mumbai Port Trust from 1987-1988, member of Security Association of India, and held memberships in the Maritime Institution and the Maritime Foundation of India.  He was an active poet, writer and contributed his writings extensively to various periodicals including the Indian Naval Quarterdeck magazine. He travelled to the US extensively and loved the American fun-loving spirit and humour embedded in the work culture.

        Commodore Garg lived a life full of devotion to his country, his family, and friends. He and his wife Prem traversed the journey of life in bliss for 58 years. He will forever be cherished by his wife along with sons Gaurav and Mohit, daughters-in-law Alka and Rupali, and grandchildren Avika, Aashka and Mehar.


             Krishan Kumar Garg started his maritime career in 1952 in the elite Training Ship  the T.S.Dufferin and he joined up with 7th Course NDA (Joint Services Wing) at Clement Town, Dehra Dun in Jan 1954. He was allotted the Electrical Branch but returned to the Executive Branch where he had many firsts. He opted for the provost branch and was one of the first General Service Officers as Lt Cdr At-Arms in 1967. He was NOIC Porbandar, Senior Officer Karanja and also head of the Services Selection Board at Bhopal. He retired as CSO to FOMA.

   Kishan was the most affable officer one could meet. He was always helpful to anyone who went to him and was a good friend to his course mates who remember him for his hearty laugh.

       Cmde Garg’s simplicity and generosity were the hallmarks of the great  ‘Officer and Gentleman’ that he was. The legacy of the Legend is being carried forward by Gaurav and Mohit, who being elegant and dignified are yet modest and polite.

Salutes to Late Commodore Krishan Kumar Garg.

Shano Varuna Jai Hind.

     Front row 4th - Adm VS Shekhawat (former CNS), 5th - Cdr SP Taneja, 6th - RAdm HC Malhotra. Middle Row - 2nd Cmde KK Garg.

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.