Saturday 27 November 2021




"Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around." - Leo Buscaglia

"And it is still true, no matter how old you are, when you go out into the world it is best to HOLD HANDS and STICK TOGETHER." - Robert Fulghum

           Seldom comes an occasion when like minded Veterans gather to celebrate two  occasions. 26 Nov 2021 was one such solemn Day when a few Naval Veterans of Borivali converged onto the White House of Lt Shreekant Bhende to join the noon revelry. The day when Shreekant turned into the youngest Octogenarian and Cdr Michael Coutinho and his good lady Celia celebrated their 38th Wedding Anniversary. Shreekant, is a dynamic Naval Veteran, who’s the Architect of the Amar Jawan Monument (Blog below).  

     It would be prudent to glance at the Naval tenures of the celebrity Veterans of the Day:


      The vivacious Veteran is blessed with colossal drive and fortitude as that he effectively utilised to craft his Life after early retirement from emergency commission, that’s radiant in his brief resume :

  Education: BSc University of Bombay

 (Certificate Course Production & Personnel Management)

Served Indian Navy 1966-1973


1967- 68  : INS CAUVERY for watch keeping ticket.

1968-69  : Watch keeping Officer INS KAKINADA

1969-1971 : Watch keeping Officer / Staff duties including officiating  CO short periods.

1971-1972  : CO INS BHATKAL in the middle of 1971 operations hospitalised due to a lung infection and placed in permanent medical category 'CEE

1972-1973 : INS ANGRE as Watch keeping officer.

1973 : released from the NAVY with medical category CEE

 1973  onwards the struggle for survival began. Lured by a senior veteran got in to fishing business, acquired a fishing trawler and operated on the coast of Gujarat for 5 years, losing, defeated but not dispirited started a small scale industry in 1978.

Manufactured, to start with fishing equipment like canoes (a substitute for wooden dug out wooden canoes), surface buoys. This was a boon to the fishermen (in a way to me too commercially). An article in a Marathi magazine was published on his products. He slowly shifted to other products like Knock down building system including wheel house and bunkhouses fot tugs and barges. (an Article in the Inside Outside magazine was published 1987. In 1986 got he got an opportunity to make Cable Tray System in fibre-glass (an import substitution)

There after retired in the year 2000, and settled in Borivali West. On 07 Apr 2017 Lt Bhende with his domain expertise in manufacturing, was instrumental in renovating, erecting and inaugurating the Amar Jawan at the Emmaculate Road Junction in Borivali West by RAdm RM Bhatia, President NFMC, in the presence of  RAdm  S Mahindru (FOMA), Cdr Vijay Vadhera, Secy of the Foundation and other Veterans . (Blog below)  


Cdr Coutinho was commissioned in the Navy in Aug 1976. Served onboard IN Ships as EO on Prachand, Hosdurg, Vijaydurg and Amba as Cdr E. Also worked in DGNP(V), DGNP(B), WOT, besides TC & Project Director at INS Shivaji. Also served as staff officer (Engg) at both HQ(WNC) and HQ(ENC). Was the Fleet Engineer officer ( Eastern fleet). His last posting was HQ(ENC) where he opted for premature retirement. After quitting the Navy in Aug 1998, Cdr Coutinho joined Holy Family Hospital, Bandra as Chief Engineer and worked for 15 years before retiring for good and settling down in Borivali.


                 Mrs Indira Bhende had called me up a week earlier to firm up the program for the celebrations. NFMC Office Asst Sunil had sent across the two Octogenarian mementos to be presented. Meena and Shreekant share an unmatched affinity for naughty flirting that’s evident in the first Video compiled by her. A little before noon Meena and I picked up Veer Nari Mrs Anuprita Paranjpe (W/O Late Cdr SR Paranjpe) living close by in Ashok Van, and drove to Lt Bhende’s abode in Borivali West.

   Coutinhos, Saldhanas, Kutties and Jeff Frazers had pre-arrived at the White house. After the Pappiyan-Jhappian, vociferous exchange of best wishes and even before we settled down, Indira Ma’am offered us the drink of our choice with sumptuous small eats adorning the central table. Bhende’s indeed are a wonderful host.

   Before the Cake cutting Shreekant and Meena dramatized some crazy antics and Raj narrated a lovely Ode to the almighty praying for longer life to the young Octogenarian.  The sing-a-long Happy Birthday Corus and Wedding Anniversary revelry was video captured by Meena. On behalf of President NFMC, Raj then presented the two Octogenarian mementos to Lt Bhende; the CNS plaque memento from NHQ and the beautiful Golden Sail boat designed by NFMC. Intertwined in the chatter-patter was the Video Conference call from Cdr Vadhera, President NFMC and Mrs Sunita Vadhera, congratulating the Celebrities of the day. The Chinese lunch served was delectable emanating rich aroma that. The sweet dish to follow was the mouth-watering assorted cake helpings. It was a great afternoon indeed, much more fascinating and sensational than depicted by the pictures below, snapped by Meena.

         We hailed and conveyed our felicitations to Lt & Mrs Srikant Bhende for the fantabulous Day in honour of our friend Shreekant and the humble and adorable Coutino duo, executed in a magnificent style. Prior to saying Sayonara, all echoed, “Ek group photo toh banta hai”, that was timer clicked in the White house Verandah.

       As we said our Good-byes and wheeled out in our Tata Manza, we marvelled at the wonderful day  and carried back memories captured in our camera to be regaled in footprints of time.


Sam No Varunah

Jai Hind

PS- To glance at the AMAR JAWAN Blog, please click the link below :


Monday 15 November 2021



A military band is not proud because it performs well, it performs well because its proud – George Parks

 Music and Rhythm find their way into the secret places of the SoulPlato

A marching band works harder than a Football team

   --Kathleen Alcock

Military regiments the world over are proud of their martial bands and vice-versa. Every soldier of a platoon marches erect with pride in perfect  synchronous harmonics  to the sonorous beats of his musical band.

     The genesis of Indian Navy Band dates back to the Royal Indian Navy, when it was formed with a handful of musicians. Today the Indian Navy boasts of a number of trained musicans in various bands across our country. The Indian Naval Band has regaled and enthralled audiences of not only our country but around the world by their spectacular performances. The Bands accompanying the vessels sailing abroad for goodwill visits playing in ensemble to the bands of the host nations, act truly as effective Ambassadors of our great country. Indian Naval Band has distinguished itself through many international performances, noteworthy amongst these have been the Queen’s coronation in the Statue of Libert, the Australian Bi-centennial celebrations, the President’s Fleet Review in USA and International Fleet Review in Australia. In the recent past the Indian Naval Band has participated in the prestigeous Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo at Scotland and the Russian Federation Navy Day.   

       As a runup to the Navy Day-2021, even as the Pandemic  is on the decline, the second event programmed after the Veterans invite for CinC Lunch (09 Nov), was the Indian Navy Symphonic Band Concert at 1700 hrs on 11th Nov at Mulla Auditorium, organised by INS Kunjali. Cdr Vishal Nair was tasked with the seating plan. 25 Veteran couples received an e-invite, on first come basis. Albeit the organisers were kind to include names of more veterans till the final day and sent an E-invite to them. The parking at Mulla Auditorium was provost controlled. Electric carts were placed at the parking lot to convey Veterans to the Auditorium.

           The Auditorium was houseful with serving officers and ladies maintaining the Covid Protocol of masks and alternate vacant seats. Among the Senior Veterans who graced the occasion, it was an honour to meet our former CNS Adm VS Shekhawat & VAdm IC Rao. We had enough time to meet and greet each other prior to the arrival of our Chief Guest, VAdm R Hari Kumar, PVSM, AVSM, VSM, ADC , FOCinC (WNC). The CinC was gracious to confer the honour of Chief Guest to Adm Shekhawat, our former CNS. Lt Navneet Yadav, a young Gunnery Officer from INS Nashak, welcomed the Chief Guest and  Audience to this grand extravaganza and handed over the stage to the Emcee for the evening, the mesmerising Diva Ms D’Çunha to host the spectacular Show. Mrs Genevieve D'Cunha is a naval wife herself and presently Director Marketing with the Taj Group of Hotels. She is also an accomplished pianist from the Royal College of Music, London and has performed at the NCPA and many other concerts. The Indian Navy Symphonic Band in Concert captured the hearts and minds of  all present, as the musicians  regaled  an  electric audience  one performance after another with a wide repertoire of stirring martial music, arrangements of Western classical, Indian classical and other forms of contemporary popular   arrangements. It commenced with the Fanfare titled ‘Vande Mantaram’ composed by J Bhattachaya and arranged by Manoj Sebastian, that was followed by Beautiful light cavalry ‘Overture’, Mac and Mac, O Sole Mio, Second Waltz, Chariots of Fire, Sing Sing Sing, ABBA Gold, English Vocal Rise up, Raag Shanmughapriya, Within Attraction, traditional Folk tunes of Western India, culminating in the Patriotic Tri-Sevices ‘Desh Rakshak’ by various artists that raised everyones goose-pimples. Cdr Vijay D’Cruz, Director of Music, Indian Navy himself conducted some arrangements.  The Cohost Ms D’Cunha’s mesmerising voice and presentation added aroma and flavour to the entire an hour long musical fanfare. After the show, Adm Shekhawat accompanied by the CinC  felicitated the musicians, presenters, conductors and the Cohosts on stage that was followed by the National Anthem. 

        It was absolute delight to meet and greet the Veterans and guests  over Tea and Snacks at the Mulla Auditorium’s Lawns after the show.(Pics & Vids below). Veterans cheerfully congratulated the Commander-in-Chief for the prestigious appointment  of next CNS. Cdr Vijay Vadhera, President NFMC and I on behalf of all Veterans personally thanked the C-in-C for the magnificent evening and later spent  time with the organising officers of the grand show and Cmde Rishi Raj, CO Kunjali and his elegant lady.

Shano Varuna….Jai Hind 

PS- Videos below the Pics. Kindly double click on the videos to play.