Sunday 30 October 2022


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

Being a Military Veteran is an experience that’s second to none. A chance confab with a senior veteran who may have impacted our service career years ago conjures up an electric feeling as the palms grasp warmly and a glitter reflects in our smiling eyes.  Genuine Bliss is writ large on our faces and the atmospheric caprice turns willfully buoyant. 


       Navy Foundation Pune Chapter affirmed to hold Memorial lecture annually to honour late Adm JG Nadkarni, who left for his heavenly abode on 02 Jul 2018. A great initiative by Pune foundation in the wake of Delhi, Kolkata and Mumbai Chapters who have been conducting memorial lectures since long. Cmde PK Malhotra, President NFPC had invited Cdr Vijay Vadhera, NM(G), President NFMC and Hon. Secy for the lecture  scheduled for 29th  Sep 2022. The former couldn’t attend due to preoccupation.  The Guest speaker and the Chief Guest for the Event was VAdm Ajendra Bahadur Singh, PVSM, AVSM, VSM, ADC, FOC-in-C (West), who enlightened the gathering on ‘Navy @ 100’.   


     Meena and I were greeted at the Central Park Hotel Lobby by Cmde PK Malhotra and Cdr Mohan Philip, President and VP of NFPC and directed expeditiously to the Pavilion Banquet hall as the Chief-Guest was expected any moment. There was an open stall of Naval mementoes, insignias and decor items put up by Veteran Ramarao, ex-PO from Bangalore. As we gingerly slid the Hall door, we witnessed about 100 senior Veterans in Savdhan pose in 7 rows of gift-wrapped white chairs. One could hear a pin drop, as all were awaiting the arrival of the Chief Guest. Even before we settled down in the rear row, VAdm Ajendra Bahadur Singh our CinC was escorted in. He was warmly welcomed by the MC, Veteran Air Marshal BN Gokhale in his introductory address that covered the Life and times of Late Adm JG Nadkarni. Among the various dignitaries present was Veteran RAdm RJ Nadkarni, former FODAG and the illustrious Son of late Adm JG Nadkarni. Veteran Air marshal Gokhale, Dir CASS then introduced the Guest speaker VAdm AB Singh and welcomed him on stage after requesting everyone to rise to observe 2 mins silence to pay tributes to Late Admiral JG Nadkarni, our former CNS. 

     At the outset, the C-in-C paid tributes to Adm JG Nadkarni, touching upon his contributions to the Navy in terms of its expansion during the mid-80s. He considered him as a God-Father figure to his course, being Father of his Veteran coursemate RAdm RJ Nadkarni, present among the dignitaries.

  The C-in-C had structured his insightful talk “Indian Navy @100 (2047) – Where we want to be.” He dwelt upon the Ancient Maritime heritage of India from over 5000 yrs covering various dynasties to RIN ; from 33 old ships during independence to 200 ships strong Navy today with 2 Air-Craft carriers and 45 underconstruction warships. The Admiral also deliberated upon Project Seabird, Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav @75,  the Amrit Kaal from @75 to @100 transforming into full Atma Nirbhar Bharat and a Developed country by 2047. His research dwelt and encompassed on 3 essential Qs :

1. What would a developed India as a nation expect the IN to perform in this journey from @75 to @100 ?

2. What do we former / serving officers expect IN to be able to undertake in 2047?

3. What would be the role of technonogy in this journey and how do we expect Oceans and Maritime domain around us to transform till 2047.


The interest generated in the talk is reflective of the probing queries put forward by Cmde Ajay Chitnis on Naval R&D cadre, RAdm CS Patham on self-sufficiency and infrastructure, VAdm AV Subhedar on the proposal of 3rd AC, Cmde PK Malhotra on Maritime consciousness. There was also a query on manpower issues and induction of Sailors/Agniveers. Hon Capt Gopi Shetty requested for ships visit for his Sea Scouts which was acceded to.  


      Senior Veteran RAdm S Vadgaonkar delivered the Vote of Thanks for the Guest Speaker and the senior dignitaries to have graced the occasion. Cmde PK Malhotra, President NFPC then felicitated the Guest Speaker our CinC VAdm AB Singh, VAdm Ajay Kochhar, Commandant NDA, Cmde K Mukherjee, Cd Ed and Wel O,  Veteran Air Marshal BN Gokhale, Hon. Capt Gopi Shetty, Ocean Cadets Academy and and a few other dignitaries.

Capt Raahul Mahajan (NAVPAY), LtCdr Abhimanyu Shekhawat, Rep NAVPEN. It was then time for Happy Hours, time to mutually interact with each other. All veterans were delighted to engage with their CinC and other Senior Veterans. It was joyous to meet a few other members of NFMC from Mumbai; Cdr Shailendra Sharma and Cdr HMS Tanwar. All aviators RAdm Vadgaonkar, Cmde Ajay Chitnis, Cmde JJ Verma, Cmde PK Malhotra Cdr Guddu Sharma and self got together  for a group Photo session. It was also a pleasure to meet Capt Kukereja, a former Seaking Pilot.  We interacted with Adm CS Patham, the first Diver of Navy to have become a Flag Officer and Meena was thrilled to recall her Dad’s memories with him. Her Father had been among the first batch of Naval divers post independence.  I was glad to meet VAdm SCS Bangara and VAdm Vinod Pashricha with whom I had interacted earlier too. It was great to meet VAdm DSP Verma, an aeronautical engineer and former DG- ATV with whom I had interacted as CAVO-II in Vizag in the mid-90s. Had a chance to meet RAdm Mohanrao, RAdm Godbole and VAdm AV Subhedar, former COM with whom I’d served in ND(MB). Interacted with former ADGCG VD Chafekar, seated in the row ahead, whom I’d first met in Kolkata in mid 80s on deputation to Coast Guard.      

       The catering delicacies were sumptuous and the  desserts luscious. Meena and I shared some great moments with most Veterans.  How time slipped by couldn’t fathom as we dived deep into our memory lanes with brother Veterans from Pune. We were the last to depart after conveying our heartfelt gratitude to Cmde PK Malhotra, Cdr Mohan Philip and Cdr Nadgouda for the Wow-wonderful Event. We wished the NFPC more glory in the future. Cmde Malhotra felicitated Brig & Mrs AK Mathur & Meena with a memento and printed booklet "IN Family Logbook"  

       Meena and Ibefore wheeling out from Central Park, Saluted the Core Committee of Pune Navy Foundation and wished them well for all their amazing welfare efforts for Pune Veterans. 

Sam No Varunah

Jai Hind.    

( Photos & Video courtesy @Meena Dutta....ZOOM the photos/ Video for convenient view.)   


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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.  




Wednesday 19 October 2022



A Veteran is one who has given his Life to something Bigger than himself   ~~  Joseph Campbell


       Post the 2020 Pandemic that had thrown a colossal challenge to mankind and restricted them in their ability to manoeuvre, due  to  imposing lockdowns; even as the COVID-19 gripped the world in its clutches, some extraordinary people, most of them unsung heroes emerged as Corona Warriors. They comprised Health Care workers, Armed Forces, Paramilitary, Policemen, Delivery men and the like. The World bows to them. 2020 and 2021 owes it to them.

       NFMC, comprising 15 Committee members under the leadership of Cdr Vijay Vadhera, NM(G) (Retd but not tired) endeavored in their small humble way to continue the welfare efforts for the Veterans and Veer Naris of the Mumbai Foundation, whether it was procurement and distribution of of Face shields, face masks, Homeopathic immunity booster doses or the distribution of American Almonds to Octogenarians and Veer Naris during the Veterans Day on 14 Jan for the past 2 years. The committee met on a weekly basis on Video conference to discuss issues. Monthly lectures were organised by inviting eminent speakers on VCons covering health related topics. For their stupendous efforts Cdr Vadhera, President NFMC had organised a get-together in INS Hamla for Committee members and spouses for 18-20 Oct last year 2021. The welfare activities continued and this year too endeavor was to conduct all Veterans Day activities in Jan 2022 including the 2nd Veterans Day Parade, which had to be shelved after having played the Cricket match between Veterans XI and CinC XI on 02 Jan 2022 that was won by the later and the Veterans had to unfortunately relinquish the trophy that they had handsomely clinched in the previous year. Other events had to be shelved as the Covid raised its ugly head yet again in the form of Omicron, but fizzled out in a couple of months. In its dilution and lifting of restrictions, NFMC organised a get-together for Veer Naris in IMSC on 27 Mar. The 40 Veer Naris who converged to the Sea-Lounge had a whale of a time tiptoeing Cat walk, crooning Karaoke followed by sumptuous delectable Lunch in Company; the successful conduct of AGM 2022 on 09 May, in which the President and Treasurer were re-elected unanimously; and the outstanding NFMC’s 4th Foreign trip : The Tour of South Africa from 05-16 Sep for 48 Veterans including 10 Veer Naris ;; called for a committee members get-together second time in INS Hamla from 15-17 Oct 2022 on Dutch expenses basis (No cost to NFMC).                



Cdr Vadhera spoke to Cmde Neeraj Malhotra, CO Hamla who was delighted by the idea and booked 14 shacks for 15-17 Oct. All the CMs were eagerly looking forward the meet and greet, but Four  couldn’t join at the last moment due to urgent commitment, Cmde Anand Singh, Cdr GC Rai, Cdr SK Patnaik and Cdr Kanan Ramdas with their better halves. However, we’d invited Wg Cdr Kolhatkar and Veer Nari Rekha Malhan too, who had indulged and burnt the midnight LEDs to turn out a wonderful Blog on South Africa. It was a pleasure to meet and greet Cdr Surinder-Gurinder  and Cmde Odakkal Johnson-Vinita our new committee members.  The menus chalked out by our 37 yrs young Veer Nari, Dr Kanta Mukherjee and Anahita, were approved sans discussion.  

      INS Hamla had dwelt into minutest details to plan our get-together, to ensure pampered comfort for the Veteran CMs. The Program chalked out by Team Hamla, stood us in awe and made us feel revered.   

     The shacks were spick and span to receive guests by 1000 hrs on the D Day. The CMs started arriving from various locations spread over Mumbai. Dinesh Rai-Archana, Manjul-Alka and Surinder-Gurinder were the early birds to land at the Sea Breeze Hard, preceding Meena and I. By 1245 hrs all had arrived after having dropped their paraphernalia in the allotted shacks. The Jhappi/Pappi endured till Cmde Neeraj, CO Hamla joined in with his smiling team of Cdr Roy (ExO), Capt Praveen Kumar (TC), and LtCdr Tanuj Singh (Mess Secy). Cdr Vadhera introduces all the Veteran members to the CO and his Team. The Bar was exquisitely rigged with beer and assorted drinks. The lunch that followed subsequent to the beer session had been delectably catered for, topped up with mouth-watering ‘Gaajar Halwa’.           

    After a short Siesta, quite a few Veterans, spouses and kids mustered at 1700 hrs at the Sea Breeze Hard, while our Arjuna awardee LtCdr Farokh Tarapore and Cdr Vadhera were on a request call to deliver a pep-talk to about 60 young Hamla Officers on the intricacies of effective sailing and Farokh’s life time experiences (Pics below). The evening was dedicated to sports. Veterans tried their hand at beach Volleyball. It was heartening to see Cdr Surinder, despite his earlier leg ailment during services hockey, enthusiastically steering his team. Wg Cdr Kolhatkar played well and so did Abhishek Kankan. Meena was the only Lady amongst the other players, although she had specialized in Basket Ball during her school time. We’d included some youngsters also in the two teams. When the scores were level after sunset the same two teams contested for a Tug of War match. Meena was the anchor-woman of Team A and Kolhatkar the Anchor man for Team B. Incidentally this too ended in a draw after changing sides. The Hip, Hip Hurray could be heard in Aksa beach 5 kms away.    

    The prized itinerary, Karaoke night with Barbeque commenced with arrival of Cmde Neeraj Malhotra, CO Hamla & First Lady Ratika as our Chief Guests along with Capt Praveen Kumar and his butter half, Cdr Sarita Nagayach (Former GTO and now our NFMC member), and LtCdr Tanuj Singh (Mess Secy) apart from 7 young Slts whom Halma fielded as good singers. Subsequent to the introductions and drinks been served, Cdr Vadhera beckoned  Raj Dutta to steer the Karaoke evening in his rich baritone. Cdr Vadhera initiated the show with a melodious number, that set the ball rolling with uninhibited melodious numbers by Cdr Manjul Mayank, Mrs Archana Rai, Mrs Sarita Nagayach, Capt Praveen Kumar, Ms Akanksha Kankan, Raj and Duets by Cdr Vadhera and Mamta Kankan, The First lady too crooned a song sans Karaoke. The 4 SubLts too sang quite well.  The drinks and Barbeque servings continued till the Soup was served. The guests left entirely satiated by a wonderful melodious evening and delectable Continental spread.

       Despite most of us having called it a day around midnight, quite a few gathered at the Sea beach early morning at 0700 hrs for trick photography for couples. The poses were suggested by Meena to Uday-Rekha, Johnson-Vinita, Surinder-Gurinder, Ajay-Archana, Dinesh-Archana, Vijay-Sunita and the results were Amazing (Photos and Videos placed below). This was followed by a visit the Hamla Miyawaki Forest at 0800 hrs, escorted by the Gunnery Officer, Cdr Rajesh, who briefed us extensively on the planting of the Miyawaki Forest by Hamla just outside the main gate and showed the Palm sapling that Dr Kanta and Farokh had planted last year. After a sumptuous breakfast the forenoon was planned for a visit to INS Trata extension FSB (Forward Staging Base) enclave at the  southern end of Marve road by the Hamla Mini Bus. LtCdr Arul received us at the FSB Helipad and briefed us on the Coastal battery for Defence of Mumbai against air attacks during war. He then escorted us to the Rest rooms for snacks and refreshment. Veterans are adapted in enjoying themselves in any scenario. There was a large seat swing in a garden and the romantic Veterans took to posing on it as Meena shot them in turns. On return the Bus was halted at Hamla Canteen and the NWWA Shop for a peep. Everyone reassembled at the Hard at 1230 hrs for PLD and delectable Lunch topped up with Navy’s favorite specialty ‘Trunk of Tree’ Pudding cake.

If Day one belonged to Veterans Karaoke. Day two was even more splendid and enhanced our respect for INS Hamla in looking after Veterans starting from a Visit to home-grown Miyawaki Forest, followed by a splendid Tour of FSB (Forward Staging Base) Trata. The evening unfolded with further Woww surprises as CO Hamla had organized a DJ Nite in the Wardroom, where the entire Hamla Staff and under-trainee officers made the Veterans feel special. The under-trainees gathered in groups around Veterans, who shared their Naval experiences down memory lane against some soft DJ music. In a while the DJ turned on fast paced beats and beckoned everyone to take to the floor, initiated with senior Veterans. In no time the floor was jam-packed with youngsters too grooving & gyrating vigorously (Pics and Videos below). The scene resembled that of Navy Ball. Later the CO took to stage and felicitated the Veterans individually. Cdr Vadhera, President NFMC spoke about the relevance and genesis of Navy Foundation and introduced each NFMC committee member and their better halves to the youngsters. He presented the NFMC memento of the Golden Sailboat to CO Hamla after which Mrs Sunita Vadhera presented the famous book “How to light the 100th Candle of your Life” (authored by our NFMC Veteran Cdr Ashok Shinde) to the First Lady Hamla, Mrs Ratika Malhotra. The Veterans were awed by the Catering DΓ©cor welcoming NFMC. The elaborate Royale Dinner was an exquisite spread to select from, topped up with King Jalebi in Ras Malai. We couldn’t thank the CO and staff enough for the unique and special evening dedicated to Veterans.    


   Next morning we gathered at the Sea-Breeze hard at 8 AM to celebrate the Cake-cutting by Birthday girl Mrs Archana Kumar. We all sang for her and relished the delectable yellow Cake dexterously  baked  by expert Hamla Chefs. Clearing of individual Bills was followed by Couples and group photos and Jhappi-Pappi and Sayonara and 3 Jai’s for Hamla.    

Our utmost gratitude to the CO for the exceptional manner in which the Staff of Hamla left no stone unturned to ensure all comfort for Veteran Committee members to carry along sweetest memories to relish in foot-prints of time. (The memories are forever stored below to relive by a click)  

The messages exchanged between President NFMC and CO Hamla prior departure, makes my belief firmer of the superior ethos of our fine Indian Navy.


Dear Cmde Neeraj Malhotra!

 On behalf of NFMC Committee Members & also from my own heart, I am at a loss of words this morning to express our deep gratitude. Hamla has been home & your team has made us feel as a treasured family. We are overwhelmed and at same time salute the meticulous efficient manner that our stay was arranged in highest 🏟Naval standards. The interactions with your team especially Gen Next will stay treasured. Ratika & you have been amazing hosts. May Hamla continue to shine on the Naval and National firmament.

Jai Hind & Sam No Varunah

Cdr Vijay Vadhera  (Retired but not yet Tired)

President NFMC

17 Oct 22


Good morning sir

You are and will always continue to be family for us

We all have so much to learn from all of you and especially you sir

Your Josh, clarity of thought and painstaking meticulous planning coupled with attention to detail and most importantly zest for life are truly inspirational

Looking forward to greater connect with NFMC and many more good times together πŸ˜ŠπŸ™πŸ» Best Regards



 As the last few of us said sayonara and bid adieu to Hamla, wheeling out our Tata Manza, the smile on our lips was reflective of the honour bestowed on us Veterans by our Naval establishment that we were once privileged to be a part of during our Subs-courses. 


Sam No Varunah

Jai Hind

P.S. The Blog wouldn't have been complete without assistance from our unofficial photographer Meena Dutta. Do not forget to click on the outstanding Videos

(Double click to play)