Monthly Archives: January 2011

Looking for Sri Dharma Vira

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It was a long week end.  The monsoon had arrived over the Punjab. The weather was atrocious.   It had been raining incessantly for most of the past seven days.    Flying had stopped.   Most of us were in a holiday mood.  But alas I was the Duty Officer for the week.   Most of the telephone lines were down because of the heavy rain.   I was therefore not even comfortable staying home and consuming tea/pakoda, some thing that my dear wife Leena was good at supplying.    By about ten in the morning, I went to the Station HQ and settled in.   I was the senior flight commander of 23 Squadron (the Panthers) and I was then preparing for my staff college entrance examination.   Such a morning was ideal for immersing oneself in books and magazines, and I was ready to do just that.  Read the rest of this entry

My Time with the Bullets – 3: Redeeming My Position

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I completed my staff college course with the RAF in December 1965 and I returned to India. I was then posted to Number 18 Squadron at Ambala as a flight commander.  My new boss, Wing Commander Aubrey Michael, was apparently not happy to receive me for reasons unknown to me.   He loaned my services to the station to function as the Station Flight Safety Officer (SFSO) and asked the next senior officer Flight Lieutenant KC Khanna to function as the flight commander in my place.   He however told me that officially I would continue to be a part of the unit and he would continue to be the IO (Initiating Officer) for my ACR (Annual Confidential Report).   The post of the SFSO that was given to me was challenging and I was happy to fill that appointment, I would however have been happier to be the SFSO in addition to my task as a flight commander to the unit rather that in lieu of as the case had turned out to be.   The challenge before me was simple.   I had to retrieve my rightful position in the hierarchy of the unit without making a fuss about it.   Thus began my tenure with the Bullets.   It was a short tenure lasting only one year, but it was a year full of learning and growth and fulfilment, a year that I thoroughly enjoyed. Read the rest of this entry

A Very Small World – 2: Mr Mukherjee’s Nephew

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For a Bong any where, Durga Puja is a big occasion; at least that is how it used to be when I was young.    In 1958 I used to consider myself to be young.   I was just about 24 years old and I felt very young.   When Durga Puja came about that year, I participated enthusiastically at the ceremonies held at Tambaram within the Air Force Station.   I was then an instructor at the Flying Instructors’ School there.    The Puja was held at the Domestic camp at Madambakkam which we could reach on a bicycle in five minutes from the officers’ mess.   During Durga Puja, it is also customary to visit all such functions within striking distance, and we followed that social norm . Read the rest of this entry