Category Archives: 04 – Growing Up

Finding my own feet and standing up in the Service 1955 to 1962

Brushing a Star per Chance – 1


The morning of 19th November 1956 was quite calm and cool. It had rained a bit in the night in Hyderabad. The sky was overcast and some light drizzle was possible, but every one hoped and prayed for the rain gods to leave us alone for the next five days.
The New Zeeland Cricket Team was touring India and they were to start the first test at Hyderabad that morning. Read the rest of this entry


Jostling with Ethics – 3 – : Having a Drink


I am unashamedly from a ‘Moddhyo Britto Bhadro Poribaar’ from ‘Poorbo Bango’ . In plain English that would translate to being from a Middle Class Gentle Folk from Eastern Bengal. Like every other social group in this world, this social group also has its baggage of ‘do’ s and ‘dont’s just as it has its own set of behavior considered socially right and socially wrong. One of the values for this group during the first half of the twentieth century was abstention from alcohol. Read the rest of this entry

A Very Small World – 5: Picnic at Pinjore Gardens


Our lives are but long strings of incidents.   The incidents themselves are little beads that get threaded over a string of time.   As time goes by,   the beads recede into obscurity and are lost sight of.      Yet,  after many years, if one decided to pick up one of these discarded strings and looks at one of the beads threaded there on, one finds that though encrusted in dust, the bead itself has lost none of its colour, nor its ability to revive the taste and smell of that time.

As I travel back in time to 1962 and pick one incident, I find that it is as complicated as one could be.   It has all the little shades of events and emotions to be remembered as a story.   So, here you are…..  Read the rest of this entry

A Very Small World – 4: Locating Bhaskar


It was an early morning in November 1959.   November is perhaps the best month for weather in Kolkata and I had just arrived on posting to 12(Bengal) Air Squadron NCC at the Jadavpore University a few weeks ago.   I had not yet setup a household.   My wife Leena was with my Parents in Deoghar.   This posting to Kolkata was on my own request so that I could look after my ailing father a little better by being located not very far away.     My boss Squadron Leader RA (Bob) Rattan called me into his office and declared that I was to go down to Ranchi over the week-end.    The NCC Air Squadron at Ranchi had just received their gliders.    There was to be a formal inauguration of flying activity there.    The NCC Headquarters had asked the Group Commander at Kolkata or his representative to attend the function. The Colonel Sahib who was the Group Commander was not keen to make the tiresome journey; in any case he had some other more pressing plans for the week end.   He had therefore asked my boss to be his representative.   Bob was similarly disinclined to spoil his week end.   I was young and available.     I was therefore required to go.  Read the rest of this entry

A Very Small World – 3 : My friend Mr Roy


I have talked of this world of ours being a very small place on a number of occasions.   This feeling of being in a very small place has been brought to me many times at many places, some times quite unexpectedly and other times as if to reinforce a belief already held quite firmly.   Let me take up the case of my friend Mr Roy. Read the rest of this entry

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


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