Category Archives: 04 – Growing Up

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

A Plate of Fried Prawns

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I must admit that I am quite confused about how to string together my story of the day.  When I first thought about writing this story down, it appeared to be quite simple and small, but as I thought about it a little more, it became a jumble of many little stories in a massive knot.   I do want to narrate this story and let my readers enjoy it.    I shall try to untangle the knot and present you with the threads laid out in an orderly fashion. Read the rest of this entry

Rammed on the Red Road

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The most enjoyable part of my job while I was in Kolkata with 12 Bengal NCC (Air) Squadron as an instructor pilot in 1960 was my freedom to go and fly with Bengal Flying Club at Barrackpore.   On week days, my cadets were generally not able to come for flying as they were all college students and had classes to attend.   My boss Squadron Leader Bob Rattan was quite happy to leave me alone to handle the flying part of my job and he never questioned my visits to Barrackpore.   Read the rest of this entry

Dadachanji is Lost

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Naoroz Noshar Dadachanji and I were close pals for a long time.   We were batch-mates at Begumpet for the 60th Pilot’s Course in Number 1 Air Force Academy.   We both became Cadet Under Officers on the same day.    Naturally we were commissioned on the same day too: 1 Apr 53.   We were both sent into the fighter stream; therefore both of us did our fighter conversion on the Spitfire together at Hakimpet.    From there we were sent to the same squadron, No,1 : The Tigers. Our twin fates remained intertwined even after this long stint together.  Read the rest of this entry

Back to Begumpet

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We were at Coimbatore under-going the ‘Methods of Instruction’ course at the Air Force Administrative College when our posting orders to the two flying training colleges came through.    Very naturally, those of us who received orders for Hyderabad were more elated than those who got picked for Jodhpur; is there ever a comparison between a desert and an oasis?    Of course, those three or four who got picked for Hakimpet were happiest of all.   Not only would they get to go to Hyderabad, they would also get to continue flying the Vampire.  In 1955 the Vampire was still a ‘front line jet fighter’!    I was picked for the Begumpet lot. Read the rest of this entry

Farewell Roxy

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Monday the 14th of May 1962 was the beginning of a week like any other in that professionally busy time of ours.   I was then the Chief Ground Instructor (CGI) of the Flying Instructor’s School (FIS) located at Tambaram.   I had just upgraded my instructional category to ‘A1’ – the highest instructional category available in the Air Force.   I had just been commended for my performance by the Chief of the Air Staff.   I had just become the proud father of another baby girl, my second.   My wife Leena and the two kids and my mother who used to stay with me were all doing well.  I was therefore a happy man at that time. Read the rest of this entry

Gethomitis Delux

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Of the many hazards that a young military pilot faces in his day to day life, the affliction called gethomitis is of serious concern.   It generally afflicts a pilot who is young and is perhaps lonely; and alas a single seat pilot is often lonely, especially on long cross-country ferry flights of single aircraft.    Of all the instances of gethomitis that I have heard of, most took place under such circumstances.   In the story I am about to narrate today,   I was also a young, newly married pilot ferrying a Harvard T6G from Tambaram to Kanpur and another one back to Tambaram.   It was perhaps in late October or early November of 1960. Read the rest of this entry

Caught in a Cog at Coimbatore

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 In 1960 I was a QFI (Qualified Flying Instructor) with 12 Bengal Air NCC Squadron.    My unit was attached to Jadavpur University.  Our cadets flew with the Bengal Flying Club at Barrackpore.   At that time, Air Force Station Barrackpore was a fairly busy place.    Read the rest of this entry