Tag Archives: Tambaram

A Very Small World – 11 – : Mishti Dances Through East Africa

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When I returned from Iraq in February 1976, the immediate family was scattered all over the country.   The eldest was in Bal Bharati Air Force School in her tenth standard.   She could not be shifted till the end of the school term.   The second and the third were with my mother and my brother in Bankura West Bengal attending a School with Bengali medium.    School term ended there in December.   Those two were thus free to move back to me.   My wife set up a small household looking after the eldest and the youngest at New Delhi while I set up another House and brought the middle three children, Sukanya Swagata and Subir with me to Tambaram.   Sukanya was all of 15 years old and promptly became the mother of the house. Read the rest of this entry

FIS…Abjuring a State of Denials

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I had taken command of the Flying Instructors’ School at Tambaram on 16th February 1976 and I had found myself in conflict with my bosses at the Command Headquarters just as I began this tenure. I needed better serviceability, more instructors, less interference from the Command HQ and more organizational support to run the unit properly. My demands on the Command HQ looked quite like the case of a truant child throwing a tantrum. Read the rest of this entry

FIS… Asserting Control

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As I assumed my Command of the Flying Instructors’ School at Tambaram on 16 February 1976, a strange kind of emotion filled me. I had been a part of this unit on three different periods of my career in the past. I was very fond of the unit and was very proud of it. My previous tenures had been very happy. Now I had arrived at the unit for the fourth time, finally as the Commanding Officer. However, my initial impression of the environment of the unit on arrival was not favorable. Read the rest of this entry

F I S: Assuming Command

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Some how, I was not surprised in the least when my posting to FIS as its Commanding Officer came to be known. That of course did not mean that I was not a little disappointed. I had already commanded a fighter squadron at the Wing Commander level five years earlier. I had then done a tenure as a Directing Staff at the Defence Services Staff college Wellington, had fought a war as the Chief Operations officer of a fighter base in the Western Sector in 1971, had a short tenure as an Assistant Director in the Air HQ and was in the process of finishing a full tenure as a team leader on deputation to Iraq. All these jobs were in the rank of Wing Commander. Now I was returning to India from my deputation to Iraq and was due for a promotion to the rank of a Group Captain. At that rank the most sought after appointment was that of a base commander of a fighter base. I would have naturally loved to be a base commander. At this stage, to be told that I had to command yet another flying unit at the next higher rank was indeed a bit of a let down. Read the rest of this entry

A Very Small World – 3 : My friend Mr Roy

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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

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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

A Very Small World -1: The Austrian Professor

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In April 1958 I came to Tambaram as an instructor at the Flying Instructor’s School of the Air Force.    Tambaram is a suburb of Chennai.    In 1958 however, Chennai was still known as Madras.   Smallest of the four Indian metros of that time, it was a charming little city with a character of its own that was lovable.     Though its climate could be described as being hot, a cool sea breeze cooled the city down every evening to a very comfortable level.  Similarly, every morning a smart land breeze swept the dust of the city from its sky out to the Bay of Bengal.   Compared to the north of the country, the air here carried very little dust.    Low and medium clouds prevailed overhead for most of the year preventing the earth from getting scorched by the sun.  The city was blessed with a beautiful string of sea-beaches.   It had nice roads and disciplined road traffic.   Comfortable electric trains connected the city to its suburbs.  All in all, it used to be a city well worth living in. Read the rest of this entry