10 Years and going strong......

9th June, 2006
A Decade has gone by since……since 9th June, 1996…..the day the prettiest lady that has ever set foot on earth united with the most eligible bachelor for decades to come…in Holy Matrimony…..

Marriage, the most sanctimonious of relations that man has ever INVENTED for himself….
Marriage marks the rebirth of a boy as a MAN and that of a girl as a WOMAN….
It marks the beginning of “rest of the life” for each other…
Marriage… an institution where unfathomed love, dissolved in distilled- pure commitment, flavoured with trust, romance, petty quarrels and such similar spices of life, forms the very base ….

Well today they complete 10 years of married life…10 years of togetherness…

At the age of 2* (twenties…. u r not supposed to reveal a lady’s age…Basic manners) … she was this pretty charming angel... sweetheart of a whole college (her dad had a tough time taking care of all those guys who happened to be truly madly deeply in love with her)….Miss popular of an entire city(oh!! U r HER brother???)… dancer (started learning Bharatnatyam from the age of 3….)… singer (well with the most enchanting voice)…. engineer (she managed to get hold of that degree somehow)…what not she was???

At the same time….He was the most eligible bachelor…. An engineer ( he too was…ghosh… there’s something bout these engineering colleges…these days love stories always seem to have an engg college somewhere in the script)….ok back to our hero…God had gifted him with one of those only for one in a million kind of brains….its kind of filled with grey matter to the brim….god seemed to like our hero a bit too much..so he gifted him with smartness, a handsome face, great Culinary skills(his Biriyanis are lip smacking)..and lots of other goody goody stuff…. God even sent him to The US of A for a Masters Degree….As a result of this, the grey matter in his head started overflowing…..so to prevent this overflow…he let some of the Grey Matter flow out through his mouth into the heads of some poor little Indian engineering students who had till then been deprived of Such Matter…..

Oh!! Did I just hear someone utter a “I have heard this story before”…..
Ok don’t mistake this to be a typical…Tamil / Telugu College Prof – Student Love story....because it simply is not…
Because the hero nor the heroine had to run away from home
Because the hero wasn’t Christian nor the heroine Muslim
Because the heroine’s brothers never had to beat up the hero
Because both the parents gave their blessings for the marriage without any filmy melodrama….

And so on 9-6-96 ,…. (…..they had a car with the same registration number),….she became his wedded wife FOREVER….recently he told us that before marriage he used to think as to why its necessary that we need to spend our lives with just a single person….cant we marry another when we get bored….so we asked him..”and now have your thoughts changed cheta???”...”no comments….” he replied….

And so the new couple started their lives with great Zest and Zeal….too much Zest and they became hungry ….so as per the great Indian tradition….
SHE started cooking…..and guess what….HE realised why God had given him Culinary skills….,marriages are definitely made in heaven….He cooks till date….but in 10 years she too has become a great cook…their marriage…there’s magic in it…(atleast it taught her to cook….)

They were happy with each other….they loved each other….. but then….Honeymoon period ends some day….its strange how these petty quarrels creep into a married life…
Her birthday….he called her up every 2 hours from office to reveal gifts hidden in the many nooks and corners of the house…..they were happy…(he still does similar stunts…so they still are happy)…..but one night he just took off to the beach all alone…she was there crying at home{was it because he didn’t take her along…I never knew.. I wasn’t married… I still don’t…cause I still am not married}…but he came back……(maybe because these police guys never let people sit idle on the beach at nights)

but then that’s the beauty of marriage….u quarrel with your love….and after a while you just realize how much he or she is a part of you…and love n life go on…..Theirs went on..

To add to the existing beauty of marriage…they are now blessed with two kids{man !! babysitting those two seems to be my prime occupation these days….Serve the Nation..Serve its kids…}….The kids have added a whole new dimension and meaning to their being together…its beautiful…..their married life and all that surrounds it…

They have told me a lot about life…rather taught me…. How a marriage works out…how that eternal bonding and understanding is developed…about mutual respect for each other….willingness to adjust….and lots more…..

Guess, I don’t want to get married!!!! (they taught me right???/ ;-) )

Dearest chetan and chechu.….Happy Wedding Anniversary…..


Was I Wrong ???

She loved me? (did she)…I loved her(for I thought that was love)…a beautiful school time romance….,but in my present frame of mind, I would rather say ,victims of the age old saga…..Childhood Crushes.
She was pretty…had a very beautiful voice which she flaunted with her singing prowess…and was weak in Maths…thank God she was…..for so was I…and thats why she came into life…Maths tution…the ideal place for a school time love story…..

Acquaintance nurtured into good company…that was followed by friendship… I liked her…the extrovert that she was....her non stop chirpy sweet talks…. Her smiling face.. . above all…. The way she treated me…it was the first time I felt that someone gave me some importance in his or her life… she asked me for my opinion for various things… was I that good? …whatever be it she made me feel special…made me feel that I was being LOVED….
What a strange feeling it was …. It was nice… still is a sweet memory…very sweet…

This friendship grew into a deeper stronger bond ….I should rather say our equation worked out in that mathematical environment…..

She was adamant on sitting next to me always…. I liked it
She collected and kept the wrappers of chocolates I ate..(childish)…but I started eating more of those…
She started introducing me to all her friends….man!! few of them were damn pretty…
She wanted to know a lot more bout me than any normal friend would want…
She wanted to know bout my family, friends, likes ,dislikes…and what not…

Well all this was new to me…. . it was strange but I loved this feeling… . was this love ?? does she really love me…oh man!! I was on top of the world….
With these thoughts in mind…I should say I became more fond of her. .more close… what to say all of a sudden I was too interested in maths classes…any extra class…I would be there on time…if not, well before time…

Valentines day …what better day than this to reveal your unfathomed love for your beloved….but is this ritual of PROPOSING to your dear one necessary???..
I KNEW SHE LOVED ME…then why??… but I guess some formalities are meant to be followed…atleast for the beauty in it…. So let this 14 feb be the most memorable one for me for ages to come….with such spirit in heart I went and expressed my feelings for her… I asked her …dearest “L” do thee love me???
That 14 FEB still remains a memorable one…..SHE SAID NO…..

N..O… what ??? did I hear her correct…. She loved me…I was sure about that…sitting through all those classes ,though I still was clueless about calculus,…. I was sure of this…she loved me…she loved me…….

I had been brought up being bestowed upon with more responsibilities than a normal kid of my age…maybe this helped my thinking mature faster than many…. I was taught never to cry over spilt milk…. I was taught that whatever happens in life..happens for good…you should learn from all your experiences and understand life…..
After that incident I learnt about new things like Infatuation, immaturity , crush….and what not…. I laughed at myself…. I thought she was childish…look who is talking??..... sheeeshhh… how could I ???? but better late than never… I even understood my feelings for her was something that almost everyone at that age develops… part of growing up….but she was mature enough to understand all that beforehand…man I liked her more….a great friend she has been….

I still continued to meet and talk with her….but just as a friend…rather a very good friend… I had shed all my infatuations for her and treated our relationship as just friendship…. I had moved on in life (though I didn’t know what it meant then)..

But now she was in love with me…. I didn’t realize it till much later…. Or rather I didn’t want to… she started bonding to me like never before…. It made me uncomfortable at times…she started becoming possessive about me and had lost warmth for all my other friends…..she was in love with me…truly ..madly…deeply… but she never told me so… maybe somethings are not to be said but to be understood….
All her dearest friends told me that she loved me..
My dear ones warned that she loves me
But she never told me….never….
Maybe she knew that I knew….but she never told me…

Time had come to say goodbyes and part ways… I had chosen a career in the Air Force and so had to leave the city almost like forever….. she wanted to do engineering and stay back there…..
She still meant a lot to me…. Though not in a way she wanted… I wanted to make this clear to her so that she too could understand that her feelings for me is nothing but infatuation….and move on in life…..

I met her for one last time (for a long time to come)… I told her that I didn’t hold such feelings for her…but that it was all just an infatuation I felt… and that…. What she is feeling is infatuation tooo…this is not the age for love…. We need to concentrate on our careers…atleast I had to…. Etc..etc…
I still don’t remember what all crap I had told her then… or if at all I told anything…. I used to be such a dumbo that it wouldn’t be surprising if I had sung the National anthem to conclude my speech…. I don’t remember…for I never wanted to….
But one thing I remember for sure is that I broke her heart…for I had seen those tears flowing down her cheeks…. I didn’t want to look into her eyes…..neither did she ……. I guess?.. but she cried ….. she cried aloud..and maybe said something to me…but her voice was swallowed by the buzzing traffic……
I had made her cry….. for what??? For loving me..??? should I have????/..but she never told me…..
But what about me…. ???/ had she told me once….???? maybe……
And I was not ready to be in ambiguity forever…….

Was I wrong?????


Love THEM all !!

8th of March

It was just an usual day for me. During my normal tryst with the newspaper I found its pages overflowing with articles and write ups about WOMEN – their empowerment & social status. It was International Women’s Day. A day meant especially for them.

So in my routine “good morning” messages to all those dear ladies, really dear to me, I included special greetings for the day.

In the night my brother called me up from Bangalore and told me that our dear lil sis had rang him up to express “her GRIEF” that he had not wished her for the DAY but that only I did. He explained to her that I would have send the same message to all girls whose number happened to be in my address book.{thank u bro..}

But surprisingly she said “ whatever be it, he wished me” {‘surprisingly’- because she never took sides with me especially against big bro}

My brother kept on laughing for a long time and then kept the phone advising me to cut down on my messaging tendencies to the fairer sex, or atleast not to send such messages to sis dear that would land him up in similar trouble.

After that I thought about that message I send, as my bro had guessed, to almost all ladies whose number I had….it read..

“to one of the most wonderful and amazing

Lady I have ever known

Happy women’s day”

I decided not to send anyone anymore messages just for the sake of messaging, in future. But then I pondered over the message. It was not a “just for the sake of messaging” message. I had meant what I had typed.

Every single lady/girl whom I had send the message is actually amazing and wonderful in her own way. That’s the beauty of women. They are so beautiful and amazing in their own special ways.

That’s why ladies…
I love you all….



LIFE…its something I always wanted to live to the fullest.

Three years in NDA, a place where people think you having nothing called “life”, but I had lived those three years to the fullest . Live life King Size- that’s what I always followed. Maybe the charm & glory of becoming a fighter pilot after the three grueling years pushed me forward.

Dreams are great motivators. They have the ability to make a person sail through anything. Dreams are powerful…they are STRANGE.
Life and dreams…a twin package where to enjoy one, the other is quite essential. You lose track of one its difficult to bring the other to terms with you.

Pilot to navigator at AFA in lieu of my non-possession of flying skills… well, I never understood if it was shattering of my dreams or if it was life slipping out of my control. It played confusing games with my mind. It made me believe that I had lost the life-dream package. I just wished that it was a treacherous reverie I could wake up from. But when I woke up I found myself facing life…. A life that was fast running away from me.

Life is strange. Its like a Neigro’s left ball – its neither fair nor is it right.
The faster you realise it, the better. So here I stand like a fool watching life run away with all my dreams. He turns back and smiles at me – a wicked smile – through which he kept shouting “you fool, you thought you could conquer me with your dreams”.

But hey, I am no fool... - “ I ” – the one who lived life King Size…. I’m no fool..

So here I start chasing life again, sure to conquer him this time, for little does he know that I have got bigger dreams now….. BIGGER than he could possibly imagine…



Girls become women….but boys just grow to become bigger boys…..never had I thought in the wildest of my dreams that boys would become men, that too in a span of 3 years …impossible….

But maybe My NDA proved me wrong ….3 years is ample enough to turn even new borns into men
But what’s there in this particular academy that’s not there anywhere else is a thought that had always roamed in my wild mind.. …guess, it’s the SYSTEM (as we call it) that has made the impossible, possible. The system that has stood the test of time and proved itself to be the premier institute to produce such sons of the soil who would put service to their motherland before self….and honestly speaking I just am too proud to be a product of this institute.

When I joined the NDA I was a clueless 18 year old, confused to the core if i had done the right thing by joining the defence forces. But a few days and I was sure, it wasn't a wise decision..
I had joined the NDA not because it was my long cherished dream or something... i just joined cause i had no other option but join....(though after my 3 yeras at nda i regret that i had earlier regretted my decision)

NDA...well it was tough adjusting to the system at first..but i never expected it to be easy because i knew military training just cant be easy...but once i got set into the system...it carried me along smoothly...
The three years taught me a lot... it taught me to survive come what may...it taught me to endure pain...it taught me to adapt and adjust to all situations...it taught me how to cooperate with others..it taught me how a leader should be to his men..it taught me comradery and valour..it taught me how to be a gentleman and an officer....It taught me LIFE.......

As days went by I started loving the system which had engulfed me from all spheres...
I started loving the early morning awakenings...
I stated loving the Drill, PT and the Equitation classes...
I stated loving the academic classes (because we could sleep as much as we want)
I started loving my flying lessons....
but above all i started loving those coursemates of mine whom i count on with my life..and its because of this bonding that the NDA still stands tall and the age old system still remains a sucess..

The Passing Out Parade (POP)...the one thing for which an NDA cadet endures his three years with ease..its the moment of ultimate glory..... for thats the moment u turn fully into a MAN from the boy you were ...
It also marks the culmination of your three year ordeal at the NDA......

At the final phase of the parade , the passing out course marches through A Ceremonial Quarter Deck where the words "ANTIM PAGH"(Final Step) are engraved on the floor.....

Final step...so ironical...for it just happens to be the first step of the whole new world that lies ahead of us....yet to be discovered....yet to be conquered.


He was just 21 !?

Mid term breaks are something that everyone looks forward to at NDA,for we get a 5-day break from our routine :
5-days of continuous sleep, 5 days of liberty, 5 days of guests , 5 days of girls, 5 days of sleep (ok I mentioned sleep before but.. then…sleep……its divine for us)
During my fourth semester mid term break she had come over to Pune all the way from Bangalore just to see me. It was her first time in Pune. She wanted to see around the city, do her usual curios shopping , wanted to learn about some tribal painting [she took ‘Indian Culture’ Classes at a school in B’lore] and above all she wanted to see NDA for herself. The NDA about which I had vividly [ to be honest a bit too vividly] described to her.

She came over to NDA on that Saturday morning [beautiful she was as always] I received her at the gate and welcomed her to the cradle of military leadership. Since it was the fourth day of my break and she was to depart the next day to Bangalore I had to take her through a very speedy sight seeing around NDA. I took her to all the buildings and monuments,within the 8000+ acres, rich and vibrant in their grandness and splendid architecture.
I also took her to the Sudan block , the main building of the NDA. The central foyer of the Sudan block is a white marble floored, white marble walled, white marble pillared circular hall. On those shiny white marble walls hung huge portraits of those great alumnus of NDA who had laid down their lives for our nation, along with a description of their gallant deeds.
She went around the hall admiring those portraits and reading about each person with keen interest. All of a sudden she called me and pointed towards the portrait of a very young looking officer and said, "HE was just 21!! , He died so young, how can someone so young……" I acknowledged and said, "yes he was just 21".
But then I noticed something on her face. It was an expression that I had never seen before in those beautiful eyes. An expression I couldn’t understand. I got a very strange feeling. I could not make out what was wrong. I asked her about it. But she said "nothing". It was a kind of anxiety that I had never seen before……she immediately left the room….
After an hour or so she said goodbye and left me all alone…still pondering over that expression I had seen in her eyes…..
But then I finally came to a conclusion….
May be it was because a joker (she always said I was one) who by default was her brother…was standing right in front of her..and he just happened to be 20 years of age, with just a year left for his graduation from the same NDA.


Touching The Sky !

Take off path clear
Release brakes & open full throttle
RPM 2500
80 km/hr - nose wheel up
90 km/hr - unstuck
Climb at 105 km/hr
…..and for the first time in my life I had broken that connection with land…I was up & above the whole world…in a whole new dimension……I was FLYING…..
Since the day one at the AFTT (Air Force Training Team of the NDA) I had been preparing for my first sortie, the day I would fly for the first time in my life. I was dearly looking forward for that day. But the monsoons had delayed our flying for long. We were eagerly waiting for the skies to clear up. Each day we would arrive early morning at the AFTT anticipating a clear sky but to our despair.
So we spent all the time memorizing the umpteen checks that have to be carried out before, after and during the flight.
Soon the Gods heard our prayers and the skies cleared up.
Out of the 50 odd batch mates that we were, my turn was somewhere around the 45 mark. So by the time it was my turn, my excitement was boosted up by all those who had flown by then.
I kept gazing at the never ending blue while my course mates played around in the air with their crafts. I kept praying (a thing which I had not done for quite some time, but maybe I felt I would be getting closer to him than ever before) for clear skies when my turn would come.
It was a fine Monday morning. We reached the AFTT by around 6.15 am. By then all the "6 beauties" were lined up in the dispersal area ready to take you for a ride high up among the clouds. We checked the flight schedule and lo!, mine was the second sortie of the day.
I started memorizing all checks again and again. It is said that a good pilot should have all the checks at his fingertips. I was confident about my checks but then..i don’t know why?...maybe it was the anxiety working up in my mind. A mixed feeling of excitement & fear with a dash of thrill was brewing in my mind when I saw my aircraft come back after the first sortie.
7.30am : it was time for me to take on the skies. I went and strapped up in the cockpit. Within 5 minutes my instructor(Sqn Ldr NKBala) came and strapped up besides me. I started off with the checks. I did all my checks with perfection or so I thought. I missed a thing or two here and there. I was nervous (it had never happened before but I was nervous..maybe it was ok to be nervous when its your first flight…)
Within 10 minutes I was taxying her (we always address the aircraft as "her") out of the dispersal area to the far end of the runway. Once we were lined up for take off SqnLdr Bala told me "now you just sit back and enjoy the flight"
He released the brakes and opened full throttle. She rushed ahead with full power. At 80km/hr he lifted her nose wheel up. At 90km/hr he unsticked and she took off into air…once airborne she climbed steadily at 105 km/hr till an altitude of 3500 ft…then we leveled out and maintained the same altitude.
From then on SqnLdr Bala gave me a running commentary of all the features that we were seeing. Everything looked so tiny from up there. Even the enormous Sudan block seemed like a small box with a dome on top. Then he explained to me the functions and uses of all controls and instruments that occupied more than half the space in that small cockpit.
There was a beautiful cloud formation right above us. Sqn Ldr Bala took her right through the cloud through a hole in it. Above it was heaven or so I felt. I could see tiny whiffs of clouds flying beneath me. They seemed so soft & delicate. Water droplets were striking against the face of the cockpit and flowing in streaks to the rear. But the best was yet to come. There was a rainbow about 500m ahead. My instructor said. "Ok, now you have the controls…do whatever you want but take me to the pot of gold beneath the rainbow"
It took me quite some time to get used to the controls. But once I got the hang of it, I was on top of the world…I could now say that I was really FLYING…
Now it was time to land. We headed back to the runway. As we were nearing it SqnLdr bala told me "hang on" and opened the air brakes. She went into a nose wheel dive. It was like going down a vertical fall in a roller coaster ride. He then aligned her for landing. Landing is the toughest part of any flight. The runway grew broader and broader as we approached it and finally we touched down.
After taxying her back to the runway SqnLdr Bala left instructing me to carry out the post flight checks by myself.
I sat there in the cockpit for another 3-4 minutes just relishing my reverie which had come true.