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Story Of A Naval Aviator - My Experience With Indian Navy

Discussion in 'The Officers Mess' started by vstol jockey, Oct 27, 2016.

  1. vstol jockey

    vstol jockey Colonel MILITARY STRATEGIST

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    I will post here my experiences with Indian Navy and also as Cadet in NDA.
     
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  2. vstol jockey

    vstol jockey Colonel MILITARY STRATEGIST

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    I come from a family of warrior Brahmins and also from rural background of India. I was born in Village Sarai Jullena in South Delhi and grew up there. When I was born in 1965, Vietnam war That sealed my fate and also blocked every other option as a career for me. I had only one aim, to be what my Father had chosen me to be. I never thought of any other job as an option and did what all could have made me a Fighter Pilot.
     
  3. vstol jockey

    vstol jockey Colonel MILITARY STRATEGIST

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    My own father was denied the chance to join 1oth JSW as NDA was known at that time by my Grandfather who wanted him to take care of our extensive agricultural properties. My Grand father got my father married off at the age of 17 yrs as part of a family bet. The Grandfather of my mother had a rare ability to predict from the way of walking of a pregnant women, the gender of child she carried. AND he predicted that my grandmother was carrying my father and my maternal grandmother was carrying my supposed mother. They agreed that if came true, the children will be married off to eachother as we came from different Gotra.
     
  4. vstol jockey

    vstol jockey Colonel MILITARY STRATEGIST

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    The girl child with whom the marriage of my father was agreed to died at the age of 5 yrs. My mother replaced her as the bride for my father. But In Haryanavi system we don't have baraat within the same village as everyone within the village irrespective of caste or creed is supposed to be a family. So my Maternal Grand father, who was from the family of those Marathas who did not go back to Maharashtra after the defeat in third battle of Panipat, had to move out to a village in Haryana from my own village. My father was 17 and my mother 15 when they got married and also saw eachother on the wedding day only. LOL
     
  5. vstol jockey

    vstol jockey Colonel MILITARY STRATEGIST

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    I grew up always being called a phantom fighter pilot. And that moulded my thinking forever. for 18 yrs I did everything that wud make me realise my dream and finally I appeared for NDA exams midway thru my 12th class. A very dear friend whom I trusted a lot advised me not to put my first choice as IAF bcoz Armywallas will never give you the first choice so put the service that you don't want to join as first and second and third shud be my actual first and second choice.
    For some reason I found lot of merit in this advice and filled the form with IN as first, IAF as second and IA as third choice. As the things wud have it. I cleared the UPSC and SSB and also medicals to join NDA. I got a shock of my life when I landed in NDA wing, Ghorpadi, Pune. I was called Naval Dope and this term was used for every Naval cadet in NDA.
     
  6. vstol jockey

    vstol jockey Colonel MILITARY STRATEGIST

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    I completed my first term in NDA wing. there were many incidents which used to happen nearly everyday between us and our Saabs-JCO Instructors. I had to undergo operation to correct DNS (L) for my nose and I was advised not to box again. I used to box in school. But when we reached NDA wing, we all were made to do Novices boxing for three rounds with a cadet of our weight. My sparring partner was a kannadiga and we decided among ourselves that we will just play out three rounds without actually hitting eachother. He was afraid of my strength and I was scared of my Nose. So we started the bout and for half of first round we just made moves to avoid each other and did not throw any punch which cud have been called a scoring punch. Our PT instructor who was an officer upgraded from soldier and Gurkha regiment Boxing coach came to the ring, stopped the bout and told us that if we did not strike each other with force, they will put on their gloves and hammer us. I told him about my problem regarding my Nose, he just said don't worry we will get it repaired again and since I was a naval dope, it did not matter.
    My partner cracked up and started really hitting me, I dodged, ducked and blocked his punches and told him to hold it and not make it real. But he was shit scared of being bashed that Gurkha regiment guy. AND finally he did what he should not have, he punched me on my nose. The blood oozed out of my nose and I tasted my own blood. I moved forward and gave him a combination of left uppercut followed by right hook and left knock out punch. all delivered in split second. he just fell down and had to be removed from ring.
    Guess what happened next!!
    That PT instructor Officer came to the ring. Asked me which weight category I had fought, and like a fool I told him Walter weight while before the start of the fight I had told him that I do not know anything about boxing. He gave one hard punch on my chest and said, the moment you delivered the combination and your footwork with that, told me that you are a very experienced boxer. I was now in the main team of NDA wing and was made to fight competitive boxing. Aisa bhi hota hai. However hard we may try, we can't replace experience. That officer must have seen hundreds like me who must have tried to fool their way thru only to make a bloody fool of them. Like he did to me.
     
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  7. vstol jockey

    vstol jockey Colonel MILITARY STRATEGIST

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    In NDA wing, many cadets are non swimmers and they learn swimming in typical IA style. First they will never tell you what swimming is all about and what all are the different type strokes and how to breath. Whether you are a swimmer or non swimmer, your first entry is from 3m board in to the pool. I knew swimming before joining NDA so it was not a problem for me. But cadets like me were used and employed for a very funny task called-Paani Pilaana.
    Our job was to stay in the pool and whenever a non swimmer jumped, hold him down under water for a few seconds and then leave him. The guy wud come up and will frantically start kicking his legs to ensure that we don't pull him down again and also throw his arms frantically. And you get a swimmer in no time.
    I did this job pretty well. But one day, I was told to Paani Pilao one of my coursemate (He has just handed over the command of a Jaguar base in North India)
    he jumped and I followed him. I was a bit late in my timing and this guy came up pretty quick. Before I cud do anything, he embraced me, locked up my arms with his and his legs locked my legs and we both started drowning. I got a scare of my life because he had such a grip on me that I cud not free myself with best of my efforts. Our swimming saab was watching it all and laughing. This guy was shouting bachao and I too was about to follow him. it was than our swimming saab shouted to me and told me -paani main badh jaa (get into water and this guy will leave you). I did that and this guy left me. I swam away from him, took couple of long breaths and thanked my stars. I learnt a lesson that day which I had read about-A drowning man has a grip which no one can shake off.
     
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  8. vstol jockey

    vstol jockey Colonel MILITARY STRATEGIST

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    I had applied for and got my DGCA Student Pilot License in Feb 1983 at the age of 17.5 yrs. I flew about 27 hrs on Pushpak aircraft before joining NDA. I did that as I did not want to give up on my dream of becoming a pilot. I had 91.33% PCM in 12th Board and yet I failed to get admission in BSc (Phy Hons) course in DU. I had to use sports quota to get admission in Hindu college as a footballer. I was declared temporarily unfit for NDA in medical for being overweight and DNS(L). I reduced weight and also got my nose operated. But my weight was still way beyond the 59Kgs needed to join NDA. I took specialist opinion and thru bone density test and skin fold thickness test they gave a verdict that my weight shud be atleast 15% higher than the figure quoted by IA. I was required to be 59kgs for my height of 5feet 9inches. On BMI scale this is below the lowest limit. I was cleared by IA in appeal medical at 67 kgs.
    It was first week of Aug 1983 and the finals of cricket trophy for DU was held in Stephen's college between Stephen's and PGDAV college. Kirti Azaad struck seven sixes and won the game for Stephen's. PGDAV came out and burnt a DTC bus for losing. Stephen's Guys came out and burnt another for victory. These buses were burnt in front of Hindu College, so Hinduites came out and burnt a third bus. Delhi Police surrounded the campus and started massive lathi charge on students. I had gone to complete my admission formalities and got stuck in this fiasco. Somehow I managed to run across the jungle behind KMC, reached ISBT and took a bus to my home. I told the whole story to my father with lot of fun. he took out the letter which had come from AHQ requiring me to join NDA by 15th Aug 1983. My father just told me one thing-Don't even ask for a glass of water in this house if you don't want to join NDA. I joined NDA on 12th August.
     
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  9. vstol jockey

    vstol jockey Colonel MILITARY STRATEGIST

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    Many years later, I asked my father why he made that statement. His reply was simple. He said that he did not want me to grow up burning buses and become a nuisance for the society who will be called a goonda. He wanted me to grow up to be a responsible citizen of the nation and love the nation the way he did despite all its shortcomings. My father is the same famous engineer of NDMC who first refused the need for Maruti Road rollers and finally refused to take delivery of them for being substandard and that too during Emergency days and against Sanjay Gandhi. A real Man of Character and a MAN of men.
     
  10. vstol jockey

    vstol jockey Colonel MILITARY STRATEGIST

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    The ragda that we got in NDA wing was nothing compared to what awaited us in main NDA. I completed my first term with a Lanyard- Drill square test pass cadet. Three Gold medals for Boxing, football & Discuss throw and two silvers for Swimming. We arrived in NDA and we were taken to Bicycle yard for issuing us our cycles. In NDA, the distances are large so you need cycles to commute between your academic periods to be able to reach in time. One outstanding feature of NDA is that even cycles have number plates. Mine was D-120. I was allotted to Delta squadron which had been funded by Bihar Govt. I was soon to realise that cycles are not meant for riding but they actually ride us. If you were a second termer in NDA, you will always be asked to dismount for no reason by Sergeants and made to lift them above your head and run. Or, you will have to run with them. They were more of a burden than a help. I just deflated my bicycle and chose to run with it everywhere than to lift it above my head. If you are seen to be running with a cycle, the senior cadets wud let you off as a second termer but if you rode it, they will make you run with them held above your head. We had 20 guys giving up in NDA wing and another 35 gave ran away from the ragda of main NDA. My course strength came down from 335 to 270. To be a Naval cadet we needed to be among first 100 in the merit as only 39 seats were reserved for IN in NDA. I was 24th in the merit and remained a Naval dope.
    Do we still carry class and caste as our system of TERMERS in NDA to armed forces. Class/seniority/strength being a deciding factor even in Armed forces?
     
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  11. vstol jockey

    vstol jockey Colonel MILITARY STRATEGIST

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    Gentlemen, I am not here for monologue. had that been a case, I wud have written a book.
     
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  12. turkish

    turkish Lieutenant FULL MEMBER

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    Please include the story when you bailed out of Sea Harrier !
     
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  13. vstol jockey

    vstol jockey Colonel MILITARY STRATEGIST

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    I will. I am progressing as it unfolded for me in my life. The life as a second termer was hell for me and my fellow cadets. The things which are called as exploitation in normal world were routine in NDA. I was asked to go and fetch morning tea for my seniors which included our Martyr Sqn Ldr Ahuja of kargil war. He was a sixth termers when I joined NDA and I had to give him his morning tea when he woke up. The present chief of national Flight test Centre (NFTC) Rear Adm Maolanker was my senior in NDA and also Navy. He was the only cadet who never asked any of his juniors to serve him. I have served with him in IN also and we are very close as friends also however I have not spoken to him for last 20 yrs. I had a big problem in NDA as I did not belong to any association like RIMCOlians or Sainik Schools. I had studied till 5th in BPS, Pilani and Joined Sainik School, Chittorgarh. I left SS, Chittorgarh in seventh grade and Joined Navyug Public School, Delhi. I passed out of that school as Headboy to join NDA.
    IMHO, NDA is still built on caste system and that must be demolished. You guys may not know but about three years back, there was a big fight between cadets who came from officer families and cadets who came from JCO families. Indian Armed Forces are no more what they used to be in my time. We joined to serve the nation and now we have guys who join for money and a career.
    This is a very big change due to dilution of status of armed forces with respect to civil guys. The deserters in a battle are invariably mercenaries, who join a battle for money. For the people who come to battle as a faith and family tradition, desertion and escape is not an option.
     
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  14. Vidyanshu

    Vidyanshu Lieutenant FULL MEMBER

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    Great Sir. Keep Going :biggthumpup::biggthumpup::biggthumpup::cheesy::cheesy::cheesy::slowride::slowride::slowride::punjabi:
     
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  15. Inactive

    Inactive Guest

    That, sir, is the proverbial nail being hit right on the head.

    The great leadership of India and the bureaucrats do not realise this fact. The only thing a soldier is taught to fight for is his/her own Izzat and that of his/her unit. The day monetary consideration becomes a factor for the same, one loses the armed forces of the nation.

    Historically the soldier was paid less, but as long as the rank and status were kept the highest, the soldier never complained. But when the rank and status is linked to the grade pay and the same is below the civilian, a double whammy has been served.

    Anyways, I digress and de-rail your narrative. May I request you to carry on? I know it is sounding like a monologue as you narrate, but I would be loathe to intervene in it.

    With your permission, may I add the words Story of a Naval Aviator to the title?
     

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