Sunday, 23 March 2014

Thrill of a 10K Run

_______________ BITS 10K Run in Hyderabad ______________ 

BITS Pilani Hyderabad campus organised a 10K Run on 23rd March 2014, the Golden Jubilee year of my alma-mater. Outdoor events are always a great fun.

The 10K Run was open to all. Not just BITSians and families but also runners from Hyderabad Runners Association and the public.
There were participants from the Cadet Training Wing of Military College of EME also! See picture below.

It was a perfect morning around Hussain Sagar and the venue was all set.

 Participants arrived early to warm up.

Children were not to be left behind!

Young and not-so-young BITSians had huge smiles on their faces.

By the time it was 7 AM. the crowd was raring to go.
 TV anchor Uma enthralled the crowd.

DGP Khan, the Chief Guest came jogging to flag off the event along with Dr VS Rao, Director Hyderabad campus.

Colourful balloons were released and the Run was flagged off.

More than 800 runners/walkers participated. Some action shots:

Local lads cheering the runners on Tank Bund atop a captured Pakistani Army Tank.

Women runners kept a steady pace.

Student volunteers from Hyderabad campus helped in excellent conduct of the 10K Run. It gave all the BITSians a sense of pride.

The Institute moves on from the Golden Jubilee to the Diamond Jubilee (2024) and beyond. Insha-allah!

   -Ghumakkad Harsh/ 23rd March 2014


Friday, 21 March 2014

The Pen has Dried

Khushwant—The Pen has Dried


                This is an ode to Khushwant
            Who fearlessly aired his vent

Through his pen which was mightier than the proverbial sword
His masthead column ’With Malice...’ touched many a chord

            His simple English coupled with Urdu verse
            Made an impact on readers across the universe

From provocative articles to authentic works of history
Supporter of the Emergency to a revealing autobiography

            He was a master writer in his own way
            And did not spare anybody come what may

He personally replied to all the letters he received by mail
Those hand written letters and post cards tell its own tale

            He played a game of tennis till in his eighties
            And enjoyed the crossword well into his nineties

He loved his daily peg of whisky
As much as his pen and the diary

            It was he who turned it around-- The Illustrated Weekly of India
            When Mario’s  creative ‘Sardar in a bulb’ stormed the print media

To date it has remained one of the most syndicated columns
Printed in newspapers and magazines across various regions

            His sense of humour needs special mention
            With his Joke Books running into multiple editions

In his death, his well wishers and admirers may not have cried
But they are deeply saddened that ‘the pen’ has forever dried!

            May God rest his soul in Peace.

-         Ghumakkad Harsh

21st March 2014

Monday, 17 March 2014

Kerala Reunion 2014 Part One

______________ FFA Meets again in Kerala _______________ 

Armed Forces thrive on using abbreviations. Be it Naval signalese or service writing, abbreviations become part of our life.

One such abbreviation was coined almost 40 years ago in Jamnagar. Called FFA. Signifies what? Not the call sign of a ship or aircraft. Neither name of an equipment or a person. Then what?

Well FFA stands for First Floor Association, a group of single naval officers occupying the first floor of the staff block in the Officers Mess at INS Valsura Jamnagar in 1975-76. These like minded officers bonded so strongly that the FFA has continued to exist even after these guys have retired from the Navy! Honorary membership of FFA was granted to some married officers too. But that is another story. For the present, FFA goes beyond the first floor!

This picture story chronicles a reunion aptly titled FFA-2014 which was held in God's Own Country-- Kerala. 18 people turned up including the spouses. The numbers may not signify the size of the reunion. But the warmth, camaraderie and child like excitement of old times highlighted the events.

Credit for the narrative which follows goes to Trixie who traveled from Bangalore for this event with hubby Rajan. Thanks Trixie.

Thank you GR Nair (GR) for a meticulously planned, marvellously executed  event - FFA-2014.  It was wonderful meeting old friends of forty years again.  On arrival, we were personally greeted by GR.

 GR handed over a personalised brochure with an emotive background  note to FFA written by him, our itinerary, all costings and some thoughtful inputs about places to see in the surrounding areas.  Program serial numbers for odd and even number dates were marked by him as 0802, 0804 and 0901, 0903 as per Naval traditions! 

We enjoyed a very comfortable stay at Riviera Suites and two lovely cruises around places we hadn't seen before, rounded off with dinner at the Naval Officers Institute Kochi.

Our breakfasts at the Riviera Suites served up a spread of Kerala food as well as other staples and got us off to a great start to each day.  

We enjoyed the Harbour Cruise on our boat shaped as a duck. We cruised along the Queen's Necklace, the shoreline, the Cochin lights and Chinese fishing nets, with GR filling us in on the landmarks.

GR welcomed all on board.

 The two singers on our boat Anthony and Sujit  were organised by GR.  Here is Anthony Abraham singing 'Tu hee re..'
 Sujit gave us Malyalam numbers.
They were very good and soulfully rendered a lovely selection of old classic Hindi film songs, some Malayalam songs and a few faster English songs to which some of us shook a leg and worked up an appetite!  

The singers showed enterprise in getting the guitar with a broken string fixed and back to the boat on time for a group song for FFA 2014, sung with very little practice on board the boat, with everybody joining in the chorus.

Our  very own IP Anthony entertained us with an emotional rendering of retro Hindi songs in his mellifluous voice. The music system was excellent and the live music made all the difference.  

All too soon after dinner with the Cochin lights in view, the Harbour Cruise came to an end.


With the cruise reflecting in our minds like the Kochi shore line, we all returned to Riviera Suites.

Hang on for Part two of the travelogue which will take us to the Houseboat and the enchanting backwaters of Kerala!

As always, your impressions/suggestions are welcome.

     - Ghumakkad Harsh/ 17th March 2014

_______________________ End of Kerala Reunion Part One ________________________