This story centres around our grandchildren. We are now 'young' grandparents of grandchildren who are between 1 year to 13 years 'old'. So, being young and old is a state of mind! 11 out of original batch of 24 are getting together in Goa from 2nd to 5th Feb 2017.
Here is a picture taken in 1973 of all 24 of us in khakhis. This was for musketry training (rifle training on the mighty .303 of those days) at Coimbatore. Don't miss the webbing worn by all of us. For fellow Naval buddies: Can you recognise all 24 officers (epaulets not yet worn being under trainees)?
Standing (L-R): Gopu, Potti, Katti, Paroolkar, Aisola, Bal, Ravindra, Das, Nagaraj, Dhavare, Asokan, George, Gopal, Xavier
Sitting (L-R): Goyal, Bhargava, Trilochan, Uppal, Anand, Jogi, Chandra, Jain, Bhowick, RP
Our initial training was done at the B&D School, Kochi which had a separate wardroom called South Wardroom. Her are some pictures dating back to July/August 1973.
Down the line in 1989 when we completed 16 years, we had a bash in Mumbai. Copy of a poem specially written for the occasion and duly autographed, is reproduced below .
We have been meeting even after retirement. In 2010 i.e. 37 years after joining Navy, we had made a short five minute video titled 'Then and Now'. Take a look:
Who are the eleven who made it to Goa? How do their grandchildren look like? Where are they located? Answer to all these questions come through a picture story.
As you would have noticed in the captions, our buddies and their children are spread throughout the world. A batch with global footprint! We will certainly miss our buddies who could not make it to Goa. But next bash will happen soon. Date and venue will be announced in Goa.
Before signing off, I came across few lines in Hindi which convey the essence of friendship. With invasive social media expanding the 'friends' network by hundreds, the Hindi couplet assumes special significance.
Indeed, life without friends is incomplete. Live every moment. Enjoy the togetherness. For senior citizens like us with balding heads, graying hair and croaking knees, such bashes are special.
Thank God for giving us such friends.
More on Goa will follow, although most of us have been to Goa earlier either by ship or with family. Thanks buddies for sharing the pictures. Bye till then,
-Harsh-the-Ghumakkad with Neeta Bhargava/ 2nd Feb 2017