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 ________________________