Noel Ellis's Official Blog

I wield the pen to explore the vastness of the human mind

Category: NAVY

FAUJI DRIVERS

I just happened to see our RM take a Sukoi ride. I am sure after a hectic 24 hours on our Air Craft carrier Vikramaditya, to fly in an aircraft would have left her flabbergasted. My salutes to you Mam, it needs a lion’s jiggra (heart). What you went through in a sortie or a day at sea, these men in white and blue do it on a daily basis. You must have spent some time with the folks in Olive Green too and I am sure you would have cherished every moment. You can be rest assured that the country is in safe hands. You can bet your life on them. They won’t let India down is now stamped, signed, dated and sealed with your visit.

Be that as it may, moment I saw the SU-30 rolling out with the RM, the first thing which came to my mind is that the Air Force would have put her in the cockpit with the best pilot. In all probability it would have been the Commanding officer. My mind wandered as I was just thinking had she sat in an army vehicle then everyone would have gone looking for the best driver. Reason for detailing the best driver is that he avoids all dhachkas (bumps) while the memsaab is sitting in the gaari (vehicle). In other words the lady has to have the smoothest ride. Saab ke saath, parvah nahin.(If makes no difference when sir sits) Ask the pilot mam, what he must be thinking while you were on board. He would have ensured not a “G” extra. They are indeed the best of best.

This reminded me of my good old days when we were in a place called Lalgarh Jattan. It was so God forsaken that the nearest STD booth was in Ganganagar about 20 kms away. We had just been allotted a house and were busy setting it up. Wife complained of severe back ache one day, probably she might have got a catch, shifting the black steel trunks around. Simple fauji drill I did, took her to the MI (Medical Inspection) room, got medicines and off we went. However, the pain did not subside. The third day she just could not get up from the bed. I panicked and decided to take her to MH (Military Hospital) Ganganagar. Whole night she cried in pain and I could just do nothing about it except rubbing Iodex.

As luck would have it, due to mobilisation practice I was not able to accompany her. My company driver Rajjan Lal was detailed and Major Kandari volunteered to accompany her. I spoke to Rajjan and told him that make sure the drive is smooth. My wife was furious because I wasn’t going along. She said “your office is more important than me” etc. Rajjan gave me the most assured look, half pitying me and said memsaab aap fiqr mat karo (madam you don’t worry). I bade her good bye at about 9 am and at 11.30 Rajjan was back. I asked him what happened as I could see him totally white faced and with dried up lips. I knew something was not right and just hoped my wife was OK.

With a stammering voice Rajjan sheepishly said memsaab theek ho gaya (Madam is alright) and he has dropped her home. I exclaimed, what! How can this miracle happen? Sheepishly he said sir, I was driving very slowly till Khayali Wala (a village), suddenly the road became good and I sped. It slipped out of my mind that madam is sitting behind and I missed a speed breaker. The jonga jumped over it, she said Bhaiya main theek ho gayi, ghar chalo. (Brother I have become OK take me home)

I picked up my bike and rushed home and found she was happily in the kitchen. I asked what happened. She said the sprain (CHOOK) in my back was straightened out by the driver as they jumped over a speed breaker. She landed with a thud and heard a crackling sound and suddenly all pain subsided. I thanked my stars and thanked “Dr” Rajjan. Rajjan thereafter never missed a speed breaker till retirement.

Well, Madam, I don’t know how many of your aches and pains the Army, Navy and Air Force would have removed. However, you definitely need to look into what pains them the most and that is their IZZAT. For every Indian’s tomorrow they are giving their today. Do take a closer look at issues of all those serving and of all those who gave their yesterday too. You will then always be given the smoothest ride. Do you get my point madam? I wonder!!!!!!!!

JAI HIND

© Noel Ellis

MATTER OF AN INCH

These days I avoid commenting on the state of political affairs. However, when people get loggerheads with national security, I can’t resist keying a few words. Today, I would like to deal with a politician who rubbed the Indian Navy on the wrong side for not granting permission for a floating jetty to be constructed in the Malabar hills of Mumbai. Well Sir, the least I can say is little knowledge is dangerous. If another 26/11 happens, the same politicians will not only run to the Navy but also provide a mile of land to establish a security hub where they refuse to give an inch today.

Be that as it may, you call Colaba area posh. Rightly so, it is the inhabitants and the culture of the citizens staying in that area that make it posh and Navy is definitely one of them. Real estate prices are not the only indicator for the poshness of a place. It is the environment, the facilities and national assets that make it so. Don’t you see smart men and women in white who add to the definition of posh?

If I have to suggest, why do we have all Mantralay’s including yours in Delhi? Let the Maharashtra Mantralaya shift to Deonar dumping ground and our Parliament to the Gazipur land fill. Two things would happen, one, the habit of opening their mouths too much by the politicians will stop due to the stench. Second, that area will become posh.

The Navy should be patrolling the Pakistan border as you say. Rightly so, you should be patrolling the Indian roads then. Why do you politicians chicken out while giving orders to sort Pak out? Navy would be more than happy to shift their Headquarters to Karachi or Gwadar as the case may be. You want to be in the arms of your darling every evening, what has the navy chap done to deserve a life buoy around his neck at the end of each day.

Once Pakistan is taken care of, thereafter, you won’t have any requirement of the Western fleet. Army too will be able to concentrate on the direction which is getting hotter by the day and so will the Air Force. Kindly minister sahib, visit those forward areas. I request you give us a few feet, where roads and other infrastructure can be built for sustaining the troops. The forces will be more than happy to find their colleagues being evacuated in time and saved. We want living legends and not dead jetties.

Let us be clear that minister ship lasts as long as the government lasts. How long will this one last, next election will tell? Once the Navy is sent off to patrol, they definitely won’t be able to vote, as they would be guarding the high seas for this nation. This should not give you a wrong notion that their vote won’t count. If need be, the armed forces will make it count one day. We are protectors of this nation and not people who lower their morale by ridiculous statements. We serve every government irrespective of who is the minister of which ever ministry.

The joke going around is that, if you can’t give an inch of ground, we definitely can give the government a nine inch boot in next elections. The men in uniform owe their allegiance to the tricolour & the constitution; politicians we know owe their allegiance to whom, for what and why.

One more thing I want to ask Minister Saab. You keep every inch with you but please ensure that servicemen and ex servicemen do not have to beg for their rights. Their families are looked after while they are at the borders. Their children get admissions in schools, their properties are not taken away by thugs, their aging parents are treated with dignity and their documents are made without greasing any palm. Too much of rum has been spilled in the corridors of civil authorities without relief to this man guarding the frontiers. The beauty is that even when you don’t give him his due, he still doesn’t let the country down.

I wish you become the Defence Minister one day, maybe just temporarily and understand why they denied that facility. The person whose baby it is knows, isn’t it? I know you can’t think beyond business, profits and commerce but National Security should never be compromised at any cost, ever.

Well, Indian Armed Forces have a different business to deal with. So kindly take back your words and give us that inch which you have decided not to give. We have been taught and believe in that Chetwode Motto which says “The Safety, Honour and Welfare of your country comes first always and every time”. Construction of a jetty for commercial purposes comes last always and every time. Does it make any sense to you Mr Minister? I wonder!!!!!!!!!

JAI HIND

THE RAKSHA MANTRI OF INDIAs JOB IS FOR ME

THE RAKSHA MANTRI OF INDIAs JOB IS FOR ME

BY

LT COL NOEL ELLIS (RETD)

15/III/2017

Rumours were one thing which we were told to stay away from while in the forces. Now that I am a veteran, I can at least hear rumours and get carried away by them. I saw RM becoming the CM and another CM being considered to become the RM. Well, Mr Parrikar is already on his Goan beaches but who will fill his void is the rumour. Personally, I have nothing against anyone but technically I can guarantee, if a person of non defence background can do the job of the RM then I definitely can do it 439.09% better. If not then Ghasita Ram Halwai will also fit into the job. The PM is now pushing this country’s luck too far to dream of the unthinkable. My apprehensions will be confirmed that “andha bante rewri apne apne ko de”. Irony is that my armed forces will now have to “reinvent” warfare once again if this rumour is anywhere near to be true.

As a CM of a state he may be doing wonders but at the national level if the PM is seeing the potential of putting some CM as the RM then there must be something in him. My issue is not with this person, but what I am going to ask the PM is that he has a few well trained armed forces veterans, duly elected and rearing to go to do something for the armed forces. Then why has he not thought about them. I talk of Ex Army Chief, Gen VK Singh and Maj Gen BC Khanduri. Gen VKS is looking after foreign affairs well and Gen Khanduri has been a CM of a state, with an illustrious Army career, as also a fruitful political tenure in his kitty. With their experience as ground soldiers could there be a better choice to be RM of this country. Many veterans also wear the political caps, so if the cabinet of ministers could be shuffled sometime back, why can’t RM be a veteran that too with firsthand experience?

I can understand that the parliamentary committee decides who gets which portfolio but may I know from the PM what the criterion is for RM? Who decides such an important appointment? The RM is virtually on the mat answering for all shady defence deals. He is fighting war, terrorism, insurgency, shortages of men, material, equipment and ammunition from the deserts of Rajasthan to the icy heights of Siachen? Well, I won’t quote Field Marshal Sam Bahdur here who knew that they don’t know the difference between a guerrilla and a gorilla, a magazine and a magazine, a gun and a howitzer. Will a netaji know the difference between a phased array radar and an over the horizon radar, the difference between LC and LoC? He won’t know the difference between the Radcliff line and the McMahon line. He might know the actor Mac Mohan as Samba of Sholay fame. He won’t know the difference between the hitch knot and a reef knot and he would be dealing with submarines of the nuclear kinds. Will he know hand and flag signals? I am sure he would know light signals as was done in the movie Titanic. Would he know that there is something called a rotor down wash or nape of earth flying? Will he know that the most important nut in a helicopter is called the Jesus nut?

My questions continue. Will he explain the difference between a two men trench and an LMG trench? Will he understand a crow bar, of course he would know of a crow and a bar girl. Will he know the difference between a safety catch and a safety match, Shikari position and dhava position? Will he know chizen 6-S aur ek-M ki vajah se dikhti hain? Will he know what a bridge head is? He may know an ex girlfriend called Bridgett all right. Will he be able to pronounce Taknakpaktso? Will he know the difference between “tashi dileg” and “julle”? I am sure he must have seen this movie called Julie 100 times. Navy guys you better avoid saying “aye-aye” sir, or it may be misconstrued as saying something about his mom in Marathi.

He might be navigating on the GPS of his mobile phone alright, but can he indicate targets seeing through his Eye ball Mark-II. Can he tell me as to how many degrees are there in his hands? I hope he doesn’t refer this to his geometry teacher or a palmist? In defence there is no politics. Things are either black or white. We don’t like the shades of grey. We identify friends from foe. We love our friends and eliminate our foes. Yes, the only thing we don’t know is politics of any kind.

If the qualification of the defence minister is to sit in south block and just sign deals, then I am the best person. I can assure you, the Finance Minister will dread coming in front of me because I shall sit right in front of his office till he gives me funds. The transport minister will have to stop all projects and work on the border roads till the time I am satisfied that all posts and my last man is well connected. Pakistan will tremble because they shall be getting 10 times the dose of each cease fire violation. All the fodder that the media gets about food not being good, shahayaks etc will be sorted out within days of my taking over. All welfare schemes for the ex-servicemen would be implemented within the first year. War widows and orphans would be my personal responsibility for which I shall create a special wing in my ministry. All cases in any courts pending will be sorted out on priority and no one will be begging for his rights. Yes Mr PM, all my manpower in terms of officers and men will be made up even if I have to make another Indian Military Academy and National Defence Academy or both. Defence of my country and morale of my men will be my first priority always and every time. There will be no income tax for any fauji, serving or retired whatsoever. If kissans and doctors have this privilege so will we have it? If you won’t listen to me, I will sit in front of your office Mr PM till you condescend to the needs of this RM. Do you have the guts to take me?

I know the answers to all questions I asked above. Be rest assured Mr PM I will do it if I have said it provided you give me a chance. We are waiting for the promised ache din. Sir, you have qualified manpower for the most coveted post. If you don’t appoint them, then I am available. They chose to become dhotiwalas to understand the political system and are now waiting for you to give a nod. If you don’t appoint veterans, then may I request all veterans in the present cabinet to resign? Will they? I wonder!!!!!!!!!!!

THE SCORPÈNE HAS LANDED

I just happened to Google for a submarine called Scorpène and it showed 18, 00,000 pages about it. I didn’t know what to do. Will I be able to browse through so many pages in my lifetime? Today, in the twitter age, who has the time or interest to read those 22,000 pages? Fauji’s, No way! Yes had you given it to my father, he would have found minimum one spelling and one grammatical mistake on every page. After all he was an English teacher. Puns aside, Frenchmen writing documents in English would be equivalent to a Chinese writing Hindi. Well, seriousness of the matter apart, why are panic buttons suddenly switched on, if such a document has gone missing? I agree it’s a serious matter. With navy already tarnished with the naval war room leaks case, can such a thing happen? I have my fingers crossed.

How many such submarines were India going to acquire and how many are in the pipeline? Well it is a closely guarded secret from us Indians. Under what circumstances was India procuring these? Was it to replace the aging fleet? No, no, our fleet will last another 100 years. Was it to enhance our submarine capability? Do you guys think so? Was it to explore into the deep seas? Why should I tell you? Against whom shall we use these subs? Against Maldives or against Sri Lanka or the very friendly Pakistan or for that matter not very friendly China? Your guess is as good as mine. Will they be nuclear powered or diesel powered, or a mix of both? How much would be the endurance? Well, Wikipedia says nothing about them. What will be the missile platforms, or the torpedo capability on such platforms? Well, India does not have any such systems, isn’t it? How many countries have acquired such subs already? That is a closely guarded secret, not available on the internet I suppose. I must be joking.

Indian Navy, I am sure would have conducted thorough French classes for all the personnel being deployed on such subs. The crews must be chattering away in French, just to confuse the enemy. I can assure you, for a jat or a tambi, deciphering the buttons on his console would be like an expedition to Mount Everest. Well, I did my French interpreters course in NDA, but landed up in a unit with Russian equipment. I learnt broken Russian the Hindi way.

I remember how we were taught to memorize the panel board of a BMP. It was like “sab se phale dahine se pahla switch on karo”. Next, Hawa ki botal kholo. What the heck! That was the first time I heard something like that, had it been daru ki botal kholo would have been music to the ears. Bayen se teesra aur dayen se satwan button on karo. The bloody thing had 17 identical looking switches in one row. What were their functions did not matter, but procedure was procedure. In fact I had a fight with my ustad that why does he say switch on karo actually its switch off karo. For me it was like an electricity switch where I pushed it down to “on” and vice versa to “off” a bulb, but here it was ulta, off matlab on. Wah you Russians! Then it used to be dahine se doosra push button dabao. I used to keep pressing it and nothing used to happen till my ustad told me to lift the damn lid covering it and then press. One thing I enjoyed was the sounds which used to emanate on pressing these switches, something like a choooooooon, and a heavier sounding chooooooon on pressing the push button. Then we had to push the air button and the battery button together for a quick start. I used to think why these guys can’t just have key, like you start a jeep. I am sure by now our Indian submarine crew would have kept nick names for everything French and every button they would come across like we did to operate this vehicle. Those adjectives I shall keep for later. BMP itself was called “BIN MATLAB KA PANGA”.

Well, let Pakistan know each and every detail of the leaked pages and let them come up with something bigger & better as a counter. I am sure by now they would have got hold of the document and translated it into Urdu for better assimilation. French to English is understandable, but French to Urdu, well quite intriguing I must say, we are nowhere close to match the Chinese capabilities and numbers in subs, so why are we so perturbed that Arnab, Barkha and Rajdeep can run full day episodes on the same and make Gen Bakshi cry for every page they discuss and create breaking news, “Indian submarine sunk in the dry docks”. “The Scorpion has been stung”. “Periscopes down for all Indian Subs”, etc.

I just hope no damage has been done by these so called leaks. India is not in a position to modify a screw in them, even if it proved that there has been a leak. So far as the submarine tactics and number of submarines to be inducted are concerned, nothing much can change. Scrapping this deal is out of question, and I hope no one is made a scapegoat from the Navy just for the heck of it. Let us keep building our capabilities slowly and steadily. Let our naval strength speak for itself to our enemies. Till then, BICHOO-ONE is signing off. By the way ladies and gentlemen, Scorpène is a fish and not what you thought; even I didn’t know till I Googled it.

Au revoir mes amis, jusqu’à ce que nous nous revoyions. This is what Pakistan must be wondering, are these MCs and BCs in French. Keep wondering!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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