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A Tale of Adventure and Love

An Air Warrior who has published over a100 short stories in various magazines and three novels. A 5th book is heading for publication.

a-tale-of-adventure-and-love

Beginning.

As a flight lieutenant, I was posted as a QFI instructor at FIS, an acronym for Flying Instructors School, the premium Air Force training Institute at Tambaram. I was still a bachelor then. Tambaram is located in the state of Tamil Nadu. I have always felt it's a pity that the name was changed from the earlier Madras presidency which had been in existence since 1639. In those days Madras was still known as Madras and not Chennai. I have memories of the Madras gymkhana club one of the best gifts of the Goraji( the British) to the city. It's not easy to get membership in this elite club but if you are a member of the officer cadre of the armed forces you are given membership straightaway. This was the opening to Alibaba's Cave for a person like me to interact with some of the elite young women of the city.

I had a Royal Enfield Bullet in those days and I would on a Saturday drive down 30 km from Tambaram to the end of Mount Road to spend time at the club. One thing I would like to state here is an inherent desire of most girls from this city to marry a North Indian preferably a fair Punjabi.No offense meant. Another facet was total prohibition in the city and the club bar would serve only soft drinks but men from the services were allowed to bring their whiskey and sit on the lawn and sip it away. Many a time I would drive down with my whiskey a Red Knight which was a popular brand at that time and it was not long before we made friends with locals who were keen to have a drink with us. This was one method they could break the ban on alcohol by drinking with the service officer.

That is how I met Visa, a lovely young Brahmin Tamil girl. Now there is a strange dichotomy in the state. What is that? Brahmins of the state claimed to be Aryans and are generally very fair, unlike the mass who are fairly dark. Visalakshmi was therefore very fair and both of us soon vibed with each other.

The affair began to develop. Visalakshmi was a student of Presidency College and many a time I would pick her up on my Royal Enfield and come down to the gymkhana club. I remember once I suggested that we go for a holiday to the fisherman's Cove at Mahabalipuram. This is a beautiful ancient place with an even more beautiful beach and small cottages which you can book and stay.

The road from the city of Madras to Mahabalipuram is along the sea and it's a very picturesque drive and I adjusted the rear mirror in a way that I could keep watching my girls face all the time. It was a silly thing to do because when I was always watching her face there was a chance of an accident but luckily it never happened. It was in the fisherman's Cove in one of the lovely huts in which the world that Visa became mine. She was in some concentration after that but soon recovered her equanimity and I promised that I would marry her. This is the beginning of the tail and now let's get going to the second part.

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The hand of fate

Once I took Visa to the Adyar beach. I had booked a small cottage there and it was a frantic time. As we lay in bed I received a mobile call. It was the OC flying nowadays he's known as the COO or chief operations officer. He was a Wing Commander and he spoke to me

" Man, where the hell are you?"

" Sorry sir I am at a friend's place" I didn't want to tell him I was with my girlfriend in bed.

" It's okay but now I want you to reach the crew room within 45 minutes with your flying kit. You have to move immediately. I can't tell you anything more but don't delay"

I kissed Visa and told her about the call. She had overheard the voice and she said" once you go away will you come back?"

"of course"I replied.

"You must," she said, " as my mother is looking for a match for me as she feels I am getting too big. She also doesn't like me meeting you"

Desire now overwhelmed me and without any precautions, the deed was done; hedonistic and passionate. In 10 to 12 minutes it was all over and I quickly dressed up and left. I reached the crew room 15 minutes later than the 45 minutes given but the COO but he was not angry.

" I am sorry Chap," he said, " but there is an operation to be done in the mountains and headquarters has moved you to join back to your MIG 29 squadron to attack the enemy which is holed up in the hills. "

" Yes sir"

"Right, there is an AN 32 all ready to take off and you get along with the other pilots and proceed to the northern airfield". As I mounted the plane my mind was on Visa and I was wondering how I was going to get back to her.

The AN 32 landed at Pathankot in the north and within two hours after a wash and shave in the officer's mess, I was in the crew room. We were called to the briefing room and the metrological officer gave us a lowdown on the weather while the doctor had a look at us that we were fit for flight. The flight commander now addressed us "gentleman, two planes are being detailed to proceed for an attack on the mountains where the enemy is holed up in bunkers. You will have to use your skill and rockets to attack them. Our Bofors guns are already pounding them from below but they have their limitations and this is where you will all have to go and help out." I was one of the two pilots selected for the first mission.

The flight commander paused for a moment and continued" I have selected two pilots for the first attack but bear in mind as per the instructions of the government of India the line of control is not to be breached and you will operate only from inside the Indian side and try not to cross over to the enemy territory as they have an ORP in operation. ORP means an operational readiness platform and they had their J7 flying there.

This was how the first operation commenced and for the next 15 days, it was almost daily attacks on the enemy troops in the bunkers on the hills. With the Bofors gun pounding from below the Indian troops now began to move up the hill and bunker after the bunker was captured.

At the back of my mind was that I must talk to me Visalakshmi but at the same time we were under strict quarantine that no contact was to be made with any of our relations and friends. As a disciplined air warrior, I obeyed it and thus I never could contact Visa.

On the 23rd day, a momentous event took place. I took off in my MIG 29 and flew to a height of 20,000 feet and then came down towards the hills firing at the enemy positions and let go of my rockets. Then a strange thing happened I observed an enemy plane probably a J7 suddenly appear over the mountain from the other side of the LOC and he let go of a missile at me. The fighter controller on the ground warned me, "Call sign MG, one enemy approaching from East beware."

I was angry that this man had the temerity to come and fire a missile at me. He was probably getting ready to fire again when I put the plane into full throttle and shot forward. He wanted to get me because I had been attacking his soldiers on the hills. Now I decided to execute the cobra manoeuvre and took the plane forward and moved in a 90° vertical climb. This is the beauty of the MiG 29 and I was soon over the enemy plane and I went into a level flight and came behind him. The enemy was bewildered and there was no time to lose as I pressed the button and the missiles fired. One of them missed but the other hit the tail. I saw the pilot eject and then saw him floating down. Unknown to me in the heat of the combat I had crossed the LOC and promptly the FC came online and said: "head back to base you have broken the order of the flight commander."

I landed back and debriefed the flight commander. He listened carefully and said, " perhaps it was something that was inevitable but all the same don't do it again." The war dragged on for another two months before the enemy threw his hands up and retreated from the hills. It was after that, I dialed Visa's number. Visa did not come online and it was her mother. She was very curt and said. " don't ring again because Visa got married a month back."



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The ending

I was taken aback at this statement and I wondered what had happened. I couldn't go back to Tambaram because after the operations were over I was detailed to proceed to Russia for a Concourse which would be six months. I did try the same number a number of times from Russia but nobody seems to pick it up and so I thought it's better to let sleeping dogs lie.

After 22 years headquarters decided that I should be given command of FIS and as the officer commanding, I landed back in Tambaram. As the officer commanding, I addressed the new FIS course of 20 pilots when they joined for the three-month course.

After the address, I mingled with the young pilot officers, as I was a group Captain now. A young man caught my attention; somehow it appeared that he had a similar look to me when I was young. I shook hands with him and asked him who he was.

He told me his name and said, "my father is a silk merchant but my mother was very keen that I should join the Air Force."

"Wonderful what is the name of your mother?"

"Sir, Visalakshmi"

My legs suddenly felt jittery and weird thoughts crossed my mind. He looked at my face which had turned ashen and said, "Sir, I said something wrong?"

" No," I replied, " no, you continue with your training son."

I walked away with a lurking doubt that who this boy was. I wanted to solve the mystery and I began to make calculations and reached the conclusion that maybe I had a connection with the boy. Should I meet Visalakshmi I thought. I dropped the idea because I had a feeling that my re-entry could upset the equilibrium of life of Visa, her family, and also of the young man. I didn't want that and I immediately sent an application to air headquarters requesting a transfer out of Tambaram on compassionate grounds stating that my father was not well and I wish to be posted in the north. I left Tambaram I don't know whether I did the right thing or the wrong thing because in due course I decided to put in my papers and realized that my time in the Airforce had come to an end. What of the future? I am still a bachelor and a corporate advisor, another few years have elapsed and I sometimes wonder whether I missed the bus or should I go back and get on the bus again? I can only end with the words of Lord Krishna," not a leaf moves without my will"

Comments

MG Singh emge (author) from Singapore on November 03, 2020:

Thanks, Anupam

Anupam Mitu from MUMBAI on November 02, 2020:

A thrilling story with a personal touch. Looks like some Bollywood movie. So you didn't get a partner, still wandering.

I wish you get one soon.

Hope everything goes well with your son.

God bless you.

MG Singh emge (author) from Singapore on November 02, 2020:

Thank you Flourish so nice to read your comment.

FlourishAnyway from USA on November 01, 2020:

Great story told with so much emotion. I assume it is real.

Don’t miss out on a relationship with your son, (I really think that was the connection between you.) He is an adult and can deal with what comes. You cannot turn back time but you can move forward in a new way. Who is to say he didn’t know already? Make peace with the past. Much love to you and best of luck.

MG Singh emge (author) from Singapore on October 31, 2020:

Kalpana, you have written a wonderful comment.

MG Singh emge (author) from Singapore on October 31, 2020:

DENISE, nice of you to have spared time and commented

MG Singh emge (author) from Singapore on October 31, 2020:

RoadMonkey, so nice of you to have commented

MG Singh emge (author) from Singapore on October 31, 2020:

Pamela, it is so nice that you commented.

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on October 30, 2020:

This sure sounds like a true story MG. This story is very interesting and I wonder if you should have gone back for Vis. That is one of those mysteries that we will never have the answer. I really enjoyed this story.

RoadMonkey on October 30, 2020:

Ah, the mystery, she was left to deal with a problem and solved it the best way she could! She kept her secret (if there was one), it is best that you keep the secret from your end too, as you said, "no point in upsetting the equilibrium of her family"

Kalpana Iyer from India on October 30, 2020:

Very interesting story. For a moment, I even thought maybe there would be a disclaimer at the end that the story is fictional. It felt so movie-like!

Denise McGill from Fresno CA on October 30, 2020:

I think you may have missed out on a relationship with a son.

Blessings,

Denise

MG Singh emge (author) from Singapore on October 30, 2020:

Thank you Sp Greaney, so nice you have commented and your suggestion.

Sp Greaney from Ireland on October 30, 2020:

Who knows what the future can bring. Maybe that wasn't the right time back then to make a move but you still have time to change the outcome if you so wish.

MG Singh emge (author) from Singapore on October 29, 2020:

Kym, sweet of you to have given an appreciative comment.

MG Singh emge (author) from Singapore on October 29, 2020:

Thanks for commenting Tom and the information about Tambaram base. I really loved Tambaram and I am still a member of the Madras Gymkhana club.

MG Singh emge (author) from Singapore on October 29, 2020:

Thanks, tom, so nice that you commented. I still feel MIG 21 was a great plane though the MIG 29 was a generation ahead.

tom on October 29, 2020:

j7 is chinese version of mig 21, victor pugachev developed cobra manevure,he famous test pilot

tom on October 29, 2020:

tambaram was actually royal naval air station during ww2 ,later iaf took over

Kym L Pasqualini from Carefree, AZ on October 29, 2020:

So beautiful!