A long journey begins with a single step — and so with the first Marut get-together our marathon has commenced.
The venue -Pavanika- the HQ MAO Officers mess at Mumbai on 19 dec 09- 22 pilots and 7 spouses attended.
AVM Burli- AOC MAO, welcomed the veterans and especially those who came from outside Pune -Mumbai area like Bushan Narang/S Kari/Cherian/ Girish Kumar and Max Mathews (the senior most serving Marut pilot). A cake cutting ceremony, to get things sweetened was done by Shanta and Tony Garg.
We tried to pop 4 bottles of champagne but only one worked. (Shades of Marut serviceability). However, this did not deter the crowd’s effervescent mood and starting with Tony and Bobby every one wanted to narrate some anecdote which had the veterans laughing and sentimentally recalling the glorious days of Jodhpur and the aircraft.
A discussion was held on how to take forward this meeting with the final goal of getting Air Hq/HAL to host the 50th anniversary in 2011. The majority opinion was in favour of meeting at Jodhpur next, in 2010, for obvious sentimental reasons. After checking with Max on the issue of availability of the station for such an event it was decided that the second fortnight of Mar 10 would be suitable for most, failing which a period after Diwali could be considered. All attendees were requested to network and enlarge the group so that the next meeting would be bigger and should include technical officers and doctors.
An important aspect of the meeting was introduced by Vicky Sheorey who is instrumental in setting up a website. However, he indicated that he needed assistance to make the site vibrant and toward this end Dara Cooper and Tony volunteered their services. Once the site is activated it is expected that all veterans will contribute to keep the site going. For your reference the Gnat site is ‘www.gnat50years.in‘
The dinner ended around midnight and early morning, the next day, three keen golfers-Bobby/Dara /Burli went to the US club golf course for a three some. We believe them but then many believed Tiger Woods also! This was followed by a beer brunch at AVM Burli residence/palace which finally ended a very fondly remembered weekend for us.
It’s time for all attendees to upload your photographs through emails and more importantly, to increase the footprint of the group.
Best wishes for the season and a very Happy New Year to ALL