Monday, September 24, 2012

My visit to Cochin Naval Base

In 1984 there was a campus interview conducted by the Indian navy at REC NIT Calicut.. I remember Captain Murthy and another officer landed up at the institute and were conducting interviews for the "Campus Entry Scheme" where the selected students would be provided maintenance allowance and tuition fee for the rest of the course at REC and many were interested. The scheme was simple and novel as the other impediment was the Medical test. I cleared the interview and so did many and the next stage was the medical test at the Cochin Naval Base..and many of us set out on the appointed day to Cochin..and I teamed up with Rajeev and both of us took the evening train to reach cochin the next morning  and reaching the Naval Base soon after. I think we did book a room for the day in Cochin. We were promised accommodation at the Naval base for the rest of our stay at Cochin.

I remember moving from office to office at the Naval base trying to fix up accommodation which we got only at some 3:00 pm owing to some mis -communication of an Administrative kind. I suggested since no rooms were available some large hall be enlisted to accommodate us..then the question arose about the bedding and some one suggested that some beds from the hospital could be trans located and so was it done. We were ushered into a large room and the beds laid out evenly around the room on the floor and we were relieved that something took shape at last..though not very comfortable but at least fit the bill.

I understood that the Cochin Naval Base had three quarters or sections or divisions as one might call it namely  INS Sanjeevini the medical arm..INS Vendruthy...and INS Garuda. Two events happened during this stay a visit to the Cochin Airport of that time and we saw an Airplane take off from very close range and in the evening we all saw a movie at the Naval Base theater..the South Indian remake of the Hindi  film Dostana. Next few days were spent at  INS Sanjeevini with the medical tests going from department to department.

I had passed at the fundamental level all the tests but the Surgeon through oversight did not notice the  condition of my right thumb which was syndactyle and he declared me surgically fit..but this was noticed by the medical specialist who took a relook at the surgical report and sighed how I was declared Surgically fit and raised a note and I was led back to the Surgical department and note hat the concerned surgeon was busy with a surgery and he came out running from the surgery and re-examined my hand only to once and for all seal my hopes of joining the Navy..declaring me Surgically unfit and that was it. I felt very disappointed for many days ..and almost the entire set of people who had accompanied me to the base were selected . I remember the names of some support staff who helped us through this process namely Kashmir Singh and another person called Mohan Lal.

For some time I thought of appealing to the ministry then felt it futile to embark upon such a venture. The Naval base left me impressed..the vast expanse..the large scale resources and facilities..the food in the mess and above all smartly dressed men and women in white uniform all left a striking impression on my psyche and this experience was a first hand opportunity to be part of an establishment though for a few days partaking in what it would mean to be in the Indian Navy.

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