This is my 100th post on Blog-Capt. Anup Murthy. Not counting my other Blogs on Blogger. I was in India last two weeks and it hit me that this year is an Anniversary of sorts for me.
In 1984, I was the Air Wing Best Cadet from Karnataka & Goa Contingent at the Republic Day Parade Camp and also had the privilege to march down Rajpath in the National Cadet Corps (NCC) Air Wing parade contingent. During the camp, I was selected for the International Air Cadet's Exchange in Singapore. In June 1984, I, the de facto team leader of a four member NCC team, Cadet Under Office Anup Murthy, set off on an Air India flight that went from New Delhi to Bombay to Madras and on to Singapore on a hopping flight. We were hosted by the NCC of Singapore at that time and I remember many of the events that we participated in. The first place we stayed was the RELC Singapore on Orange Grove Road which is still there. Then we were shifted to an Army camp and later on to a local NCC cadet's house as part of the "cultural exchange". My first trip overseas was a free trip!
I remember what Singapore looked like back then, a small but very neat and clean place 25 years ago. It's spread out now but still neat. Orchard Road was the place to hang out and a quarter century later (for me) it remarkably still is The place to hang out, Orchard Road has changed tremendously and now is the glitzier than ever, a haven for shopping and eating and a place to see and be seen. This was the place where I bought my first Sony Walkman tape player. I also bought a swim suit for my sister who used to participate in University Swimming competitions back then. I remember buying a sari for Mom from a shop in Little India. Little India looks like any place in India now and on weekends, the crowds can outmatch any Indian town Bazaar.
What a coincidence that 25 years later and having lived in different countries and traveled to dozens of others, I now live in this Lion City Singapore! I had not given that a thought until I saw a TV program in India recently marking Mrs. Gandhi's death and they mentioned 25 years. I had seen Mrs. Gandhi at the NCC Republic Day Parade Camp and we gave a Guard of Honor for the visiting PM. I also remember meeting President of India Gyani Zail Singh, at the Rose Garden in Rashtrapathi Bhavan for tea as we the Best Cadet winners were introduced to him. So many memories, all tucked out in the corner of my brain and would have never come out if blogging wasn't around. So, my 100th post brought out so many memories of where all my International Travel started, that I had to re-write and re-edit a few times. As tiresome it may be for some of my readers to go through a long post, I had to do it this time.
I need to dig out the Shield presented by the Singapore NCC that year and paper cuttings of a local newspaper in Singapore that featured our team. I also made it on the Star of Mysore, a young upstart English evening daily paper in Mysore that featured an article on me that year. I now travel Internationally more than I ever did before. Even now, every time I go somewhere, something always opens my eyes wide and I learn something new. That's what I love about it.