Wednesday, November 11, 2009

25 YEARS OF INTERNATIONAL TRAVEL

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.

34 comments:

Mitr Friend - Bhushavali said...

Wow... Beautiful memories...
First of all congrats on the 100th post. Then congrats on that NCC Award. Ur lucky to have met those Great Indian Leaders... All the best dear...

Poetry in Stones Part one at My Travelogue
My Travelogue, Savoir-Faire

Swaram said...

Wow! What a coincidence!
Happy anniversary too :)

every time I go somewhere, something always opens my eyes wide and I learn something new. That's what I love about it.
Hw true :) Thatz the most important thing rt :)

Capt. Anup Murthy said...

Mitr: Thanks! The NCC award is just something that stayed in the show case in my house for years and when my folks moved from one place to the other, it stayed packed! Gyani Zail Singh was a colorful personality, he made jokes all the time and was impeccably dressed always. That's my memory of him. Mrs. G did not speak much to us, just a few words that I can't remember. I was shocked that she was killed the same year after my return from Singapore.

Capt. Anup Murthy said...

Swaram: Thanks a lot. I honestly never stopped learning, travel and meeting people does that to you. Learning is an important part of travel for me. I don't like being a tourist, I'd rather be a traveler!

ER Ramachandran said...

That's an awesome and fantastic record captain.Wishing you more and more..
ERR

Namita Chandra said...

Reading your post transports me back in time as well. I first visited Singapore with my cousins in a package tour in June 1981. I remember buying a sony walkman, a swimsuit for myself and citizen wrist-watches for my family back home and a minolta camera. I don't remember Singapore very vividly at all, except that we ate south Indian food in Little India and of course the shopping. In fact memories of Bangkok and Pattaya beach are clearer.
You are extremely fortunate to have met Mrs Gandhi I have always admired her.
I totally agree with you on the learning part. I feel the day one stops learning its like one stops living. Learning and growing are a part of living. Of course while traveling you learn so much about yourself as well as the world.
The last post I wrote was my 50th BTW. Just half way.

YOSEE said...

A Wonderful nostalgic trip. Nice to know you were selected for R.Day parade and met Mrs.G and the Prez. Congratulations on the "Anniversary" !
Am so glad that all that traveling has not left you blase and jaded. The most important ingredient needed to put "life" into living is the sense of wonder and eagerness to appreciate experiences that each day brings. You are indeed blessed with that happy disposition.
Regards.

Dew said...

That's really a lovely post :) congratulations on those evergreen 25 yrs :)

Capt. Anup Murthy said...

ERR Sir: Thank you very much. Was conversing about this yopic with GVK and Dinu during my last visit and blogged a bit late about it.

Capt. Anup Murthy said...

Namita: I went into a nostalgic mood and wrote this piece. Its best to put these things down in writing now that we have blogging, I don't think my memory will be that good later on. I may even have forgotten many anecdotes of that first trip and may end up with vague memories. You said it right about life and learning! I like reading your blogs and I am sure you'll go past 100's more in future.

Capt. Anup Murthy said...

Yosee: I was selected as Best Cadet after failing to get there twice before! Failed once as aeromodeler and once as Glider Pilot. That did not stop me even when I knew there was politics being played and I lost because of this and not because I lacked the skills, yes it happens, and can leave many young people disappointed. I just fought back because I knew I had it in me.
Sometimes when I have traveled between multiple cities/countries in a short span of time (such as 4-5 countries in a week when I ferry planes), it can leave me slightly confused but never jaded. I still manage to take time off to go around with this wide eyed curiosity to observe things and learn from them. Thanks for your compliments!

Capt. Anup Murthy said...

Dew: Thanks for your kind compliment. I hope there's many more years before I hang up those traveling boots!

Dew said...

By the way, I also loved what you said in one of your comments "Learning is an important part of travel for me. I don't like being a tourist, I'd rather be a traveler!" ..that outlook makes the whole deal more meaningful :)

Capt. Anup Murthy said...

Thanks Dew. I am not against people bussing around from venue to venue and stopping only to take pictures just to show people back home and say "I was there!" but I'd rather hang around and learn what makes something interesting and try to dig up more information and background on what I am seeing, spending time to appreciate something.

My mantra when I travel is to eat the local food and drink the local brew! One can understand a lot of things from that. Add conversations with locals and you have new perspectives on things. That's being a traveler in my opinion.

avdi said...

Many congratulations. A life well spent so far, and likely to be profitably spent hereafter as well. (touchwood)

Capt. Anup Murthy said...

Avdi: Thanks a lot! Touchwood!

YOSEE said...

Glad to know your fighting spirit won finally ,bravo !
But its really sad that the dirty ditchwater of politics invades and and sullies everything here, leaving an inglorious trail of broken dreams.Is it any wonder the youth want to emigrate at the first opportunity ;those that stay put, just become cynical or crooked. Sad. And we expect youngsters to have National Pride ! :-(

Capt. Anup Murthy said...

Yosee: One had to fight. I was rejected again and again because there were officers in the NCC whose son's were my competitors. That was the only qualification they had. Even for the 1984 camp I had been rejected at the last stage just before leaving for Delhi but that was noticed by our Deputy DG in Karnataka Air Commodore BI Singh, will never forget him, a gem of a man who called up the CO of my unit and ordered my reinstatement! He had spotted me in the pre-pre RD Camp and was shocked to know I had been sacked on the penultimate day. I ended up as Air Wing Best Cadet eventually, thanks to him calling me back into the Kar and Goa contingent. What luck! I had already gone back dejected to Mysore and had even unpacked. CO called me back and hurriedly I got kitted out and sent right back to BLR! My parents were so confused! Dad landed up in Delhi in time to see me march down Rajpath. He could not spot me coz we all looked so uniform when we marched! Mom and my sis had gone to BLR from MYS to watch on TV (which was a first time for them) but unfortunately for them, the electricity went off when the Air Wing contingent was marching down and they never saw me. Mum never forgets that! What drama those days!

Dew said...

So true :) infact my fascination towards traveling is bent towards that...it's just not visitng a new place for me, but interactin wid ppl, exploring more about the culture, food habits, etc :)

YOSEE said...

Your comment box with these "behind the scenes"footage can make a high octane post by itself ! Talk of confusion !....Feel so bad for your mom and sis . No handycams then either ! I do hope you have a photograph at least.

Capt. Anup Murthy said...

Dew: You make one fine traveler! Happy travels wherever and whenever you go.

Yosee: I have been accused in the past, by many, of making the comment post more interesting than the main article! What happens is that I write the main piece usually with what comes to mind immediately. What happens next is that I start getting comments and when replying to them, I remember other snippets of the event and then start writing about that as well. Thanks for your comments and support, all of you who post comments inspire and encourage me and I really appreciate that.

My mom and sis got to see photos of the award ceremony where I got the Best cadet medal but no photos of the actual parade. I don't remember if they saw any repeat telecast of the same when they did get the power back. I got a certificate that shows that I was in the RD Parade and all they saw, when I got back home, was the cert and medal.

Karnatake & Goa contingent took the Banner for the best NCC Contingent All India, that year for the third time in a row. Back in Bangalore we were treated to a rousing welcome and there was the Governor's party and then an IAF Training Command guard of honor where I was the Air Wing Parade Commander and so on. It was great fun!

Dad was there when I got the medal on stage, he saw that live. Deccan Herald and Star of Mysore (then 2 years old paper I think) featured an article and photo of me with the RD Blazer and medal around my neck. This is my treasure chest! They stitched new uniforms for the 4 of us who made it to IACE 1984 Singapore with "India" mentioned on it, the first and only time I represented the Country. We were issued White Official Passports for the trip. This comment is too long and there's so much more to tell! Thanks Yosee.

Namita Chandra said...

Vow! the comments make for another post as you have already said. I never realized that there could be so much partiality in these fields also.
I really want to put in my bit about taking photographs and moving on while traveling. It depends on how much time you have in hand, to get to know a place and also how many times you visit a certain place.
Every time I visit the same city again I realize how different the current experience is from the past one.
The feelings one experiences even when one beholds some of the world famous monuments is great just looking at the Taj Mahal for the first time , I was awestruck!! same goes for when the Eiffel tower started twinkling suddenly at 10pm!! These places and others are worth clicking and moving on to the next destination if you do not have more time to spend there.

RAJI MUTHUKRISHNAN said...

Congratulations! It was good to read your piece with so many memories. And I like the fine distinction you make between tourist and traveller.

Kamini said...

100 posts is indeed a milestone to be proud of! Congratulations. I always get a vicarious thrill out of your accounts of your travels, you always provide such a fresh-eyed perspective. Here's to the next 100!

Capt. Anup Murthy said...

Sorry for late reply to all, I am down with flu and high temperatures. I should be fine in a few days.

Namita: Rightly said. I agree with you on taking pictures and you know, I really like the pictures and descriptions you put on your blog. The latest on on Amsterdam, I did read, but being really tired due to flu, I did not find energy to comment, but will do so soon. Keep writing and publishing your photos.

Raji Madam, thanks always for your encouraging comments, I am glad you like what I write.

Kamini: I am honored that you like my account so much. Such encouragement drives me to post my blogs. Thanks for your kind wishes for the next 100!

Namita Chandra said...

Came to know that you are down with flu. Hope you have a quick recovery. Take proper rest.

Capt. Anup Murthy said...

Thanks Namita. Will do so.

RAJI MUTHUKRISHNAN said...

Get well soon!

Capt. Anup Murthy said...

Thanks Raji Madam, this morning shows normal temp but lots of weakness. Should be up and running tomorrow or take another day off from work and spend a quiet weekend! Maybe this is what I needed before the body shut down with a viral attack!

shabnam said...

Heyyy... I visited ur blog to check if u hv posted sumthing new..but sorry to read ur comments section that u were down wid flu... :(

Herez wishing you a speedy recovery..wid a bunch of flowers..( my latest post's subject :) ....)

Capt. Anup Murthy said...

Thanks for the flowers Shabnam! Rajnigandha, right! I am doing fine now, was a bad flu but OK now. Much about me is contained in the comments section mostly! My friends of the blogsphere say that some of the comments deserve to be a blog post by themselves. I agree, many times the comment section gets more attention! Thanks again for your kind concern.

wineye said...

It was great to read your illustrious accounts Captain. I stayed in Singapore for an year and I have fond memories there.. after reading ur accounts I feel like visiting the island country 25 yrs later.. and one thing would still not change.. its cleanliness :)

Capt. Anup Murthy said...

Vinay: Thanks for visiting my blog. I have done a series on Singapore called Singapore snapshots, it is in the archives of 2007. I have enjoyed being here for a little more than 3 years. I have lived and traveled in many Countries but those days there was no such thing as blogging and therefore missed putting things down to remember later. I have to dig up old pictures at some stage and try and get some of the anecdotes down in writing. Thanks for your twitter note as well.

Adam said...

International travel, that is to travel all over the world has lot of fun and adventure in it.Safety is the first concern of travel. People still travel as there's no less danger at home than traveling abroad.