Commodore Vijay Kumar Pisharody, IN, Nao Sena Medal
Here it goes, an ode to you,
For another capped feather, all anew.
In 2011, the Republic Day,
You made us proud in every way.
Once again you’ve proved your mettle,
To adorn your chest, you’ve earned the Nao Sena Medal.
The honour bestowed… much deserved,
More laurels for you are surely reserved.
In the years ahead, as you go the length,
May you sail from strength to strength.
(written by Captain Vinod Kumar Pisharody, my younger brother )
(Alert Long Post… but I hope you will stay with it )
That is my elder brother. The brightest star, on our horizons. The one with the Professional Acumen (my FB’s words!). Genius. Integrity. Dedication. Sheer presence of mind. Great bulldozing tactics (well you need that you see, when you command men ). Yoga fiend. Health freak. No-nonsense. Huge Hindi Film Fan. Mohanlal too . Great fun.
He’s got what it takes, and has done what needed to be done. Not many do both. And for Devotion to Duty, he has been awarded the Naosena Medal, NM as it is referred to. I cannot of course, stop here. That would be sheer injustice to the subject, the blog and the eccentric rambler, who cannot act out of sync with her image now, can she? Lol!
A word on the Medals and Awards given to Defence Personnel, and announced on the eve of Republic Day, each year. This year’s awards can be viewed here, on the Press Information Bureau’s Website. (Select 25 Jan 2011, as the date on the left sidebar, and you will notice a link further down , 440 Republic Day Gallantry and other Defence Decorations Announced – (This year we were pleasantly and awesomely (!!!) surprised to hear one of us being named as an awardee. The actual ceremony takes place later, in May I am told. And is telecast live on Doordarshan Will post an update on that as soon as I know)
Medals are given for Devotion to Duty or for Gallantry. The Ashok Chakra, the Kirti Chakra, the Param Vir Chakra, the Vir Chakra, the Shaurya Chakra are all gallantry awards of the Highest Order. Next come the Sena Medals, the Sena (Army), the Vayu Sena Medal (Air Force) and the Nao Sena (नव सेना) Medal (Navy) which can be either for Gallantry or for Devotion to Duty. The PVSM (Param Vishisht Seva Medal ) and the VSM (Vishsist Seva Medal) follow. Each with its due credit and importance.
My father is a VSM recipient, having been awarded in 1970, when he was involved with setting up the communications network for the Naval Airport in Goa. (Trivia: My younger brother is a Naval pilot -have mentioned him here – who is stationed there, President, AIRCATS - Aircrew Categorization and Inspection!). He, my father, ie, retired as a Commander, having worked his way up from the ranks. Sheer hard work and dedication. As my younger brother remarked, first my elder brother outranked him, when he became a Captain, and now a Commodore, and now he has out medalled him as well, with an NM- a Nao Sena Medal!
Viju, as I call him, Pisha as he is known to his coursemates (Common Name for both my younger brother, (and me while in school) ), and Pisha Sir as he is known to the others others… , is someone you might say is… (*hunting desperately for a word, and failing to find any*) an allrounder. It’s cricket season, and he loves cricket, plays very well, so let us use that metaphor for now. You’ll understand what I mean as we go on
Born at the height of the ascending of the Sun (മേടം രാശി, സൂര്യന് ഉച്ചത്തില് medam raashi,sooryan uchchathil), during the Uttarayana, in the Malayalam month of medam (Aries, by the Western Zodiac – a perfect offspring of the sign ), on the monrning of Vishu, the new year, that year, in 1962, his planetary positions, according to my mother, were near perfect! That is not to say that all he has achieved is because of them. This is to say that even that had fallen in line The perspective is that it could not be otherwise
As a young boisterous laddie, in Delhi, he managed his first FEAT. Twice in a row, around the same date, consecutive year, he fractured his right arm, between his wrist and elbow. Once, it was while trying to climb a pole that some of us, me and few other children were instructed to hold. We, being awed, and being us, let go, in sheer admiration, (the pole, ie), and he took a gentle tumble, fracturing his right arm. The next year, same time, he was showing us how to dive off the bed. Bingo. His arm was fractured again. And would you believe the coincidence? Same place, bone, and spot! He lived to tell the tale, swing some mean shots, on the Cricket field, Captain the NDA team, and sail in regattas. Unputdownable. That says it all.
This young man in school, Balwinds Boys’ High School, Bangalore, was consistent. Topper in class. Consistent. On the sports field, in the swimming pool, always there, always bringing back medals. It was sometimes difficult for me, the ham of the sandwich (errm, I have an equally competent and brilliant younger brother! ), to live it down. The green eyed monster kept rising to the surface. Then I learnt to deal with it, hatke! I just decided not to conform, and a rebel was born. Ah! but I digress. This one is for the First Born. Viju.
In the eleventh standard, he found his calling. Well, I was not so sure then. (I told him he was training his head – that should be engaged in doing complex stuff at IIT- to be an enemy’s target!!! ). But now, in hindsight, the bigger picture unfolds. There is something called destiny. You do not realize it in proximity. It is always the distance that leads one to focus on what counted, and what still counts
At that time, he was a member of the Karnataka State U-19 team, that returned home, runners-up! He maintained a demonic schedule, even way back then. Early morning, cricket camp, back home, school, back home, studies, and play, and back all over again! And then, he was selected to train at the National Defence Academy, Khadakwasla. The year was 1979. He had decided to join the Indian Navy, just like his father, Cdr. U. K. Pisharody, VSM. My dad too… !
The rest as they say, is History! But I must share a few moments from that In the NDA, he was an Eagle, ie he was in Echo Squadron, (my younger brother and my first born also went there. All belonged to different squadrons- Vinu, my brother was Bravo-Alpha-Bravo, and Arjun was Alpha then India ), and to be certain, he did fly very high. He was Captain of the Cricket Team (they called him the Kapil Dev of the Academy ),and his exemplary performance got him a Cricket Blue – an honour given to remarkable and gifted and consistently high achievers of a particular field. The blazer that is given is proudly preserved even now. As is the yearbook of the Academy of that time.
>>Fast Forward a few years. He was commissioned as an Officer of the Indian Navy in 1983, and served in various establishments, and ships. In due course there are very many more feathers he has donned on his well deserved cap. After his Long Course/ Specialization in Logistics, he has done courses at the IIM, Kozhikode, Defence Management at the premier institute, College of Defence Management, in Hyderabad. He was part of an Inter-Services team that went to the United States of America and Canada to attend an International Supply Officers Course in 2006. One thing I remember him telling us on his return was about the ocean currents off Nova Scotia, Halifax, that we had learnt about. The warm current and the cold current and their mingling creating rich sea life. It stands out, because he mentioned that it was fascinating to see, for real, something that is abstract for us, in a Geography text book. I concur entirely! Even I was fascinated by his description!
One of his stints was at his Alma Mater, the NDA. Newly married, in 1988, he took up the duties of a Divisional Officer, of the Alpha Squadron. At that time, my younger brother was in the NDA, in the self same squadron, that his elder brother was in charge of. Poor chap, Vinu (the younger one), he had to move out to Bravo Squadron! (And that made it a Bravo – Alpha – Bravo shift for my younger brother, as he was first assigned Bravo, then shifted to Alpha to even out numbers of their course, then back to Bravo, when the elder brother arrived on the scene )
There is yet another interesting tidbit : The first ship he served on was the INS Mysore (the erstwhile), which incidentally, was the last ship my father had served on! INS Mysore has since been decommissioned and now we have a new ship that goes by the same nomenclature. I have always wondered at this coincidence, and found it a fitting event
He also served on other ships the INS Deepak, INS Taragiri, INS Mysore (the new one), and in Materials Organization, Mumbai and Vishakapatnam.
A brilliant technicolour feather in his cap is his tenure as the Station Commander, or what they call Commanding Officer, of the renowned Logistics and Management Training Establishment, in Mumbai, known as INS Hamla . He served almost two years, from 2008 to 2010, in this capacity, bringing a sea change (pun intended!!!) in both the training and day to day running of the establishment. My son happened to be there, for a brief course, while his uncle was the CO He speaks of the awe in which the others held the CO, and the fact that he was called a terror. All of which, instead of putting Viju off, merely added to his pleasure Likewise his sister and brother. We are all honoured to be known as terrors in their own fields !!!
Presently, he’s a hotshot ! The Principal Director, Procurement, Integrated Headquarters, Ministry of Defence (Navy), in Delhi. There is much more to add, but due to constraints of your time and energy, , I shall spare you that!
1798. Word Count ie. Time to stop. Not before congratulating my brother, and his wonderful family, his wife, Anuradha, his children Archana, and Arun, along with my parents… and wishing we have a re run of the joy when the younger one (Captain Vinod Kumar Pisharody) also brings in his dues Or rather, the Navy recognizes a long overdue duty they need to do, to him . For now, we’re celebrating a rare honour, and basking in the reflected glory !
25 February, 2011
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