NDA Parade aug 1949



August 1949

I was eight years old when our father was posted to the Indian Military Academy as an instructor. We saw the above spectacle every six months during the next three odd years, and it got embedded in our subconscious minds. We wanted to be a part of the scene. Our eldest brother was selected for entry into the 7th  JSW Course in 1951, but he was found medically unfit due to trachoma in the eyes. It left him crestfallen and dejected, and it took him several months to recover his characteristic zest and buoyancy.

Six years later, when my turn came to face the selection board, I think I was more concerned with the medical tests than the interview. Consequently, my father requested the doctors in the local Military Hospital to put me through a complete check-up. As advised by them, my tonsils were removed surgically and something was done to set the nasal bone right. In the process, I missed the initial board and was called up with the ‘absentees’. We were stationed in Allahabad, and I was required to go all the way to Bangalore. The journey took three nights and two days, and the interview started on 4th Nov 1957.

 NDA 1957 batch

Note that as late as 1957, the NDA batches were designated as ‘J’ groups, even though the JSW had been disbanded in Jan 1955.


There were only seven candidates and the tall lad at numero 7 was our natural leader. His name was Binoy M David. Five days later, only two of us, chest numbers 2 and 7 were selected and sent to the Military Hospital.

Before proceeding further, I want to say a couple of things about Binoy. He was a fiercely independent person, who lived on his terms. He came from an affluent family and attended the best school in the town. In his suitcase, I noticed a packet of cigarettes, so I asked him whether he smoked. He said yes, but added that he had resolved to give up the habit since smoking is not allowed in the NDA.

We were on cloud nine when the results were declared. When the other candidates had gone, we gave tips to the housekeeping staff and the workers in the canteen. Binoy pulled out the packet of Berkeley cigarettes and gave it away to the bearer who used to bring tea to our barrack.  

Our ecstasy was short-lived. Three days later, when the results of the medical tests were announced, both of us were found unfit. Binoy had a murmur in the heart and he was declared permanently unfit. I was diagnosed with tachycardia and told to appear for a review within one month at MH Lucknow. Binoy blurted out some indiscernible words. During the next few hours, I saw him going through the five DABDA stages

  • He was in denial mode, when he said, “This can’t be true. I have been examined by the best heart specialists, and they found me fit. I will contest this decision…my father will take them to the court. They can not do this to me!”

  • When we reached the ward, a nurse, who had become friendly with us expressed her grief. Binoy flew into anger. He tore that paper and said, “I do not need sympathy or kindness. I have the strength to accept misfortune.”

  • He then went to the nearest doctor and asked him about the procedure for redressal. He was in the bargaining stage. Meanwhile, the Nursing Officer brought another copy of the paper which he had torn. She also told us that she had obtained permission for both of us to spend the night in the hospital since our trains were due only the next day.

  • Binoy left me and went away to the lawn. I saw him sitting alone on a bench. I could see that he was depressed. In the evening he went alone to the Brigade Road.

  • By morning, he was composed and in a stage of acceptance.  There was only one difference. He had acquired several packets of cigarettes, and he was taking deep puffs.

At the railway station, we talked about the lovely time we had spent together. He gave me his postal address and invited me to remain in touch. He told me that since my ailment was curable,  he was sanguine that I would be found fit. Here are two snaps which tell the tale better than words.

 binoy maon david

                                  Binoy Mamon David. Notice the cigarette in his fingers

Binoy and Surjit 

Binoy and self. Notice the absence of a crowd on the platform. The population of Bangalore was just about one million in 1957, and no one had heard words like ‘traffic jams’ and ‘pollution’


At War with Tachycardia

My battle with tachycardia began in the hospital itself. Since I did not know the meaning of the word, I requested the nearest doctor to educate me. He told me that the ‘resting pulse’ of a healthy adult should be 72 to 80 beats per minute (BPM). In my case, it was found to be over ninety. I asked him the line of treatment. He told me that most often it came down on its own, but there are medicines to cure it faster. My immediate reaction was to check my pulse rate. After a bit of fiddling around the wrist, I was able to feel my pulse. But I needed a watch to determine the time. Those days, wristwatches were expensive, and very few people owned one. In hospitals, I had seen nurses using the one-minute sand timer for the purpose.


One-minute sand timer

But from where was I to get this device?  The solution I found was to sit next to a co-passenger who had a wristwatch to help me. During the sixty-hour journey back to Allahabad, I must have checked my pulse at least twenty times. In a waiting room, where I had to change the train I noticed a wall clock, but it did not have a needle to show seconds. Consequently,  I held on to my wrist for fifteen long minutes, counted the beats and divided the reading by a factor of 15!

Back home, my father took me to a doctor. After examining me, he suggested that I take bed rest for about twenty days and prescribed a couple of tablets. He told us that the heart muscles had gotten stressed or infected, and needed respite. And indeed he advised us to check the pulse a few times and keep a record of the readings.

I was studying at the well-known Ewing Christian College, which was about eight kilometres and used to go there on a bicycle. I had missed a lot of classes, and the continued absence could lead to dropping a year if the pulse rate did not oblige. We decided to take a second opinion.

The other doctor was a keen athlete. He tested me differently. He told me to perform push-ups, sit-ups and vigorous exercises and asked me if I felt breathless or any discomfort in the chest. I said an emphatic ‘NO’. He told my father that I was perfectly healthy, and recommended an exercise routine. Indeed, he also prescribed some medicines. He told us that the resting pulse of athletes is well below 70.

The two opinions were at crass variance. We returned completely confused and turned to our mother for the final verdict. In her characteristic way, she said, “Let him return to his old routine. I think he is perfectly normal. Just leave it to him. He is old enough to decide”

I chose to return to college but kept checking my pulse as often as I could. I discovered that the BPM changed significantly during the day. Even if I was in the same place, the readings taken by two different persons were not the same.


The month passed, and it was time to go to Lucknow for the ‘review medical board’. To say that I was nervous, would be an understatement. I was tense to the point of being frazzled. If I was found unfit, I would have to go back to college. I had not submitted several assignments and the laboratory records were incomplete. The attendance was short, and there was a finite risk of having to repeat a year. I had been awarded a scholarship for being a university rank holder in High School. That also would be discontinued, since it was linked with continued high performance in the first year.

All in all, the stakes were very high.

When my turn came to see the doctor, my knees were unsteady. However, I noticed that the man on the other side of the table was a kindly soul. I saw a concerned look on his face after he had checked the pulse. He asked me whether I had taken any treatment for tachycardia. I showed him the prescription and also the record of the BPM which I had dutifully maintained. I also told him that my pulse rate tended to surge whenever it was checked by a military doctor.

Suddenly, he saw the paper and mumbled the words, resting pulse. His face lit up. Then he got up and went over to the neighbouring cabin. When he returned, he asked me whether he could admit me to the hospital to check my ‘sleeping pulse’ for two nights. Naturally, I said yes. And within an hour, I was admitted into a Ward.

I had not yet settled down on the bed when the Principal Matron came over for her daily round. After seeing my case sheet, she said, “Tachycardia is usually caused by the emotional condition. Even blood pressure and palpitation originate out of fear and anxiety”

She asked the nurse to shift me into a single room since I was not a patient, and was there for only two nights. This was done to ensure that I did not contract any infection from the other patients. When we were alone, she asked me for more details about my ailment. I told her about my having missed classes and the pending assignments. She advised me to make the best use of my time in the hospital. Then she took out a key chain with a cross and asked me to keep it in my pocket. She said a little prayer and told me that The Lord would take away all my woes.


That afternoon, I pulled out my college bag and started working on the pending assignments. To my dismay, I discovered that I could complete the whole thing within a few days. I recollected that our College was scheduled to close for ten days for Christmas. This discovery removed a ton of bricks from my head. The fear vanished, and the words of the Syrian Christian matron relieved me of anxiety and worry. I slept like a log of wood and I was no longer concerned about the pulse count. The next morning I went for a jog and spent the whole day on the assignments. At night I woke up when I heard a doctor talking to the Nurse, but I pretended to be asleep.

On the third day, I reported to the doctor and extended my wrist for a pulse check. He turned it away and said, “You are perfectly normal. I checked your pulse myself, last night. The result has to be ratified by the Army Headquarters, but we have cleared you. Go and prepare to join the Academy” He got up and wished me good luck.

Within ten days, I found myself front rolling and doing all sorts of monkey tricks with my course-mates.

 hunter sqn 190

XIX NDA, Easy Squadron. January 1958 (Re-christened as Hunter Sqn in July 1960)


I got in touch with Binoy as soon as I could. He wrote back and said, “I envy you, and wish that I was with you. But here, I thank the Lord, every time I light a cigarette with no fear or compunction!”

And now, as I prepare to post this piece on my blog, I see how the world has changed during the last sixty-five years. The medical opinion on the ‘normal’ pulse rate for healthy adults has been revised to 60 to 100 beats per minute. And indeed, it takes no more than a few seconds to obtain the reading with the pulse oximeter.




A Tailpiece

My encounter with ‘tachycardia’ ended when Matron educated me in MH Lucknow. But during the last 65 years, I have had several bouts with the medicos. In 1957, they had only two devices, the stethoscope and the BP instrument. Now the range of electro-medical equipment is awesome. But the result is similar. Quite often there is an inconsistency in the test results and the doctors often disagree with their colleagues on prescription and the line of treatment. At the end of the day, I have had to take the final decision, and ever so often, I have chosen to bear the pain and suffering and let my soma be ruled by the psyche. If I am alive at 81+, it is with the help of some doctors and despite some others. I must also mention here that my brother, Manjit, who was found unfit due to trachoma, went to IIT Kharagpur, and then joined the Air Force, because of his love for the uniform. He retired as an AVM. He lived to the age of 85 and had several medical problems en route, but his vision was perfect, even on the last day of his life.

As for treatment, we have several forms available. In addition to allopathy, we have Homeopathy, Ayurveda, Yunani and Naturopathy to name some. I have also heard stories of some unusual yet ingenious methods. I am told that there was a lady whose ten-year son had an incorrigible habit of digging diamonds in his nose. Sometimes, he went so deep that he drove himself to the point of bleeding. The ENT specialist suggested surgery to correct the nasal passage. Then she met an elderly person who offered an unorthodox solution. He advised her to get a loose knicker stitched for him, and told her not to let him wear a belt. She did so and told the child that if the short trouser slipped, the children would jeer at him. The hapless kid spent all his time holding his costume and had no hand to fidget with the nose. His malady was cured in just a few days, without any medicine or surgical treatment. This is known as the “Dheeli knicker formula” (Diversion therapy, in English)

loose knicker 5



  1. Dr BV Prabhu says:


    Enjoyed reading.

    Thank you for being an influential teacher. I am carrying forward & passing on the knowledge I acquired from you.


  2. Niloufer Bilimoria says:

    Niloufer Bilimoria
    Sat, Sep 3, 10:25 PM (13 hours ago)
    to Niloufer, me

    Will you be at the litfest this time? Hope so. Oct 14-16.
    Please stay for dinner at Raj Villa on 16th with your family. NO printed formal invitations.

    Warm regards,

    • Surjit says:

      You are generous with your words.
      This year, the great event is on the same day as our annual EME veterans get-together. So I will have to see how I can come to Kasauli, essentially to meet everyone there. But I am not sure that I will be able to join you for the gala dinner.

  3. Krishna Menon says:

    Dear Surjit,

    May God bless Nuri Beti and her family.

    Recently I shared a news item on WhatsApp about the possibility of India becoming a 20 trillion dollar economy in the next 25 years and turning into a developed Nation:
    ‘A committed government and a nationalistic opposition dedicated to progress can make this dream come true. It will also trigger Ghar Wapsi for millions of NRIs struggling to make a living abroad.

    ‘India could also become a preferred destination for many foreigners who wish to migrate. It is well within the realms of possibility since TFR of India has fallen below the norm of 2.1:

    ‘Indian Economy Can Touch $20 Trillion By 2047: PM’s Economic Advisory Council Chairman | https://swarajyamag.com/business/indian-economy-can-touch-20-trillion-by-2047-pms-economic-advisory-coucil-chairman

    It could be a pipedream, but I do hope that it will happen sooner or later for the likes of Nuri and her family, and for my own son’s future.


    • Surjit says:


      Where are you located? My friend Thomas tells me that you have migrated to America.

      • Krishna Menon says:

        Krishna Menon
        9:12 AM (2 hours ago)
        to me, J

        Dear Surjit,

        To answer your question, I have migrated to Canada. We have been here for the past 33 years. I lost my wife and daughter to cancer. I live with my son. He works for a multinational company. My base in India is Pune, but I have not been able to go there for the past 4 years due to health issues and Covid.

        Yes, I know Tommy very well. We served together in ASTE (previously A&ATU). He has done yeoman service as a test pilot.

        Warm regards,

  4. SJ Singh says:


    What was the reaction of your father and mother when you were going through this emotional turmoil?


    • Surjit says:

      Our father was of the firm view that I must join if and only if I was medically fit in all respects. He had seen cases in which cadets were ‘boarded out after they had completed a portion of the training. That was heart-rending and far worse than not joining at all.
      As for our mother, she believed that I was better suited to become a teacher. She was also keen that at least one of her four sons should remain with the parents and look after our agricultural land. So both of them were in a state of equanimity.


  5. Prem Hejmadi says:

    Prem Hejmadi
    to me

    Dear Surjit,
    I would love to share experiences, but just now my hands are full. I am in the process of winding down a company, Universal Semiconductors after 26 years of life across India and the USA, and since I am the only person now in the company, all the provision of documents/accounting etc. rests with me. Additionally, I am in the middle of attending classes learning Sanskrit. That leaves me very little time for luxuriating in memory lane. But I do make time to read your writings and enjoy the same.
    Keep it going bro; they’re great.

    Love and light

    “Love All, Serve All ” _
    “Help Ever, Hurt Never”. __Sri Satya Sai Baba



    to me

    I enjoyed reading your interesting piece.

  7. Brig K M S Sethi says:

    Brig.K.M.S. Sethi

    to me

    Nice reading

  8. Col JS Bath says:

    Jagwant (he likes to write it as jag1t) had a long chat with me on this subject yesterday. I am tempted to record it as his ‘comment’ for the sake of the record.

    He tells me that in actual fact, all this happened in accordance with the will of the Lord. The pulse rate varies from moment to moment. Even when you are sitting in the same place, it can alter. The doctor in Bangalore performed his duty and recorded his opinion.

    In Lucknow, the doctor thought it fit to take a different course of action. He interpreted ‘resting pulse’ as ‘sleeping pulse’ and that made me serve the Army for several decades. The heart performed perfectly well even at high altitudes and also during the war. Destiny again.

    All this had to happen this way because it could NOT happen in any other manner.

    Jagwant makes eminent sense to me. The future is not ours to see, que sera sera. Whatever will be, will be.

    • Surjit says:

      I would like to add just one comment to this line of thinking.

      Indeed, we are all governed by destiny, from birth to the time when we take the long road to nowhere. But when an event occurs, we take it very seriously. We swing from ecstasy to agony. With the passage of time, the gravity of the occurrence seems to diminish. Gurudev Tagore wrote,

      “Give me the strength, lightly to bear my joys and sorrows”

      If we abide by his words of wisdom, we can mitigate our suffering, and lead more balanced lives!


  9. Krishna Menon says:

    Krishna Menon
    Aug 23, 2022, 5:12 AM
    to me

    Thank you, Surjit for sharing this most interesting and entertaining story. I applaud your sharp memory.

    A colleague and friend of mine in 1960 was an Armament officer Manjit Singh Mann. We hit it off very well in 45 Sqn at Palam. Later we were in Pune, with him in IAT and I in 220 Sqn, Lohegaon. I wonder if he was your brother.

    Warm regards,
    Krishna Menon

    • Surjit says:


      Yes, indeed.

      My brother, Manjit was in Palam during 1961-63 and did a course in IAT in 1970.
      He also spoke very highly about you. I think you were a fighter pilot.

      Manjit ji passed away in Dec 2019.


      • Krishna Menon says:

        Krishna Menon
        Tue, Aug 30, 6:19 AM (2 days ago)
        to me

        Dear Surjit,

        Thank you very much for sharing the very touching Remembrance of your eldest brother AVM Manjit Singh. God took him in the kindest possible way on 9 Dec, 2019. Om Shanti to his soul.

        I also had the privilege of knowing Bhajan Bhabhi. She was one of the kindest people I have met. I remember her the way she is in the group photo you shared the family. How is their daughter Noori who was 6 or 7 years old when I met her?

        I shall treasure the closing comments you shared following the obituary: Maxim’s for ageing with grace.

        Warm regards,

        • SURJIT says:

          Menon Sir,

          Thanks. Manjit bhai sahib was lucky to have Bhajan Ji as his wife.

          Nuri (born in July 1960) married a Merchant Navy officer. They migrated to the USA in 1982. She has three daughters and one son. Even though they are happy, they miss India. As they say, “East or West, Home is the best!”


  10. Dr Harmeet Khurana says:

    Dr.Harmeet Khurana

    to me

    Dearest Uncle,

    It was a pleasure to read about the incident shared by you. Even more fascinating were the accompanying photographs. I also showed them to Mom. Would love to hear more from you.

    Ever since I was a child I have always enjoyed my conversations with you and look forward to any kind of interaction with you.

    Hope you and Aunty are doing well

    Love and regards

  11. Loved reading through this nostalgic experience. Along with Heart murmur, IHD ( Ischemic Heart Disease) etc ,I can now add Tachycardia to my lexicon of heart malfunction. The medical tests , appeals and diagnostic devices all have undergone a revolutionary change since the fifties but what caught my eye is the very supportive treatment the young aspirant received at every stage ,may be the system itself was more congenial those days. I feel for young David and I am sure he would have thrived in his chosen path with his ” no nonsense” attitude. Having served under General Surjit’ s command in an EME Battalion as his second in command ,I can vouch for his golden heart without any medical or other malfunction. Thank you Sir for treating us with another outstanding piece of story telling.

    • Surjit says:


      Your words have moved me.

      I must add here that the visit to Bangalore was my first exposure to South India. There were a few South Indian officers in the IMA, but in our school, there were none. When I met Binoy and the people in the town, a whole new world opened for me!

      By the time we met in Sikkim in 1981, I had a lot of ‘Madrasi’ friends. By some kind of coincidence, most of my friends were from Kerala. Even in Secunderabad and Bangalore, I had Menons, Nairs and Jacobs. And I received a lot of love and affection.

      You of course take the cake! But for you, I may not have been able to function in 617 EME Battalion. Simeon was trained by you…and he kept the flag up. If I have to repeat one part of life and live it again, it would be the land of the Kanchenjunga and Teesta.
      God bless you, Malathi, Jaya, Raghu and their families.


      • Thank you Sir. 617 EME Bn tenure was a great learning experience for me in many ways . Beginning with OC Wksp at Kyangnosala at 11000 feet altitude and later as second in Command under your leadership, work was challenging but great fun thanks to the ” family ” we built together.On the side ,I had another unique exposure to be associated with high altitude maintenance evaluation trials of 155 medium guns . The ropeway and other innovations added color to the tenure adding more meaning to it. Yes ,these memories are still fresh in my mind.

  12. Rustom Jamasji says:

    In today’s time, Nostalgia is the much needed and only remaining nourishment for the Soul.
    Simpler times, happier times, Less noise, more value.

    Thanks for nourishing the soul yet once again with your writings

  13. Surjit Singh says:

    Raj Kadyan
    to me

    Thank you, sir. Enjoyed reading it. The culminating advice Dheeli knicker formula says it all. Our grandmothers were the best doctors
    With best regards,

    Lt Gen Raj Kadyan
    262, Sector-17A
    Gurgaon – 122 001

    • Surjit says:


      Indeed. Times have changed. In our ancestral village, there was just one ‘doctor’ (he was called Vaid) who treated us. Most often we went to him when we were injured. For the rest, our elders used to tell us some home remedies. There was no ECG, MRI, Ultra-sound or angiography. And yet people lived long and healthy lives. Our great-grandfather live to the age of 103 years, and he was fit enough to go for his daily walk.


  14. Lt Gen DB Singh says:

    Dharambir Singh
    Aug 24, 2022
    to me

    An interesting piece of reading. How simple life was once upon a time
    One has so many stories but unfortunately no backup photographs
    Keep it up. It is always a pleasure going through your writings

    • Surjit says:

      Dear Brother,

      Thanks for your kind words.

      There was a time when I lived in the future. I made lofty plans. I stopped that when I realized that I would not be a part of the scene.

      Then I started living in the present and tried to resolve issues, to create a better world. I stopped that when I discovered that I do not have the strength to change things.

      I switched to the past, to recall memories of old times. But one can not go back. The past is dead and gone forever.

      I now find some solace in AKAL (the timeless) and I try to seek answers to the questions which have bothered me all through these eight decades. And that is when I reach out to my friends.


  15. Asil Singh says:

    Asil Singh
    Wed, Aug 24 2022
    to me

    Very interesting and well-written article Sir

  16. Anupinder Kaur says:

    Anupinder Kaur
    Aug 23, 2022
    to me

    Very interesting article. Loved it chachu.

    • Surjit says:

      Dear Anu,

      You and Ripi are also very good at expressing your thoughts and emotions. I invite you to dig into your past and tell us some stories.

      Next week we shall pay homage to our saintly grandfather, on the 96th anniversary of his leaving the world of mortals. You will be high on the list of persons for whom we will pray.

      Please give our love to everyone in the family, and send us some pictures.

      Chachu, Chachi

  17. It is always interesting to read your blogs because they are written in a language that rings true. Your blog is akin to someone pointing out to a natural beautiful shape of a tree which had he not pointed out , you would have missed. Keep writing sir. Regs best Arun Mishra

    • Surjit says:


      I am thrilled to hear from a guardsman. The Internet has removed distances. It even reaches Mars, I am told!


  18. Anuradha Dua says:

    Anuradha Dua
    Aug 23, 2022,
    to me

    Dear Gen Surjit
    It’s a beautiful piece, very absorbing and I simply loved reading it. The pictures are admirable.
    Your memory is incredible and what precision for detail. My father would have loved it.

    Warm Regards

    • Surjit says:

      Dear Anu,

      Your affection for us is a source of joy. Rajesh and you have given a lot to us. I can never forget the night when you both came and Rajesh ‘recovered’ the test of my book on the system, which I thought was lost forever. I had worked for nearly ten months on that book!
      Our regards to all three of your brothers. They are gems!


  19. Wg Cdr K Kalyanraman says:

    Kalyan Raman
    Tue, Aug 23, 4:28 PM (2 days ago)
    to me

    Dear Surjit sir,

    Tremendously enjoyable article on tachycardia. The storyline as well as the style of writing is truly ticklish.

    Thank you ( I was tempted to add a smiley, but that would be an inappropriate abbreviation to applaud for a narrative set in the fifties)

    Best regards
    Wg Cdr K Kalyanaraman (Retd).

  20. Maj Gen SS Chahal says:

    Sateeshwar Chahal
    Tue, Aug 23,
    to me

    I found it a very riveting read. Thank you

  21. PP Singh says:

    Prithpal Singh
    Aug 23, 2022,

    Very interesting anecdotes and written in your unique narrative style. Enjoyed.

    PP Singh

  22. LV Jacob says:

    LAwrence Vakayil Jacob
    Aug 23, 2022,
    to me

    Dear Sir
    Beautifully written. Enjoyed reading every bit. Thanks for sharing


    • Surjit says:

      Thanks, Lawrence.
      Whenever I hear from you, I am reminded of Hosur. I think the MDC campus was salubrious, and we attracted some of the finest engineers in India. You enriched our lives!
      I learned a lot from you all.

  23. SR Devaguptagu says:

    SeshagiriRao Devaguptapu
    Tue, Aug 23, 12:50 PM

    Very interesting. Thanks.

  24. Joseph Thomas says:

    Thanks. The “Dheeli knicker formula” and the last photo are very appropriate.

    We are approaching the five million mark.

  25. Col IP Singh says:

    With Regards
    IP Singh

  26. Col IP Singh says:


    IP Singh

  27. Lt Gen Harbhajan Singh says:

    Harbhajan Singh

    to HARRY

    The General lives in Sector 34, Chandigarh and writes very interesting pieces.

    Harbhajan Singh

    • Surjit says:

      Thanks for the kind words.
      A few days ago, a reporter from BBC (Punjabi) approached me and invited me to participate in a programme on the School established by our saintly grandfather. The nine-minute clip can be accessed by clicking on the link given below. You might like to view it:
      It takes us on a journey down memory lane.

  28. Jasdev says:

    Jasdev Singh

    Wow !!!

    Just loved reading this
    Jyoti was equally ecstatic yesterday

    She said uncle had a certain panache and SWAG in the pictures

    I felt so proud.


    • Surjit says:

      Thanks, Jasdev.
      Thirty years hence, you will be doing this. It runs in the family.
      And it is a form of ‘diversion therapy’ in old age!

  29. Prem Hejmadi says:

    Dear Surjit,
    It’s good reading and took me back to the days when I had undergone a somewhat similar experience, only not so “glamorous” as tachycardia. It had to do with the “other end”
    You have a remarkable memory and have maintained a great historical record, and reading your notings and blog is delightful indeed.
    Keep them flowing.

    Love & Light

  30. Lt Gen Paramjit Singh says:

    You have this wonderful gift to write so well.
    Warm regards

  31. Brig SL Vashisht says:

    It sure makes an interesting read.
    Thanks for sharing.
    Fond regards,
    Brig. Vashisht

  32. Col ABS Sidhu says:

    Hi Surjit,
    Thanks for sharing your very interesting
    experiences during selection for NDA.
    I also had a similar experience. After being
    selected by the Board at MEERUT in the first
    week of Oct 57, we were asked to report
    to MH. During a routine med exam by all the
    specialists, I was declared fit . During the final
    interview with the President, he noticed
    some abnormality with my nose and was sent
    for a re-exam by ENT Specialist. Same Dr who
    had made me fit the previous day now made me
    ty unfit for Tonsils and Deflected Nasal Septum.
    Accordingly, I had to undergo two operations in
    three days . However during the review Board at MH
    Delhi I was declared fit and joined NDA in Jan 58.
    Army Doctors are ever unpredictable.

    With best wishes.
    ABS Sidhu

    • Surjit says:

      I agree with you 100 per cent.
      When I asked some of them, the answer I received was, “We go by the book of rules. And being soldiers, we obey our seniors”
      In the process, some fit candidates are rejected.

  33. Lt Gen RK Mehta says:

    Raj Mehta
    Wed, Aug 24, 10:26 AM (1 day ago)
    to me

    Dear Gen Surjit,
    Nice to hear from you after quite some time and thanks for
    sharing “TACHYCARDIA”.
    Warm regards and best wishes,

  34. Brig Narendra Arora says:

    Salute to Gen Surjit Singh. I joined NDA in Jan 1962 by when Easy Sqn had been re designated as Hunter Sqn. Sir, today I have understood the value of good old Hunter Sqn of which I was part from 1st to 6th term.

    Naren Arora

    • Surjit says:

      My brother-in-law, RS Bhatti (Foxtrot) was in your course. And I have a lot of friends from that course. Mahajan, Manchanda, Baidwan, SS Chahal and Logani just to name some.

    • Surjit says:

      I spoke to Rajinder Bhatti about you and learnt that you were in the Ordnance. At once your face came in front of my eyes. We have met more than once. First, we met in Kirkee in the residence of the Comdt 512 ABW. And then we were together in a few official meetings. Please convey our regards to Ms Arora. I think she was associated with some TV programmes.
      God bless.

  35. Brig VHM Prasad says:

    Aug 23, 2022, 6:35 PM (2 days ago)
    to me

    Dear Surjit ,

    We have never met but yes I know your Dad was one of our teachers in the Mil Wing.

    I have been reading your superbly penned and articulated stories of yore now & then.

    May I add that your expression from a wealth of the vocabulary that you possess makes me read anything and everything that you write so v v interestingly?

    Am sharing it with some friends.

    Wishing you all the best and happy times.


    Brig V H M Prasad

    1st JSW

    Settled in Secunderabad

    • Surjit says:

      It is an honour to be in touch with you. You are kind with your words.
      For us, the First JSW course was an inspiration. We were in awe of your batch. The NDA owes a lot to you.
      May the Lord give you many more years, to bless us.

  36. Bwana says:

    Aug 23, 2022, 6:28 PM (2 days ago)
    to me


    Thanks for this interesting story.
    It is interesting that doctors so often jump to conclusions.
    I have shared your email with some friends. In particular, one of my friends who lives in California just had open heart surgery some 4-5 weeks ago.

    He was rather depressed and I’ve been chatting with him to cheer him up. About two weeks ago, he told me that he had checked his pulse and it was 95. He was worried.

    I said: “That’s good news. You’ve just had open heart surgery and your heart is capable of 95 bpm. That’s a good sign.”

    I then pointed out that there is no such thing as a “normal” heart rate. It depends on so many variables that one has to accept a range as being normal.

    You are a natural storyteller.

    Anyhow, be well and stay safe.


    • Surjit says:

      Thanks, Sir
      This is true of many of the body parameters.
      I know a person whose temperature rarely goes below 100 degrees. And he is living a normal life. The cholesterol is a similar story. Until about 30 years ago, we had not even heard about it. Then it became fashionable to talk about it and lower it to unhealthy levels.
      I think that those who do not get their clinical tests done are happy. Ignorance, as they say, is bliss!

  37. Wazir Kumar says:

    Dear General
    Thanks to read your story and enjoyed it
    Col r m bedi
    At pune

  38. BR Sood says:

    Baldev Sood

    General Saa’b,

    Very interesting and educative! Thank you, Sir!

    Baldev Sood

  39. Col RS Grewal says:

    Good one Surjit. Quite a few of us have undergone this ordeal

    Ranjit Grewal

  40. Brig SS Jaswal says:

    Brig S S Jaswal
    Tue, Aug 23, 1:52 PM (2 days ago)
    to me

    Enjoyed reading it Sir – thanks and regards !!!


  41. DALJIT MADAN says:

    Interesting to read your pre joining medical ordeal . Your career took off pretty well .
    Time spent on joining and our struggle came back to mind .
    I for one , will not recommend this career to anyone . The RAGRA that one had to go thru is not commensurate with today’s available options .

  42. Dhiraj Mullick says:

    Lovely Read Sir.

    So lucid and so relatable. Its almost as if one was transported to that era.

    I think you a master story teller. Excellent interplay words and actions beautifully laced with images to reveal the elements the story… it truly encourages the reader’s imagination.

    Also deeply admire your ability to recall all the events and pull out the photographs which have been so carefully preserved through the years!!

    Warm Regards

  43. GANGADHARAN says:

    Dear Sir,

    Great sir. Many have faced such ordeal with medicos.

  44. Sitendra Kumar says:

    Dear Sir, An inspiring account by you exhibiting your solid determination and resolve. It shows how diligent you were from the very begining. A very interesting account. All your brothers were destined to rise vey high in life and all of them fully deserved so.

  45. Dave Sood says:

    Like all your stories including family stories are well written and I have enjoyed them all. I also went to Bangalore and was selected. With me were Deepak Verma , Jimmy Bhatia, Ahlawat and another Rimcolian whose name I forget.

    Idid not know where my heart is in those days. Forget about the word Tachycardia. I had never been admitted to a Hospital till 2013. Peggy always chides me with all the part of the body I do not know even now.

    You should compile all your family stories in one small book for your family. Your grand kids and beyond will love reading them.

  46. Lt Gen Kapil Aggarwal says:

    Dear Sir,

    Firstly, I am zapped at how you have managed to click photographs from your SSB days and retained them for so many decades. You even remember the dates of the interview !! That is some special talent and intent. I have no photographs of my school days and beyond till marriage, except some preserved by my mother. The few photographs I had were also lost to termites when my luggage was left behind due to high altitude postings etc.

    The piece is eminently readable with the stark contrast between what existed 6 decades back and now. It will connect with all faujis. The Army Doctors were notorious even in the 1970s for putting irrational roadblocks.

    Looking forward to this one on Guftagu.

    Warm regards

    Kapil Aggarwal
    New Delhi
    # 8130366900

  47. Joseph Thomas says:

    The last photograph brings back many memories. Most of our instructors were veterans of the World War or of the Kashmir operations. Compared to them, we thought that we were condemned to a humdrum life in peace stations.

    The only thing sure about life is that events will bring their surprises. But it took long years to learn this lesson. Within 15 years we saw three wars. One of us became a guest of the Chinese and another of the Pakistanis. A third learnt Chinese and tasted life in Beijing.

    If I may pass judgement on the Selection Boards, they got 17 out of 18 right. Not a bad score at all.

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