Just a day into our voyage from Salalah to Jeddah and the winds shifted for the better. We clocked 6.5 knots on an average under sails. Also had the privilege of being escorted by the star of Op Rahat, INS Sumitra. We maintained west of the general stream of traffic and Sumitra was there all the time to clear off anybody who dared come close.
Very rarely does one get an opportunity to sail in company of coursemates. Last time I and Milind were together was onboard Tir as part of the First Training Squadron. Now that I am back in the Squadron though in a different capacity, one can’t help but reminisce over those glorious days. Ones first tenure onboard a ship teaches you a lot. These lessons are not only in classrooms but in your day to day rig-morale onboard. Lessons on Leadership and Conduct from INA and NDA are seen in practice onboard. While most you forget, some leave an indelible mark on your personality. MCPO Jakhu, the Master Chief Bosun’s Mate (MCBM) of INS Tir was one such individual. As MCBM and the whole ship coordinator it was upon him to plan, delegate and execute all sundry jobs for the day. And he was the epitome of man management. He could, as somebody put it, get an octopus to walk and a rock to swim. So much was his fame that we named a uniform after him, calling it the ‘Jakhu Blues’. It was from the likes of MCBM Jakhu, we learnt that “Nothing is Impossible”. All one needs is a willing mind and effective leadership. He would get four of us to do things that would normally need ten ‘Able Bodied Seamen’. It was from him that we learnt that problems are how you look at them. He would thus muster the Cadets to shift a ‘Reel of Thread’ from the jetty to the ship. Only later would one realise that this thread would actually be ‘220 meter, 64 mm, multiplated, Towing Hawser’.
So today we salute the likes of Jakhu MCPO I, for it is because of them, that we are a force to reckon with, that we accomplish what Sumitra did in Op Rahat, that we the Crew of Tarangini undertake Lokayan-15 across Four Seas, Two Oceans, 17000 miles over Seven months…….. It is the because of the Jakhus of yesteryears that we realise that it is upon us, the Crew of Tarangini, to mould the future generations to the requirements of the Navy, the Nation and the Planet.