Friday 14 March 2014



Squadron spirit was essential. They would all go to cheer the Squadron Teams whenever a match was in progress. As a good all-round athlete, he had played Football, Hockey, Squash and Tennis for the Squadron, right from his first term. They would be cheered as a team, even with first termers playing. The Squadron fund would pay for their post match soft refreshments like Cokes and peanuts. Camaraderie was built up this way, to stand them in good stead later. The NDA stamp was all embracing, the very word establishing rapport. Yes, those were the formative years that had developed in him a sense of belonging to his unit, whichever it be. This was the most enduring of relationships, which would continue life-long. In fact, there was an occasion when the three Service Chiefs were course-mates from their salad days.

His three year stay had passed off so rapidly that many occurrences had been forgotten. Ragging and punishment was history, condemned to the remotest corner of one's brain. The change of stream was the wisest decision of his life, even though his Naval course-mates were Commissioned one full year before him while the Army cadets had gained six months over him, their Commissioning being that much earlier. One never thought about such mundane things; it was infra dig. He had been appointed the SCC of his Squadron, a matter of great pride, as he had excelled in sports and done fairly well in Academics.

But he got his greatest thrills in Gliding. They were flying the venerable British Sedbergh T-21B Glider, and were allowed a total of sixty launches before appearing for a Solo Check with the Flight Commander, where one either failed passed. The check consisted of two Sorties, the second being a test of reflexes in case of any failures, like the tow-line attached to the winch snapping during the climb out, etc. He had passed and was presented his wings by the Flight Commander. He had shown great promise and flew five dual sorties with his instructor pilot, who then cleared him for three solo sorties, all on the same T-21B, with a 60 Kilo pack as ballast in the vacant seat. He was the only cadet permitted to fly the Eon Baby, an aerobatic single-seat ultra-light glider. He recalled hitting a thermal and climbing upto 6,000 feet above ground, 5,000 feet higher than he had ever been before. NDA when seen from the air was a magnificent spectacle. Seeing the historic fort of Sinhagad below him was yet another truly awe-inspiring picture. From that day onwards, he had decided that he would become a fighter pilot. 

He remembered his Passing-out Parade with nostalgia. As the SCC, he commanded his Squadron through the parade till it was time to separate from his boys and line up in sixes to march up towards the 'Quarter Deck' as the large dais was called. There was a mast with sails, much like the ships of the past. The National Flag fluttered with glory at the peak and the NDA Flag was one level below it, followed by the Colours of each Squadron. He remembered the final salute as they reached abeam the Mast, marching past in Slow Order. The other Cadets also marched away in Slow Order and the view from Big Ben showed the symmetry of the two lots of Cadets marching away from each other. This view was truly magnificent, to say the least.

The rest of the day went in a haze, with felicitations all round. He had taken his parents to meet the Commandant of the Academy, a two-star General in those days. They also met the Home Minister who had presided over the Parade and taken the Salute. How they reached home remained a blur in the distant past, travelling with proud parents who recounted the experience of the three days that they had spent in the NDA with their son. First the round of the Campus in a coach, with a smartly dressed cadet as guide and historian, boating on Khadakwasla Lake, the three-hour Cultural Show, the Dinner Night, the Polo match and the various displays put up by the other Cadets for their benefit.  What a dream that was, all of forty-five years ago.

Thursday 13 March 2014


Anyone can start a blog but not everyone knows how to write a blog people actually want to read. What can bloggers do to keep visitors coming back for more again and again after their initial visit? Every effort on your blog impacts your readers from your content to your design and everything in between. Take a look below for more insight into how to write a blog people want to read.

Elements and Features of a Blog People Want to Read

The most important part of any blog is what you have to say and how you say it. People will return to your blog if they like what you write about a specific subject and they like your writing style. With that in mind, your blog should be written in a tone appropriate to your blog topic. Keep it personable so as to invite interaction through blog comments and links back to your blog from other bloggers who like what you write. Here are some more articles to help you create the elements and features of your blog that will make people more likely to return:

  • Create Your Blog's Home Page
  • Making Your "About Me" Page Shine                                             

    Writing Blog Posts

    Writing blog posts people want to read is a matter of speaking honestly and openly about a subject you're passionate about. The more you promote your blog, the more people will find it and the greater likelihood that some of those people will read what you have to say, like it, and return. Therefore, your blog posts need to be dynamic, interesting and enjoyable. Take a look at the following articles for more information and tips to help you write great blog posts:

    Introduction to a Blog Post:

    A blog post is the most important part of your blog. Your posts are the entries that take up at least 75% of the screen space on your blog's site. Blog posts appear in reverse chronological order, so your blog stays timely, fresh and meaningful to visitors. It's your current content (in the form of blog posts) that will keep readers coming back to your blog again and again to read what you have to say about your blog's topic. 

    The title of your post is basically a headline. It is meant to lure readers in and entice them to read more. At the same time, blog titles are a useful tool in terms of search engine optimization. Search engines value titles strongly in ranking results and using popular keywords in your blog titles can help drive traffic to your blog. Just be careful to use keywords that are relevant to your blog post's content else your title could be considered spam by search engines and negatively affect the traffic sent to your blog.

    Blog Post Publication Date:

    Since blogs are most successful when they are updated frequently and provide timely content, readers will check the publication dates of your posts to determine the value of your blog. Blog posts that are published erratically with long gaps of time between posts are typically considered to be less valuable than blogs that offer more current and consistent posts.

    Blog Post Author Byline:

    The blog post's author byline is important to identify who wrote each post and is particularly important for blogs that are written by multiple authors. Furthermore, the author byline typically provides a link to your About Me page, which provides additional promotion for you and your blog.

    Images in Blog Posts:

    Images provide more than just color and visual relief from text heavy web pages on a blog. They also act as another way you can drive traffic to your blog. Many people perform keyword searches through search engines for the purpose of finding images and pictures online. By strategically naming the images you use in your blog posts to match relevant keyword searches, you can drive some of that image search traffic to your blog. Just make sure the images you use enhance your blog rather than detract from your blog and confuse your readers.

    Links and Trackbacks in Blog Posts:

    Most blog posts include links within the content of the post. Those links are used for two purposes. First, links are used to cite an original source of information or an idea used in a blog post or to provide additional information beyond the scope of your post. Second, they provide a breadcrumb trail and a tap on the shoulder to bloggers whose posts you are linking to in the form of a trackback. A trackback generates a link on the blog you're linking to in your post, which acts as an additional source of traffic to your blog as readers on that blog are likely to click on the trackback link and find your blog.

    Blog Post Comment Section:

    Aside from your blog post content, blog comments are the most important part of your blog. Comments are where your readers have an opportunity to join the conversation. It's essential to the success of your blog that you respond to the comments left by your readers to show you value them and to further build the two-way conversation on your blog and the sense of community your blog creates.
    This post is cross-linked with genelius