Dr. B.B. Das
n completion of my tenure in Naval Dockyard, Visakhapatnam, I was posted to Directorate of Electrical Engineering (DEE) at Naval Headquarters, New Delhi. Those days the country was in the grip of Emergency. General public, at large, had a miserable time under the then political regime. People close to seat of power and authority were taking undue advantage of emergency rule and creating a fearful atmosphere all over. I was also one of the victims of emergency when on a Friday morning, I got down at New Delhi railway station. After a great struggle, I could manage to get the delivery of my luggage and scooter before sunset. By the time I reached SP Marg Officers Mess, the MES office was closed for the weekend. Therefore, I had to stay in a room without electricity till Monday.
On Monday, 01 December 1976, I joined the Directorate and met the Director. I thanked him for sending me to London for sonar training. I was impressed with his humbleness when he said, “Das, I did not send you but your good work took you there.” I was highly blessed to work under a very affectionate and kind-hearted person as my director. Thereafter, I met other officers and staff of the directorate.
The duties of Asst. Director (Radar & Satellite Communication) was assigned to me. Before joining NHQ, I had returned from London after completing a specialization in sonar equipment. Therefore, I was asked to conduct sonar Testing & Tuning at GRSE, Calcutta as and when required.
In the directorate, I was the only bachelor officer. Without family commitments, my workload increased day by day. Married officers often used to invite me for meals with them and invariably the topic of discussion was about my marriage. Many marriage proposals were coming, but I was avoiding not being able to take the decision.
One day, my marriage topic came up in the tea-club of the directorate and everyone advised me to get married soon. That was Wednesday, and we were in plain clothes as per the rig of the day. One senior colleague of mine insisted me to go with him to an astrologer. But, I had no faith on astrological predictions. However, he forced me to go with him to Mr. Shastry, an army Pandit who was staying in a small govt. quarters across Sena Bhawan. When we reached his drawing-room, he was sitting on a wooden platform of a slightly low height. On one side, a book rack was full of astrological books and pan changes. We set down on the sofas. My colleague introduced me and after the initial conversation, he asked him to look into my marriage prospect. Pandit wanted to know my date, place and time of birth. I was not very sure of these details. So he prepared a kundali by looking at the time on the wall clock. He then started narrating my past and when I confirmed the correctness of his findings, he validated the kundali. He then started calculating on a slate. Once his calculation was over, he looked at me and said, “Your marriage has been finalized.” I asked him, ‘How is it that I am not aware of it?’
He told, “Yes, your mother has already finalized the marriage. When you return to your room you will find an envelope on your table. Inside will be your mother’s letter along with the photograph of a girl.” I was surprised how he could predict in such details. After thanking him and offering some token amount we left his house. My friend assured me that his predictions were always correct. I went with my friend to his house and his wife felt very happy to know about the prediction. After having a cup of tea with them, I drove back to mess.
In the mess, I had an old bearer to look after me. He had kept the letter on the table next to the thermos. By looking at the address, I could make out my mother’s handwriting. When I opened the envelope, her letter was inside along with a photo. First I read the letter. Mother had written, “You being my most obedient and eldest child, I have taken the decision about your marriage on behalf of you. Hope, you will respect my words which I have already given to the girl’s family.” A defence officer cannot disobey his mother nor can ever evade the call of his motherland. Next, I looked at the photo of the girl. I was highly impressed with the Pandit, for his very precise predictions.
Next day, before I reached the office, my friend had already announced Pandit’s prediction. Special sweets were ordered in the tea-club to celebrate the good news. After office hours, I straightaway went to Pandit’s house and admired his unique knowledge and accuracy of prediction. I had never come across such an astrologer before. He was a Kali Saadhak. He went inside to perform puja, and after returning, he wanted to tell me three things and then he expected me to leave his house without asking any further questions. He told, “You will meet the girl on 12 Jan, and get married on 10 May and your first child will be a boy.” I left his house after placing some amount on the table as a token of my respect for his paranormal power to predict the future.
His prediction made me to think seriously about getting married. I started reading books on philosophy of marriage and how to make married life successful. But the workload in the office was keeping me so busy that I had no time to wonder in dream land for gathering love flowers. Whether love first or marriage first, was the question for which I had no answer.
In early January 1978, I went on annual leave. One day my family members decided to visit girl’s house along with me. In a group of elderly people I landed in her house. That time she was playing outside with her friends. They called her. She came running without knowing the purpose. When she saw so many people, she could sense the seriousness of the situation and ran away from there. While returning from her house, I remembered that the date was as predicted by the Pandit. The marriage topic kept me engaged throughout the leave period. I then returned to Delhi and joined the office.
After two months of null period, they finalised the date of marriage to be 10 May. When I got the news, it coincided the date predicted by the Pandit. My boss wanted to spare me for seven days for the marriage. When I explained the rituals of the ceremony he approved two months leave with a condition to join back after one month.
After one month, I returned to Delhi with my wife and had to stay in the mess because no married accommodation was available. Those days, due to a shortage of married accommodations, officers had to be in waiting list for a considerable period.
Whatever may be the process of marriage, the real love and mutual understanding builds up after the marriage. She got conceived and thereafter our life journey started to welcome a new member in our family. The gestation period kept us fully engaged, both physically and mentally. We regularly visited a lady doctor for her check-up and temple for the blessings of the Almighty. The lady doctor looked after my wife like her own daughter. We can never forget her motherly love and affection and the way she guided us till the day of delivery and thereafter.
Days passed very fast. Our son was born in Military Hospital, Delhi. When we were fully occupied in looking after our newly born son and enjoying his playful moments, one day, I was handed over a transfer letter to join Petya class ship at Visakhapatnam for sea time. It was a surprise to me because, in spite of working in the same directorate, no one gave any prior hint before issuing the letter. My boss was upset thinking that I got the letter issued without informing him. Though I acknowledged the letter as per laid down procedure, but I wanted to get it validated from the Pandit. After office hours, I went to his house and when told him about my move to Visakhapatnam, he point-blank rejected saying, “No one can post you out from Delhi this year.” I was keen to know the next option. After calculating he told, “Early next year, you will join a bigger ship in Bombay.” The next day, I informed my boss. He was happy that I had not asked for the transfer.
Two days later one officer returned from INA London who was placed in the D (deferred)category due to want of sea time. There was no other ship available for him except the one assigned to me. He asked me to accept another ship sometime later as my sea time was not due yet. To test the prediction of the Pandit, I refused to accept his suggestion. He got upset and went to DEE for the solution to his problem. DEE called me and asked to give the ship to the officer and offered me to select any other ship of my choice. Finally, my posting letter got canceled and the ship was given to the officer. Once again this established the power of prediction of the Pandit.
Early February, next year, DEE received a call from the Commanding Officer (CO) INS Dunagiri asking for a competent electrical officer as his Deputy Electrical Officer (DLO). DEE offered my name to him and the posting letter got issued for me to join Dunagiri on 27th Feb1981, at Bombay.
In the evening, I went to meet Pandit to convey my thanks to him. In continuation, he predicted three more subsequent moves. He told, “The ship will be away from homeport for few months and you will not be able to stay with your family. On completion of your sea time you will join HQ Western Naval Command (WNC)and then, on promotion, you will be back to Delhi.”
However, I went to Bombay with my family and got settled in a flat allocated to me. But it so happened, that my family had to go to my native place and I sailed to four foreign countries on goodwill visits. On completion of sea time, I was posted to Fleet Maintenance Unit (FMU) instead of HQWNC. I wondered how the prediction of the Pandit went wrong. Two days later, I got a call from Command Electrical Officer (CLO)to inform me that he had changed my posting from FMU to HQWNC.
On promotion, I was posted to Directorate of Naval Research & Development, New Delhi. Although, CLO tried to retain me in the HQWNC on promotion, but could not succeed.
I moved to Delhi with my family when my wife was carrying and had a serious medical complication. At that time, no married accommodations were available in Delhi. I had requested my batch mate Toke to look for an accommodation for us. When the train reached New Delhi station early morning, my friend Toke, was there to receive us. He had brought the key of a flat in Saket. That was the flat of a senior electrical officer who was kind enough to spare that for me. Toke took my son and wife to his house and I went to Saket for getting the house cleaned. By evening the flat was ready and we shifted. A true friend always stands next to you to extend helping hands at the time of difficulty. The weekend helped us to set up the house. On Monday, I joined the directorate. In the Navy we get help from our friends and rest is self-help. We manage our problems without compromising official responsibility.
One day, while travelling in the bus to Sena Bhawn, one officer from Personnel Director informed me that my name being considered for a long course. But he did not disclose further. By then, I had done many specialisation courses in the country and abroad. I went to Pandit to know his prediction. He confirmed my move to a place in the centre of the country. Time passed, but no letter was issued. Once again I met the Pandit. He rechecked and said, “Letter will be issued on 13 May, and the delay is due to someone’s hostile efforts to remove your name.”The letter was issued exactly on 13 May, 1985. Later, I learnt that DDOP (Tech) wanted to send his batch mate for the course and issued the letter accordingly. However, his friend was already pursuing MBA course at Madras with NHQ prior approval. This put DDOP (Tech) in a fix, finally my name was forwarded for Long Defence Management Course (LDMC) at College of Defence Management (CDM), Secunderabad.
It was an extensive course on management for one year for officers from three services, civilian officers from ministry of defence, and along with officers from friendly foreign countries. The course was specially designed to expose officers to modern management concepts and techniques. The last phase of the course was dedicated to study a live problem of an organisation and to find solution by applying management techniques. This was unique to CDM as no other management courses were designed to provide such exposure to participants.
I was the leader of a team that was given the task to study a persisting problem of Western Air Command (WAC). Participants through rigorous selection process get selected as leaders of major projects.
Towards the end of the project, I met the Pandit to know my next move. He predicted my posting to CDM. The project was of operational significance to Air Force, and therefore during our final presentation to HQ WAC, New Delhi, the Commandant of CDM had also come to attend. He confirmed my posting to CDM. Before leaving Delhi, I met Pandit to thank him. I then joined CDM as Directing Staff in the faculty of Decision Analysis (DA).
After two years, I was posted to INS Amba for my sea time. The ship was under prolonged refit, so I did not get operational sea report and therefore, NHQ put me in the D (deferred) category. I was upset and spoke to my Pandit. He told, “Do not get worried, the promotion file will not be cleared till you complete three months sea time on a sailing ship. Soon you will be shifted to an operational ship in Bombay.”
The sequence of events happened as predicted by Pandit. I was cleared for my next rank. Once again I asked him about my next posting. He confirmed my posting to my Alma-Mater. In the evening I attended a dinner party in Weapons Electronics Controls Overhaul & Repair Shops (WECORS) in ND (B)which was held in the honour of ACOM (System) from NHQ. There, he confirmed my posting to Valsura as Training Captain.Valsura was the training base for electrical officers and sailors at Jamnagar. I had a successful tenure of two years in Valsura.
When I was waiting for my posting, I spoke to Pandit. He predicted me to join CDM for next promotion. As predicted by him, my posting order came to join CDM, where I got promoted to the rank of Commodore as Head of Faculty (Research and Consultancy).
Meanwhile, I was requesting NHQ for a Dockyard tenure. So, I received a letter to join Naval Dockyard, Visakhapatnam. I acknowledged the letter and started preparing for the move. I thought to inform Pandit about my transfer to Visakhapatnam. But he predicted my move to New Delhi as Director Naval R&D (DNRD). Someone was there already as DNRD. Therefore, I sought his clarification. He further confirmed, “The present DNRD will be posted out soon for you to join.” Sure enough my letter to ND (V)got cancelled and a new letter was issued for me to join as Director Naval R&D at DRDO HQ, New Delhi. This gave me a golden opportunity to work under the noble guidance of Dr APJ Abdul Kalam as one of his technical directors.
From 1976 till 1996, I knew all my postings and promotions in advance based on the predictions of the Pandit. I had not come across such a person who could predict future so accurately. He is no more. I pay my deep gratitude to him for showing my career path in advance which invigorated me to dedicate my best efforts without bothering for the future. He was a great motivator for me, who inspired confidence whenever, I was going through the difficult phases in my life.
On day I asked him, if the future is known in advance then why someone should struggle. His reply was, ‘You may know your destination in advance, yet, you have to walk on the path predetermined to reach there. The struggle predefined, has to be experienced without fail.’ However, ‘Karma he Dharma’ is the core mantra for us to reach our destination.