It was the year 1989-90.My brother Kanna(called Mr. Iyer at office) was posted in Vishkhapatnam (Vizag) in NAD(Naval Armament Depot).
We got a phone call one night from his friend that he is unwell and that we should start immediately to Vizag..He had recently bought a “yezdi”(he had a passion for bikes those days) and we were sure he had met with an accident.
We rushed there immediately. On reaching Vizag we had their vehicle(just like the army truck)waiting for us at the railway station and his friend had come to pick us up . He directed the driver to take us to INHS kalyani, the Naval hospital at Vizag. We were shocked and wanted to know whats wrong with kanna What we came to know later was a spine chiller.
It so happened that the NAD people planned for a picnic on the Vizag sea beach. Kanna who was still single then, was coaxed by his boss(who was also one Mr Kannan)and his wife to accompany the families. They started early morning in a cavalcade of army trucks carrying everything from raw materials for cooking to everyone from families to children to cooks. A wonderful programme of picnicking on the sea shore had been made. While at the beach, children enjoyed the game of throwing balls on the waves and being delighted to see them brought back to the shore by another wave. Soon a sardar boy whose ball did not come back but was still visible started going into the waters to fetch the ball. The crowd’s attention was diverted suddenly when a sound of “helllp…help” started emerging from the beach. The little 12 yr boy was drowning. As an impulse my brother kanna(who did not know the ABC of swimming then) and the boss Mr Kannan(who was an excellent diver)just plunged into water to save the child. Utter confusion followed only to find that the boy came back to the shore safely. My brother kanna was thrown to the shore by another wave. He had his lungs full of sand and sea water. The most tragic event was to know that Mr kannan the boss had died instantly. He though was a good diver had been warned by doctors to keep out of water due to some internal ear problem. The army jawans helped to remove water from kanna’s(my brother’s) stomach and he was immediately shifted to the hospital. We reached the ICU of the hospital where my brother was still admitted and just as depicted in movies was removing the IV line to run out to attend the funeral of his boss.
It has been more than 25 years but this incident is etched in my memory forever. As for the little sardar boy, its said he went into extreme depression as he felt guilty of the boss’ death. All the families were instructed never to talk about that dreaded incident in his presence. Now he is a handsome young engineer doing well.