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Showing posts from April, 2014

A Viatical Arrangement

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Profiting from death
In those days, the glorious 90’s, I was living in Turkey and enjoying the sojourn amidst a whole lot of lovely people, both in the office and outside. The place was great to live in, the ambience and weather perfect and with a young family in tow, the expatriate life was proving to be satisfying. Mustafa Sandal had made it big with his song ‘Araba’, Hulya Avsar was still omnipresent on entertainment TV and Tarkhan riding the top of the waves after ‘Oynama Sikdam’. Tansu Ciller the PM had slipped out of the limelight, and Erbakan who took over was making merry, while the army generals were sweating. But there was also a dark horse breaking through with a song - that was Murat Kekili with his hit ‘Bu Aksam olurum’ …after years of being sidelined…That was the setting in Istanbul, the Constantinople of old.
On one such calm Saturday, as the story over the burning ship at the mouth of the Bosporus was making headlines, I got a telephone call. The call by itself should …

GP Nair and the ‘Spirit of India’

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Newspaper and news headlines these days are full the Malaysian plane MH370 and its unfortunate last journey. But this is a not about that event and is about a flight that took off in 1937, piloted by one GP Nair.

On 10 February 1929, J. R. D. Tata was awarded India's first pilot license in India, Pilot License No.1 by the Federation Aeronotique International and signed by Sir Victor Sasoon on behalf of the Aero Club of India and Burma. He was the first pilot licensed in India, though he was not the first pilot of Indian origin. But without doubt Govind Parameswaran Nair was the first Malayali to become a licensed pilot in the British Empire. History is replete with stories of winners, even gamblers. But not too many of them are about people who have tried and lost. GP Nair was one of the latter and for a brief period, his name was splashed in many a newspaper all over the world, posthumously. Who was he and what was his story? A Mathrubhumi article and some uncharitable responses a…