By Brig Vijay Atray ( Retd )
Pune. 31 January 2020. Bombay Sappers bicentenary celebration was not all work and no play. Day3 turned out to be full of fun and activities.
Bicentenary Heritage Walk
It proved to be a nostalgic ride into the glorious timeline of the Bombay Sappers filled with valor and resplendence. The upgraded Group Museum Complex encompasses seven buildings of each tending to different facets of the Group. Nanda Hall, Awardees Gallery, the YO’s gallery, the Old Commandant’ Office, the Generals’ Gallery, the JCOs/OR gallery, the Shahid Gallery, the Sports gallery, the Band gallery, the Regimental Panel Block and the UN Missions gallery. The Awardees and the Shahid galleries were the most popular among the walkers.
JCOs’ Mess Lunch
No major event in a unit , Regimental Centres or any army establishment is complete without a lunch being hosted by the Subedar Major sahib of the organization. So was it during the Bicentenary ; the lunch was hosted in the Central JCOs Mess which was attended by all the veterans -who attended the event- & serving officers. The host was Subedar Major Lakhwinder Singh. Every officer was seen mingling with the JCOs of unit in which they served. It was a scene worth capturing, as old memories flashed back , virtually everyone rode in time machine & felt rejuvenated..
Ladies Club Meet
While the male folks enjoyed the company of Junior Commissioned Officers at lunch in Cental JCOs Mess, ladies had a rollicking time together in the cerubrius environment of Gurnam Lake. Young charming damsels performed Katthak & Odyssey dances.They exchanged notes about the army life then & now. Some enquired the places from where they could buy knick knacks , local jewelry or Pune saris.
The Bombay Sappers Military Band in the past has brought many laurels to the Bombay Engineer Group and Centre. They have performed at events such as the coronation of the King of Bhutan, Republic Day Parade, Rashtrapati Bhavan and also for film Gandhi where all military music for the film was played by this band.
The Symphony Orchestra was based on patriotic theme and was organised in the back drop of the War Memorial. The Orchestra played martial tunes, patriotic songs, a few western scores amongst many. The Sappers Symphony band consisted of the Bombay Sappers Pipe Band, Brass Band & Jazz Band. The famed Bombay Sappers Symphony Orchestra ignited patriotic fervor amongst the audience and left them dumbstruck. It also reminded of the fallen heroes, who made supreme sacrifice for the nation. The orchestra was witnessed by Gen MM Naravane, COAS & Hony Col Comdt, the Bombay Sappers , Lt Gen Michael Mathews Col Comdt the Bombay Sappers & all those veterans & the serving personnel who attended the Bicentenary Celebrations.
Pioneer House Dinner
How can an occasion be considered complete without the Chief of the organization hosting a dinner. So was it in the sprawling lawns of Pioneer House , an olden days Officers’ Mess which is now the residence of Commandant , Bombay Engineer Group. Charming ladies were all dressed in their best & danced to glory on the music of Jaz band where Maj Gen Shiv Jaswal & Brig Tipsy Chaudhury gave their best numbers.