The first president of the Retired Defence Officers Club, Air Commodore M. Vania (second right), receives the first commemorative silver medallion on the occasion of the 15th anniversary of the club at 4 Field Regiment at Madukkarai in Coimbatore on Sunday. The Retired Defence Services Officers’ Club (RDSOC), Coimbatore, crossed a milestone, as it released a commemorative silver medallion on the eve of its 15th anniversary at the 4 Field Regiment of the Indian Army at Madukkarai on Sunday. The club – a brainchild of six retired Armed Forces personnel – was started on January 26, 1994 with retired officers from the tri-services as its members. The first president of the club, Air Commodore M. Vania, recalls with fondness how it all began. Having decided to “continue getting together with like-minded people and do activities as we did as serving personnel” the formation of the club came about.
The senior most retired officers from the Indian Army, Indian Air Force (IAF) and Indian Navy were made the patrons of the club. Though it took off in a small and slow manner, it has grown in strength to include more members. Today, it is a registered club under the Tamil Nadu Societies’ Act and has more than 80 retired officers as its members. The members get together once a month with their spouses. The maximum membership is from the IAF as Coimbatore has turned out to be a favourite place to settle down for those retiring from this wing of the Armed Forces, according to the members.
Attributing importance to the release of the medallion, Air Commodore Vania says: “I suppose there is no other club in India of this nature that has been there for 15 years. We do not have a place of our own, but we have continued to survive for so long because of our eagerness and determination to keep it going. The medallion is a reminder of our togetherness of 15 years.” The members are appreciative of the various commanding officers of the Army, Air Force and Navy units in Coimbatore who have given them space to hold their monthly get-togethers.
Barring a rare month or two, the club has not missed hosting the get-togethers. The bonding between them is more with many of them bringing along children and grandchildren. Geetha Krishnan, wife of the present president Colonel (Retd.) V. Krishnan, says: “Our meetings are a welcome change from our mundane retired life. We get to meet with people who are from the same background, keep tab of what is going on in our respective lives and also enjoy and have fun. It helps us to remember similar gatherings we used to attend while our husbands were in service.”
The circle has a strong network and are in constant touch over phone (they have a dedicated directory) and a website. The meetings also enable them to know about the latest developments in the Armed Forces. More than anything else it is the bonhomie that binds these dedicated lot to keep doing what they like the best – keeping the memories of their life in the Defence alive.