The book encompasses the authors journey with Admiral from the moment his eyes froze on my terrified face on 4th August 1971, which activated his memory chip reminding him of his late nephew, Michael John Pereira, who tragically died in an air crash in April 1967 at Hashimara. Being a childless couple the relations grew and soon they treated me like a son they never had.
The contents are factual and based on Admiral's thought process and views expressed in his letters (300 handwritten pages) written over 20 years. He covered all aspects of life both professional as well as personal with an underlying aim to make me a better human being. The book covers his background, matters military, his travails of building a small abode, encounters with Cavalry Generals, accidents, life post-retirement, love for Golf and Dogs and finally Battle with Cancer.
The second half of the book covers “Close Encounters” with cadets of NDA 40th to 49th courses and associations with naval officers who had the good fortune to serve with the Great man.
This book is a tribute from a son to a father to share and spread the legacy of the most inspirational leader of men in independent India, particularly with all women and men in uniform and society at large.
Brigadier SPS Bhalla alias Mike Bhalla did his entire schooling (1963-69) from Sainik School, Kunjpura, Karnal and joined 43rd course, National Defence Academy on 7th Jan 1970. He was commissioned into 16th Light Cavalry in Dec 1973 and went on to command 6 Armoured Regiment in the sensitive Chicken Neck area in Akhnoor in 1995-1997. Later he commanded an Armoured Brigade in Rajasthan, Infantry Brigade in Punjab and Sub Area in Siliguri corridor in North Bengal. He also served in Sikkim as ADC to Maj Gen VN Sharma (later COAS) and Maj Gen Hanut Singh (later Lt Gen). Being an Armoured Corps officer, he served for more than 12 ½ years in North East including 4 years in Manipur!!
After retirement in July 2009, he settled down in a small town of Bagdogra (District; Darjeeling) in North Bengal.