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There are countless stories about the late Admiral Ronnie Pereira  CNS , affectionately called Ronnie P by everyone in his orbit both senior and junior. I use his affectionate name, (no disrespect is intended) only because it was how he is remembered in the hearts and minds of all of us his cadets and later his officers. . Since he had no children we were his sons ( some of course more prodigal than others 🥲 but sons nevertheless…. Sigh 😊) 

He was a Commodore in 1970 when he joined as the new Deputy Commandant of the NDA.  I was in my third term. He had this legendary reputation for being the toughest and yet kindest person in the world. He was strict but fair, straight as an arrow, upright and dead honest in every way. He was the quintessential officer we all hoped to be. 

There are many legends that abound across all three services. There isn't a sailor or officer or cadet from his time in the service (yours truly included) who did not have a tale or two to tell. But he also had this impish sense of humour and the ability to laugh at the slings and arrows of fate and fortune that sometimes did not go his way. 

In the NDA as  far as he was concerned, hostilities were declared between the office of the Deputy Commandant DEP-COM and the 'LAFANGA-PALTAN' of cadets at the NDA on day ONE, without a let up. Some battles he won , some he lost , but either way there was genuine affection between both parties i.e. the cadets on the one hand and the DEP-COM" on the other.

This anecdote was told to us by his late wife Phyllis Pereira when he was FOCinC West years later in 1976, at a dinner on board INS Amba where I was borne as a seagoing watchkeeping SLT. The story is about an incident in our time during his tenure at the NDA as Deputy Commandant. 

As the story goes … Apparently one fine day Ronnie P and Phyllis P were in the DEP-COMs staff car being driven towards Sudan Block so she could drop him off and continue onwards to wherever it is she was going to. 

On the way Ronnie P saw some cadets up to no good (as usual) near the Asoka Pillar heading towards the Sudan block for classes. Phyllis says she could see he was itching to get out of the car and chase them around, but he kept his powder dry ( because she was in the car) until the car climbed the incline and reached the steps of the Sudan block. At which time he jumped out of the car and climbed on to the top of the steps of the Sudan block  so he could see all the way down to the Asoka pillar where he thought the cadets were hiding from him. 

Meanwhile Phyllis continued with the car past the Asoka Pillar and had the driver take her back on her journey. She says she saw Ronnie pacing up and down on top of the steps of the Sudan Block looking for the cadets as she was driven off by the driver.  It turns out Ronnie on the other hand couldn't see them, or figure out where the cadets were hiding. Anyway after a while he gave up in frustration and went inside into his office. 

When he got home that evening Phyllis says I looked up at him and said "well Ronnie ... did you find them ? .. "find who ?"  said Ronnie .. Phyllis said  "the cadets you were itching to jump out of the car and catch for whatever reason" ... "Nah" said Ronnie "crafty rascals are getting quite good at hiding from me ... " 

And then as as an afterthought he said "why? ...did you see them"? said Ronnie 
"Yup" said Phyllis "they were in a single file behind the Asoka Pillar ... every time you paced to the left or the right on top of the top of the steps they adjusted their file to stay out of your line of sight .. " "I thought it was really funny"watching you blow a gasket in frustration" 

Well Ronnie P was always a good sport so he roared in laughter ... "win some ... lose some ".. he said. And there it is ... another true legend in the making.

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