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‘A commander in the Indian Navy needs to take on the spot decisions’

Indian Naval Officer, Himanshu Kapil shares how a day at the ship looks like

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A commander in the Indian Naval Forces, Himanshu Kapil is an Apeejay Noida almuna. Right after completing his schooling in 2004, Himanshu cleared the National Defence Academy examination and joined the Naval academy in Goa as a naval cadet.  In an exclusive interview, the officer who is commanding a missile vessel at present gives an insight into his school days while reminding students to go with the flow and not take undue academic pressure. The Apeejay alumnus also talks about his inspiration to join the Indian Naval Forces. Edited excerpts:  

What does a day at the office look like?

It is very exciting. There are varied challenges every day that bring out something new. It is a role that involves leadership and on the spot decision making. It does not just focus on one particular domain. One has to deal with both operational and personal issues. I am commanding my ship with some 80-85 people under me. I have to manage them, delegate the tasks and handle some human resources duties as well. As captain of the ship, one has to monitor everything, right from the mental health of one’s team member to operational tasks such as missile firing. I am commanding a missile vessel. It is an exciting challenge actually. It opens a lot of horizons and I have learned so many new things through this experience.

What inspired you to join the Indian Navy?

As teenagers, all of us are excited when we see all the military things such as guns, missiles and aircrafts. Maybe I took the excitement further by actually joining the Indian Navy. I could have gone for something traditional such as engineering or doing my graduation in another field. But somehow things happened, it just clicked. So, destiny had its role as well. I was like any other class 12 student then, who is not very clear about what to do in life, confused with plenty of options ahead. But since the time I have stepped into this boat, it has been a great journey so far. 

Time to take you back to your school days now. What are some of your best memories from school?

Well, a lot of memories. It has been almost two decades now but I still remember the best ones. So, firstly the school canteen. We used to rush there during the lunch break with whatever penny we had to have those greasy but very tasty burgers and samosas. Then, we loved going to the computer classes. They were the only room in the school which was air-conditioned. So, we were always excited about attending the computer lab period. One makes life-long friends in that phase of life. I am still in contact with many of them. So, many beautiful memories.

What life lessons would you like to give to a current student at Apeejay Noida?

I would simply say, live your days to the fullest. School time is one phase of life which will never come back. Whatever we may become in the future, whatever new experiences we might have but these memories will always be cherished. You may ask a 60-year-old person about his school time, and he would still have vivid memories. That age, with its innocence, so many friends in the class, one doesn’t get that time again in life. I personally feel that as we grow older, we become lonelier. So, live these days to the fullest.

Also, don’t stress so much about your marksheets. Of course, studying is very important. But I remember seeing my classmates panicking and getting hopeless about not scoring enough marks.  But all of them are doing very well in their lives today. We all make it, things do work out. Just do not panic. Go with the flow! 

How did Apeejay Noida help you to become the man you are today?

I am giving you an interview, so that is a testimony of what I am today. I believe good schooling is worth its weight in gold. The basics of education is not textbooks but the kind of environment you grow in, the staff you have and the values they instill in you which remain with you life-long . One is at a very impressionable age in school, thus whatever we see, we emulate it and it becomes our habit very soon. Apeejay Noida is still one of the best schools which help instill the right values in the students. I have learned a lot there. 

What are your future targets?

I’ll be moving on to my next appointment soon. I am being told to commission a unit in Lakshadweep islands. So, I’ll be setting up a National Cadet Corps (NCC) establishment there, to widen the outreach of the organisation. I will be dealing with kids again. It’ll be a new challenge for me but I’m gearing up for it.

Arijit Roy is a young correspondent at Apeejay Newsroom. He has done his masters in English literature from Delhi University and has a book of poems published by Writers Workshop India. He can be reached at [email protected]

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