Cdr Kumar received Nao Sena Medal (NM) for gallantry last week. His brother will be awarded the Vayu Sena Medal for gallantry in October

Resolute action in the face of adversity is something that runs in the family for Commander K.M. Arun Kumar of the Indian Navy and his younger sibling Wing Commander K.M. Raghuraman, a helicopter pilot in the Air Force.

Two separate incidents last June put their professional competence and valour to test, for which both won accolades. Cdr Kumar, then skippering Coast Guard ship Varuna, braved hostile sea conditions to rescue the crew of a sinking merchant ship that was adrift off the Lakshadweep archipelago, while Wing Cdr Raghuraman voluntarily cut short his leave to resume duty in the wake of the Uttarakhand floods to airlift several hundred stranded people to safety.

For his daring act, Cdr Kumar received Nao Sena Medal (NM) for gallantry last week. His brother will be awarded the Vayu Sena Medal for gallantry in October.

Among those who read about the siblings’ tenacious deeds was Meenakshi Ananthakrishnan, 64, who taught them at primary and middle school levels at the Hindu Vidyalaya in Chennai. Settled in Bangalore for some 20 years, Ms. Ananthakrishnan recognised her pet students. But her efforts to track them down did not immediately succeed. “She did not give up, though, and finally managed to get my address through a friend, a retired wing commander. It surprised me to receive a long letter from her, where she introduced herself thinking I had forgotten her,” says Wing Cdr Raghuraman, now commanding an Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH) Squadron at Sarsawa.

Last week, as the Navy chief presented the medal to Cdr Kumar, Ms. Ananthakrishnan, now working as a counsellor, was also there to applaud.

Two days short of the investiture ceremony, Cdr Kumar was forced to reroute his Vizag-Kochi trip through Bangalore. Once in the city, he called his teacher, who invited him over for dinner. “She wanted to see how the medal looked like and I told her, I was to receive it two days later. Then she asked if she could come along. I booked her on the same flight; she packed her stuff in a scramble and we were off to Kochi in two hours flat,” says Cdr Kumar.

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