Coloring his tale in greens and blues, third-generation army officer and born storyteller Vinod Bhasker MAIPS ’08 finds the humor inside a narrative that stretches around the world and back.
Vinod’s recently published novel Blue Jeans and Olive Greens (Pentagon Press, 2014) is a humorous fictional account of a young man’s journey from a comfortable upbringing to the harsh reality of training at the Indian Military Academy. This first book in a planned fictional trilogy based on his own life experiences has already received critical acclaim in India. Vinod says he is about halfway through writing the second volume, Olive Greens and Disruptive Patterns, about the life of a young officer.
Explaining the title, he shares that olive green is the color of the Indian Army’s uniform, and “disruptive patterns” is the official term for camouflage. He hopes his friends at MIIS will enjoy the humor. The third installment will focus on Vinod’s time in the U.S., including numerous stories connected to MIIS. “I will of course change all the names,” he says with a characteristic, mischievous grin.
Vinod came to the institute mid-career after the school was highly recommended by his friend Kalyan Kemburi MAIPS ’11. Vinod and his family have “fantastic memories” of MIIS and Monterey where they “never felt like outsiders.” Vinod says he especially enjoyed the classes he took with professors Sharad Joshi and Moyara Ruehsen. “Coming from the rigid system that we follow here” in India, he says, “it was a very refreshing change.”
“Whenever Vinod is near, there is generally also a lot of laughter,” says Professor Joshi of his former student. Not surprisingly for a man whose says he lives by the motto “Life is too long to take seriously,” Vinod made “hundreds” of friends while in Monterey and he and his wife Suhashini and two sons truly relished their time here.
“My younger son now has ambitions to break our long family line of army officers,” he says, jokingly lamenting that his son wants to attend Harvard. He shares that the time spent in the U.S. helped his older son deal with a learning disability, and that his wife now applies the lessons she learned as a special-education teach in India.
After graduating from MIIS, Vinod returned to the Indian Army, where he has had several rewarding posts. From 2009 to 2012, he oversaw the training of young cadets in the North Eastern state of Meghalaya. Now he lives with his family in a beautiful part of South India where he is the head of security at a defense ministry ordinance factory. They live in a rambling house with Benny the chocolate labrador, Biscuit the german shepherd, and cats Jinx and Cleo in the hills of Nilgiris, a.k.a. the Blue Mountains. They have generously extended an open invitation to any member of the MIIS community to come and stay with them, a stay that would no doubt be filled with tall tales from Vinod’s time in Monterey!