The day has finally arrived, I’ve anchored myself in the city of destiny – Visakhapatnam, that is playing host for the International Fleet review 2016. The first thing I did is I headed to the venue of the International Fleet Review – Ramakrishna Beach road. The city was virtually turned into a fortress with police deployed all over the city. All roads had been cleaned and painted since the last time I arrived here. And the beach road itself was filled up with city police and the naval folks. These navy guys looked great in their whites and some with those black aviators. There was a final rehearsal going on for the warships, air crafts and the tanks alongside the marine commandos. A lot of cameras were set up all around the beach road, even on the roof of the houses along the road. Everyone was busy gearing up for the show, the traffic police busy removing vehicles from the road, media guys busy checking the sound system, sniffer dogs checking the VIP area and so on. The road was sealed to normal traffic after 1 pm and that’s when we, the Aam Aadmi made the appearance on the peppy red carpet.
International fleet review was scheduled to start at 17:30 but people started queuing up right from 1 pm and so was I. After I reached I realized there were different colored passes along with the VIP,VVIP passes. And the biggest surprise was all the general pass holders will be standing on the beach ! The thought of sitting right under the sun on a beach for almost 5 hours was disturbing. However I went ahead and took my place according to my pass. There a lot of people, in fact a sea of people. I thought many would come by 4-5 but it was exactly the opposite, there was huge rush at 1 itself. One of the good things was that there was a good drinking water service in place. Pouches of water was being provided for free. So it was time to sit and get bored until the show began. Me a Hindi speaking person, surrounded by thousands of Telugu speaking guys had no choice but to sit and observe.
Finally it time for the fantastico even to being, all decks cleared, all ships vanished from the horizon, gearing up for the final showdown. The sound checks stopped and the big LCD screens started to show the proceedings at the main area near the VIP enclosure. Soon we saw a convoy reaching the area and it was Venkaiah Naidu getting down. The next guy to get down was our Defence minister Manohar Parrikar. Soon there were announcements being made and everyone was like Modi has come. Another convoy and the entire crowd goes berserk things its Modi, but it turned out to be the chief minister of Andhra Pradesh Chandrababu Naidu. It took a good 15-20 mins before a large convoy of scorpios and Innovas drove right to the enclosure’s door. And finally the cameras zoomed and here it was the man of the moment Narendra Modi. After greeting the delegates present there, Modi in his traditional style waved and there was a huge cheer from the crowd.
So with everyone in house, the Prime Minister, VIPs and the crowd, it was time for the fantastico International Fleet Review to kickoff.