Jojy Kunchattil [430/1972] remembers :
The Late Lt Cdr N Madhavan Potti, from the batch of 1973, was the ‘Executive Officer’ (the ‘Second-in- Command’) of warship INS Andaman (A Russian-built Petya class anti-submarine frigate ship, callsign P-74) when it sank in the turbulent waters of the Bay of Bengal on 21 August, 1990. The ship formed part of the eastern fleet and was engaged in routine exercises with the other ships, when she sprang a leak in its hull and soon was taking in water. The Executive Officer (NM Potti), the Engineer Officer and Electrical Officer, being the three HODs, formed the core of the ship’s NBCD team and so got actively involved in the damage control operations in the below-decks area. While the others rushed to get into liferafts and the sea-boats, these three got stuck below and either didn’t have time to come out of the sinking ship or, if they did have, their efforts were futile. The other fleet ships in the neighbourhood came to the rescue of INS Andaman and saved maximum crew, but these three officers went down with the ship.
Potti had suffered a major fracture on his right arm just two years earlier (due to a scooter accident) insomuch that, his right arm wasn’t in its peak efficiency. There were stories and unconfirmed reports that he did manage to jump out of the sinking ship and reached adjacent INS Himgiri, but couldn’t heave himself up the rope due to his injured right arm failing to take his weight. Attempts to assist/save him was rendered unfeasible due to general pandemonium, fading sunlight, choppy seas etc. Thanks to interest and involvement shown by Southern Naval Command, Kochi, Mrs. Geetha Potti, the young widow who was just six years into married life, was given succour through employment in SSKZM as Matron, a job which she still continues to hold with utmost dedication.Their son Jishnu Potti (a toddler then) subsequently passed out from SSKZM and is now a young smart lieutenant in the Indian Navy, proudly donning the white uniform that his dad too wore many years before.
Incidentally, I was cabin-mate to NM Potti in the same ill-fated ship INS Andaman in 1986 – 87, when both of us were young lieutenants. He was the GO (Gunnery Officer) and I the ASWO (Antisubmarine Warfare Officer). Being ‘Kazhaks’, we vibed well and stayed together through thick and thin.
He was an excellent human being, besides being “An Officer And A Gentleman“.