Internet Time Travel

I’m not sure what the title of this post should be but it’s ‘just one of those things!’

I’m listening to a Jazz radio station from Paris TSF Jazz (http://217.71.208.37:8006) while in London writing the script for my next feature. They are playing Cole Porters Night & Day.

I’m suddenly reminded of a dinner in Delhi sometime in the 60’s where this record was playing. My mother came rushing up to me and asked me to switch “that” song off. When I asked why I was told a story which has remained with me.

Over the years I wasn’t sure whether I was imagining the story or if it was true. So I decided on a whim to, you guessed it; Google!

Here’s what I found.


Cecil Naire (his full name was Cecil Henry Naire) came from Trivandrum. His father was a Nair, married to an English lady, and the father changed the spelling of the family name to Naire.

When war broke out, he applied for the IAF. He told me tales of flying over the Burma hills, having to be especially wary of the katabatic currents which would pull the unwary into the mountains (how I used to think of him whem flying over the Nagalapuram and Nagari hills near Tirupati, low, my mind’s eye peering out of a Vengeance or a Hurri windscreen !).

His sister was the one who taught me to sing ‘Coming Home on a Wing and a Prayer’ as well as the danger of either singing or playing Cole Porter’s ‘Night and Day’ ever, ever, when amongst fliers, as someone or the other would crash the next day if this particular song was played in the Mess or anywhere else. He told, one late night, how two brothers died the day after the song was played as a prank in the Mess by some army types. His niece, Pammy, would play the record if she particularly wanted to irritate him, and he would emerge, Jehovah-like, from his room, to snap the damn thing off – yet – strange…he never, ever, got rid of the record !