An Encounter With Spelling Alphabets

We were final year students at one of oldest Engineering Colleges of India, near Calcutta and two of us joined our first job as undergraduate trainee in a company in New Delhi by the name of DCS (name changed). This was formed by borrowing the first alphabets from surnames of three partners (Dhawan, Chopra and Sharma) and the firm specialized in Master planning and landscape architecture.

We as Bongs, an identity we discovered for the first time after reaching Delhi, grew up with the notion that corruption was rampant in Delhi and any other Indian cities outside the boundary of Bengal. Consequently we too were suspicious about all activities going around us both inside and outside our offices. One evening my friend came back home bewildered.  

After a bit of persuasion he confided in us and disclosed what found out by chance. “Our firm is running a racket and have multiple operations under the same name” he said softly. We were all ears to him as he continued, “I heard with my own ears when the secretary was telling someone over the phone that the name DCS stood for DELTA, CHARLIE and SIERRA”.

What ensued was pure entertainment to say the least.

These are actually called spelling alphabets or NATO phonetic alphabets.  26 code words in the NATO phonetic alphabet are assigned to the 26 letters of the English alphabet in alphabetical order as follows: Alfa, Bravo, Charlie, Delta, Echo, Foxtrot, Golf, Hotel, India, Juliet, Kilo, Lima, Mike, November, Oscar, Papa, Quebec, Romeo, Sierra, Tango, Uniform, Victor, Whiskey, X-ray, Yankee, Zulu. NATO phonetic alphabet


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