Noel Ellis's Official Blog

I wield the pen to explore the vastness of the human mind

Category: BEHAVIOUR (Page 1 of 2)

METRO MENTALITY

 

 

METRO MENTALITY

While working in Mumbai I have used jam packed public transport, faced traffic snarls and escaped the monsoon deluge. I have also walked to office in knee deep water. I used to travel through Dharavi and smelt the stench and experienced the slowest moving traffic ever. People had right of way; traffic could wait even on a green light there. You had your eyes concentrating on people, one foot on the clutch, second on the brake, hand on the horn and an abuse on your lips. I have yet to see a foot over bridge or any effort of de-congest it.

People don’t want to move out from metros. Gurgaon is an example. You name a corporate it is there. The chain of malls I saw for the first time left me dumbfounded.

It reminded me of one our first ever visit to a mall in 2004. My wife, daughter and cousins decided to do our Christmas shopping. As we were done, I found a Barista counter near the main entrance. We sat down to have coffee. Suddenly there was commotion and people started to leave. I was observing this exodus sitting facing the entrance door.

I walked across to the gate to find the same thing happening on the opposite side malls too. Desperate honking and fanatic waving was going on. I asked the security what it is. He said there is a bomb scare in the mall opposite. I told myself don’t panic Noel and walked across to my gang sipping coffee. Kya Hua was the typical question and kuch nahi, relax was my typical answer.

I mentally started making escape routes as I had no idea of gurgaon. We had a few shopping bags and our new Christmas tree. Daughter was barely three. First thing I did was picked her up and made her sit on my shoulders so that my hands were free as I felt at home carrying a “pithoo”.

We had parked about a mile away in a private plot as their underground parking was full.  Outside there was only chaos. Road was jammed because all husbands or drivers who had gone to fetch their vehicles were now waiting for their better halves. Some cars had brushed each other so that typical Ma-Behen was on between drivers. No one bothered that there are others who need to use this road. In fact it was an eerie kind of panic as no one knew what the situation was. Everyone just wanted to flee.

I heard that NSG had been called in so I understood matter is serious better evaporate before something blasts. We reached our parking lot. My cousin knew a route which was not blocked. By then it was shocking to see people had by now put their small kids on car roofs and handed them ice creams. I thought to myself, look at our mentality, people are now in time pass mode and have come to witness a “tamasha”.

Police was nowhere to be seen, red lights which were functional when we came were no more functional. Some people tried the smart act of taking U turns at the red light had added to the chaos blocking both sides. There was no method in this madness.

I told my cousin lets scoot before we are trapped. We reached the main highway zig-zagging & went up the flyover; one only saw headlights and bright red tail lights glowing for miles. We reached home and said a prayer and hoped there would be no blast of any kind.

The Bomb Disposal Squad with their sniffer dogs had to alight well short of IFFCO chowk due to the jam. They could carry only hand held equipment and by the time the dogs reached the mall they were tired and had to be rested before they could start their job. Mera Bharat Mahan!

People celebrated all night, Chana-Mungfali, Ice cream-Bhutta walas had a ball. Water was sold at price of petrol. Cars ran out of petrol as the jam could not be cleared till the wee hours of the morning adding to further chaos. No one left their cars or cleared the area either. It turned out to be a hoax call.

In our village here traffic gets jammed due to tourists. They break lanes, halt at will, without being sensitive to the limited road space. I prefer my scooter to go to market. It is easy to manoeuvre, easy to park and can wriggle trough any jam, besides carry our weekly shopping with ease. Thank God we are far from a metro. Will our basic Indian mentality ever change? I wonder!!!!!!!!

JAI HIND

© Noel Ellis

KEEP YOUR ENGINE RUNNING

 

 

 

KEEP YOUR ENGINE RUNNING

 

Imagine you are sitting on your dining table just about to have your lunch and a fly comes and sits on the rim of your water glass. I will tell you my reaction. I slowly move my hand as close to the fly and like you hit the striker of carom I snap my finger. Eighty five percent chances are I get my kill. In case she is smart and buzzes off, it gets me irritated and I demand my peace time armoury to be opened and the oldest and most dependable weapon called the fly swat be brought into the battle field. Trace out the line of flight of that irritating character, close in and one shot it is dead. I am now a master in taking aerial shots too. Lunch can wait.

This is what happens to the armed forces when they spot a militant or a terrorist in Kashmir. The irritant has to be eliminated and then only will they think of anything else.

Imagine you are dead tired and just about to knock off to sleep and in your ear you hear that whine of a mosquito playing the latest melody. At least my sleep goes for a six. I keep “odomos” handy. People who don’t like odomos switch on “Good night”. I get hold of a fly swat and trace it out till the time it is splattered on the wall. One has to face the wrath of his wife later as many decorative pieces have seen the dustbin in this makkhi-machhar ka chakkar.

Be that as it may. Don’t we try and understand the idiosyncrasies of our vehicles and run them anyhow. The steering and clutch free play differs for each vehicle. For an expert it takes one ride to understand those nuances. Modiji & his team took four years to understand this dhakka start vehicle.

There used to be one more reason to drive a vehicle which is called “ego”. How on earth can my vehicle stop? In times when there used to be vehicles with old carburetors it was common. When a 1 Ton did the “shuck-shuck” drill standing in the middle of the market with the bonnet up, a man sitting with his hand cupping the carburetor used to be a scene. Maroing a handle used to be total “Beizzati”. Dhakka used to be Maha Beizzati. Every method on earth had to be tried to start that gari for a fauji worth his salt. Was it the same condition in J&K or was it politics of a different kind?

Reminded me of my courtship days many moons back when after great difficulty I could convince my father in law to grant permission to take his daughter for a movie. Well, as an officer and a gentleman, I wore the best dress and best perfume and because I was on temporary duty at Jodhpur I borrowed a Yezdi bike from an officer in whose regimental mess I was putting up. He told me the bike is OK but sometimes it overflows, so switch off the petrol once you park it.

I don’t remember the name of the movie leave alone the “working party” in it as I was in love. The movie got over and I went to the underground parking to fetch the bike. I tried starting it but the damn thing won’t start. My “would be” was waiting outside so I pushed the bike up. I realised that in my excitement I had forgotten to switch the petrol off. I tilted the damn thing and tried starting, it won’t start. I opened the tool box, got out the “Plug paana”, wrestled with the spark plug and kicked it khali many times so that the excess petrol evaporates. I requested my sweetheart to take and auto and go home. Both of us were quite embarrassed for the tamasha on the main road. Jodhpur being a small place word had spread. Father in law had sent a search and rescue mission already.

Now I was all alone. Ego stepped in; I opened up the top of carburetor and found the float valve was stuck. I freed it and reassembled the contraption. One kick and it started. It had taken me almost an hour though. First thing was to reach my darlings home. I didn’t switch off the bike just blew the horn and the whole mohalla came out. She stood in the veranda and so did my father in law. I waved my left hand without leaving the throttle hand. They waved back and off I went to my mess. My hands and dress were stinking of petrol but that didn’t matter. I went to the bar had two neat and got back to my bed and slept off. Victory was at my feet.

This story has nothing to do with flies, mosquitoes, militants and J&K but it definitely has a relation with irritants, egos and ways and means to keep the house free of insects besides keeping your engine purring. Got it? I wonder!!!!!!!!!!

JAI HIND

© Noel Ellis

LOVE THY NEIGHBOUR

LOVE THY NEIGHBOUR

 

Red Land and blue land are two neighbouring states, is generally the opening narrative of any Army exercise. When it comes to more than two “naughty” neighbours then we refer them as Nark and Chandal. No need to guess who is who. One is burning from within and the other engages with us like a devil. India keeps trying to tackle them but hasn’t been very successful till date.

Same is the case in the neighbourhood of Swarg. On one side I have Nark and the other side the chandals. Both are friendly and diplomatic and say “Namaste bhai saab” but both are jealous and envious of the hard work we have put in the garden and our life style.

The difference between Swarg and them is that we are a land of traditions, sabhyata, sanskar and grooming in the best of manners and etiquettes from the best of institutions. They are raw, crude, rusty, a little uncouth, loud mouthed yellers who incite you to pick up a fight for every small little thing. India just ignores them and moves on.

The compliment I got on buying my bike was bhai saab aap ne nai “fatfatti” li hai. Hello madam hawa ane do. I controlled and counted till ten and said to myself bhabhi ji, my bike goes dug dug dug dug and not pit pit pit pit pittrrrrrrrr like yours. How dare you call it what you called it! This was while we were enjoying our evening cup of tea in the garden. You think I would have given mithai for such a compliment. Well, with a heavy heart I did, even India-Pakistan exchange sweets on happy occasions.

The other country could not be left far behind. This is how the parleys went. Actually Bhaisaab hum bhi motorcycle khareedne hi wale the, par mere Mister ko scooty pasand hai. Fir main bhi chala leti hun so humne idea drop kar diya. I kept waiting for some further inputs like congratulations on your new purchase but the only thing I registered was padosi hone ki pahli mithai to banti hai. I went inside and told my daughter poora dabba pakra de, kahin nazar na laga de meri bike ko.

This neighbour keeps doing the dhoklam thing once in a while. We have a mango tree in our back yard and it was laden with fruit this year & half the branches over hang on their terrace. The fruit was hanging so low that we could touch it. I requested our horticulture people to pluck the fruit. They told us Sir, there is about two to three weeks time for them to ripen so we waited. One fine Sunday we went to Alibaug and on return all mangoes were gone till where her bamboo could reach. To kill her guilt she sent about a dozen across. We gave it to our safaiwala. The icing on the cake was when our people came they plucked out more than four buckets full in the first go and same number after another twenty days. We distributed them to the world, not them. Khundak main.

I have these neat rows of bricks geru chunaed nicely. This lady will place her foot on one of the bricks as if asserting her dominance and shake it till it gets up stuck. Same happens in case of a common water tap. They know that every evening after office we water our plants. They will come and ghusao their pipe in it just before our time. We didn’t react. We waited how long one can water their lawn. Then feeling guilty she said, bhai saab lawn main pani dena tha kya, still wondering why we have not reacted or requested her for our turn. This thing continued for a week, we just didn’t react. Now she has lost interest in watering her plants.

The story doesn’t end here. The amount of surveillance done on us is fantastic. Can you guess who their spies are? If there is a bunch of slippers lying outside, people go on a vigil as to what is the occasion. Conversations are over heard by taking positions like snipers in windows. Eavesdropping is routine. Anybody visiting our place has to go through their personal scrutiny as if the Dalai Lama has visited Arunachal.

God bless both my neighbouring countries. Their frustration levels have reached such a peak that their fatfaties are now backfiring. They need to service their minds and mentality or else this guessing game will kill them. I and my wife enjoy this cold war. We sit on our bike, give them the biggest smile and wish them the time of the day. I wave at both these “Bhabhi jis” but I avoid giving them a flying kiss for obvious reasons and go dug dug dug dug dug dug dug dug………………………

JAI HIND
© Noel Ellis

CHANGING TIMES

 

 

 

CHANGING TIMES

 

I was not aware of this thing called Netflix, except for a few advertisements I had seen on TV. My daughter came to me and said papa there are very good programmes and movies on it so please take a subscription. She said she will watch them on her mobile. I gave her the nod.

She told me Papa I would like to pay for my connection with my debt card, as recently I have activated it. Well, I was more than happy because of the confidence of this young girl and her enthusiasm to learn online payment. Honestly, I am so sceptic to use debit cards online and avoid transactions. I have a level of discomfort in doing so. Though, I had to download “Paytm” on my mobile. Modi ji had given us a scare of our lives to go cashless. Things have become easy these days and children are at ease with technological advancements. I must learn and keep abreast.

In the good old days In Kapurthala, Punjab, we were addicted to Pakistani and English serials on PTV as kids. Dhoop Kinare, Uncle Urfi, Buddha Ghar pe hai, CHIPS, Six Million Dollar Man, Here is Lucy, Mind Your Language, Nilaam Ghar, Walt Disney Cartoons, plus late Friday night English movies were never missed. Dad used to put an alarm and wake the whole house up for this Friday ritual. Thursday night, sofas used to be pushed to the sides and mattresses laid out on the floor. Chitrahaar and Hindi movies were banned. Anything in English would do, after all Dad was an English teacher.

My duty used to be to climb the roof with a half broken bamboo ladder to a banister from where one had to get hold of a pipe going up to the water tank on the roof. Antenna used to be balanced on a 25 feet high pole tied to the chimney of the kitchen. I had to twist it from direction of Jalandhar to Lahore. Younger brother used to stand outside the drawing room as a relay station, relaying my voice “aa gaya”, “Nahi aya” used to be relayed back and forth. It used to be such a relief to hear “aaaaaa gaya”. By the time I used to get down, half the serial would have gone. By then Dad would have turned the tuning knob 360 degrees many times and kicked the TV just to ensure it behaves.

I remember in Jaisalmer, one of our COs wanted CCTV installed. He wanted RAMAYAN serial beamed to every company dining hall including officer’s mess. Complete India used to come to a standstill for it. I distinctly remember “Satayam Electronics” located at Falna Rajasthan were the CCTV experts. Yours truly was made in charge. One 3 ton, a couple of chaps and an electronics expert along with my favourite Havildar Azad Singh (Now Honorary Captain Retd) were given the task to get this whole contraption and get it functional.

We proceeded with all documents and cheques and landed up in Falna. Our electronics expert learnt how to join the “dabbi”. Dabbi was the splitter from where the cable could be sent in three directions. Then there used to be a “dabba” which used to be the booster for the signal. So with dabba, dabbi and chattri (Dish) we got back to unit.

Three days of hectic driving in midst of summers from Jaisalmer to Falna and back was some drive. On arrival CO gave orders that tomorrow’s serial he shall see in unit lines being a Sunday. We were dead tired and stinky but “CO Saab ka hukum” cannot be turned down. I asked Azad, kya karen, he in his typical jatoo said “gaad denge saab” meaning we will do it. At 3 am my eyes started to close. I had not had dinner as the task at hand needed my presence for many small things. I dozed off sitting on a red velvet folding chair. I told Azad I am breaking off. He said “saab eeb to jhanda gaad ke hi chodenge”, “re chore, saab ne garam chai pila saath anda bujia banwa liya langar tai”. (Sir we will finish this job and in the same breadth told a chap to get some anda bhujia from the cook house with a hot cup of tea to keep me awake).

At first light we tested our signals from a VCR as DD used start at 7. Every one said, aa gaya, What a relief it was! Dot at five to nine CO arrived. Our eyes were red and bloodshot. He went to one of the cook houses and saw the signal. I don’t remember whether I got a pat on the back or a kick about one foot below but I missed my favourite serial and slept off that Sunday. How I wish we had Netflix in the good old days. What all new inventions are in store for us in future? I wonder!!!!!!!!!

JAI HIND

© Noel Ellis

MY HOME IS OPEN FOR YOU

 

MY HOME IS OPEN FOR YOU

 

“HANS KE BOLA KARO BULAYA KARO

AAP KA GHAR HAI AYA JAYA KARO”

                                                                                            -Gazal sung by Jagjit Singh

Will opening cantt roads improve civil-military relations? If the answer is yes, then balle-balle but I have an issue with people who do not belong to the Armed Forces fraternity; I dare say “civilians”.  It appears to me they take it as an insult if not an abuse. How should we address them as? Let us think.

I find “non-military people” carry many myths, that because I am a “fauji” I must be drinking daily. The second myth is that in cold areas we keep drinking alcohol to stay warm. Third myth is that liquor in the fauj is free, if not free then “bahut sasti” as they put it. Non-fauji’s are more aware of your quota of rum and would always request for a “case” or two on a regular basis. Some even have the audacity to offer extra cash for a bottle because “Purity ki sureity” hoti hai fauji liquor main & Chadti bhi jaldi hai. Also, CSD is the cheapest bazaar on this side of Suez.

I stay in a colony of my company. It has been maintained like a cantonment. People from the nearby villages make it a point to come inside, just to feel good & show their authority. The gardens, flora, fauna, lawns, fountains and a kind of discipline in the layout lures them inside. To keep them out is not possible as facilities like banks, ATM, School and relatives reside inside. If you stop them, they feel offended. If you let them go without a check then the company management gets angry. Catch 22.

We maintain parking in designated areas, however the village folk fail to understand that parking in the middle of the road can cause accidents, they just won’t listen. Speed means as fast as the accelerator can take you. Speed limits don’t matter. We put speed breakers, they started bypassing them. Helmets are an absolute no, they get a headache.  Seat belt, what are seat belts they say. Plucking leaves from hedges is a big time pass for them.

Let’s now go inside a military cantonment. You will find very well laid out lanes, parking slots, parks, geru-chuna on trees and pavements. Without helmet you just cannot move, even the pillion rider has to wear one. No one litters as a habit. Outside, people litter as a habit. Spitting is rare in cantts, outside, gutka along with saliva is spat in every corner. On a roundabout, non military people get a licence to take short cuts. Suffice to say the basic civic sense is lacking. Why?

Keeping the cantonment neat, clean and green is a matter of pride for us. Units are given designated areas of responsibility to keep cantts spic and span. As a corporate we did a “Swach Bharat” campaign and picked up every tiny bit of filth around a famous temple close by. Within one week it is back to square one, dirty as dirty could be. “Koora” as they call it is piled a mile high again.

Well, let us welcome the non military crowd to our folds but with a caveat that friends when you come kindly maintain discipline, don’t break traffic rules, understand that someone else also has the right of way, don’t over speed, don’t litter and assist us to assist you to feel free and safe. All faujis know that they won’t stay more than two years in any station but maintain them to the best of their ability.

Please stand with our families who are separated from their husbands fighting on the borders for you. That lady is a father, brother and sister to her children. She doesn’t let the absence of the father be felt. She also knows that bad news can come anytime. She is the doctor, nurse, washerwoman, teacher, tutor, coach, driver, maid and banker for the house hold. She is used to living in a protected environment so please do not let her feel threatened is a request.

The Services are now kind of used to dictates’ of kinds, cease fire with militants, Yes sir, go for flood relief, Right sir, react in natural calamity Wilco sir, open cantt roads, yes ma’m, remove AFSPA, roger sir, civil administration has failed, control riots, no problem sir, fight militants, my bread and butter sir, fight enemy within and without, aye-aye sir. Ask for modern equipment, no budget, ask for ammunition, manage in what you have, Rations need to be restored, we shall think about it, implement OROP, we have given you enough, sort out pay commission anomalies, court will decide, give us at least our Izzat, what the hell does this word mean.

Be that as it may, we the cantt people do not want to unnecessarily inconvenience you guys at all. “Aap ka ghar hai aya jaya karo”. From our experience we know that once we let you in, you will take it as a birthright. Friends we in the forces live by certain ethos and Dastoor. We swear to protect our constitution and the integrity of India. Do the “non-military people” also do so? I wonder!!!!!!!!!!

JAI HIND

© Noel Ellis

CANTTS ARE FREE FOR ALL

 

 

 

CANTTS ARE FREE FOR ALL

 A weird kind of feeling sets in when one hears that the cantonments have been made free for all. When I was posted in Jaisalmer in 1985, reaching the railway station from my unit used to take 30 minutes. At times the station bus driver was briefed not to let the station master turn the signal green till officer’s vehicle was in site. I remember I missed the train once and caught it at the next station called Thaiyat-Hamira, as my jeep had got stuck in sand. One always cursed why the cantts are so remotely located. I think we didn’t want spies sneaking into military locations.

We used to dislike going to the distant Air force station in Jaisalmer but could not help it as all VIP movement used to take place from there. Hell used to break lose if one found one item missing which meant more than an hour’s delay to fetch it from the unit. The station was fenced with various check posts. Security SOPs were strictly followed. By the way on the lighter side, I always used to wonder why the Air Force Police chap carries a compass as part of his accoutrements’. Did he use it to guess the direction from which I came from or that he set a new bearing every time he moved from the gate?

Be that as it may. Suffice to say cantts used to be far from towns to avoid being a hindrance to any civil traffic or people. As time went by people started to slowly creep closer to the boundaries and encroach prime land. I remember Nabha, a small little place in Punjab, where, from ones backyard one could get milk through the barbed wire fence. One could choose the buffalo to be milched. If that black beauty did not look at you and say moo you could tell the person to skip to the next one. “Saron da saag” used to be exchanged in “dolu’s” full across the fence. It could have been bombs too. People wanted the road through the cantt open but they also understood the security concerns.

Nabha had Bouran gate, Alhoran gate, Patiala gate, Dulladi gate & Mehsi gate, which used to be manned and used to be the first check point for people trying to enter Nabha fort. Those gates did signify that the fort was protected from all directions. Military stations & cantonments too are protected areas. Exposing those places to the public gives an opportunity to anti national elements to have a free run. Leaving our doors open does attract thieves I suppose.

Inside Nabha cantt we had a “Ghora khana” and “Hathi khana” (Horse & Elephant stables). It was like having your Armoured Regiment and the Mechanised Infantry Battalion. These locations were closely guarded as the animals needed protection against sabotage and subversion. Someone could steal the animals or poison the animals and their fodder or could pollute the ponds in which they bathed. Fit animals could be replaced with lame ones. All these were security concerns of the King who had many enemies. In modern times if someone can get in and sabotage our tanks and BMPs costing crores, we might be unfit for war. Well, time will tell its repercussions.

I was talking to a friend of mine and she totally turned me off by saying that you army men think too much of yourselves by calling us “civilians”. She further went to say that I must remember that the forces are under the civilian rule so don’t think you guys are superior kinds. If this is how our fellow countrymen think about people who live and die for the tri-colour, then there is something wrong with someone’s mentality. I dare not say the “civilian mentality” lest my friend feels offended again.

Doesn’t a security guard of your society ask you at the entrances that whom you want to meet? Doesn’t he register your mobile number, name and address before letting you in. Then what is the issue if they check you at an Army check post. By the way, the Armed forces adapt fast to changing situations. Our families are also now mentally prepared in case of emergencies like Pathankot. We know how to look after ourselves and we are flexible enough to cope with any challenging situations. That’s how we are bred. Opening of roads do irritate us but don’t bog us down.

In case an Armed forces man is on duty in Kashmir and gets a message that his house has been burgled, his car has been damaged, his little child and parents have been hurt and manhandled badly while he was in an operation putting his life at stake for the sake of the people who don’t know and understand what an encounter with a terrorist is. Can those people assure him the safety of his family when he is risking his life for citizens of India?

I also know of people who are best friends till the time they can lay hands on a couple of bottles of liquor from the canteen. If such people feel hassled to show their identity and get equally inconvenienced like every other soldier, before entering any restricted area, then God help us! If opening the cantt road is for ego or vote bank, then it’s a shame. Why have security and protection for ministers then? I was sent out to rot in the desert for one year because our parliament was attacked. Had one odd MP been shot dead, then would the forces been given a free hand & told to eliminate Pakistan? I wonder!!!!!!!!!!!

JAI HIND

© Noel Ellis

FIT FITTER FITTEST

 

 

FIT FITTER FITTEST

 

It was amazing to see “Chilly” do those demo type push ups which we used to do in NDA. Media jumped in pushing only words out of their vocal chords on a futile debate. The discussions became so hot that people were sweating in air conditioned studios as if they had done 100 push ups non-stop. I wish all those overweight panelists and anchors had hit the floor to prove their fitness instead.

I have one “dili-tamanna” Chilly. You being a fauji will understand it. Please get every “Saansad” to Rajpath at 5.30 am every morning (Rain or no Rain). Road walk and run should be the first day’s agenda. Area between North and South block maybe used for the PT fall in. North Block for the ruling party and South Block area for the opposition and others. Sick report people to stand near the gates of Rashtrapati Bhawan and should be checked by the Rashtrapati himself. All “shammers” to be sent back with Att “A” (Attend all parades).

You can be the Adjutant and give the report to the Commanding officer whose name I need not mention. As it is the opposition parties have united so Raga can give it to Mummy ji, as the neighbouring battalion adjutant. You can call them Blue land and Red land reports.

Kindly request the Army to please spare PT ustads in those red stockings for the event. If army can help laying yoga mats and building bridges on Yamuna this won’t be a big ask I suppose. Thereafter, all “dhotiwalas” should be handed over to the ustads in manageable squads. I find there will be an issue here as there would be very few parliamentarians under 40 years. Therefore, the grouping should be 40-50 years, 50-60, 60-65 and above 65 years. I know that most of them will fall in the last bracket. You may have to design a special PT Exercise Table for them (No table 13 please).

Kindly ensure about 30-40 ambulances are placed for Medical cover for the event. Hospitals need to be kept on standby as there would be lot of ligament injuries and sprain cases. I would love to hear the ustads say, “India Gate ko dahine chor ke ayega”. “Pahila teen rakhega baki dobara”. Go and suddenly say wapaaaas. You don’t know whether you have to go or come back. I would also like to see how these people react to” idhar fall in-udhar fall in”. Remember, ustads used to shake us up from slumber by showing his hand where to fall in. A Kenyan NDA cadet just gave up. The Ustad asked him what happened, he said Ustad you first decide where I have to fall in and I will go there.

Their X, Y, Z security personnel to be lined up for crowd management. I am sure when the Desh will hear that our “desh chalane wale” are doing PT to stay fit, it would be an event of sorts. At least for the first few days people may come in large numbers to show their solidarity as they definitely follow their leaders, even though blindly.

I remember the famous “nimbu pani” of NDA Khadakwasla after Josh Runs. Here we would be dealing with many diabetics so give them “karela” and “lauki” juice to refresh them. If that is not possible then” neem-ras” in lieu of aam-ras would do. All “kitanoos” in the tummy and brain will get destroyed. O My, how can I forget “Sulabh”? You will have to place mobile toilets as some “Mahanubhav” would like to stay inside to escape the wrath of ustads. The doors must have timers, after five minutes they should automatically open to expose the reality.

I know our politicians walk a lot (padyatra) and are fit guys. They talk a lot too especially when they are on TV. Some of them can sit for 18 hours on their chairs and work. I must appreciate their stamina.

One more thing, if we can do all this then let us stick to timings and punctuality. If you leave timings of PT Parade to be discussed in parliament as to what time is the best time to exercise, I am sure they would never be able to come to a consensus. If you say morning the opposition will say evening, the speaker can keep requesting them to “baith jaiye”. I would say, moment they clog the well of the house, PT Ustads should appear and take them for a run around the parliament building. Make them climb up and down the stairs 40 times, desh fit apne aap ho jayega.

I am not asking for any cartwheels, handsprings and back flips which politicians keep doing in political life by jumping from party to party and doing politics of convenience. They ride high horses because we elevate them to that pedestal. They do push the common man into blind wells.

Be that as it may, I congratulate you Minister Saab to have started the fit India initiative. I shall not take your challenge as I am best at doing “Shavasan”. India can only be fit, if their leaders are fit. Leaders need to be physically fit, mentally strong and morally straight. I must thank my Alma Mater for making me fit in all respects. I also want to thank & salute all my PT & Drill ustads for their service to the nation. Will fitness I mention ever be on the politician’s agenda? I wonder!!!!!!!!!

JAI HIND

© Noel Ellis

FIRE TO CEASEFIRE

FIRE TO CEASEFIRE

 

Ceasefire has been ordered in J&K. I don’t know will it be applicable to both sides as some forces are hell bent to destroy Kashmir and in turn India. Why a cease fire in the holy month of Ramadan only? Why not every month? Kashmir thus will stop suffering and so will the security forces.

I say why anyone should fire at all and then call for a cease fire. Every Kashmiri has a right to live in peace and so does every man and woman in uniform deployed there. Why pick up a gun or a stone in the first place? If every village decides to cease hostilities, where is the question of anyone dying? I hope militants will be sincere in not violating it for the sake of people of Kashmir. If this time is going to be used to trouble villagers to condescend to their demands to garner support and brain wash Kashmiri youth against India, then time is not ripe to give this leverage of ceasefire. In case they are going to cross the dotted line, then God help them.

Who doesn’t want peace? The security guy will be the first one to grab anything which will help to create a peaceful atmosphere. He is fed up of roaming day in and day out in unknown territory, checking unknown people, whose intentions behind those fake smiles are not known. He also wants to sit and enjoy a kahwah and wazwan. He also wants a “Sunday” to rest. They fire at him and stone pelt him. Then only the soldier retaliates. Who actually needs to cease fire then?

If our own convoys cannot pass safely in our own territory then it should be a matter of shame for the Kashmiri people. It looks pathetic that security forces have to place guns on top of our vehicles to kind of intimidate the militants warning them to dare attack us. The common citizen has to pay the price by getting inconvenienced, delayed, diverted and threatened of dire consequences if a convoy is harmed. The militant comes, does his job and melts away, Common man bears the brunt.

Let us then ceasefire like this on mutually agreed terms. No firing or militancy related activity in the months of January as it is the first month of the year. February, we have Valentine’s Day so everyone to give and take love. March is Holi and time for spring. So let us enjoy the fruits of nature. May and June are too hot and June also being the month of Ramadan, so let us forget our animosity. July is monsoon, time for a break. August is when India attained independence & Id time, so why fire then. September and October are months of Dussera-Diwali. November is my birthday, so please don’t fire. December again is time for Christmas so let peace prevail. Let this cycle repeat.

If peace is the requirement of the valley people, then it is they who need to create an atmosphere for peace. The security forces will take nine steps but you take one. Security forces cannot be only on the receiving end always. The forces will continue to keep their vigil and stick to their word. People of “jannat”, when will you understand this? I wonder!!!!!!!!!!!

JAI HIND

© Noel Ellis

OUR DEER PINKY

 

 

OUR DEER PINKY

It was a cold wintry evening when two people clad in white dhoti, kurta & Loi’s (shawls) came to our house in Sainik School, Kapurthala. On enquiring they said they were parents of Bishnoi of Sarojini House of which Dad was the house master. They were carrying something in their lap which was very fidgety. They requested for old news papers. A very unusual request it was. As they stood up to greet dad, this twitchy bundle jumped out of their lap. It was a small, dainty, wet nosed brown baby deer (Chinkara).

We all were startled for a moment. They said that having heard of your love for animals Ellis Saab, we present to you “PINKY” as a token of love and respect for teaching our children. I saw my Dads eyes getting moist for the first time. In those days it was not banned. On asking what you feed it, they gave the details of how to feed it with a bottle and otherwise it would graze the lawn grass. In case some wheat can be made available it could be palm fed.

Dad took the leash and took her to the adjacent room as they left. We had spread many news papers for the droppings. The story was that this fawn was orphaned as the mother was shot by some people. It was raised by the Bishnoi’s and now they had found a suitable home for it.

It was extremely difficult to control the inquisitiveness of our dogs. Their barks was making pinky panicky. Curiosity amongst Ellis’ was also at its pinnacle. This little darling had done a 7 hour journey by bus from Hanumangarh to Kapurthala. It must be tired and disillusioned. We tiptoed into her room, I with a bottle of milk, mom with a fistful of wheat followed by brother with some grass and father to oversee things.

In came Coco, our Tibetan Apso, then all hell broke loose. She panicked and darted through all of us and the main door and escaped into the darkness. Dad told us that we have to get pinky back at any cost. It was dark and the colony was a jungle in itself. Pinky had evaporated into thin air. The front yard, the back yard, the dhobi ghat, everywhere, we ran helter-skelter looking for her but no luck.

I and my brother went on a search mission. It was close to midnight in that freezing cold of Punjab & we were quite dejected. As we were combing the area we reached the chota swimming pool. Stories of various “bhoots-prets” and deadly cobras were running parallel in our minds when my brother& I heard jingle of bells tied in her neck. In pitch darkness with fog also creeping in, we saw two eyes glistened & staring at us. The first reaction was to bolt as it could be a bhoot. We spotted her & breathed a sigh of relief. Dad was anxious, mom was crying and we were white faced, cold, damp with running noses. I put a blanket on her as she dozed off. What a first night it was!

There used to be a competition between me and my brother who will feed her. Filling milk in a beer bottle and attaching feeding nipples was fun. Soon, Pinky started considering me as her mother. She used to crave for milk thrice a day. Dot at the precise hour she used to give her grunts. I used to call her back in the same tone.

Our dogs got used to her and pinky to the house. Cats started to cuddle with her. She was so friendly that we freed her. Within minutes she jumped the wall and was hopping and skipping merrily. All of us were afraid that the strays will kill her, well; they were no match to her speed. Once all the hostellers “gheraoed” her in a circle, she just took off & jumped over their heads. Her typical “deer jumps” on all fours together were a treat to watch.

She started accompanying dad to the cricket field and used to stand next to him where the Umpire stands. Once she got hit by a straight drive and collapsed on the pitch with all four legs stretched & the tongue hanging out, stiff as stiff could be. The batsman ran away fearing the wrath of Dad. She closed her eyes and we thought we have lost her. For 10 minutes we all were in tears. Then suddenly she sprung up and bolted away. Phew!

I had joined NDA and came back on my first term break. Dad was sitting on his haunches and hoeing his garden bed. I was explaining to him the “ragra” and in particular the front roll. I don’t know what came to pinky’s mind, she came charging and butted dad on his bums with her head. Dad did a beautiful somersault and I said now you know dad.

As time went by she started loving music and the school band playing. She used to stand with the band leader and walk along the march past of the school parade. She became the school mascot.

One day pinky was nowhere to be seen. There was panic and a sense of loss as a story was afloat that someone had killed her. Fourth day, while dad was on his angling trip a “Kabari” (rag picker) who used to come and collect small fish gave an input that she has been seen in the cantonment. Dad wound up and came rushing five kilometres from Kanjali River. She was not there but dad found her droppings. On a lot of pleading someone told that she had been sold to a “Kasai” (butcher). Dad rushed to find that “kasai” who just won’t admit. With folded hands and 400 rupees did he take him to the shed where she had been confined to. She would have been butchered the next day. Four days without water and food she was a wreck. She couldn’t even stand on all fours. People who had caught her had bruised her very badly. Dad left his cycle as mortgage and took a rickshaw to get her home. We were delighted to see her alive.

Within days she was frolicking around as usual. She lived with us for 10 years and one fine day we found her dead in the wheat fields. Probably she ate too much of insecticide which had been sprayed on the crop. It was a sad day. Her grave is still there behind our house 12-A.

Thank you for being part of our lives PINKY we all still remember you fondly and miss you. Can we relive those good old days again? I wonder!!!!!!!!!

JAI HIND

© Noel Ellis

THE ART OF READING

THE ART OF READING

There was a time when a novel in my hand was compulsory. Be it travel, Military exercises or deployment on the borders. Summer holidays or Christmas time, a book had always been my partner. The only time my wife could get a window seat on a train used to be when I used to dig into my book. Then there was no looking back till I finished it. Ballet of a belle did exactly that to me.

In school, on each library card one could borrow two books. I remember the rule, we had to return them in 14 days and there after fine used to be 10 paise per day. I could never afford to be late. My librarian auntie used to be generous enough to issue me books from the new editions, a rare privilege.

Every day without fail, dot at 3pm before Inderjeet our library assistant used to open the door of the Durbar hall of the Jagjit Palace of the Maharaja of Kapurthala, which used to house our library, yours truly used to waiting for him. Half a novel used to be finished in that one hour of library time. In winters, tucked into your Rajai (quilt) with your head covered due to the freezing cold in Punjab the “silsila” of reading continued. Started with Enid Blyton, Nick Carter, James Hadley Chase, graduated to Harold Robbins, Ayn Rand, Ludlum and the works.

This practice continued till I joined my unit. While returning from leave at Jalandhar railway station there was one AH wheeler book stall which was my favourite haunt. Choice there was limited in terms of authors. The next long halt used to be at Ambala Cantt and then at Old Delhi to surf book stalls. Over the years the stall owners used to recognise me and recommend books keeping my taste of reading in mind.

My unit had a great tradition to build a library. One had to get one book on return from annual leave. Our staff college reference library also grew leaps and bounds as every year we were sending one officer. Five officers from one unit, in one go was a record of sorts. I too followed suit later.

Be that as it may, once I started studying for Staff College this art of reading novels slowly shifted focus to reading subjects related to the military. I loved reading but I hated reading Military history. Part B, I cleared in four attempts and Part D in five. Every two years the Military Campaign and personality changed you can imagine from Von Rundstedt to Gaip, Burma campaign to Falkland War, to Rommel to the Yom Kippur war, form Sun Tzu to Campaign in Malaya, to Montgomery, to the North African campaign, I read them all as I had no choice.

Now, after ages I picked up a novel written by my course mate and jiggery Rahul Tushar, “The Ballet of a Belle”. First thing that came to mind, Rahul writing a novel is not possible. Rahul and I did staff college together. Knowing him and his flair for gazals it was difficult to fathom that he is a fiction writer.

I must thank Rahul for rekindling the passion of good old days of yore. I still prefer to read a book rather than on the computer screen. It got delivered form Amazon but I didn’t pick it up for three days. Till the weekend there was a dilemma should I or shouldn’t. Finally, I picked it up and read the preface and I saw “to my mereee”. I knew her too. Then I could not resist starting it. The fear within me was will I be able to finish it, I was a little uncertain, as it has been almost two decades since I picked up any novel.

Yesterday being a holiday I started to read. Within minutes I was guzzling page after page. My daughter was quite surprised that I hadn’t touched the mobiles at all. My speed of reading was not the way I used be. It picked up gradually as the plot thickened. I skipped my afternoon siesta. I retired early after dinner to continue reading. At 1030 pm daughter came to check whether papa was asleep, papa was not. She was astonished that I had read past midway by then. In the morning instead of reading the news paper on my thrown it was this book. I read it in the lunch break as it stuck to me like glue. Now it’s the climax chapter which is left and I shall finish it with my evening cup of tea.

Rahul my friend it is not easy to write and it is definitely difficult to get into such minute details of places, names and things. The ease with which you describe villages in the valley and places in Jammu was as if you have visited them yourself. The cocktails you talk about even Shirley won’t know. The businesses you speak of are not simple ones; the corporate life you touch upon must have touched you personally somewhere. I can see the research; the hard work the toil to bring this girl Arti to life. The flow and language is so smooth that her transition from a village belle to a corporate honcho seems as if the years in between never existed. The way you have gone about weaving each bead and connecting the dots as if you are related to this girl. Marvellous my friend, simply kept me spellbound. I don’t know if I batted an eyelid while reading.

Rahul, keep enthralling us, keep us mesmerised, keep enchanting us and keep us captivated. Your charming ways of writing has bloomed. The bait you cast has hooked us all. God Bless you & thank you for re-igniting within me the passion to read once again. Dasvidaniya (till we read again). How soon will it be? I wonder!!!!!!!!

JAI HIND

© Noel Ellis

PS : The book is available on Amazon for 350/-.

PERCEPTION & REALITY

I was sitting in a closing meeting of ISO certification the other day. The lead auditor was a Bengali and a senior citizen. He appeared to be very transparent and upright, the way he had spelt out conduct the audit. At the end of a two day gruelling process we all were awaiting the pearls of wisdom from him.

In the industry, I find that all these ISO certifications are a must if you really mean business. There are some companies which have a clause inserted in their business plan that they won’t do any business with companies without these certifications. It is not surprising though all these auditors have a standard check list, in addition they get hold of your standing operating procedures and then start picking holes in your system one by one. At the end of the day every Industry fears for a thing called NCs (non-compliances) which are Major NC and Minor NC. Let me not get into the nitty-gritty’s now.

I also happened to find out that there are quite a few agencies that do this accreditation and most of them are based in US of A or UK. Isn’t it surprising? An industry in India is being certified to the satisfaction of these countries that have no clue how our industry actually functions.

Manpower is the first thing which is axed in all industries. They want a lean mean fighting machine. Asking for overtime is a taboo. Working late is routine and expected. You have to be multi tasking with ten hands of Goddess Durga. The work which should be done today should have finished last week. The reports and statistics need to be produced in past tense. The beauty is that people still produce them. Aim is to show you are working basically covering your backside by sending mails.

Let’s come to social accountability. Is anyone responsible for the manager category? The whole system is worker oriented. It is assumed that the industry would be taking care of its managers automatically. The truth is very far from it. Then comes the union bazi, well lesser said the better about it. In all my experience, I have only seen union leaders taking the goonda approach or are kept shut with money depending upon the number of workers and the size of the industry. People talk about food basket, minimum wages, statutory compliances, safety procedures etc. Do they really mean what they say?

Problem with us Indians is that we want to ape what the US manual says without giving it due thought about comparative resources which are made available there. Their mind set, their culture needs to be taken into considerations. Above all they are far more honest and far less corrupt than us.

Environment is an issue; the watch dogs want every industry to produce only oxygen and pure water as its waste. One micron this side or that side there will be hell to pay. Issue doesn’t end here as these microns are managed by cash or kind. The boiler inspector will not even boil a cup of tea in the container but certify things as if they are straight out of the sauce pan. I was not aware that a job like a lift operator needs a certificate from an authorised institution, like a drivers licence. More are the compliances more is the outflow of cash, plus stay in company guest houses on the house.

I got cheesed off at this auditor mentioned about retired “sarkari karamchari”. As per him they only take a hefty pension without having worked. His brother gets a good pension working at “CHEETOROUNJAAN LOKHOMOTEEBS”. Then he started off on the income tax he has to pay. All of that is eaten up by government people especially the forces. These were the pearls which ultimately fell. I lost my shirt and told him that friend I gave my yesterday for your today. If you cannot be grateful for our services then you have no business to utter what you are uttering. The irony was many of the employees started agreeing that all their taxes are eaten up by government people especially from the forces and why are they penalised for it.

I walked out of the hall feeling hurt, that imagine what the civilian psyche is. As if they are the only ones paying to run this country. They seem to be ashamed to pay tax for the forces. They will never understand what each person in uniform went through. These people have been static, lived in a secure environment, getting hefty pays and getting the best of facilities with his family, with children getting best of education, contributing zero to nation building.

I really felt sad about the knowledge these people have about the forces. Should I waste time to teach them about what the armed forces are all about? I wonder!!!!!!!!

JAI HIND

© Noel Ellis

BURNING ISSUES OF INDIA

At this rate India will completely burn down soon. No one appears to be happy or satisfied. This is happening in a land of saints and faqirs besides crores of Gods and Goddesses. If we count places of worship, there would be countless. If I start counting people who are engaged purely in religious activities in terms of sages, saints, gurus, evangelists, maulvi’s, granthi’s sadhu’s and sadhvi’s, it would be a sizeable number of our total population. With so much of piousness why so much rage is seen.

Like we clear fields by burning the stubble for new crops, do we have to cleanse India like that? Let us all come to the streets and fight then. We have reached a stage of such intolerance for everything that I have to put myself into jeopardy every day as I am pushed against the wall as a common man. So either I perish or form part of the mob. If I have to perish, why shouldn’t I cause some damage?  Hate and hatred is the norm sprouting all over this country. What are the reasons? I don’t need to guess. Who is responsible? God only can tell.

I read the scriptures but cannot tolerate any other religion. Holy books are to be read and forgotten. How many follow their teachings in the first place? I made castes to keep someone under my thumb, to do my chores and menial work. God never made castes. Then I thought to help such people, I reserved places for them. Now they are better off than me but still demand their old status. The ones who really deserve it are still deprived. The ones who have it just don’t care. India can keep burning.

I only go and tell my neighbour that my guru gives fantastic teachings in a hope that the neighbour goes and listens to him and follows the guru. I listen from one ear and let it pass through the other. I want everyone else other than me to be upright, truthful and honest. I want every Indian to be righteous, patriotic, law abider, God fearing but me. Moment my comfort level is shaken, I must violently protest. Beat, burn, damage, uproot, kill, and inconvenience everyone else. Stopping a train and bus is no big shake. Burning them is even simpler.

My conscious only speaks for my advantage. Actually I have no conscience left. It is flexible kind of inner voice. If everything is for me I let it be, if anything is for the country, who cares is my attitude. The real “me” is full of greed for anything which I can get hold for free. Even a rubber-pencil will do. Next year if you don’t give me that, I demand it and protest. The succeeding year for not getting a pencil I can burn the country.

The truth is that for whatever genuine purposes the governments started things, as they were relevant in those days, now have to be per force carried forward. Everyone who got used to those luxuries cannot part with them. Reservations are one of them. Grand dad was a genuine case and utilised this privilege, his sons and daughters too needed it to some extent is understandable. Thereafter, there was a requirement to review the order which never happened for the vote bank. Grandson now by virtue of being a son of gun drew benefits’ by default. If his son is deprived of the special status, all hell will break loose. It is irrelevant whether he owns two SUVs, a house, two shops and has a government job.

Who cares about the police today? If the police are armed so are we. Let us enjoy this one day of a forced holiday, reason unemployment. One more day of loot and arson makes no difference. One odd guy gets shot; compensation becomes the need of the hour. The next of kin get a government job. FIR against the police officer who fired is lodged. So now you have the police to look after you. A chair to sit in the police station and a cup of tea is assured. A soft spoken “daroga” for your requirement will be there. Probably you will get a lift home in a police jeep. India can continue burning.

Well I think we Indians understand only one language when it comes to disciplining our own selves. Your guess is as good as mine. My attitude is to extract every pound from the state machinery, if deprived, create a chaotic situation. We will burn assets of the nation for no reason. With such deeds we shall burn in hell, the scriptures say. Well, who the hell has seen hell? I wonder!!!!!!!!!!

JAI HIND

© Noel Ellis

JAI KISAAN

185 odd kilometres, one week, 35,000 + farmers, blistered and battered walked all the way to ask the State Government to grant them a right to live with dignity. Crops got destroyed, mounting interest on loans, drought like conditions and still farmers not being looked after by their elected representatives. The irony is that there is a ministry dedicated to the agricultural sector in every state. Issue is not lack of funds but ensuring that those funds reach the last man tilling the farm.

It was terrific to see the spirit of Mumbai, irrespective of the religion, caste or creed; groups came out in great numbers to provide water and food to these men and women. I was shaken to see the condition of their feet. No slipper can last 180 kms in this heat. These people could walk this far without causalities and dehydration because they are the sons of the soil. They toil day in and day out in their parched farms. These guys put in their heart and soul to grow food but due to unfortunate circumstances and nature’s fury are forced to come on the roads. The man must have prayed to his God to stop the hail at one place and ask for water at another. What else could he have done?

The ladies too accompanying them were brave hearts of kinds. It was very sad to hear that when asked by a reporter one of them said if I have to die, it must be for the cause of farmers. Death is as it is written all over when there will be famine and nothing to eat. I salute that lady, may her physical and mental wounds heal fast and may she have respite from the torture she has gone through.

I remember my Commando training, where blisters on blisters on blisters on feet were a common thing. To reduce the pain we used to puncture them so that blood and water accumulated in them could ooze out and give us that temporary relief. I was just about 21 when I did that course. All these people were well past 50. If I had to walk it today, I would probably walk a maximum one day that too with Reebok shoes, nice t-shirt with a slogan written, a cap to shade me from the heat, my ray-bans which I can never part with and a water point every five kilometres, sun tan cream, energy bars for strength, ambulances in tow and medics on call et al.

Ask the marathoners, they go through a physical & medical check before participating. Companies sponsor the event. Doctors, paramedics, ambulances are standby. Police are deployed for traffic bandobast throughout. Cheering parties, celebrities and ministers present in large numbers at the venue. Security is tight lest any untoward incident takes place. Photo ops, flags being waved and news headlines made, media standing at every nook and corner. Medals and money is given to the participants for a 32 odd kilometres event.

Were any of these farmers a known face? Were they looking for publicity? Where were all the “VIPs” during this time? Many stars claim that they order from big basket that moves food straight from the farm to your kitchen. Well, production of food doesn’t matter to them, eating it is what matters.

Did you find any of these people breaking any rules or cause indiscipline? Did you hear any loud speakers and see huge shamiyanas? They were told that children have exams the next day so they moved late at night to their destination, so that a common mumbaikar may not be inconvenienced. That’s the spirit of our Kisaan. What they got in return after so much of struggle is only a hope and a promise. Just imagine in circumstances prevailing he has agreed to still stay hungry and in debt for six more months for his mai-baap the sarkar has promised to look into his issues.

As per reports about 4500 agitations were done by the farmers across India in the last one year. How many were covered by the media? I have seen agriculture specialists coming on channels and giving out nuts and bolts of what is right and what is wrong with the agricultural sector. They also lay down solutions for the short term, medium term and long term. Does any Government bother to listen?

It is not that only the farmers of Maharashtra who are suffering, this calamity is across India. We eat but we don’t care for the real producer of food. We pray to God to keep our plates full. Will we the people ever understand what it really takes to produce that one roti ka atta. Had our “ann data” not been working in the heat, rain and dust, what would we be feeding on? Will just saying JAI KISAAN suffice? I wonder!!!!!!!!!!!!

JAI HIND

 Noel Ellis

BUST THE BUST

It all starts with an idea that let us do something different. How do we make our presence felt? It is by simply announcing that we are here. If no one acknowledges our presence then you do something to attract attention. This I say in context of breaking various statues & busts. Imagine India can be brought to a grinding halt for such things. I don’t know if these people were really sentimental or they were hired goons. Politics of the matter aside, how and why should someone deface or pull down any statue in broad daylight, where police is present and does nothing to sort these people out. Then they blame it on sentiments of the public, is just a cover story.

The basic reason is no fear of law enforcing agencies in the public. Everyone knows police will come at the last moment once the damage has been done. Police hides behind the veil of no one informed them. I ask, don’t they have their mukhbir’s (sources) to give them advance information that an incident of pulling down Lenin’s statue is going to take place. The public hires a JCB from somewhere, as if this equipment is readily available. People gather in hundreds without the local police getting a whiff. Definitely it has political patronage. Who will report to the police? A common citizen has no trust & faith in police as instead of treating him as a facilitator, he becomes the perpetrator of crime. He is questioned, grilled and harassed, by that time it’s too late.

I reckon that the police must have been informed in advance by politicians to not to come near the crime scene till such time riot has finished? Why don’t we put all those who did it behind bars for ten years and the SP and staff of that police station in the clink for life for dereliction of duty? If this does not deter people then God save this country.

It reminds me of a visit long back to Kingsway Camp in Delhi to meet friends. They took us to the Coronation Park. There was a pure white marble statue of King George the Vth besides other Kings and Governors of the British Raj. These statues were displayed in the smaller domes near India Gate but later all of them were shifted to this park in 1960. I shall not comment about the anti-British sentiments here but I shall talk about the artistry and the marvellous work done on stone. It definitely deserves a place in some museum. I appreciate that they were not destroyed but relocated. Many of them are now broken with marble chipped away either in transit or by druggies and bootleggers who frequented that place.

The Bamiyan statues of Lord Buddha in Afghanistan were decimated by the Taliban by firing all sorts of explosives at them. What did they achieve out of it? I don’t know. Even naming and renaming of roads etc has the same effect. Call it Connaught place or Rajiv Gandhi chowk, which one will you relate to. Call it Kings Circle or Maheshwari Udyan, what are you at ease with? In Bombay aka Mumbai one will never reach “fountain” unless you know the bus number or you know it has been re-christened as Hutatma Chowk. Well that is what the state of affairs is today.

I remember when posted in Jaisalmer many moons back, there was a corner stone in our mess, well engraved giving out who built the barrack, the date of inauguration etc. That piece of marble should still be found embedded in that wall if the building still exists. One fine day the mess was renovated again. From the hessian cloth false roofing we had graduated to plywood. We now had a new TV room, a nice bar and a dance floor. Our corridors and ante room now had marble from makrana. It was a total transformation from clay floor covered with tarpaulins. Someone decided that why not turn the stone Ulta (reverse) as time was short to get a new one engraved. A mason removed that stone and to the utter surprise it was found that someone had used this idea already. Was another stone was put in its place or we continued with the same one, I don’t remember?

Why are we trying to change history and the truth of our times? A statue or a bust, which has no powers to retaliate should be left alone. Trying to take law into your own hands speaks of a dirty mentality. I urge the security forces to use appropriate force rather than waiting for a statue to be destroyed and then appear on the scene. Will politics allow any stern action? I wonder!!!!!!!

JAI HIND

© Noel Ellis

SATRAH KA PARIVAAR HAMARA

As life takes a turn where our children start getting married, suddenly you realise that you are becoming a “Buzurg”. I happened to attend three weddings technically over the week end of the SEEKERS family. Those teeny weenie, pram bound, diaper and nappy wearing lap kids were ready to start their new journey of their married lives. How time flies, as if it was yesterday. The image of the kids and the parents still remains of what you saw when you met them for the first time ages ago. The kids were replicas of their parents.

It took me some time to fathom that our kids are now bankers, marketing wizards, architects, interior designers, roadies, army officers and women officers in the Indian Armed forces. Some are psychologists, some HR Professionals, some IT champions, some engineers and some like mine are still in school.

The parents with more grey in their hair, more bulges around the waist, wrinkles galore, some balding, some already grandparents but with a heart of a teenager still. On meeting time became static. We are transported into an era when we were in our twenties and early thirties, some newly married, some bachelors. Some of course remained chronic bachelors quite long. The dainty looking brides who joined the paltan now transformed into loving mothers and mother in laws. Their nakhras and jhatkas still intact but the outlook to life now sees a sea of change.

As I looked at all the kids my heart felt so happy and proud, completely filled with joy to just meet and give all of them a hug. It had been ages that we had met after being duty uncles at mess parties. Thanks to the social media I was in touch with some, however, meeting the future generations face to face was an out of the world experience. I supposedly was the common factor of one wedding and I have the proud privilege to be called “Noel Ram Gharjore”. I can pat my back for it.

Kids’ handling their parents was an awesome treat to watch. Dad who won’t listen to anyone was now quietly obeying them like a puppy. “Dad avoid sweets”, back went one rasogoola out of the two he had picked up. Mom, don’t forget your medicine and pop came out a pill and went into mumma’s mouth. Life had changed I realised.

After the initial pleasantries and bear hugs, the topic very intently discussed was health. Earlier bachelors discussed girls, movies etc. Now they were married and discussing life style changes. When I said I do not drink anymore and have quit smoking, it came as a shock to many. Diabetes was the centre of discussion, followed by arthritis and asthma. Most of us had morning “starting trouble” from joints to the obvious. Blood pressure was fluctuating and was directly proportional to the happiness being generated. The heart beats were keeping pace with the sudden gush of love. Laughter remained the best medicine though.

The parties where we all used to stand throughout the night as youngsters saw a change as people like me could pull chairs to sit down. How dare one sit if a senior was standing were the ethos but things had changed. Old anecdotes, the loud laughter did not change. Who did what to whom and why did not change? Many secrets which were hidden deep inside, now were freely flowing across the table. The echoes of laughter and the interjections added to the flavour.

Another thing that had changed was that most of us had retired. Most of us were enjoying the second innings, some still working and some in no mood to work. What did not change was the josh and gusto. What did not change was the brotherhood. What did not change was the camaraderie. What did not change were the spirit, love and affection for each other. What did not change was the mutual respect for each other. Ladies looked more beautiful and stunning was another thing I noticed.

Yes perceptions did change and especially about me. Everyone praised my writings, though there were critiques too but they were for me to improve. It was an honour to be commended by very senior officers who saw me with one pip on my shoulder. The way I received blessings from them, I shall continue to look forward for more and strive hard to write better.

People who were not there were missed and stories of such people were the most interesting ones. A little “tarka” to the tales was an added bonus.  Unlike in the good old days when you were supposed to just listen as opening your mouth had its dire consequences.

Another nostalgic thing that happened to me was that I could share a room with my buddy and room partner of Infantry YOs, Commandos and Mech YOs. The only thing is that the bugger snores like a road roller. I did hear a lot of people confessing about their snoring sins. Well very few admit it openly like me. I have mastered the art of answering back my wife in snores perfectly.

Well, Arjit & Pooja, Ila & Shubhanshu, I wish you all good luck and God speed, may almighty shower his choicest blessings on you all. Also to my seniors and juniors and their better halves may our bond grow stronger. There is one life to live and one life to love and our children helped us to relive it. Thank you children and be blessed. Let me live up to the new name Noel Ram Gharjore.

Three Cheers to the “Satrah ka Parivaar” and HAR MAIDAN FATEH.

MY RELIGION IS SAFFRON WHITE & GREEN

Splintered is a feeble word I would use for India today. We are kind of disintegrating as a nation. Fragmentation has become a new norm of our society. Even our ethos is crumbling with every passing day. The whole world is our family is way too big a statement. Today, we are split down the middle, even in our families. Then we have our social gradation which separates us, followed by our religion which makes us drift apart further. Now we also have various kinds of fringe elements adding to the chaos. Is this the India of our dreams?

The segregation starts moment a child is born. The difference is being born in a municipal hospital or a super speciality hospital. The gap is seen between the haves and the have not’s. Then comes our schooling, in that comes gradation due to Vernacular medium, English medium and International schooling. Religious schools & institutions shred us further apart. We stand divided at every step but are united to fight for destruction of this nation.

In the armed forces we too have groups called Combat groups. We have squads, sections, platoons, detachments’ and Combat teams. We have Brigades, Divisions, Corps and Commands. However, we train together and fight together. We are divided into such groups to unite our Hindustan. We carry our religion, which is the national flag on our sleeves.

A crew of a tank, a gun or a BMP is an ultimate team. Everyone is a cook, sentry, gunner, commander, operator and stick. If the driver doesn’t switch on the master switch, nothing functions. If a loader doesn’t load, the gunner can’t fire. If the commander doesn’t designate a target, the driver will not be able to position his vehicle correctly for the gunner to fire. If all of them do not come together as a well oiled team, they cannot fight the enemy. Where does religion come in here?

In battle there is only one aim, annihilation of the enemy. I don’t know if religion, caste, creed, ethnicity is becoming our biggest enemy.

In an army convoy if the leading vehicle is too fast, the vehicles following will get scattered. If it is too slow, they all will bunch up. If they do not follow SOPs & drills and adhere to speed limits, there is likely hood of convoys getting mixed up and accidents. Aim is to get every vehicle, men and material to the designated place, at the right time, in the designated order, in the best state of preparedness, for accomplishing a mission. That is what India needs. There cannot be a hindu-muslim-sikh-isai convoy. Yes, the “mandir vehicle” as it is called is also part of the convoy. Anyone so desirous of “tekoing his matha” can do so while on the move but without breaking convoy discipline.

During war water and food is limited and rationed. It is distributed equally to everyone. There is no discrimination. In battle if a man is thirsty and you offer him a sip of water and a tonne of gold, what will he go for? What will a soldier carry in battle? Is it ammunition or his religion? Religion has no place in war, it is the country that comes first always and every time. Rest doesn’t matter.

We have one organisation which is above religion and politics that is the Armed Forces. The seeds of animosity and bitterness cannot be and should not be planted in our blood. Every officer loves his cook as much as he loves his gunner. Every man counts, every trade has his role to play. The doctors don’t see your religion to treat you when you have a bullet in your chest. When blood is infused, no religion is printed on it except its group. Life and limb needs to be saved not religion.

If this much is clear then at least on the day when soldiers are being laid to rest after making their supreme sacrifice for the nation, let news channels not debate, as they show scenes of coffins and the last post being played with politicians this Hindu-muslim-sikh-isai issue. Let that soul depart in peace.

My country is supreme; rest all has no place in military ethos. I have pledged my life for the tri-colour, I shall go by land, sea or air, where ordered, to defend it from internal disorder and external aggression is the pledge I have taken and a promise made to my countrymen. If I die in the line of battle, the only place where my religion comes in is to give me a befitting farewell on my last journey. Otherwise I have no religion. Is my religion loud and clear? I wonder!!!!!!!!!!!

JAI HIND

© Noel Ellis

IF WISHES WERE HORSES

As we grew in service we realised that there were some things we did not like and some things were not done in good taste by our seniors too. There used to be many things which were required to be done due to the circumstances prevailing at that time and sometimes we had an indecisive person. Some were welfare oriented, some were strict disciplinarians, some were hard training masters, some were party people, some were professionally focused and some were technological wizards. Only some were perfect thorough bred Officers and Gentlemen. However, there was something good about everyone. There was something to learn and emulate from each of them.

I remember we had a boss who used to say, if a senior officer opens his mouth shove a chicken leg in, if he opens it wider shove the second one too, nothing wrong with this approach. One day the Army Chief landed up in the unit, I was told. It was midst of summers and the unit was under canvas (tents). You name it and every imaginable cold beverage on earth was catered for. The unit baniya’s tent was co-located and on a pre-designated signal, he was to start piping out hot jalebis. As a courtesy the dignitary was asked, Sir what would you like to have? He said a hot cup of tea. It was like a nuclear bomb which fell on the tent. Mess had not catered for it; baniya was already churning out jalebis, so our waiter just warmed the kettle of chai from the langar and served it. The Chief was so happy to drink it that all officers whose smile had been wiped off suddenly breathed a sigh of relief. Life goes like that. No one thanked the waiter and his presence of mind.

There was another VIP visit in a different operational sector. No stone was left unturned to make it a memorable one. Waiters and cooks were mustered from every unit and formation. Due to his reputation even the cooks wore a helmet to prepare the banquet. The menu was continental. We all proceeded for lunch after the operational briefing. The spread looked delicious and sumptuous. As the dignitary went around shaking hands with all lesser mortals like me, one senior officer asked him sir how about a glass of beer. He said do you have soup, the answer was affirmative. Sir you want a hot one or a cold soup, the answer was cold. It was served in a jiffy. He asked for a slice of bread and shouted loudly; friends’ lunch is served “CHARGE”. No one moved, then he told his story which went like this, “Jab Khane peene ki umr thi to kisi ne khane nahi diya, ab umr nikal gayi hai to tum khila rahe ho” (When I was of age no one offered me a meal like this, now I am at an age where I can’t eat all this). I can only have soup as permitted by the doctor. Well, we ate till our belly’s ached.

Be that as it may, it disillusions me to find our “pradhan sewak” acting like a “pradan alochak” for whatever that means. Had he been in place of Nehru and Gandhi what would he have done is a matter of conjecture. Why, what those people did at that time is history. Why are we digging those old graves? It is quite obvious that elections are around the bend. The need of the time is to look ahead by at least fifty years if not half of it or are we so myopic that we can’t see beyond 2019. Your time is now Mr PM, do it for the country. Tomorrow, the next generation should not start cursing you for your decisions or indecisions of today.

As my experiences tell me that every new incumbent takes time to settle down, you have had four years already. In the army, before a CO says Jack Robinson his successor is in. The new one goes around changing things. If nothing else he will make a trophy with his name and change the curtains of the guest room. The very thought that my predecessors were nincompoops should never happen. One must keep adding values to enrich and improve, rather find faults and curse the founder fathers.

So dear PM Sahib, I am looking forward to achhe din. The founders of this country have left a legacy. It is now your duty to take it to greater heights. They gave us India in whatever shape, should not be questioned. They freed us from the Union Jack. Their intentions can never be doubted and their integrity cannot be tainted. What have your party predecessors achieved for India, if I may ask? There will be no end to the argument then.

What does this country have in store in this century you cannot predict? What will be the circumstances, what will be the resources, what will be the compulsions, what will be the world order, if Gandhi and Nehru could have predicted this 70 years back, India would be in “bahut achhe din” phase.

If wishes were horses and beggars could ride and turnips were watches I would have one by my side! Sahi ya galat? I wonder!!!!!!!!!!

JAI HIND

© Noel Ellis

A SHIP CALLED INDIA

I am not a sailor but when I peep out of the Porthole, all I see is beti jalao not bachao, bus jalao not chalao, dukan aur makan jalao not banao, if nothing else is left then burn tyres and effigies of all and sundry. Nothing seems to be hunky dory on this voyage on a ship called India.

At a drop of a hat we gather together to show akrosh. We gather in thousands without a thought, without an aim. Most of us are tamashbeen. Throw stones at a bus; break them and burn them. We are so illiterate & blind that we cannot even recognise a school bus. The poor driver, conductor and students have no defence but to let it happen.

Which way is India going? We can cause mayhem and destruction for a movie or a baba. Hold a city to ransom for reservations. Ignite communal violence for beef, throw petrol bombs on trains and blame it on hurting public sentiment. If I put it the other way around, are we not hurting the national sentiment? It is time for an SOS (…—…) call.

Issue is there are no more morals left. Today, the Zameer is dead, Insaniyat is finished, humaneness has vanished, tolerance has been subverted, patience has evaporated, humanity is in danger, compassion has been swept under the carpet and civility no more exists. Did the founders of India even dream of such things when they set sail on this voyage?

We can talk of projecting India as a super power. How can it be if we are so communally motivated? The negative energy thus being produced is actually not letting the wheel of progress turn. Everyone is exerting without being in sync and tune. If we have to find faults and pick holes in every system and oppose its implementation we can forget about progress. It appears that India is like a rudderless craft. It is carrying a lot of stuff but drifting with the current and the wind. The Captain is trying to steer it but the power train is not firing all cylinders. He often leaves the ship and goes abroad to accelerate its growth but comes back to find its crew has burnt quite a few of the ships compartments. Though the captain knows the ropes but appears to be caught between the devil and the deep sea.

On this Indian ship, the security is vigilant but the internal organisations are at loggerheads. The crew which belongs to various regions, ethnicities, speaks various languages and belongs to different religions is taking too much time to start functioning as a team. The diversity is difficult to fathom. The galley cannot cater for every ones choice. A thambi will have to get used to Chola bhaturas and a Punjabi to sambar vada. The engine room is the parliament and is so noisy that all issues get drowned in its noise and heat. The crew is just making steam without understanding the need of the ship, as they are oblivious of the weather, wind conditions and currents while they work deep inside their work stations. Hope time has not come to shout May Day.

The journey for us is long, moreover our own crew has become in-disciplined, the sea is rough with hazards popping up every now and then, course is being set and reset but the ship appears to be relatively static. The expectation is to move this 125 (crore) tonne ship at the speed 69 knots and even more. We find the engine room not responding, the oars are not being pulled in unison and attacks by pirates are stalling the progress. Why can’t we have all hands on deck?

Task is difficult and time is running out fast.  Let us not self destroy our ship by agitating and protesting. Let us not add to the misery by burning our own bunks. Let us for once think and act as one team India and climb the Jacob’s ladder to reach a different world. The Admiral and his fleet is as effective or efficient as each crew member. Individually all crews may be brilliant but when it comes to brand India the flotilla appears scattered, is a feeling I get. The star board side of each ship is not aware of what is happening on the port side and the stem doesn’t know what is happening in the stern. The saving grace is it is still afloat.

Let the Captain be the guiding light. All those who are trying to make a hole to sink the ship need to be taken care of. Let’s not create a situation to abandon ship. We need to be above board and leave no one marooned. When can we have such a BRAVO ZULU moment? I wonder!!!!!!!!!!!!

JAI HIND

© Noel Ellis

 JAI HIND JAI BHARAT

A movie has become such an issue that most of India has decided to see it moment it is screened. The rest of them are waiting to get a free show. The judges have seen it, the jury has seen it, the judgement has been given but egos cannot see it. Some people have decided to carry batons to the hall. Just in case they find things going out of hand they would at least sort out people selling popcorn at exorbitant rates. A movie today can hold a country to ransom is a new high of sorts. With all due apologies to the people of the toughest martial clan and all the sons of Raja’s as they are the “poots”. I just want to ask where their Raj is and where is their Rajwada (Kigdom). Many of them are unemployed and most of them are living in their Jhooti shaan (false pride).

Be that as it may, I have one suggestion that as Pakistan continues with relentless firing every day. Kindly take your naked swords to charge at the real enemy. By intimidating a few artists, producers, lawyers and maker of movies if you all are achieving that sense of pride & honour which was achieved after conquering the enemy’s garrison then I will not utter a word. However, if this Dhakosla (pretence) is going to cause destruction to national assets and loss of life, it would be the most shameful thing a warrior clan can do.

Times have changed; those forts of yore do not exist anymore or are in ruins. People have even looted their stones. Most of the haveli’s have been converted into hotels and resorts why not object to your traditions of the bygone years for this. The place where decisions were taken to fight the enemy is being used as dancing arenas. Place where horses and elephants were stabled are now nowhere to be seen. The place where troops used to rest are now places of entertainment, why not object to all that. The chivalry has gone.

When you can’t afford to continue that royal life style then how can these few meters of celluloid hurt your sentiments? I think the issue is not with Rajasthan alone. That’s how we have splintered ourselves in India. Instead of binding and bonding we are looking for opportune moments to disintegrate besides spreading hatred and spewing venom.

Well let me then get to my clan, the clan of the Olive Greens, where someone is committing Jauhar for the Izzat of India on a daily basis. The actual enemy are the insurgents, militants, terrorists, jehadis & pakis or are they the corrupt which we don’t address but find a movie maker our biggest enemy.

Let me take an objection then to all movie walas that stop making movies about fauj and faujis. We are not rum drinking, merry making, and partying type of characters. We don’t jump off aircrafts and land in our girlfriends arms. We are not gun trotting people who shoot anyone and everyone. We are not Rambos who kill by the dozens and don’t keep a count. We are through professionals. It’s a shame to show faujis selling the country by movie makers then. My engineer friends would love to have girls hanging upside down from bridges while they diffused IEDs. I can assure you if that happened, no challiya, or challiya ki girl friend would walk this earth again.

I then also want to say that why is it that only “Micheal” daru pee kay danga karta hai. What about people of all other communities. Let me not get into it as we are just two percent of 125 crore deshwasis. Who all like to speak English, especially after 8 pm, who all are into “chitta” (drugs), Kala (Black money), Dab-Khadabba (spotted, tainted with corruption and criminal cases)? If all of us start taking objections to such portrayals then this country will only move towards self destruction. If we don’t educate ourselves & continue to stick to the old virtues, we will never progress. Choice is with us to go back to the dark ages.

Let us stop doing this nonsense. I suggest in case one is so touchy then better become a “Kamikaze” pilot and go across and sort out the enemy. If that is not workable then get after the corrupt. Two things will happen, one, India will have peace, and second, India will progress. Bharat and Hind will be saved from the enemy without and evil within. When we are going to unite as one? When we say one for all and all for one, I see one for one and all for none. Can we make our Bharat Mahan this way? I wonder!!!!!!!!

JAI HIND

© Noel Ellis

COMMITTEE OF VULTURES

I watch discovery channel often and have seen vultures patiently waiting perched high on trees or hovering high above in the skies looking out for the slightest hint for their daily kill. The word patience is their biggest weapon. They do have talons and sharp beaks but their greatest ability is to wait and wait for their prey. Another plus point is their eye sight and smell. Soaring high up, they can pick out tiny movements on the ground. Their communications are fantastic as they can relay the presence of food so quickly that other vultures in the area gather for a feast. Finally, no one in a venue (group of vultures as they are called) goes hungry.

Another thing if you notice is that they can snatch food even from a pack of lions. They know how to divert their attention and pick up whatever they can as the lion pack splinters and runs to chase them. One team is agitating the lions to attack, while the other patiently waits for the lion’s patience to run out. Once the lions separate, it is a feast for these feathery creatures. They will hop, dance, fly, skip around and spread their wings to show dominance but patiently with no signs of hurry. Moment lions lose patience, the vulture wins. Lions in their greed try to shoo them away, they cunningly steal their meal. That’s the game they are good at. Politicians and babu’s are just doing that to us.

We the ex servicemen are like a pack of lions. Everyone wants to be the Alpha male. The one who started the pack, tried to keep all together but unfortunately when patience ran out he went looking for greener pastures. His efforts went in vain. The so called vultures kept encircling, they kept waiting for you to splinter and splinter we did. The recent developments at a veteran’s rally showed these signs. This implies that we shall fall prey to the vultures.

Haven’t we been taught in our basic army tactics to wait for the enemy to come in our effective range? Opening fire too early cautions the enemy as well as reveals ones location, giving a chance to him to either change course or tactics. Opening fire too late allows the enemy to run over your defences. We started our campaign to fight the government asking them to restore our Izzat and now have landed up not only losing our Izzat but also our credibility and integrity. Someone kept waiting for us to fight over the carcass. Now the vultures are going to sit back and enjoy our kill. They will laugh at the tamasha we created. Sad but true.

The whole nation stood by us and still does. The nation will never stand for the greedy. We had a case in point and were in a win-win situation. Today, we lost the plot completely. Why we lost the plot was because we were in a hurry. We wanted things in black and white. We forgot we were apolitical people, we forgot the main cause why we were agitating, we forgot that someone has understood our tactics and is waiting for us to make the first move. The enemy never revealed anything. We showed movement to draw fire. The enemy now will take pot shots.

As a veteran I followed OROP agitation closely and still do & my salutes to everyone. I wrote about their yeoman’s service too. I feel heart broken when my own brethren show signs of dissent and discontentment amongst each other. The values and traditions we imbibe as soldiers are long lost in today’s behaviour. Is it for personal gains or there is some other motive to it, is a matter of time to reveal? I have to have some patience for that.

The politicians formed a one man committee to look into the OROP grievances. Where did it head, God alone knows. By the way, a group of vultures is also called a committee. When the vultures feed together they are called a “wake”. Well, they “wake” when we sleep. They pounce when we let lose our guard. Though it is a myth that they encircle their prey flying high but in reality it appears that they do so waiting for the opportune moment to make a kill. Actually they wait to see signs of infighting amongst animals. They don’t waste time then and swoop down to enjoy the booty. Once on the prey, they gorge out each piece of flesh.

A few ways to keep them away is by never show you are weak. Keep on your vigil. Have patience.  Raise an alarm when needed and stay with your “pride”. Collectiveness gives unity and strength. Don’t waiver from your path; keep moving as a herd which will always keep you safe. Do we ex servicemen draw any lessons from the animal world? I wonder!!!!!!!!!

JAI HIND

© Noel Ellis

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