Noel Ellis's Official Blog

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

Category: TRADITIONS (Page 1 of 2)

MIXED FEELINGS OF PAST AND PRESENT

I was reading an article where the author mentioned floppy disks and cassettes which one had to wind and rewind using a pencil. The present generation is oblivious to all that because we are talking of bullet trains and sea planes. There used to be a time when Indian cars never had ACs and the same used to be with the trains. The highest class used to be First Class. The luxury was your seating space but you had no control on the weather. The privilege used to be to alight right in front of the railway station gate instead of lugging your holdall, steel trunk, Khane ki tokri and a surahi for water. Times now have changed, whole trains are Air-conditioned, cars come with AC by default and if you ask for a non AC car it will attract raised eyebrows from the salesman.

The sheer pleasure of sitting in the window of a train or a car in the good old days is indescribable. The passing landscape, the lush green fields, the hillocks, the tractor and the bullocks, the one odd pair of the Siberian cranes, the eagerness to read the passing railway station boards, the nangu pangu children waving at your train are some memories which I remember vividly. Today, there are trains which don’t stop till they reach their destination. The complete train is a vestibule. Catering services used to be the poori sabji ka thela on the station, not now. I have travelled in times when the compartment windows had no grills. Entry to a coach used to from any window as doors were invariably blocked.

The steam engines evaporated, diesels took their place and now being replaced by electric ones. Speed, comfort, conveniences, facilities, housekeeping of both the trains and stations have come of age. Modernisation, mechanisation, technological advancement is adding to the improvements.

I remember when the electronic watches were placed at the stations, one used to look at them in awe. At New Delhi, I was amazed to see a huge arrival-departure board. It was a roller kind of a board where in a blink of an eye the name and timings of the trains used to change. Each alphabet used to roll giving a mesmerising feel. That place was frequented by pick pockets. I lost my red coloured wallet with eleven rupees and eighty naye paise many moons back.

Today there are chopper rides to shrines, piped gas to homes, Railway line has reached Srinagar and the day is not far it may go to Leh and beyond. RO-RO services are taking off in the sea. Inland water transport is being exploited. From tarred surfaces to cemented highways, from a single lane encroached road, to eight lane highways, India has come a long way. Provided, we Indians understand and utilise these facilities as our own. We need to treat each asset as our personal belonging. We must utilise it and leave it in the same shape as if we would be using it again. If swach bharat can start, so can hamara bharat campaign.

If a bus, train or road is made for us, let us keep it safe, secure and well maintained. Let us not litter. Let us not dig up roads by putting our tents for jagran or family functions. If a tap does not have water doesn’t mean it has to be twisted or pulled out of its socket. Let each community take charge of all assets in their area and look after them. It can only happen when each one of us is educated and understands the importance of every asset created by the government is for our use.

There are bus stops but no one uses them. The place where the bus is supposed to stop a vendor obstructs it. Where there is a two wheeler parking a four wheeler will adjust into it.  Who cares for a red light or a pedestrian crossing? The policeman will drive without a helmet but fine you for not wearing a seat belt. A civic sense of responsibility has yet to creep in the minds of us Indians.

I don’t mind a sea plane or a bullet train if it is for the common man. I will love to use it like I did for the metro and monorail. If all such things are going to bite dust after the initial launch then it will force me to ponder. The basic issue is I as a citizen want facilities but I as a citizen want some other citizen to look after it, some other citizen to provide security for it, another citizen to clean it and likewise. When will I start chipping in my bit? I wonder!!!!!!!!

JAI HIND

RUMOUR (AFWAH)

As usual after dinner I sat down to scan news channels. I landed up with Mr Rajat Sharma explaining his views on the movie controversy. Well, I am sure he laid to rest all rumors, propaganda and whispering campaigns to rest. Hope Padmavati turns out to be a block buster. I rarely watch Hindi movies but this one I definitely will.

Be that as it may, I being from Rajasthan and served there extensively understand the feelings of our brethren and their rage to tear apart the world for the insult they perceive has been done to their pride and valour as also to the rich traditions of their clan. I have heard of many heads being chopped off in the years of yore for AAN, BAAN & SHAN. Hope now things will cool down. Let us leave Deepika’s nose and Bhansali’s head for the time being.

I sat down to research these words on the net and this is what I found. A rumor or rumour (spelling differs between American and British English) is viewed as “an unverified account or explanation of events circulating from person to person and pertaining to an object, event, or issue in public concern”. Rumour is a kind of propaganda which refers “solely to the control of opinion by significant symbols, or, to speak more concretely and less accurately by stories, reports, pictures, and other forms of social communication”. Rumors are also often discussed with regard to “misinformation” and “disinformation”. Rumors can be created and planted by nearly anybody, require limited resources, can be deadly for those in its direct path, and can instilL fear. Controversy on Padmavati falls aptly into all these slots is my view.

Basic characteristics that apply to rumour are; One, they are transmitted by word of mouth. Two, they provide “information” about a “person, happening, or condition and three, they express and gratify “the emotional needs of the community”.

Someone divided rumors into three types:

  1. Pipe dream rumors: reflect public desires and wished-for outcomes. (Achhe din) (Pun intended)
  2. Bogie or fear rumors: reflect feared outcomes. (You will go to hell if you don’t pray and don’t do abc).
  3. Wedge-driving rumors: intend to undermine group loyalty or interpersonal relations (The Hindu-Muslim riots are fuelled by these types of rumors)

Propaganda on the other hand is neutrally defined as a systematic form of purposeful persuasion that attempts to influence the emotions, attitudes, opinions, and actions of specified target audiences for ideological, political or commercial purposes through the controlled transmission of one-sided messages (which may or may not be factual) via mass and media channels. A propaganda organization employs propagandists who engage in propagandism.

In addition, there is something called a “smear campaign”. It is a term that loosely means a coordinated effort to attack a person’s character. Some people term it as an IED (Improvised Explosive Device). Rumors, as IEDs, are low-cost, low-tech communication weapons that can be used by anyone to disrupt the efforts of communication, civil affairs or outreach campaigns such as those undertaken by governments in crisis response situations or militaries in insurgencies. Well, history of India has umpteen examples of it.

One must understand that to spread rumors you require rumor mongers. These people now have the modern tools of sms, face book, twitter and other social media to spread the word faster and create far reaching results as happened in the Padmavati case I suppose.

In the Army, we had posters displayed in our offices saying do not spread rumors and we used to encourage our men to come and speak to us if they heard anything abnormal. Rumors need not be military in nature; they could do with some event happening back home. It was our moral duty to educate our men and their families not to drift away by such sayings and believe in the systems which existed thus we could control all sorts of panic, both in the battle field and in peace by curbing and controlling spread of rumors. I still remember anonymous complaints were never taken any cognisance of as many used to be planted stories.

Suffice to say AFWAH FAILANA and KAAN KA KACHHA HONA are different sides of the same coin and both need to be curbed. One must see for oneself, hear it from the horse’s mouth, understand the ground situation, weigh the pros and cons, believe in your training, have faith in your systems and God and then only react, rather than intimidate fellow citizens who are artistes and creative personalities by profession. Hope by now the boil in the blood would have subsided or will we have another rumor being spread for something else soon? I wonder!!!!!!

JAI HIND

BITTER SWEET

This morning, to catch up with what is happening in the world I put on news and was taken aback to hear that West Bengal went to war with Odisha. Last many years they had been fighting and now as usual our courts intervened and pronounced the judgement in favour of Bengal. Thank God no blood was spilled, however lots of “Chaashni” (sugar syrup) flowed down into the Bay of Bengal in these years. Yes friends, finally the courts have decided that the “Rosogoola” was invented in Bengal. The whole of Bengal went into celebration mode and threw these white, fluffy, sweet, round balls of flavour at each other. Finally, this epic battle came to an end.

Is this what we have come to? Is this the only thing left with for the courts to decide? I sincerely pray to all the judiciary that please if you have such cases just throw the files out of the window. I am sure you have better things to do. I am a little perturbed as to who will now file a case for the Gulab Jamun. I am not sure whether such cases should be accepted by the courts, leave alone states fighting to claim a sweet. The river waters flow from state to state, the lands are demarcated, languages across states are common, wind doesn’t differentiate boundaries, crop pattern is the same then why this fight over who invented a rosogoola of all the things.

I was imagining a scene where our dear Didi would be standing in court in one witness box and Mr Naveen Patnaik in the other trying to defend his claim. Judge being our own from the movie Johnny LLB, Saurab Shukla. Didi must have had Arshad Warsi on her side who would have gone deep into the case to the real origin of the place where the sweet would have been conceived, including producing the most secret and ancient recipe which would have been written ages ago in the script which would need deciphering from the scriptures. That would have been the most clinching evidence produced to nail the case.

The judge would have been waiting for him to produce this evidence in court for the “devil in white” to make an appearance due to which this battle started. At last with dripping hands in the slurpy sugary syrup he would have dug his teeth into it. The sense of ecstasy which would have appeared in his eyes and expression would have helped him finally make this decision that the rosogoola belongs to Bengal. To be eaten by everyone till death and then broken the nib of his pen.

Let the best rosogoola win is my contention. With passage of time, as diabetes is becoming a menace for all sugar related issues, I think we should get over with the fight for this sugar drenched roundels. It should not be a matter of concern who invented them or where they originated. The matter should be that how best without causing any diseases this item should grace the menu at various functions. People praising its softness and the quality of it to melt in the mouth should be more important. The courts should have never come in but then who would have decide the actual winner. I am sure the judges would have got tons of them from Bengal complimentary.

I am also not sure if some other country may have already patented the sweet which may cause more bitterness to the taste of this traditional Indian Mithaae. The odishaiets will not leave this here. I expect this battle to go up to the highest court and may go in for an appeal to the President of India. Had it been the previous president, the ruling would have been in favour of Bengal again. Obviously, Pranab da cannot be unfair to the land of his origin.

I have never researched the subject of sweets. It would not be out of place to find out about the other Indian sweets like the ladoo. Who claims to be the originator of ladoo? Who has the patent, I do not know and similarly for my favourite besan ki burfi? Gajjar ka halwa won’t be a bad bet to check for either. I hope we don’t land up in another Indo- Pak like conflict over this, if Pak claims the origins of halwas and pinnis is from their country, India might go to the UN.

Let me not conjecture too much but I feel that there has to be a limit to all this nonsense where states are going to courts for trivial issues which should not waste even one minute of any court in India. The numbers of pending cases are already piling up and here we find that a sweet has created bitterness out of a non issue. Tomorrow someone comes and claims that Agra ka petha originated in China, it would be a nuclear explosion of kinds.

Be that as it may, will my craving for sweets and especially Rosogoola ever subside, I wonder!!!!!!!!!

JAI HIND

THE BEST CAREER

As I sit back and look at the journey of my life, had I continued in the Indian Army, I would have retired at the end of this month. In the civil where I work with now, I may go on for another 6 years if all goes well. Well, I am not sure will I be able to last that long because of my nature which does not go very well in civil, which is to take a stand for my subordinates or for something which my conscious does not allow. Well, this attitude has cost me my job many times. I still continue to bash on regardless without bothering about the outcome.

This brings me to a question. Which is the right profession then? What can be termed as a satisfying career? In which job can you keep working till the day you like, keep earning and enjoy the best of life? Is it the forces? The answer is an absolute no. Is it the corporate? My answer is an absolute no again. I find two professions which might fit in the bill. One is to become a politician and the other is to become a holy man.

Be that as it may, the thought that triggered me to write this piece was the way armed forces are being used in the country today. It has been proved that the forces will come to the rescue of this nation for anything and everything including building a foot over bridge or cleaning the mountains besides all that we keep doing routinely in Aid to Civil Authorities. Why do we do it so professionally? It is because this comes from the ethos the men and women in uniform imbibe in them.

The simple formula we follow is Z-KIT-BM. The landmarks (Zamini Nishan) are given to get familiar with the terrain and area of responsibility, the information of both, own side and the enemy is given in great detail (Khabar dushman ki aur Khabar apni), the aim (Irada) of the operation is made crystal clear. It is short, crisp and precise. The modus operandi (Tarika) is then told so that no doubts are left lingering, including various contingencies. Thereafter, we discuss the administration (bandobast) and finally are the communications (Milap) between all parties participating in the operation.

Last but not the least we also synchronise our watches (Ghari Milao). This is the most important ritual, as we do things time bound. We then get to work even without orders. In case our leader becomes a causality or is not available, the next senior assumes his position automatically. We work, we rest and we get back to work again amidst all chaos till we achieve our aim as given out in the Irada. We fight till the last man last round, if rounds finish we get our bayonets on, if bayonets break, we don’t give up even then, we use are bare hands to achieve the aim even if we perish in the process. That’s our culture.

All this I do not see happening in the civil. First, I find the main aim is “paisa banao” (make money). Second, is to paisa bachao (save money), by not paying well and cutting down on salaries, amenities and manpower. To achieve greater heights the formula becomes lick, lick and lick. Butter every side of the toast. The formula used is, “KAAM NA KARO, KAAM KI FIQR KARO AUR FIQR KA ZIQR APNE BOSS KO ZAROOR KARO” (Don’t work, just worry about work and keep telling your boss that how worried you are) is the key to success. Secondly, for any fault, blame all and sundry rather than own up responsibility. Make someone the scapegoat. Let truth never prevail. If caught, run away or go to court.

Sit long hours in office twiddling your thumbs. In fact your boss does the same but apparently it should appear that you are the most sincere employee. Bring a pin and describe the process as if you bought an aeroplane. Discuss it repetitively in all meetings the efforts you put in to research about it, the hurdles you faced in the selection process, the difficulty with which you could convince people to pass your budget, not to forget how many mails you sent and the paper work you did. How you almost visited the vendor, got the pin loaded and followed it through every octroi post. Blame the delay on the non cooperation by some who did not give a crane to unload this pin especially if you hold a personal grudge against him. At the end expect a complimentary mail for you to keep in record to show it during your appraisal. Life actually sucks.

The profession of babas and baby’s I don’t have to discuss. Politics I don’t know and about politicians I won’t utter a word. One thing I may like to tell the people who run this country is that, Sirs, if you don’t make the profession of the Armed Forces the best career option in this country, if you don’t give the serving and the veterans their dues and Izzat, then your profession will be jeopardy someday. Politics as a career is alright but will you be able think beyond the petty politics and pay heed to the writings on the wall called “Khabar Apni”? I wonder!!!!!!!!!!

JAI HIND

TO STAND OR NOT TO STAND

Our National Anthem has been in the headlines since the last couple of days. We Indians are not on the same grid on whether to stand, sit or lie down when it is played. We are also not sure as to when it should be played and where. We are also not clear what all occasions are solemn and what all occasions are not appropriate for it to be played. We all actually want to just talk about our rising goose bumps when we hear it and the patriotic kind of feelings it injects into us. We all are ready to give a lecture to one and all how to show respect to the anthem and flag but are unwilling to leave our pop corns for the fear of them spilling over. It is 180 bucks after all. We basically do not want to stand up once we have sat down in the cinema hall due to lethargy. That is the problem.

While watching TV and flicking channels, say, we land up on the opening moments of a hockey match. We may not understand the meaning or even the tune of the national anthem of another country but we will like to follow the lip sync of their players to try and understand what is being sung. We all will appreciate the way those ten odd spectators of the other country carrying their country’s flag with their hands across their hearts. On the other hand we will keep fidgeting for at least one stanza to stand up for “jana gana mana”. In case the camera focuses on us during the process, then to hell with my patriotism. I will wave all my hands and jump on my feet so that in case even my bai watching the match on TV will recognise me. Another reason for doing so is that the cameraman may not focus at me again unless there is a good looking girl sitting there.

Well, in the forces we do the “Rashtriya Salute” on various occasions, no one has to tell us to stand up. If the “Nishan Toli” is trooping the National Flag all of us in uniform salute. The salute is not given sitting down but standing in “Savdhan”(Attention). Yes, all those who are battle causalities and are on wheel chairs are the only people who are allowed to salute sitting down and they too pull their arms to their sides before saluting. There is another exception when your right hand is bandaged, immobilised or amputated; the person salutes with his left hand but salute he will. After all, the tricolour is being unfurled or being paraded and the “Rashtriya Gaan” are being played. That is the importance we as soldiers give to our national flag and the National Anthem. We fight for this flag, we die for this flag and we come draped in this flag. This was taught to us, drilled into us and now it imbibes in our blood as second nature. We don’t need debates whether to stand or sit, we know what to do.

Another thing is, moving around when the anthem is played. Why can’t people just stand straight? What is so urgent in that Whatsapp message? Why does some part of the body feel itchy at that precise moment? Can’t the description of the dress of the lady in front of you wait? Wait for the anthem to be over to discuss all that is under the sun after those fifty two seconds yaar? If you spot your old neighbour in the stadium, why you can’t hold waving to him? Hold your horses friends, join your heels, pull your arms to your sides, stand rock solid, don’t fidget or move, leave that itch for a moment, leave your pant stuck at the wrong place for less than a minute, concentrate on the anthem, sing along and there after you cheer and jeer for any team, is my view.

As a child I remember, the national anthem used to be played in cinemas at the end of the movie. All of us used to stand. Slowly, as time passed by, everyone used to be in a hurry to get to the cycle stand to locate ones bicycle and rush back home. People who had to catch buses after the show did not even wait for the movie to finish. The cinema owners stopped opening the exit gates initially but pressure of the people to break their doors left them with no option but to open up moment the final acknowledgements use to roll. We were impatient then and we are super impatient now.

Well folks, when it comes to India we will tolerate no nonsense from anyone, isn’t it? If I tell people that the symbol of your nationalism the National Anthem and flag is being disrespected due to our own despicable behaviour and nonsense, would anyone agree? I am no one to tell anyone to stand or sit and I cannot question the courts either but if people cannot understand how to respect our national symbols then God only save us. If for this also courts have to intervene then why do we call ourselves Indians in the first place? I wonder!!!!!!!!!

JAI HIND

WHEN PETS DON’T HAVE ALL THE FUN

If you see dogs with tails between their legs, whimpering, whining, running helter-skelter, digging up holes, huddling up with other dogs, shivering, avoiding food, basically scared almost to death, it means it is Diwali time. Dussera on wards, their behaviour takes a turn and suddenly from a happy go lucky dog it appears subdued and lack luster. The dogs which used to chase cats and squirrels’ at the drop of a hat are found moaning to themselves in squeaky voices sitting quietly in a corner. At that moment if a cat came and cuddled up, it won’t object all. This is a consequence of the fire crackers. The loud bangs and flashing lights scare the daylights out of them.

This year somehow the bangs drastically reduced. It has been few days since Diwali; I have yet to see the stray’s in my colony surface. Most of them have gone in hiding and I know there are numerous rain water drains which are the safest places. The hangover of those loud bangs must be still fresh in their minds. In a way it is good as we have a pack of about 10-12 strays who have now become the bosses of the colony. They do intimidate and gnarl colony residents sometimes.

These crackers are a kind of trauma for the dogs at least. I have observed dogs urinating with every bang. One can only pity their plight. Like on Holi people colour the dogs, on Diwali I have seen some sadistic people tying up series of crackers to their tails and lighting them. It is the cruellest from of torture I should say. What do they achieve out of it is anybody’s guess?

I am an animal lover and have made friends with almost every cat and dog here. To satisfy my “petty” feelings, I talk to every dog and cat during my walks. In the last couple of years most of them have started responding. I see their faces light up on seeing me which is indicated by a small meow in response to my voice, a wag of a tail if not a lick from the dogs. As a habit, I wish everyone during my walk. I wish these animals too and they respond back. Some people don’t, well lesser said the better about humans. There are a few cats which sit on our benches in the lawn, some allow me to approach them and give a tickle on their necks and if in the mood let me tickle their bellies too. I love it.

Be that as it may, I think people of India have taken cognizance to appeals given for reducing pollution, Diwali crackers being one of them. After all we all got to breathe easy. Sentiments should not come in between life and death. If we can save every drop of water and every unit of electricity for a better future, we can save the environment by bursting fewer and fewer crackers to save us from passive smoking and trauma to the ear drums. Every year many markets go up in flames causing colossal damage. People of jhuggi-jhonpris also keep their fingers crossed with a prayer that hopefully no stray rocket will make way to their humble dwellings.

The fire department is on super high alert. Hospitals get thousands of burn cases due to cracker injuries and lots of vision related issues. The issues related to lung and breathing is well known too. The trauma these crackers cause to the new born, old and infirm are also a cause of major worry. Let us give them the peace they deserve.

What I have understood about my own self is that unless I get kicked and pushed by someone I don’t listen to orders. I always argue of how not to do things. I always try and bicker about things if it is forced on me. I try and avoid following the rules and try and get out of the situation somehow. If still I have to follow that order I do so with utmost reluctance, cursing every government & organisation for the burden it puts on my finances and hurting my sentiments.

I wish the animals also have some place to complain to save them from the trauma, shock, suffering and pain. Let us be just be good and compassionate citizens of India. Political interference is not required or else we will find religion coming in to sort out the ache these animals suffer from during our festivals. Let us collectively decide so that courts are left free to do their primary job rather than order a ban on sale of crackers. Hope we see wisdom in it before they ban bursting of crackers completely. Will anyone see reason? I wonder!!!!!!!!!

JAI HIND

GT ROAD RENAMED NOEL ELLIS ROAD

Someone said uproot the Taj Mahal, thereafter people came up with an idea to demolish the Rashtrapati Bhawan and Parliament. Then a few suggested the Red Fort too should bite the dust. I am amazed at how people think and add fuel to the already lit communal fire. One thing is clear, the way we are trying to tamper with history it will definitely have consequences.  What Aurengzeb did or did not do is not the question but had we Indians got the guts we should have not allowed him to invade us. Had we been united then we would have not allowed anyone to leave a landmark or any legacy. We aren’t united even today thus not learning from our history.

Be that as it may, I was thinking why not rename the Grant Trunk (GT) road. It was named Sher Shah Suri Marg once. Who was Mr SS Suri? Please dig into the history books to find out don’t ask me. A Punjabi song popular amongst truck drivers about the road were “GT road te, haye road te….” Bus drivers used to believe in, “Chak de phatte nap de killi, subha Jalandhar sham nu dilli”. I remember traveling this route by road as well as rail as a child and it used to be the most prestigious route called the NH-1 from Lahore to Calcutta. I have seen this road transform from a road to a Highway and that is history.

There was no direct bus or train service to Delhi from Kapurthala, my residence. The nearest place to get a bus or train was Jullunder now Jalandhar (change in history). A small bus stand on GT road Jalandhar used to be congested like hell. To identify a bus going to “Garha” village or Delhi was difficult. If the bus had its chassis bent, torn silencer, splattered with mud, doors missing, broken windows, hanging head lights and the radiator glaring at you over a half hanging fender one could assume this is a local bus. A nicely painted, well dressed driver, Jalwa horn blaring, cushioned seats, freshly cleaned if not painted body; with lots of hanging jhalars all around the bus was an indicator that this could be a long route bus. Of course the shout in short bursts, Dilli-dilli-dilli-dilli. The conductor used to make it very clear “Rah di sawari koi na hove” (passengers getting down enroute need not mount) and mark my words Phillor and Phagwara people were dropped only at Ludhiana.

GT road was broad though but did not have dividers in between then. I have seen it grow from two lanes to six lanes and to what it is today. There were hardly any flyovers. In those days buses and trains used to race side by side. Closer to Ludhiana somewhere near Dhandarikalan, “keenu” used to be a new citrus fruit introduced those days. The long route busses used to stop for a quick drink of freshly squeezed malta or keenu juice.

Ambala Cantt used to be a major junction and the trains used to halt long enough for dad to rush to Puran Singh da dhaba and get fresh mutton curry and tandoori rotis. From there reaching Delhi was either from the Meerut-Gaziabad route for Old Delhi or the Kurukshetra route for New Delhi. We mostly travelled to Old Delhi. Moment one heard the heavy sounds of those typical clangs and bangs on the common rail and Road Bridge on river Yamuna hugging the red fort walls one knew “Ab dilli door nahi” (Delhi is not far away). If history has to be changed then the Bombay-Ferozpur Frontier Mail and Delhi-Amritsar Flying Mail also need to be re-named.

Why not change its name into Akbar road, no-no not the Azeem-O-Shaan Sahensha but our very own indigenous Akbar saab who is now an MP. With no offences meant sir and no religious flavour as till date I am confused who was Akbar’s son, was it Babar or Humayun or neither. My history is pathetic as it is. I always get mixed up with the fathers and sons of that era. With the present generation they won’t even care to find out who was who and we talk of changing history.

Why not name it Noel Ellis road? Half of India will not be able to pronounce it first of all. The only qualification I have is that I am a common citizen of this country. Why history can’t be created by renaming a road on the “aam admis” name. Why do we always look up in history to name things after all those oldies, or all those political figures? Well, freedom fighters too now are being felicitated at many places. I gave my youth too for keeping the country’s sovereignty in tact by serving the motherland by being part of one of the finest Armies of the world. Yes people may say I am living person. I will argue lets create history by not naming something on somebody who is already dead.

These days I find only polarisation and hatred being spread. I do not accept it as a citizen of this country. All those who try to change history will become history themselves.  Today’s generation cares two hoots whether you name a road or a building on anything. We are a modern India so changing ancient history won’t work Mr Dhotiwala. Can you guys grow up? I wonder!!!!!!!!!!!

JAI HIND

LET US KEEP OUR FAITH PERSONAL

I had a very uncomfortable encounter this time when I went visiting my home town a few days back. I happened to attend a Christian Convention where various learned speakers of Theology come and share the word of God. Well, given a choice I would not like to attend such events as a personal preference. Considering the family issues like leaving me alone at home, I rather being the odd man out accompany them to such events. The speaker in the afternoon was tolerable as his story was interesting. However, the speaker in the evening was terrible. He had a captive audience of about 2000 and delivered the most hopeless sermon I ever heard in my life. I tolerated him for a little while but I gave up in between and had to walk out of the venue to breathe some fresh air.

What he spoke was immaterial; the content was irrelevant to the topic given to him. It was just out of courtesy and respect people tolerated him or they were helpless as they had already paid for the dinner coupons after the event. I am convinced that speakers like him are the very reason that people of other faiths detest Christians in India. He spoke in such a manner as if the audience was non believers in the Christian faith. I am convinced such people do not deserve to speak. It was a very sad state indeed that none of the senior priests and church elders had the guts and the gumption to tell this man to walk off. Was it the fear of being impolite or was it fear of God that brings bad times to anyone who opposes such a speaker. Well, I could only protest by walking off.

Be that as it may, I had another encounter with a person in the same convention, who I respect very much. We met during the social gathering after the service was over. I was proceeding for a cup of tea when I met him. The first thing was the praise of my writing skills; I felt really touched and thanked him. The next thing was he said why you don’t write for the church and about spirituality. I said sir give me a break, it doesn’t mean that if I can write I can write about anything. I am not interested in preaching nor am I interested in writing on something of which I have limited knowledge. Besides it won’t be prudent on my part to write about things that do not interest me as of now. The person still insisted and wanted to strike a deal that at least once a week I should write being a prolific writer. I really got uncomfortable and had to tell him that sir please let me have a cup of tea as this conversation is heading to a tense situation amongst us.

He backed off, I moved on and I sat down to think is there something wrong with me. The faith I have in my God is very personal and I don’t have to tom-tom it around. I being a military man, it is my faith that has seen me through the ups and down of life, in good times in bad times in happiness in sadness, in ill health, in fact every life and death situation. I can speak to my divine strength as and when required. I don’t care about the place I am in, I don’t care about the time of the day, I don’t care about the position I am in. I speak to him when I need him and believe you me he has always heard me and guided me. I shall leave it at that.

I don’t know why I get tense while attending any church functions when I go home. I am not sure if my upbringing is such. I do not like or support any religious fundamentalism either. This was evident when I did not appreciate the conduct of the speaker and there after being pushed to write on something which I have not studied to present my views. I would rather stay away from it. I felt pity actually for all those people who sat through the discourse and I feel sad for that learned person who assumed that if I can write on things such as Pakistan and Kashmir, I can write about religion too. May be that person had too many expectations from me.

There was once an officer once commissioned to our unit. We received him and left him alone to set up his room. It was a shock to find about 15-20 golden framed photos of Gods and Goddesses hanging around his charpoy instead of a nude posters from the latest issue of debonair.  We rushed to the senior subaltern to report it and immediate corrective action was taken. That night he was on the lawn and rum down his gullet through a funnel during his dining in. The next day being Sunday, most of us got up late. To our horror and surprise one man only in a dhoti, with a three finger smeared teeka of sandal wood on his fore head, a janeyu hanging, kharaau (wooden slippers) on his feet, came to give us Prasad. He had been told to attend mandir parade. Half of us almost died of shock. It took many counselling sessions to get him down to mother earth and told how to behave like an officer.

Well folks, for me religion and faith is very personal. I cannot stand anyone trying to force it on me. I am convinced I know my divine power and he speaks to me, guides me and blesses me. My faith in him ever grows. Same would be the case with you too. Let’s keep the harmony growing amongst us. Will my message be understood in the right spirit? I wonder!!!

JAI HIND

 

ONE BABA & FORTY POLICE

One baba has brought the North of the country to a standstill. 200 plus trains have been cancelled, 10 lakh potties on the road side and increasing every minute, as many plants and trees watered. 40 companies of CAPF mobilised, Army on standby, busses halted on the borders and so on. Air Force summoned in as I believe helicopter movement is on the cards. Poor Navy, they can’t mount warships on trailers or else they too would have been made part of a naval blockade in Panchkula. I am not ridiculing the navy but I am ridiculing the state of affairs in this country that just look at this person he can hold this country to ransom. Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh have declared holidays in schools and colleges till 28 Aug. Kya baat baba ji, where were you all these years. Police as usual is about to hand over the baton to the Army as situation may go out of their hands.

There have been a few more babas who were on my radar screen, one of them is languishing in Jodhpur jail and I don’t want to dirty my fingers typing about him. Then there is another baba who claims to have a third eye. He can somehow find out from smell of your burp the number of aloos missing in the aloo ka paratha which you fed to a black dog, on an amavasya, at the turning of the road near the kabristan. He can motivate you to distribute jalebis to all the diabetic patients. He can clear all blockages between you and your “kirpa” by trying to remember which place you belong, what khana or mithai or deity is famous in your hometown and then come out with weird solutions. Innocent people lap it up as the brainwashing is done by such ungodly men.  Hindustani today is just looking for solutions which are sasta and tikaau.

Well, today if you want to lead a colourful and peaceful life you either become a baba or a politician. No responsibility, tremendous fan following, catch the nerve of the janta, exploit the naive public, say anything and it becomes gospel, divert attention anywhere, exploit sentiments, give some jobs as your maintenance staff, money is not an issue as people donate, if they don’t they are made to donate for fear of God and dire consequences. Both ways the sufferer is a person like me. They make the rules, they break the rules, they tell me what to do and what not to do, and I simply follow. Why? because I am illiterate, if I am educated I don’t apply my brains, even if I apply my brains I am threatened of consequences, even then if I rebel I am one of the very few. Add religious and political fanaticism to it, like every political party today is saintly and holier than thou and every baba has become a politician. His voice for vote counts, so what is left for you and me is to follow them or be left out.

I was watching the type of people following this so called MSG. Either they were people who are senior citizens or they are the youth who are unemployed. I don’t say they are uneducated but are basically vellas. Who will leave the fields when the paddy crop is in full bloom? Who can leave their homes where there is family and cattle to look after? Who will join such a movement at the peril of his job? Who is ready to face consequences including death due to police action? They are people who have been completely brain washed or have reached such a stage of life where life and death doesn’t matter. Some youngsters may risk their lives for the compensation which their folks may receive after their death or injury.

Whatever said and done this trend is taking this country on a different turn. The path to attain moksha is given in all scriptures; the only thing is we go to the wrong people who interpret it for us in their own way. We in India are such blind followers of anything which is chanted with a mantra because our upbringing is such. Please, I don’t want to hurt any religion or sentiment. I just want to put across that we are blind followers of anything which shows us a ray of light or hope. We have lost faith in our own selves completely. I would say we go beyond that, moment we come out of the temple we start comparing our chappals and in case circumstances permit, we don’t hesitate to exchange ours in the very presence of our God. We make him witness to our crime and thank him for providing exactly what we needed. We donate an additional coin if the colour matches our dress. That’s what we are.

Our thoughts need transformation. It is time now when another baba may emerge. There is already one who started with yoga and now is marketing beauty soaps and shampoos.

Countrymen and women, let us not make matters worse, let us not lose lives. If this baba is upright and correct the courts will set him free but if he is not let him face the music. No one in this country is above law. In case the verdict holds him guilty just walk away from him. Who can’t make a mistake, we all are mortals. You would have made one in judging him as he did not reveal his other side to you. If he proves he is innocent then why do you worry? The inconvenience you are causing to the nation is tremendous. The loss that is being caused because of your blockage is unwarranted. Will your baba be “sachha” enough to foot the bill of all the forces deployed and all the destruction which occurs? I wonder!!!!!!!!!!!

JAI HIND

 

FAREWELL MY FRIEND PROMOD

I read this heart wrenching news today that Promod is no more. A NDA Brigadier rose to be an actual Brigadier, hats off to you brother. Well for all those privileged people let me confess, we used to feel jay of all those who had one star* on their satchels. We used to admire those who had two of them and were called Generals**. In fact all of us still take a bow for those who had three stars and continued as Field Marshals***.

I and Promod were from the same battalion in NDA, he was in Alpha and I was in Charlie. Basically we clicked as we attended many French and English classes together. Promod was a happy go lucky person with dopey, sleepy, large but glistening eyes. He was fun loving, jovial and a spirited person who would win any ones heart. I am sure his nature was such that even if he would be angry he would not be able to show it. Well, what bonded us instantly was that we were smokers. Once I moved to India Squadron in V term, I met another Brigadier called G Prakash. Both these guys were class mates from Sainik School. My interactions with Promod increased as fags used to be available with me as a last resort. He only taught me where to hide them. He taught me how to smoke a Panama non filter till your finger tips and lips got burnt. In fact I got introduced to panama and got hooked on to it. My last empty pack of the luxurious Wills Gold went out of the window and saved me my budget imbalance.

This bugger was good at billiards, so one fine day I was introduced to the night billiards in India Squadron. But as luck would have it the DS of Air force caught us. We were given a stern warning and imagine an Alpha squadron chap went scot free in India Squadron as the DS was new. Then one fine day we all decided to have a nonstop billiards session. Sixth termers never gave us a chance during earthly hours, so we decided to do something at unearthly hours. So if I remember correctly, I, G Prakash (He is an Admiral now I suppose) Ajay another naval dope* and rest my memory fades decided to report sick. Reason we decided was conjunctivitis. Now how to ensure we look devastated with this communicable disease as one used to get 7 days SIQ (Sick in Quarters) for that. Promod suggested let us rub Colgate in our eyes and see the effect. I had never reported sick in NDA nor had been SIQ ever and it was close to end of term. I fell for it.

Dr Maj Mrs SK Singh looked at all of us sitting in the corridor of the MH and signed our SIQ slips without questions for a change. Knowing her reputation we were expecting to be told to attend all parades with closed eyes. With blood shot eyes all of us came to India Squadron smoked a fag each, slipped our SIQ slips under the door of the CSMs undie and off we rushed to the billiards room. The game started and to our utter surprise the DS body of India and Lima Squadrons landed up and shooed us away. Later we found the whole billiards room smelling of dettol and phenyl as we were told they got it disinfected seeing our condition. “Mokashi” the Batman used to wait with breakfast till almost 12. We used to quickly gobble bread, jam and eggs with a fresh plan, how and when to play the next game.

It was decided that we will now play night billiards; whole day we shall sleep and play at night. First task was managing blankets that we did with ease. Next was hanging them on the anteroom windows, with a little ingenuity we did that also. The game and fags began. We played and played billiards. The in offs and pots suddenly started falling in place. The long shots and flukes were perfected, the fouls and misses reduced drastically. We became experts in repairing tips of the cues ourselves. Game was top class. Company was top class. Time was ours. A jam session used to be on every day. We were the kings of billiards in NDA.

My room was on the first floor ante room flank, basically a safe haven for all the billiards playing stalwarts. So one fine day after being fed up having the same old cold bread, squished eggs, liquidy butter and jam in those huge tiffin’s we decided to “seko” our toasts in the morning. I had managed a heater from the helper on which he used to melt wax for our drill boots. Unfortunately the electricity went off. So another fag session and a decision of playing a twenty point game and be back to toast our slices. We peeled off the blankets and forgot to switch on the lights and the game begun. Suddenly there was shouting of AAG-AAG (fire), bloody hell my room was drenched as drenched could be. All of us were in pyjamas and shorts, nothing on top. DS body was lined up in my flank. My lock broken, as it is it used to be a piddly one? My heater with the squaddy and on the last day of our SIQ I got 14 restrictions for cooking in the room. We had left the toasts on the lid of the tiffin and forgot to switch it off while going for our World billiards Championship. The lights came on, we had left the toasts which were ready to be toasted but they got smoked and burnt down to cinders.

Promod and rest of the gang evaporated into thin air. I think MK Sandeep* was also there. I was marched up and till end of term I must have done 28 more restrictions. Well my dear Promod, we may not play billiards anymore but I fondly remember you as a super soul with a heart of Gold. Rest in Peace my brother. We shall miss you. A small thank you from me and LXVI course for all the lives you touched and all the friends you made. Cheers Buddy, wish you better times wherever you are and we shall remain friends for ever.

INDIA NEEDS TO UNITE WITHOUT A WAR

If there will be a war with either China or Pakistan or both in the near future, are we as a country ready to cope with it? The Armed Forces will do their best I am sure. What I am sceptic about are the people who are other than armed forces including me. Are they going to do their bit for India? I know this country always unites during wars. My question is will we unite as “Indians” without and before a war? What cost will we have to pay for this unity is the big question? Can we put India first? The consequences of war will take us back by more than 50 years. How will we plough back, the very thought gives me the shivers.

Natural calamities I can understand, do take a toll. What I am afraid of is the manmade disasters like goondaism, dadagiri, corruption, bribery, fraud, dishonesty in thought and action, lynching, stalking, agitations for reservations, etc as prevalent today. Why do we destroy national assets in case we want reservations? Why do we burn our transport and buildings if we want water? I feel in case of war some people still won’t change from doing such misdeeds. It needs a miracle to change our basic character. People will still make money by hoarding, by hiding things, by manipulating, by creating an artificial shortage of certain essential goods and services. War clouds can never be wished away but trickery and deceit can definitely be avoided for the sake of this nation. Chances are that the war clouds may not rain. However, in today’s times we better be prepared for a cloud burst. Death may fall from the sky as bombs during war. Enemy can target anything, so citizens of India let’s brace ourselves up for it. Let us join hands for the nation’s sake.

Let us be prepared for rationing and curtailing of our freedoms including the press. Rationing of food grains, fuel, clothing, transport, medical care, freight, railways, air space, internet, mobile telephony and you name it. Doesn’t it look scary? Doesn’t it sound outlandish? How will we function without internet or a mobile? How will it feel when military special trains will be given priority over super fast trains? How will it feel to live with black outs? There is a difference between power cut and black out. You will have electricity but can’t switch on lights. People will still switch lights on until a bomb will find their building. How will it be to live in trenches? How will it be when suddenly you are unemployed as your industry is obliterated in an air attack? Air raid sirens blowing, you shall be rushing to shelters? From your luxurious, chauffeur driven, air conditioned BMWs, you will be sharing space with 10 others in a hot and humid bomb shelter. How will it be when all facilities that one takes for granted are suddenly withdrawn? You will be checked, frisked and questioned. Your daily routes diverted and movement restricted. It will be difficult to imagine and unacceptable to most.

Let me ask another question here, how many of the able bodied men and women would volunteer to join the forces if need be? I will request all those who send mails and messages to change ones DP to the tri-colour on Independence Day and Republic Day to be ready to join the war effort. Saying it on face book and twitter is easy, doing it on ground needs guts. Trolling on social media is easy but assaulting the enemy on the battlefield is a tough job. To stalk a girl in Chandigarh is easy but to stalk the real enemy is never done the “Barala” way. Desh Bhakti doesn’t come from the free flowing ideas in JNU but it comes from within our Indianess. It comes from our soul and not from our tongue. Singing Vandematram and shouting Jai Hind is desh prem. Having tears in your eyes when lata sings “ai mere watan ke logo” is your feelings for the soldier. Standing up for the National Anthem is our duty. Desh Bhakti actually is when one understands the meaning of each of these compositions and slogans and inculcates them in ones lives and that is the need of the time.

I am ready to offer my services again if the nation needs them. We the veterans will definitely do our bit. I request all the corporate honchos who do lots of number crunching, graphs, pie charts etc to understand that all that is fighting on paper. All that may impress your bosses. All that may get you incentives. All that may get you various awards. If you people are such experts, please volunteer to do social service during war. Promise to be a sentry of a society at night. Promise you will not do any fraud whatsoever ever. Promise that you will not lie and fudge figures. Promise that you will pay your taxes truthfully for this country. Promise you will report every happening correctly as seen and not as perceived. Promise you will not back bite and back stab your fellow workers. Honesty has to come from within; unity has to be understood in its totality. Time now is to build “Desh Shakti”.

Be that as it may. Over the year luxuries of life have become necessities and we take them for granted as our birth right. I am sure my countrymen shall unite moment the balloon goes up. We have to anticipate things and be prepared mentally. We need to forget caste, creed, religion, region, language and any form of reservations. Bombs and bullets cannot differentiate any of these. We need to keep the independence of this country intact by doing our bit, war or no war. Will we? I wonder!!!!!!!!!

WISHING ALL MY FELLOW CITIZENS A VERY HAPPY 71ST INDEPENDENCE DAY

JAI HIND

POLITICAL KABADDI

I had just finished watching the Kabaddi match last night, which is far better than watching the “kabaddi on news debates. My instinct told me that the match between “BJP Lotus Giants” and “Congress Handcrafters” being held in the polling stadium of Gujarat for the famous of Rajay Sabha Cup from where three members were going to be selected for the national team is going to be interesting. There were various reporters spread all over India taking reactions from spectators. Some of the anchors had already declared the results prematurely. There were political experts on every channel trying to give out all kinds of opinions like the good old Lala Amarnath. Tension was in the air. There were players who were surrounding the third umpire’s office as some controversy had erupted. The final results were to be declared after the third umpire “The Election Commission” would have reviewed each and every move replayed in “slowmo” from every angle. The situation was touch and go.

Well, my patience ran out and I went off to sleep. This morning I found that the unpredictable happened due to “Duckworth Achal Joti” method. The Lotus giants who were expecting a clean sweep lost one seat to the Handcrafters. What difference does it make in the Rajay Sabha? I don’t know. But after this round I know that congress has already declared a definite victory in Gujarat in 2019. We all know “there is many a slip between the cup and the lip”. Till the time the game is fair and square may the best team win; if my constitutional bodies aka referees abide by the rules, I shall have all praises for them because I know my country is in safe hands.

Be that as it may, come to speak of fairness, honesty, integrity etc my instinct to trust our political set up has gone totally wonky. I don’t know why. The congress had huddled together their MLCs in Bangalore and released them on voting day and still some cross voted it seems. The rumors that they can be bought at a price by the opposition were hot. How far they are true I can’t speak with authenticity. But there is no smoke without fire is also true. Does it mean that the value of this politician is just those few crore rupees? Is this what we have fallen to? His Zameer and conscious is for sale. If this is how I am going to earn a living then what am I going to do when I sit in parliament. Naturally, I will loot my country any which way I can. If money is the criterion to sell off my soul then this country has a very faint chance to dream of “acche din”.

The icing of the cake would be if one of the two people elected yesterday from the Lotus Giants is made the Defence Minister of India. One is already a minister so chances are that the present portfolio with that minister continues, I am worried about the other one. I will have no choice but to accept him as that’s the law of the land. So, all my brothers in uniform I wish you luck. PM Sahib, I still insist you have people qualified with more than 40 years of service in Defence of the nation, please be fair and do justice. Am I asking for too much? Let me not drift into my dreamland again.

I am still not clear as to why do we join a political party and have loyalties depending upon the price offered by another party. How can we switch at a moment’s notice? Why do political parties fear that their workers will change teams? Is there nothing called trust left in this nation? Do we need to use unfair means to woo people to defect? Should false promises and hopes still have place in our political system? The larger issue is, are we building this country or ruining it? If we are ourselves not sure on which side we are going to stand then when it will come to decision making for the poor and common man our decisions will be biased based on who offers us the best returns. We are corrupting this system at the highest level and then we are expecting the lower levels to be the most honest people. How can this be possible? My disillusionment for the political class keeps getting deeper. I am now convinced that money makes the mare go.

Thank God a few institutions are still upholding the Constitution of India. Otherwise this country if left to the people who know how to manipulate the system would have sold this country out by now. I was amazed to hear the hard work and toil the political workers were claiming to have done. The midnight oil that they burnt as if they were going to sort out Pakistan. They claim to have won a battle and appeared fatigued sitting in their offices and roaming the streets as aimless nomadic workers. The bursting of crackers and dancing on the streets was as if the enemy had been conquered. The rejoicing and celebrations continued through the night. Who paid for all that? Someone needs to take an account of that too. I see the waste of money in every electoral process irrespective of the political inclinations and affiliations.

Well folks, I am now looking forward to more Kabaddi of the political kind in 2019. Will I see team Lotus Giants lifting the “acche din cup”? I don’t know. Do the Handcrafters stand a chance to bounce back, I have my serious doubts, is there any other team capable enough, I wonder!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

LET ME CHANGE MY NAME

The jokes going around today is that we are soon going to change of name of Chowmein to lachhas of some kind to boycott anything Chinese and Rogan Josh to whatever. Will our love for the noodles die? Or will our stomachs revolt if we get something with a different name. Lesser said the better.

The pleasure we get in changing names of places, streets and roads etc is something which I don’t understand. As far as my memory goes as a kid, I remember JULLUNDER becoming JALANDHAR. This was very prominent on its railway station as we were frequent travellers unlike frequent fliers in those days. Our summer or winter holidays used to start with a steel trunk, a big holdall, a basket full of food, a surahi, loads of comics and long waits at Jalandhar for our connecting train. We were excited to see this change of name. As the train from Kapurthala chugged in, I had my eyes fixed at the board of the station which used to be the first thing one saw. My curiosity did not end at that till I dragged my dad to that board. The engraving of the old name was still there. The old name was clearly visible under the fresh paint. I am sure the old engraved name still exists even today on all boards as they too are part of our heritage.

What changed with the name, was it the location of the station? Was it the train timings? No. The ticket window remained at the same place. The milk booth did not shift. The aloo poori stalls did not change their menus; the water taps did not start pouring coca cola. The “pappar wali rehri” still sold papar. The cleanliness of the stations remained pathetic even after change of name. For the local folk the pronunciation remained the same even if the spellings in English had changed. As far as Punjabi was concerned the spellings in gurmukhi didn’t change. The only people who worked overtime were the painters. I am sure this painter would not know the English alphabet nor would have understood why this change. His job was to paint, that’s it.

My name has its own derivatives and people have called me Neol, Nawal, Novel, Nole, Navel, Ellie, Ellias, Alice, Alish, Elle, Elsh uffffff. In my unit many called me Elli Singh as I spoke fluent Punjabi. Did my character change? Did it make any difference to my personality? I tried changing my name in the Voter card thrice now but somehow these fellows have to make a mistake by interchanging a vowel or a consonant. Thank God my address and date of birth is correct and they allow me to vote and I vote for my candidate. My political affiliations don’t change.

I hope you people know where Rajiv Gandhi Chowk is in Delhi. Of course it is Connaught place. The auto wala will fleece you if you use the new name and may take you to your destination via Kirby place. Bombay became Mumbai and people take offence to calling it with a B. Fountain became Hutatma Chowk, Kings Circle became Maheshwari Udyan, Zoo became Jija Mata Udyan and Marine drive is Netaji Subhash Chandra Marg. What do we all call them in our daily conversation is the point I make? VT still remains VT and so does Jacob’s Circle. Some change I must say.

I used to love the name CAWNPORE now rhymes with ear-pur. As a child I have many memories of this mill and its chimney on which this name used to be written as ELGIN mills. I remember my mother used to pick up a lot of those white Turkish towels which were sold in the open market at dirt cheap prices. I believe Jubbulpore was one of the first to be renamed in 1947. Cochin, Madras, Waltair, Mysore, Bangalore etc are all in front of us with changed names. Has life transformed there? Has the infrastructure transformed the way of life? Has the name change cleaned the place better? By changing the name does governance improve? Does unemployment reduce? Does illiteracy vanish? Does health care come to your doorstep? I think all of you know the answers.

I am convinced that all the politics that goes into just changing names if devoted to things that are constructive would serve a better cause. If you try to obliterate history, it doesn’t happen. Faith, religion, beliefs, sentiments even if they take the centre stage we should preserve our heritage. Slowly and steadily I see our “virasat” turning to ruins as in case of most of the palaces. Our forts are falling apart, our heritage buildings slowly decaying; our names are going into oblivion. If just by changing a name our destiny can change, nothing like it but if it is done only for cosmetics and the heck of it, then is it worth it, I wonder!!!!!!!!!!!!

JAI HIND

 

RAKHI A FINE THREAD

It is touching gesture to see ladies tie Rakhi’s to people of the Armed Forces. There are so many who make lovely handmade Rakhis and send them across to soldiers guarding the borders. I salute this love and affection and this warm gesture. This is true culture of India. This shows all those who many not be directly or indirectly related to people of the armed forces show solidarity with an unknown person, on an unknown mission, in a God forsaken place to feel that people are with me, people love me and care for me. Above all he gets the morale boost that he has to carry out his duty even better as now he is duty bound to protect all those who have taken time out to remember their “God Brother’s”.

I have seen moist eyes with tears on the brims when soldiers remember their beloved ones and especially sisters. The tears are a symbol that we too are humans and have feelings and care when they remember folks back home. Tears are for sisters who used to tease them, sisters who have now got married and gone away, sisters who are no more walking the earth, sisters who were their best companions; sisters who gave all the instructions till one got married. Many of the soldiers don’t have sisters but feel a sense of pride that now they too have one. It is sentimental friends, it is moving.

Be that as it may, behind the brave face that a soldier puts up is actually a wax like heart. He might appear tough in front of the enemy but a small letter from home melts him down. A soldier when he sometimes comes across a child who resembles his younger sister or even daughter actually wants to lift her up and throw her in the air and catch her like he used to do back home but his duty prevents to show his emotions. His feelings don’t change even if that child is related to a militant or any other family. This I speak from my own experience while deployed for OP Parakram. My six month old child did not know why papa is going or where is he leaving for. She could never question me as to why do you have to leave me when I need you most. She could not even speak then. Every child I came across, I used to remember her and felt like hugging the child, to play, to blabber, to make the child laugh, tickle her just to get a feel that through this child I feel at home.

The oath that a brother takes is to safe guard his sisters and to keep them away from harm’s way. It does not translate on ground. Sisters are murdered, raped tortured and groped everywhere. Therefore, I ask this question why can’t this promise be fulfilled by the people who are is positions in the government to look after women in particular. Don’t the women of this country want freedom to move freely, wear what they like, study what they like, work in which ever shift they want to, make friends with boys and feel safe in this country? I have a feeling that it happens because my sister is my sister and rest of the ladies I don’t care. If anyone who dares to cast a dirty look at my sister, I will tear him apart but if the same thing when happens to someone else’s sister, I will leave the scene as why should I get involved in it.

What about ladies who don’t have brothers or fathers or husbands. What about ladies who cannot protect themselves. What about ladies who are infirm, or differently abled. Who will look after them? I think it is the citizens and people in politics who are responsible to give ladies the confidence that they are free citizens of this country. Therefore, the onus of repaying the commitment when this band is tied on a minister’s wrist doubles. He has to ensure that the policing set up and vigilance to protect ladies is top class. The politicians are totally accountable and responsible for their safety and freedom. They shall fail in their duty and promise of Rakhi, if they can’t deliver on women’s safety.

Ladies and gentlemen many of us have daughters. They will walk into this mad bad world as they grow in age. They will be career women, home makers, soldiers, sportswomen etc tomorrow. Why can’t we give them a tension free life, a free atmosphere, a country with a broad minded mindset, the freedom to feel as a privileged citizen of this country rather than a person, who constantly remains in fear of being ogled, molested or being looked down upon?

This can only happen when our temples of democracy decide that time now has come to change. Time now has come to ensure that this change in mindset is brought about in their constituencies. The way PM Sahib is concentrating winning hearts and minds of voters for elections; I would suggest this same team should also concentrate on safety and security of women. All elected representatives should take a vow that they will not allow anything to happen to any lady under their jurisdiction. For this what means and methods they want to employ I leave it to them. Remember dear sirs, the soldier will never let the women of this country down but this thread of love tied on your wrist should not be just symbolism, it should translate into action. Will the brothers listen? I wonder!!!!!!!!!!

JAI HIND

AIR INDIA AND ITS NEWSPAPERS

Kripiya kya aap mujhe galiyare main jane ki jagh denge, mujhe mutr visarjan karne jana hai. I said I have heard of murti visarjan, asti visarjan, what is this mutr visarjan? My imagination started running wild, that look at this lady she now is going to drop dirty kitanoo like things from this aircraft. What about swach bharat? What if Amitab bachhan comes to know that people are doing it in air also? Well she said you bloody fool haven’t you seen the movie 3 idiots, where this “Mutr” word was used. I apologised to her and asked her that ma’am how come you spoke in such chaste Hindi to say a simple thing that kindly allow me to get to the isle to use the wash room. Of course what you do there I leave it to you. My sah yatri blushed and said well, I was forced to read this Hindi news paper and my thoughts started to wander off to shudh Hindi. Well, ma’am I said, you are lucky, though my mother tongue is Hindi I could not understand half of what you meant. Had you known my name you wouldn’t have dared to say all this in Hindi to me. She said why, I said form my looks I resemble a Thambi and from my name people take me to be Goan. She said I agree.

Hmmmm, she then cursed me and gave me a dirty look because while we were in this deep-deep conversation the Hawai sundaris brought in shudh shakahari bhojan in their bhojan ka thelas. This lady sitting next to me was getting fidgety to go, so I requested the hostess that the lady here has an issue and she wants to go to the wash room. The sundari was an auntie; she folded her hands in Namaste style and told this lady to hold on till they finish their formalities of bhojan vittran. I asked the sundari, madam, what do you have for non vegetarians, she said she has the main door, I said what do you mean and she said catch a bird, I understood that this “bird” doesn’t get the pun, nor is interested in any fazool ki vartalaap. I had no choice but to relish pure Indian Kanda Poha along with asli makhan-amul makhan, and jaam. I asked her give me a bun, she looked at me and frowned, how dare you call this a bun, it is the pure Marathi Pav. Ask for one pav I might give you two. I said mala pav denaar nayi kaye, she said thamba veil lagil. Basically shut up and wait for your turn and don’t maro line on me. I looked at my co-passenger and she looked at the news paper I was reading. It was “Pudari” a Marathi one. I had transformed in one flight. She was impressed.

Well, our flight was of about an hour, while these sundaris were serving there were three more in the isle who were trying to tell us how to fasten our seat belts since take off. In fact there was one standing next to me. I told her yaar we are now mid way of our journey, put on some music, she curtly reprimanded me to learn to behave and listen to the peti jakarne aur kholne ki instructions. I said petticoat hota to sunta bhi, peti agar noton se bhari ho to chalega, ye kya khel hai kabhi peti bandhne ka sanket on and kabhi sanket off. She told me in pure bambaiya hindi, yede chup chap baith kar kursi ki peti bandh le, kuch ho gaya to baad main mat bolna madam ne bataya nahi. I thought to myself crash ho gaya to main peti bandhunga ki kholunga. She announced that Air India main ye peti wali  ghoshna (announcement) kam se kam 20 hindustani bhasaon main hogi. Jis main samajh jao vo theek. I kept waiting for the “prastuti” in English but by then we landed. I looked up towards the sky as if to ask God save me from this atyachaar (torture). God said beta ye Modi ji ka raj hai, us ko jo karna hai vo karega. Tu chup chap pav maska kha aur kat le. I said dhanya ho bhagawan aap ne gyan diya, I will have to think of going by loh-pat-gamini next time. Us main na peti, na petticoat, jo karna hai karo, jo khana hai khao aur jidhar jo visarjan karna hai karo.

This came in my dream yesterday so I thought I must share my dream with you all that soon on our National carrier we will get news papers in 7-8 Indian languages. Well, though I take pride in my mother tongue and I am fluent with quite a few other Indian languages too but this is stretching a little too far. This way soon you may find the aircraft like a train where one English news paper is distributed amongst 5-6 people and then you exchange pages. At the end of the day one will have an assorted newspaper like a fruit chaat. I think I have dreamt too much, I need to have my “chota hazri” and then get ready for office. Will someone get hold of this fellow in the DGCA and tell him to grow up or else we shall carry our own raddi in the language we understand from home itself. Why give newspapers in the first place? Will someone visarjan karo my vichaar in “Assaan Bhasha” to the concerned authorities? Will air India hence forth also change its name to HAWA BHARAT, I wonder!!!!!!!!!!!!

THE ANSWER MY FRIEND IS BLOWING IN THE WIND

Time is fast approaching when we as a nation have to get out of the mentality of I, me myself. The country is burning on issues which should be non issues. We have a PM who is running around the world to fill in the voids of the years of neglect by approaching them with an open heart and open mind. Here we are in our own country trying to create a situation which perfectly matches to prove that we have a blocked and narrow mind. Today, face book posts can be the cause of death of people. I think if this is how we as a society are then half the country should be dead. Lynching has become a norm it seems. Conjectures have become the basis of taking out personal animosities. I can understand the changes which have come in due to the technological advancements but reaching to such a low is rather painful and condemnable. We shall be looked down upon by the world but do we care. The jumla “SANU KEY” or who cares stands good.

We are a fragmented society and fragmented like hell. Let’s not blame the Brits; they divided us to suit their requirement. We never united thereafter to suit ours. Don’t blame them for separating India-Pakistan, we are ourselves to blame. Everyone wanted to take advantage of the situation which existed at that moment and the result is what we are today. United we stand divided we fall, is an age old adage and it could not be more true the way things are happening in this country. It will take many PMs and his likes to get us as one nation together. If only we Indians want to get united.

It all started with the princely states who did not want to give up their kingdoms. Patel did the dirty work and got them under one flag. Pakistan poked its nose along with China during partition; those fires are still simmering, in fact burning at places. Division of states of Punjab & Haryana started another kind of rift. Gujarat was carved out of Maharashtra. Goa was still under Portuguese rule; northeast was never satisfied with its division, East and West Bengal are not happy even after formation of Bangladesh. J&K went on the boil and is still smouldering. Punjab had its ups and downs. Now Gorkhaland resurfaces. The Naxals are not happy; thank God the Anand Margi’s have vanished. Tamil Nadu doesn’t see eye to eye with both Kerala and Karnataka. Basically, states are divided too.  Beyond this the reservations for every community, the majority and minority, my goodness Lord from where shall I begin and where will it end.

I haven’t added the Hindu Muslim Sikh Isaai angle as yet. The tarka of gau-rakshaks, anti beef vigilante and their ilk have also to be sub-factored. By the way there is another division which is clearly visible like in the railways and airlines. They still have First class and second class of kinds, thank God there is no more third class remaining though there is III AC. Airlines have business and economy. The caste systems are inherent in our society and let’s accept it that it still prevails. Then there are these politicians who have only done nothing but appeasement politics and politics for corruption. They have definitely been adding fuel to the fire. My country burns thus I am in a tizzy now helpless and waiting for a miracle to bail us out it seems.

We have one bowl of grain and 1000 mouths to feed and increasing by the minute. Can we just feed our favourites? Should we feed the hungry? Should we feed the needy? Should we feed the greedy? Should we set a feeding procedure? Should we fix a feeding quota? How do we go about it? Should we reduce the mouths to feed? Should we bring another bowl of grain? Should we start growing our own grain? Should we subdivide our bowl to feed selective people? Unfortunately the bowl has also developed a leak. So should we plug the leak or loot the spill? Should we get smaller bowls to feed? All these questions are relevant. The issue here is that some of the grains in the bowl have also gone sour and bitter. The grains are not fit for consumption. The mixture in the bowl has become adulterated as trying to feed so many mouths has led to diluting of its contents. Some people have an insatiable appetite and keep asking for more. Some people are the goonda elements who forcefully snatch the grains and in the spat spill it on the floor and don’t bother till their bellies are full. So what do we do?

The answer my friend is blowing in the wind, as Bob Dylan sang. We know everything but pretend that we don’t know the problem. We know the solutions but don’t want to approach them head on. We know the culprits but fear to hand them over to our officials. We ourselves break rules, circumvent and bypass them and expect the other person to follow them in letter and spirit. All regulations are meant for the other Indian, I shall follow my convenience. A hand full of people who misguide and misgovern all this  adds up to a chaotic, disarrayed, disorderly, undisciplined, unruly, rowdy, unmanageable, disruptive and typical Indian society. All this is smudged and flavoured by the religious concoction as well.

We want our streets clean but will throw garbage out of the window kinds of people we are. We will break traffic rules but won’t like to get caught, if caught try and wriggle out somehow, if not possible then fight with the law makers, if that doesn’t work try and bribe our way out, use our push and pull and finally when that too doesn’t work out then accept our punishment. Crazy people we are! We only understand the rule of danda.  We will even go all out to bribe our Gods; we will request him for favours for the prayers and money offered.  It is true and let’s face it, exceptions might be there.

I am convinced that unless we as a society evolve, understand and accept our individual roles from a CEO to a Rag picker, from a Sepoy to a General, from a black smith to an industrialist everyone has a place in society and an important role to play. Let us respect each other, let us respect each other’s sentiments and values, let us focus on the progress of the nation, let us contribute one small thing in a day which is positive for the society or the nation in any which way we can and then only can we as a country stand as a big power. Our government and the PM is setting up a deck of cards in a pyramid, with every gust of wind the deck crumples and has to be stacked again, let us join hands to block the winds of jealousy, hatred and intimidation. Let us love human kind, let’s assist in nation building. I then only see India progressing. Are the answers blowing in the wind? I wonder!!!!!!

WHO CARES FOR MOM

Today it is shutters down for the milkmen and the sabziwalas of Maharashtra. The Bhindi which was selling at 20 bucks a kg has shot up to 80. Thank God I had picked up a big 50 kg bori of onions so at least my dal will have a tarka but rest of the vegetables and milk prices have sky rocketed. My milkman has gone out of coverage area. Even after repeated calls one gets to hear the same recorded message. I am sure he needs to sell milk but he is under pressure if he carries those two small little dolus to our place. Drain cocks of milk vans have been opened on the roads so let us no more cry over spilt milk. Doodh ki nadiyan (rivers of milk) were bahoing literally. Any vendor trying to sneak in with veges was also being targeted. Well, I do not see anything but vegetarian in milk and vegetables. Then why are we creating such a hullabaloo. Well friends of all the things it is the cow, leather and beef responsible.

 

For things non vegetarian, the vegetarians are going to suffer. People like me will still continue to relish fish and chicken but what are the vegetarians going to eat if this agitation continues. Reason is a self created save the cow policy. We still have not moved from the middle ages of guy hamari mata hai. So let mom be mom and she needs to be respected irrespective whether the poor man dies without his basic needs of food. Let the children be deprived of the milk they deserve. Let the cobbler use plastic and ragzine to mend your shoes, let the “mothers” roam on the road and be hit by trucks and cars. Let mothers eat the poly bags lying on the streets. Let us Indians suffer at the hands of another kind of extremism. Let us have an independent state of “guyistaan”. Like the ISIS now we have footprints of GRIS (Gow Rakshaks of Indian State) creating mayhem.

 

Is all this making any sense to anyone? Can a country whose PM is visiting countries which eat beef as their staple diet be boycotted to protest against their anti India feelings? When something happens to an animal whom I consider to be my mother shouldn’t India go to war with them? Shouldn’t India ban all products and produce of that nation? Shouldn’t India take this matter up with the UN or ask for a Cow protection force to monitor atrocities on cows. Shouldn’t India ask for aid from all countries who support us with green grass, fodder and cattle feed for the millions of cows that it has to look after. Shouldn’t India ban the “vilaayati-mem” so to say and let the desi-gai be the only one acceptable to give milk. Aren’t we spoiling our culture by bringing western sabhyata to the Indian soil by importing all the Holstein and Jersey cows from all over the place? It is shameful that such cows roam freely with such huge udders that it gives a complex to the Indian cows.

 

In some states of India cow is not considered anything but an animal. Biology says it is an animal, the world says it is an animal. It looks to me like an animal, then why suddenly everyone has to start quoting the constitution of India what it says about the cow. Till the time we don’t develop our mental faculties this won’t change. Till the time we don’t change to a modern outlook this shall continue. Till the time we have sadus and sadvis calling the shots we will have issues. The politicians shall continue to exploit sentiments. I ask is it acceptable to produce five to ten litres of milk from a desi cow instead of 40-60 litres from a foreign cow a day. Is it fine to have 150 kgs of beef rather than having 300 kgs from an imported animal? Will it be better to produce 10 litres of urine or have 25kgs of dung per cow per day? Or will it be more useful to have 15-20 litres of urine and 40-50 kgs of dung per day? Will it be ok to have 4 square meters of hide per cow or 8-10 sq meters? Well if the quality of all the stuff the Indian cow is producing is 200 times better than the foreign cows then it should be considered to breed our own indigenous ones only. However, when we need to feed so many mouths, let us be practical. Milk and a cheap meal is a basic necessity today.

 

I am definitively not suggesting that our own breeds be wiped out. They need to be preserved. I would rather suggest that let us have some method in this cow madness. The disease of cow vigilantism is spreading like the mad cow disease, which needs to be curbed and stopped with immediate effect. The industries linked to the cows also need to be safeguarded. If we link it to religion we shall go nowhere. A farmer cannot afford to hold on to lame or sick animal. The farmer cannot feed them or afford the medicines when the animal is ill. Government today cannot look after its humans so looking after its numerous free roaming mothers is farfetched.

 

Well, we Indians are very Hippocratic about everything. Till the time it doesn’t affect us, we have no issues. We also are very fanatic as far as religious ideology is concerned. We start quoting the constitution when we want to otherwise do not even know the contents of that document. We are pseudo as far as culture is concerned; we want to preserve the traditional values but with a modern outlook. We will watch porn, but will not allow lovers to kiss in public. We are pretentious when it comes to our sensitivities. We can fake our feelings to hurt other people. We want to portray our country as a superpower as we launch rockets with satellites but cannot portray it beyond snake charming and the great Indian rope trick. Well we are a bogus kind of people, because we do not have either our aim clear or our priorities right. We the people, if don’t act intellectually, we shall definitely lose all of them to this dirty politics over cows. We need to free it from disease, ill health, ill treatment, neglect, and sheer useless vigilantism.

 

I hope in my India we can breathe freely, drink freely, wear freely, watch freely, live freely, speak freely, read freely, eat freely, follow our religions freely, travel freely and above all be free from all religious and political hatred. Till the time we let ourselves be manipulated by the politicians, neither will mother cow be looked after nor will this country progress. When will all this madness end? I wonder!!!!!!!!!

🇮🇳 JAI HIND 🇮🇳

BEATING THE HEAT

 

Temperatures are heating up all over. The political ones are boiling for the post of President; the Pakistani posts are being pounded and roasting. The heated valley is being Gogoied. Congress and AAP are evaporating from minds due to heat of their inefficiency. Naxals are adding fuel to the fire. Here, the mangoes are falling off the trees and watermelons ripening fast due to the sweltering heat. The heated news debates are cooking only bitter venom. The retired Generals have gone “grey” in the heat of arc lights at the studios trying to drill in their two pennies worth. The bheja of the common man is being fried as he doesn’t see “ache din”. The farmer is waiting for rains after the summer heat. My wife too has decided to start heated arguments moment I refuse to get ice cream. Worst is all the colony bitches are in heat too. “Udi Baba” hot is getting as hot can be.

I remember as a child summer holidays used to be a time to beat the heat. In one of our windows dad used hang lots of “KHUS” bound together in wire mesh. On top of it used to be a perforated tube made out of old ghee tins rolled up into a pipe with lots of holes for water to drip down evenly across the “CHIC”. The pipe was drawn from the tap used for watering the garden. Inside the room used to be a “KESSELs” table fan running full speed. Mattresses were put on the floor. Mangoes were chilled in the buckets and watermelons were cooled by covering it with a wet cloth. Hand churned ice cream in those wooden churners was ultimate. Everyone wanted to eat but no one wanted to churn. Getting ice from the ice factory for the ice box on a cycle used to be my duty when I grew up. Empty rum bottles were used to chill water. The expertise to use the ice pick came with age and experience. We had no fridge, TV or scooter then. I remember as a child sitting on the carrier of my dad’s cycle, with 5 Kgs of ice, covered with four to five gunny bags. My bums used to be chilled by the time we got back home but the ice remained intact. In case there would be a party at home additional ice was put in a pit dug behind the house covered with saw dust. Good old days they were.

Summer holidays was a time to play, we never felt the heat, never got dehydrated, never bothered to cover our heads. We drank water from the first available tap. We actually never knew what temperature was. We sat on hot swings without hesitation. After that initial burn, the metal plate used to cool down automatically after a brisk rub on the bum. Cycles were put on road and additional valves purchased as they were the first ones to leak. Competitions used to be climbing the highest on any given tree chosen at random. At mid day, time used to be to run to the tube well for a bath. Odd time was preferred because the operator used to go for his lunch break, imagine having a chilled bath at 12 noon. Clothes used to be smeared with purple stains of jamuns. Half of us had only one eye to function with as the other used to be invariably swollen due to a wasp or a honey bee bite. Knees were always raw with bruises and cuts, elbows black and dirty; hair didn’t matter till they were on your head. Mine used to be short so used to be the saving grace during fights.

We used to know every tree, every shrub and every bush in the vicinity. We knew every fruit which was in common areas, we also knew all the pits where the litter of our favourite dogs used to be and play with them. We knew where parrots were nursing their little ones. Putting on socks on our hands, climbing on each other’s shoulders to get to the nest, getting bit by mom parrot, falling down like a pack of cards as red ants would have bitten the friend on the ground, then changing tactics to climb again used to be favourite pass times. We did not have even landlines in those days. Parents never bothered nor came looking for us. In case one got hurt, one knew the infirmary and Mr Succha Singh used to keep cursing under his breath but apply tincture or that bluish liquidy medicine for all cuts and bruises. That one neck less T shirt used to last whole summer till all the alphabets used to blur and mom used to decide to use it as a “poncha”.

Morning sleep used to be till 6 am, and if dad used to be in a good mood it used to extend till 6.15. Dogs used to be waiting for us to give that slight inkling of life and jump up and wash your face with licks. The excitement to go for a morning walk with us without any leash used to get them scratching the mesh door till there was no mesh left. Running and coming back just to see that you are still coming used to excite the dogs like anything. Your one call and all of them at your heels were the ultimate playoffs of that time. Cricket used to be next in agenda. The eucalyptus tree was the wickets with three parallel straight lines dug into the bark as stumps. To add authenticity, one perpendicular line used to signify as the bails. Evenings used to be pittho or satoliya. Play till the streetlights came on. Get home where dad used to be waiting watering his pots before he shouted for you. We were bathed and cleaned and pressure washed with the same pipe from the grime outside the house itself, even if you didn’t feel like having a bath. Dogs used to frolic along side and enjoy the artificial rain.

We never bothered for food. Wherever we were, in whom so ever’s house and whatever we got to eat was gobbled without any questions. Mom used to be shocked that we ate “lauki ki tari wali sabzi” at so and so auntie’s house. At home, there was no way anything of the gourd family would be touched, even by dad. Well, today things have changed, we have Maggie and lays. Everyone has a big smart phone, there are no playgrounds left. Outdoors has changed to online. Your status on whatsapp matters more than the real state of affairs I suppose. Tolerance levels have come down, patience levels have drastically reduced, broad mindedness has narrowed, open mindedness is nowhere to be seen. Social security of the child has been shaken for reasons best known to us Indians and our society.

The camaraderie has evaporated the number of friends and their love and affection is now limited to social media. The wrapping your hand around your friends neck and keeping it that way the whole day has long gone into oblivion. We are now living in an artificial world, where the heat generated in our thoughts is generating only hatred. In my hearts of hearts I am finding it difficult to balance between the past and present times. I think I need to chill more. Will I? I wonder!!!!!!!!!!!

 

LEARNING AS YOU GO

I was a happy go lucky chap in school interested in everything co curricular. I had no particular aim in life as such. Then one fine day my “brainwashing” started. I was in a school which wore a uniform, had a kind of military discipline; it also had strict teachers as also officers of the Armed Forces such as Colonels, Squadron Leaders, Flight Lieutenants, Captains of the Indian Navy and Army above all my dad was more OG (Olive Green) than OG can be. I was made to focus on only one thing and that was NDA. So I actually got used to this indoctrination technique, where everyone you met did not ask you how were you, but how well your preparation for NDA was. I did not disappoint anyone as I joined the illustrious institution.

My second makeover was done in NDA. Whatever shades of the civil life was left in me got converted into becoming a cadet? My morning prayers used to start with I love my country and continues as such. This cadet could manage a cup of cold coffee to a bicycle valve, a KD (Khaki Dress) to a raincoat out of thin air. I could roll in my sleep and crawl while resting, eat doing a head stand. I could dance without music and enjoy my supper in empty plates. I could produce a pen and paper even while wearing an under wear, though we hardly wore any. I fought daily battles with bedbugs which is a torture technique I mastered. I could let a bee or a fly sit on my nose without scratching or swatting at it. I could blow hot & blow cold in the bathroom sessions; I could roll up hill and up a staircase. I could jump in blind wells of the “Charlie” kind. I could navigate with no map in all out of bound areas. My nose was so sensitive that I could detect a fag three squadrons away. I did “Savdhan Chal” to every scooter, car, horse and dog on a leash. I could watch movies with my back towards the screen. I could run fifteen miles between dinner and lights out. I could beat Shivaji in climbing Singharh fort. I could sham, I could pill, and I could feign the biggest limp. I could improvise conjunctivitis with paste rubbed in my eyes. I could sleep 25 hours in a day if I had the choice. I could only keep awake if a lady teacher took my class. Overall, I was brain washed in such a manner that I forgot who I was. It was surprising they conferred on me a graduate’s degree at the end of it. After all I was on a journey to be in the noblest profession.

My brain washing continued in IMA. Well, I was promoted from Cadet to Gentleman Cadet. You learnt the honour code, you learnt military law. One mastered the art of disguise, not to camouflage for battle but from the Drill Ustad to go to Dehradun to meet some girls. I was drilled hard to keep the integrity of my motherland till the peril of my life. I promised to go where my duty needed me by land, sea or air. I pledged my life to the nation and the tri colour, to keep it safe from all external aggression and internal disorders. I was put through my paces of everything what I needed to lead men to battle. I was conditioned to keep the safety welfare and honour of my men foremost always and every time, the honour of my country  came next and my own safety and comfort came last always and every time. I was now transformed into becoming an Indian Army officer, young, full of josh, rearing to go.

I joined my unit in the deserts and was conditioned to become a desert fox. I was trained to not only fire weapons but to strip a vehicle apart and put it back together again. I was accustomed to learn to change oils, open a BMP track, taste petrol or diesel depending on the flavour of the day. I could munch on sand with food, and live on limited water. Above all, I was hardened to be happy in all circumstances. I was skilled to be a jack of all trades. I was supposed to know what a pink Gin was as also a Molotov cocktail; I memorised names and numbers of everyone in my Unit. I could fill a 3008 or a 958 as if writing letters to my “would be”. I learnt to ride a camel and drive a BMP as a second profession. I could communicate with hand, flag, radio, eyes, bird calls, and you name it. I was taught to remain silent and avoid even the rustle of my clothes. I was tempered to walk in the sands survive in the heat, snow and jungles. I was determined to eliminate the enemy before they get into our side of the border. I was at ease to look after the ladies as well as children, I was told to be compassionate and kind. I was taught how to live and work with the men; overall I was made into a unique fighting machine, tough, resolute, upright, caring, honest, dedicated, and professional, a man proud to adorn the uniform, a man proud to lead his men.

As I led my life’s journey I learnt cultures from the north to south, east to west of this country. I learnt to ski with the same ease as I could jump with parachutes from all sorts of aircrafts. I mastered the art of being a champion rock climber. I mastered many languages including three of foreign origin. I soon became a professional logistician during near war situations and moved everything by rail, land and air including the dogs we befriended at our posts. I learnt to balance between private and professional life. I learnt how I could live without my family especially my child whom I could never see taking her first steps or when she started to talk.  I was sent to the Capital where I saw the highest offices of the government of India function. Overall, my indoctrination continued unabated.

I one day brainwashed myself to revert back to the civvies streets. I let myself to be trained again at India’s finest management institute in Ahmedabad. I prepared myself that hence forth no lunch is free. Privilege to get a gypsy at the railway station with a glass of tea won’t be there anymore. I will have to stand in queue if I want to pay my bills. I must re-learn to ride a scooter, buy milk and vegetables. I brainwashed myself to iron my clothes and go to the market for a haircut. I prepared myself to wash my own car, polish my own shoes and shine them better than while in service. I just transformed myself to now live with and live for my family. I geared up that now my priorities in life are different from what they used to be but I shall continue with India first and a veteran for life.

In a life span of 54 odd years, I would have adapted myself to 54 types of places, circumstances, living conditions, bosses, situations, state of mind and state of affairs; basically I learnt to remain cool under any circumstances that life can throw at me. My blood and DNA will always remain Olive Green. Will I keep learning as I go? I wonder!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

YE MERA HINDUSTAN HAI  

A SHORT POEM
Har jagah kataar hai. 
 
Dheemi  hamari raftaar hai.
              
Na bajta dilon main sitar hai.    
 
Peeth main log bhonkte kataar hai.
 
Rote rahna hamara dharm siddh adhikaar hai.               
 
Karna sirf bhrashtachaar hai.     
 
Milawat ka garm bazaar hai.    
               
Koi sunta nahi hamari guhaar hai.  
    
Bhai kaisi yeh sarkaar hai.
                 
Jis main sirf paison ka vyapaar hai.           
 
Har shaks dikhta lachaar hai.   
              
Naukri bhi milna dushwaar hai.  
            
Dushman kar raha atyachaar hai. 
             
Dharm ke kewal thekedaar hain.    
       
Par koshish jaari har baar hai.  
                      
Ye Bharat hai Bhai Jis se mujhe pyaar hai…… 
 
JAI HIND

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