TODAY -

In lighter vein- An army unit raising day party

Lt Col M Ranjit Singh (Retd) *



Any event or function organised by Army is done in great style. Normally everything will be perfectly synchronised and there will not be any major flows in the conduct of the event. We all remember the last Republic Day Parade of 2015 at Delhi where Barak Obama was the Chief Guest. The entire programme on that day was a dazzling show beautifully organised by the Army. Everything was done with elaborate military precision.

Nothing went wrong. I recollect such an event, but at a much reduced scale, of an Army Unit Raising Day party which happened many years ago. I think it will be quite interesting to know how the party was planned and executed by that Armoured Regiment. It was sometimes in June in the year of our Lord, Nineteen Seventy Six. I was then posted in my battalion somewhere near Chandigarh.

In those days, Army use to go to Rajasthan for annual training exercise. That year the training exercise was conducted some- where near Sardarshahar, a small town in Churu district of Rajasthan. It was a massive exercise involving many formations with large numbers of regiments from all arms and services taking part in the exercise. The whole exercise was done in a vast area of desert. Water is very scarce in desert area.

Towns in desert are located where water sources are available. The source of water for the Army in the exercise area was located some 60 kms away. There was restriction on water supply. Each unit was permitted to draw fix amount of water from the water point in a day.

The exercise concluded sometimes in June. The turn for our unit to revert back to permanent location was fixed for beginning of July. The Raising Day Party I was mentioning earlier was not that of our unit but that of an Armoured (Tank) Unit.

The Commanding Officer (CO) of the Armoured Unit tried his level best to change his regiment's schedule of move so as to celebrate his unit's Raising Day Party in their permanent location. But due to non availability of adequate railway rolling stocks for transportation of tanks, the unit was told to celebrate their Raising Day in the desert of Rajasthan. In those days Armoured Units does things more stylishly than other Regiments of Infantry, Artillery, Engineers etc.

Celebration of Raising Day for any Army Unit or Formation is a big event. Meticulous planning are undertaken to make the celebration a grand success. Like all planning done in the Army, CO immediately called for a conference of all Officers and JCOs of the regiment to give his views how the party was to be organised and also sought suggestions from those present in the conference. But it was more of him giving points to all rather than getting any suggestions from those present.

In his wisdom CO thought, for beautification of the general area, they must have a pond in the entrance of their Officers Mess with two to three ducks swimming in that pond. This onerous task was given to a young officer of the regiment who happens to be a course mate of mine. It is through him that I learnt this kahani.

He told me the story in bits and pieces and wherever something important episode was missing, I naturally made it up! Our messes were co-located. Therefore I had the advantage of seeing all the progresses made in preparation of the pond and arrival of ducks. In due course, a huge pond was dug just at the entrance of the Mess and it was covered by many tarpaulins of 90 feet by 90 feet size.

The Armoured Units are authorised many big size tarpaulins for covering the tanks. I have already mentioned that water is a scarce commodity in desert and the water source for the Army was located at a far off place. Surprisingly there was no dearth of water for filling up that pond. The civil chowkidar of that water source even came to the unit to inquire if there was any shortage of water supply.

The chowkidar must have got some sudden streak of patriotism to help the cause of Army. Or like the famous quote from The Godfather "My father made an offer he couldn't refuse", they must have done something for that chowkidar. In spite of many niggling from me, my course mate never clarified on this point. The most difficult portion of the task was to get live ducks for swimming in that pond.

The nearest area from where ducks could be procured in the desert area of Rajasthan was, I thought, from Bharatpur which was far away from exercise location. Anyway my course mate got four ducks, God knows from where, for the occasion. But he showed to his officers only 3 ducks and the remaining one he kept in his bathroom in a bucket. As the date of party comes closer there were lot of activities in their mess.

There was a final inspection done by the CO on the "Operation Pond and Ducks". It happened sometimes in the evening and luckily I happen to be there in their mess on that occasion. The CO was very happy to see that artificially created large pond filled up with water up to the brim with the three ducks swimming leisurely there.

But since CO must give some points for further improvement, he called my course mate and told him, "Good job but I wish you had brought four ducks instead of only three" That was the time when my course mate fired his Bramhastra and replied, "Sir in fact I brought four ducks but one of them is not keeping well. I, therefore, have kept the fourth one in my bathroom and I along with our Regimental Medical Officer (RMO) am regularly checking on that".

To concur on what my course mate had just said, RMO who came along with CO look towards CO and shook his head vigorously. Whether the RMO was consulted or not, we will never know. But CO being CO he thought he must give some points and went near the pond to touch the ducks. The ducks on being approached by a human being; got scared and swam away on the other side.

CO turned towards my course mate and asked,"What is this? You people do not go into details. What will happen if the VIP wants to touch these ducks and swam away like this? Please get it rectified". Saying this CO gave a nasty look generally to all assembled there and walked away.

On the day of the party, all officers of our Battalion were also invited to attend the party. The 'pond and ducks' was a smash hit. I found the pond focussed by a blue light with few water weeds floating on it. It looked beautiful. The ducks remained swimming in one place. Literally they didn't move an inch away. All those officers who came to the party appreciated it.

The VIP was very happy when he touched those ducks and not moving away from him. Seeing the VIP happy, the CO was also very happy. To sum up I should say the party was a grand success. Even the sand storm which was regular feature of desert night was missing on the party night. It was overall a win- win situation for the CO and all officers of that Armoured Regiment.

After few days, I met my course mate and ask him how he managed to keep those ducks immobile in one place. He had a hearty laugh and told me that he had tied the legs of all those ducks with small ropes and the ropes in turn were tied to few bricks underneath the pond. The famous quote of George S Patton "Never tells people how to do things. Tell them what to do and they will surprise you with their ingenuity" fits well here.


* Lt Col M Ranjit Singh (Retd) wrote this article for The Sangai Express
This article was posted on January 09, 2016.


* Comments posted by users in this discussion thread and other parts of this site are opinions of the individuals posting them (whose user ID is displayed alongside) and not the views of e-pao.net. We strongly recommend that users exercise responsibility, sensitivity and caution over language while writing your opinions which will be seen and read by other users. Please read a complete Guideline on using comments on this website.




LATEST IN E-PAO.NET
  • Violence in Manipur 2023-2024 : Timeline
  • Ema Panthoibi Phijol Hongba at Mandalay
  • Coup of 2021 not the only push factor
  • Last chance not to fall from grace
  • Ibudhou Cheng Hongba #1 : Gallery
  • Kind attention 'Your Lordship' CJ of India
  • 'Opposition-less Govt in Nagaland is rhetoric'
  • Xorai - Assam's cultural symbol
  • Natural ways to lighten dark underarms
  • Is Delhi doing the right thing ?
  • Set the priorities right
  • Ima Keithel flood- May 30 #3 : Gallery
  • Modi's arduous journey & fate of Naga peace
  • Indo-Naga Talks (From 2012) :: Timeline
  • Autism: Why fit in, when you can stand out?
  • Bloodstained Masquerade :: Poem
  • Dharamvir Singh: Forgotten hero of TV
  • What is keeping the clash going on ?
  • Warning of a coming politico-military storm
  • Birth Centenary of Jananeta Irabat, 1996 : #6
  • The Great June 18 Uprising : Timeline
  • The Great June 18 Uprising : Gallery
  • Are we on track to end AIDS by 2030 ?
  • 3 writers from Manipur for Sahitya Akademi
  • Manipur's traffic, parking: A big nuisance
  • Career in elderly care
  • Keeping the folks under a state of confusion
  • Nothing neat about NEET
  • Aid to relief camps @ Jiribam : Gallery
  • Id Festival- 'Id-Ul-Azha' :: Book
  • World Day to Combat Desertification 2024
  • NDPP did not lose LS due to local problem
  • RSS chief says, priority Manipur
  • What if not IIT ?
  • Waiting for a response from the PM
  • The test of leadership failed
  • Descent of Radha-Krishna #35: Download
  • Gastronomy tourism in Manipur : Gallery
  • Triathlon : Manipur bag 6 medals (3 gold)
  • Illegal immigrants/fugitives from Myanmar
  • Eid-ul-Adha: Embracing sacrifice
  • A solution to Meitei-Kuki-Zo conflict
  • The Power of Poppy - 35 :: Poem
  • Scientist of Manipur: R K Brojen Singh
  • Brief sketch on General Balaram Sougaijamba
  • Non-violent for peaceful, mutual co-existence
  • Homeless person ..alcoholism & defeated TB
  • Cancer on rise among young adults
  • Defending, fighting for Idea of Manipur
  • From partiality to complicity
  • Bike Rally - Sekmai to Kangla : Gallery
  • 'Modi must announce finality of Naga pacts'
  • Gliding over Brahmaputra
  • Question leaks cause stress among student
  • Home remedies for prickly heat
  • After IIT, AIIMS it is now IIM
  • Stealing spotlight from Manipur crisis
  • Tarpon chaklen katpa @ Andro #2 : Gallery
  • Strongly condemns violence in Jiribam
  • Lessons from outcome of LS election
  • Tumcho releases "Goodness of God"
  • Right diagnostic for antimicrobial resistance
  • 12th June is World Day against Child Labour
  • Hands of geo-politics ?
  • The row over NEET-2014
  • 2nd Annual Art Exhibition #1 : Gallery
  • Chilli Chicken: Film Spotlighting NE in B'lore
  • Committee of Narcotics Anonymous - Imphal
  • The Power of Meditation
  • Oceans as a career choice
  • Getting more and more audacious
  • A test of leadership
  • Education Fair @Imphal #2 : Gallery
  • Gifting two seats to Cong
  • Voters empowered democracy
  • Postcards from Meghalaya premieres
  • Milk : Essential nutrient for a healthy body
  • Failing in competitive exam not end of world
  • Delhi : A mere spectator
  • Abandoning Jiribam
  • Birth Centenary of Jananeta Irabat, 1996 : #5
  • Ima Keithel flood- May 30 #2 : Gallery
  • Mainstream in Shoes of Alternative
  • Protect the medicines that protect us
  • Lets take action for our land & our future
  • Democracy and independent media
  • Agenda at work to shut Western Gate
  • Keeping Manipur on the boil
  • Descent of Radha-Krishna #34: Download
  • The Enigmatic Journey of 'Laikhutshangbi'
  • Individual and the Social
  • An Ardent Appeal to All Concerns
  • Condemnation of Attack & Govt Inaction
  • The Power of Poppy - 34 :: Poem
  • Scientist of Manipur: Laishram Shanta
  • Alien fishes spotted in Manipur's rivers
  • Training on mushroom at Langthabal
  • Digital avatars or deepfakes ?
  • 7th June is the World Food Safety Day
  • How to prepare for UPSC after 10th ?
  • The Jiri violence
  • Beginning of a new vote culture ?
  • Bimol Akoijam (Cong) wins Inner PC : Gallery
  • BJP, NPF & other NDA pay heavy price
  • Nature is one of greatest blessings of God
  • Plantation drive in Tripura, Assam & Manipur
  • Summer beauty
  • Environment conservation & over-exploitation
  • Is Modi cut out for leading a coalition ?
  • 'Ishanou' Selection @ Cannes #2: Gallery
  • Scholarship for Johnstone Hr Sec students
  • 1st foundation day of Interfaith Forum
  • World Environment Day: Our land, our future
  • Indonesia stronger anti-tobacco measures
  • Navigating a fragile Myanmar: India's policy
  • New breed entering electoral politics
  • The road to formation of new govt
  • International Dance Day #1 : Gallery
  • Matchbox marketing mantra
  • Stop harming nature :: Poem
  • Saving for oneself & the Nation
  • Model United Nations (MUN) conducted
  • Tobacco: Threat to health & environment
  • Candidate from ruling party biting the dust
  • The verdict
  • Birth Centenary of Jananeta Irabat, 1996 : #4
  • Imphal valley districts flooded #3 : Gallery
  • Navigating Remal amidst Manipur conflict
  • We are #GenerationRestoration
  • Intl Day of Innocent Children Victims
  • Apparel Industry Skills & Innovation CoE
  • What's in a cyclone's name ?
  • Ongoing clash, the floods, the losses
  • Exit poll predictions
  • Descent of Radha-Krishna #33: Download
  • Evading flood & rethinking urbanization
  • Manipur Flood: Health Advisory
  • Onus on civil bodies to ensure NNPG unity
  • Rats also cause flood
  • Benefits of JEE Main mock tests
  • People have spoken, now the results
  • The fury of Remal
  • Ima Keithel flood- May 30 #1 : Gallery
  • The flood in our Stars
  • The Power of Poppy - 33 :: Poem
  • 'Group of people misrepresented themselves'
  • EV industry and career options
  • Scientist of Manipur: Chandrakant Aribam
  • Candy flavoured traps to hook next Gen
  • Commemorate Naga Plesbicite Day 1951 #2
  • Tobacco affects health & environment too
  • Jio extend validity for Customer in Manipur
  • Students must learn about AI irrespective
  • As vote count day approaches : Floods
  • Imphal valley districts flooded #2 : Gallery
  • Flooded : Sacrifice of Yairipok's Maiden
  • World No Tobacco Day 2024
  • Chandam Rishikanta wins NPC Nat'l C'ship
  • Flood: Helpline numbers for emergency
  • Battling body odour ?
  • Floods : Not entirely natural phenomena
  • PM Modi's purpose
  • Imphal valley districts flooded #1 : Gallery
  • June Calendar for Year 2024 : Tools
  • Flood: Control Rooms & Helpline numbers
  • Economic impact of ongoing conflict
  • Army Recruitment Rally for Manipur
  • Cut deficit, boom likely
  • Are Gods angry ? Wake up call for Manipur
  • Beating of the Retreat #2 : Gallery
  • We did Overcome: Mayhem of Month of May
  • Training on mushroom at Potshagbam
  • Famous female Mathematicians in India
  • Disinformation campaign thengnare
  • Human trafficking puts humanity to shame
  • Sky opens up in all its fury
  • Licypriya meets Italy PM & Pope Francis
  • HSLC (Class X) 2024 : Full Result
  • HSLC 2024 : Important Info & Grading System
  • HSLC 2024 : Pass % : Private Schools
  • HSLC 2024 : Pass % : Aided Schools
  • HSLC 2024 : Pass % : Govt Schools
  • HSLC 2024 : Statistical Abstract
  • HSLC 2024 : Comparative Statement
  • Combined Defence Services Exam 2024
  • Good show in Class X exams
  • Downplaying the crisis
  • Birth Centenary of Jananeta Irabat, 1996 : #3
  • Reviving Lamphelpat : Conservation : Gallery
  • Commemorate Naga Plesbicite Day 1951 #1
  • "ST status for Meetei" at Hojai
  • The Power of Poppy - 32 :: Poem
  • Insights from CUET-UG Counselling
  • International Day for Biological Diversity
  • Unseen force at work: Time to unravel it
  • Sheikh Hasina's revelation
  • The Vanishing Meitei Tribe
  • Building career in defence & strategic study
  • Why example of model code of conduct ?
  • Ownership of responsibility
  • Will pressure mount on key players in NE
  • How to save your foot after an accident
  • Children Camp @JNMDA Imphal #3 : Gallery
  • Education Fair @Imphal #1 : Gallery
  • Project Associate @ CSE, Assam Univ
  • Understanding schizophrenia
  • Advancement in Multi Objective Optimization
  • When will women in voter list increase ?
  • Making 2 plus 2 is equal to 5
  • Changing face of drug menace
  • Scientist of Manipur: Jayanta Manoharmayum
  • 25 yrs since Atal Vajpayee visit to RIMS
  • 4 Lakhs donated to support (L) Maipak Family
  • Clarification: Guwahati Meet on Humanitarian
  • Start UPSC prep after 12th for success
  • Tips to avoid melting makeup in summer
  • Giving a big solid push to ST demand
  • Time to come clean
  • Sajibu Cheiraoba: 1 occasion, 2 narratives #3
  • Khongjom Day @Khebaching #2 : Gallery
  • 'Ishanou' Selection @ Cannes #1: Gallery
  • Birth Centenary of Jananeta Irabat, 1996 : #2
  • Scientist of Manipur: Amom Ruhikanta
  • Preserving Thang-Ta :: Rare Photos
  • Regarding Human Rights Situation in Manipur
  • Malemnganbi Laishram : Science Topper
  • Featured Front Page Photo 2024 #2: Gallery
  • Thokchom Sheityajit : Arts Topper
  • Aiena Naorem : Commerce Topper
  • Hr Secondary Exam 2024 : Science Topper
  • HSE 2024 : Subject Pass Percentage
  • HSE 2024 : District Pass Percentage
  • HSE 2024 : Candidates with Highest Marks
  • Hr Secondary Exam 2024: Science Full Result
  • Hr Secondary Exam 2024: Arts Full Result
  • Hr Secondary Exam 2024: Commerce Result
  • Hr Secondary Exam 2024 : Arts Topper
  • Hr Secondary Exam 2024 : Commerce Topper
  • Aftermath of ferocious hailstorm #1 : Gallery
  • Radio E-pao: Manipuri Film OST (130+ song)
  • Nupi Landa Thaunaphabishing : Full Book
  • A ferocious hailstorm @Imphal : Gallery
  • '365 Days of Chin-Kuki Aggression' : Gallery
  • National Science Teacher workshop
  • Sajibu Cheiraoba Chak Katpa #2 : Gallery
  • Scientists of Manipur : Ngangkham Nimai
  • GHOST of PEACE :: Download Booklet
  • List of Kings of Manipur: 33 - 1984 AD