E-Pao! Incident - Saffron - Scene 2

Saffron - Scene 2

Surjit Huidrom *

Scene II:

Major Arjun Rathore, a 28 years young gallant officer of 25 Jatt Infantry Regiment, is just like an ordinary teenager, tall, trim and dark with thin mustache, making him look older than his age. He is strategic about his opinions, the reason why the Indian army trusted him for his bravery; he loves adventure and loves challenges.

Major Rathore dreamt of becoming a fighter pilot, but his myopia glasses never allowed him to join the Air-force, but he is tough and brave to join the Infantry (Battalion who is trained for combat) in the Armed Forces, which wanted the heart of a lion, and the major had it.

A cheetah never rumbles about whom he is racing with when he runs, that's how the Major thinks, he never needs explanation for his enemies. He was an emulsification of wind and the water, wind to give him direction and the water for his pure mind.

Even today he remembers the first day in the National Defence Academy (NDA); Subedar Ravinder Patil, his physical instructor, was always ready to punish him. On the first day he was punished for not shouting "YES SIR", which lacked wind and sound from his lungs.

Subedar with his thin shrilling voice used to shout "cadet Rathore, pull your legs upto your chest when you are marching, and look straight" Cadet Rathore had no other choice, standing in the midst sunny day, with a vest and a khaki shorts on a far dry land for his drill.

He was punished for not standing straight and was even punished for hanging his belt loose.

He remembers that he was given a bi-cycle during his training days, and everytime it used to get punctured, then he had to carry it on his shoulders, otherwise again he would be punished for not appearing on time, and on the other hand he could not leave the bi-cycle behind, it is considered against discipline for the cadets, or else he would be punished severely for this act.

Initially he thought this was all a nuisance, but as time passed by he knew that this was his life and his dreams, and this academy taught him that life is a strange mystery, which has a journey that never has an end, but it begins with a new dream, and to take it as a challenge everyday.

He learnt how to be the best, and to think like a soldier, and he was growing.

But then the last day in the academy was never like an ordinary day. It was the early morning of the passing out parade (POP). He was sitting on the army bed in his room, with his hands folded to his face, and recollected all his memories so that he never forgets it ever.

And he could fell how this three and half years in the NDA changed him completely from a boy to a man. But here he was never taught how to weep.

And Subedar Ravinder was the happiest man to see Cadet Rathore marching during the POP; he looked tall and smart, with tanned skin, short hair, and the same innocent eyes that he saw on the first day. He could see a brave soldier passing out from the academy.

He was recruited as a lieutenant (two starred rank in the Indian Army) for his training in the IMA (Indian Military Academy), from then on he never looked back. And the IMA groomed him from a soldier to an officer.

The lieutenant was awarded the best cadet, and he won an award during his training for a strategic thesis of battle techniques and safety for infantry soldiers, which made Colonel Vikram Jit Singh impress (Colonel is a rank with the Ashoka's lion and two stars, in the Indian Army).

Major was happy to received an award from him, he had read many articles about his gallant activities during the Indo-Pak war in 1972, and when he shook his hands, he knew how young the colonel still is apart from his age.

The Army life also made him a poet, a poet that tells tales about his mother India. He passed from the IMA and was commissioned as a Captain (rank in the Indian Army with three stars) in 88EF, Maratha infantry regiment.

From then life was never the same, but his memories always mesmerize him, he got postings to different regions in the country with different Battalions, until this day he was here posted in Jodhpur-Rajasthan, with the 25 Jatt Regiment, and this was his first posting as a commissioned Major (rank in the Indian Army with the ashoka's lion) clipped on his two upper shoulders of the uniform, as a mark of his rank.

He was grown enough to mould in the Army society, and he liked his olive green Uniform. Major Arjun Rathore's Voice was commanding enough to make his sipoys respect him.

He had stayed too long away from his house; back home he had two sisters who were going to get married soon and his loving parents, and Major Rathore knows he is still the same son arjun for them.

He remembers when he was a kid, he broke his wrist, but he never cried until his father came over to pick him up to the hospital. He used to sleep on her mother's laps after getting tired of reading books, and he hates milk, he used to pretend as if he is asleep or hides when his mother got him milk.

Being an elder brother, he was more like a younger brother for his sisters, he played cricket with them, raced with them, and his sisters used to top the class exams even, but he was an average student. He loved reading comics, and often bought comics for them, but he read it first before giving it to them.

But now, time has changed; it all remained as a memory that he treasures, apart from the reality which lies ahead, he had to take on a new phase of life.

It was early 8 o'clock morning of 25th of March 2000, when he arrived at his desk. He found a letter on the table. It was from Brigadier Sukhram (Brigadier is a rank with the Ashoka's lion and three stars, in the Indian Army).

Placing the cup of coffee that he held in his hand on the table, he slid the envelope open, and found an official letter on an executive bond paper signed by the Brigadier at the bottom.

The application was about his mission with Colonel Vikram Jit Singh, in Kargil. It was his faith or his challenging nature, which made him thrilled and proud to accept it, and it was his dream to work with the Colonel.

Instantly he rang-up the Brigadier to inform him that he was ready and eager to initialize his plans with the Colonel.

He had to report at the earliest in Kargil, where he will be on a joint mission with the colonel, with a platoon called "seilab", a secret name given for recognizing his team, over there.

To be continued;

Read Part I here.

*** This script is just a craft of fiction and creativeness that I have for the Indian Army, does not resemble any person, location or place.
Resemblance to anybody or location would be a co-incident.

Surjit Huidrom writes regularly to
You can email the writer at [email protected]
This article was webcasted on 06th September 2005.

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