Sunday, December 27, 2015

A Spoonful of Army Life

An unplanned session of sorting out some untouched-for-ages files in my cellar lead me to an unexpected leaflet, bringing back nostalgic memories. This rusty almost-ready-to-crumble piece of paper was a copy of an essay I had penned down as an NCC cadet way back in 2007 in an 'Army Attachment Camp' in Bangalore, India. Jobless enough, thanks to the long-weekend, and as a tribute to the memorable camp, I decided to blog it down as-it-is. Here it goes.

It is said, "the finest steel is passed through the hottest fire" and "the more you sweat in peace, the less you bleed in war". Indeed, the Madras Engineering Group and Centre (MEG & Centre), Bangalore has been doing this job of molding youth into powerful and extremeley disciplined jawans and officers. In fact the history of the MEG dates back to the time of the British, by whom it was established. 

I must thank all the people concerned, who made possible a camp in the MEG. Situated near the Ulsoor lake, a huge part of which is also a part of it, the MEG is a spectacular city in itself. The well built huge compounds of the MEG clasp a huge landmass, several thousand square meters in area, camouflaged by huge trees (including rare and precious trees like the Nilgiri) which seem to be positioned as if ready to go out for a drill, any moment. The efficiently built buildings which seem youthful, thought built ages ago are hidden by the green shadows cast by the countless trees, Each building is connected by a network of well maintained, skillfully laid roads. To say in short, the MEG is a city in micro-form, with all commodities and amenities available within.

We reached Bangalore on the dawn of 11th June, 2007. Later on, 2 army trucks, unique to any civil truck, carried us to the MEG in minutes. Treated with a sumptuous breakfast, we were allowed to settle down in the vast dormitory of the 'Yo's Hostel', containing neat cots lined on either sides. We were joined by one engineering company from Manipal and one from Mysore. No sooner had we met each other than we had become good friends. The day passed out marking open a new thoroughfare in the annals of our memory. The next day, we woke up early and were falled in by 5.45 am. We were marched into the parade ground, which had a troop of Jawans wearing army dress (green) on one side and officers in snow-white on the other side. Within minutes we were lead 'jogging on toes', by the trainer. We jogged for quite a long distance (which I vaguely guess, should have been not less than 3 kms). No sooner did we finish the job than we were pushed into the 'bend position'. After a few exercises we broke off to a tasty breakfast (anything seems tasty, when hungry!). This was followed by a formal address by Lt. Col. Mishra. After this was over, we had a heavy lunch and the entire barrack was flooded with games and activities. In the evening we were marched to the basketball court where we joined the others in a game of basketball. We had a tiring but a content day. Silently we slept off. Time simply flies when one does something he likes. Similarly, in our case days just flew off, each day leaving behind memories sweeter than that of the previous day. We were taken to the 'Assault Course' where we tried overcoming a few 'obstacles'. How can we ever forget the '9-feet ditch' wherein we were challenged to stand in legs-up hands-down position for an uncomfortably long time. We had weapon training with the ingenuously-built INSAS rifles, which included firing several rounds. We also got to handle Pistols, hand grenades and LMG (light machine gun), which was a rare opportunity. Other activities included rowing on special boats in the Ulsoor lake, which is normally closed to the general public, a movie at the Basanthar Auditorium and  a visit to the museum.  

Now, the days left for us here are few, but still I am sure that we will cherish the days we spent here. Before I conclude, I must confess that there is no word in our vocabulary to describe the discipline in MEG, nor is there a match. The systematic happenings here remind us of the existence of the word "perfection" in the dictionary. Long live our soldiers.

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