Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Wish you all the best in New Year 2011

Dear All,
This year is coming to an end in couple of days.Time is one thing that we cann't store and use later.We have to live with it every moment.If we missed it thats all.We would n't get the same time again.No way to regret on bad happenings,but analysing on it gives us better lessons for the coming years.So let us take all the bad moments of this year as an oppurtunity to learn and live better and good moments to energise us to bring more good moments in the coming years.
I wish all my blog readers a very special new year on waiting!!! Love you all !!!
The six month stay with infantry was so eventful days for me. Just after taking over our locations in the border,we got familiarise with local people and border layout.We have to see to that which all are mined locations and inflitration routes of enemies. We walked a lot along the valleys and on hill tops,jumping across the rock and nalas and clearing jungle footpaths.We planned our patrol routes and patrol timings and assigned the duties.There was a prominent river in the border.In the thier side on bank of the river was one of thier highway.It was busy transport route for the civilians at the other side of the country.Because of some friction across the border our pervious unit had stopped thier vehicle movement on that road.Thier vehicles will be stopped both sides at  points beyond the small/medium range gun firing range from our post.People will walk in between to continue thier journey.Thier Army also had been using this highway for thier logistics.We had to stop the movement of people also on this road,once at my time when the tension arised.

Firing was a common affair across the border ecspecially in the dawn and dusk.There is a Peerbaba Mandir in my post.Its made up of wooden planks and lot of cloth flags on it.I heard that ,At peace time people from across the border used to vist the Mandir.Local people as well as my Soldiers had very good faith in Peer Baba.They never used to cook meat in this post on Thursdays.Even those tried to do so have got frightned with a snake in the Mandir.The beauty is that inspite of all these firing ,the Temple never got damaged severely or got fired with tracer bullet from enemy side.

One day the tension at the border became so intense that we have to fire across the border so seriously to cause some damage to enemy.So I will go to every post and instruct my soldiers to fire or my self done it.We look through binaccular /night vision device to identify enemy post and target it.One day we got the target right and this time it was enemy's AWS(Advance winter stock,which include food,fuel,clothing etc..)got burned with our tracer round.It was a  huge fire for 4-5 hours intense burning.We could sense some serious damage have happened to other side.

Next morning when our patrol team returning after night duty,they could see the snake in the Mandir is going out of the post through the entrance they were getting in.
The morning was calm and as the day reaching noon,they started bomarding on our post with all the shells and bullets.We were unable to sneak out of the post or opening up our arms.I communicated with my Commanding Officer (CO)the situation and he instructed us to remain quiet to avoid any casualties.He promised me that he will thrust them from other posts.Accordingly I instructed my jawans to remain inside the post and no one will peep out.They countinued thier firing they broke all our land lines and I was in contact with my CO in wireless set.The pine trees in the post became branchless due to the shell bursting in air or by hitting on the tree.The shell hitting on the ground made the sand fog and the mud flushed in through the small air holes to the bunker.We felt as if the shell hitting on the wooden door will brake it and will kill all inside the bunker.Some soldiers to protect themselves took shelter under the cot.In all this terror i was communicating with my soldiers and base camp throgh the radio set.The fire countinued without giving much gap for us to reply.

cleaning the tomb and preparing for pooja with local priest
In the afternoon around 2 o'clock ,one of the tracer bullet made the Peer Baba Mandir get burn.My soldiers anticipated real danger with this incident.They even start telling about the snake which left the mandir anticipating Mandir fire.Some of them adviced me better we leave the post and go back safe. I commanded them and assured nothing will happen to them and to remain inside the bunker still the things get cooldown.Around 5.30 pm they stopped the firing for 10 minutes.This time few of my Jawans in the bunker above my bunker just started to peep out thinking that all is over.This time they again start firing and one of the shell got blasted on that bunker.When we heard  a huge cry ,I smelt something bad happened,I felt that as if they blasted one of our bunker totally.I came out and looked up to see the bunker,I could see only sand cloud.Nothing was visible.

The enemy could understand some casulties occured in our side.So they kept on firing to stop any evaccuation of help to injured.I instructed my senior soldiers and other boys in my bunker that we have to go up to see what had happened.I asked one by one  to carry water,field dress and other medicine and to come along with me.I started moving through the digged path to upper bunker.suddenly one jawan coming with water behind me hit with splints of the shell and he injured.I asked to take him back to bunker and send  another with water. When I reached in the top,nothing much had happened to the bunker.The door was broken with the hit of shell on the bunker door,and those who were near the door got injured.Three was seriously injured and two not that serious.
We gave them field dressing and stopped the blood.I arranged three field strechers to carry the seriously injured and one person each to help other injured.But I had to wait the enemy to stop the fire.I spared a three quarter of my post strength in that evacuation and to take a risk of holding the post with below required minimum strength.To reach the base they have to walk 2-3 hrs.I communicated with the doctor and he walked up to meet them midway to attend any emergency.Later I came to know that the seriously injured had airlifted to a bigger hospital to save thier life.
I felt the place like a grave yard.Nobodycould sleep that night. If I close my eyes,I could hear the whistling sound of shells and bullets and exploding sound and fire.
The things became normal.We started reconstructing  that Mandir in another few weeks,eventhough they tried to stop it with thier guns.

spreading the "chadar" with my Commanding Officer

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Command and Control

One of the patrol route

My movement from base camp to the hill top post  had made earlier than scheduled.We were getting ready  to move that day suddenly we got instructed to move immediately as there was a secret information that some militants are hiding  in one of the house on the way to our post.As I was new to face such situations our Commanding Officer(CO) was ready to send an experienced officer with us.We moved up hill reached near the house,cordoned,and challenged on militants and moved inside the house for search.Only we could find some ladies and children.I am not sure whether the information was wrong or militants moved away before we get in.whatever It was my first hand experience in the field.We were very careful in each step we keep on earth,that there is a possibility that militants put trap wires or keeping grenade pin opened with lever pressed with some support  of roots, stones etc.A slight touch will make it explode.
Once we reached the post after 4hours of walking up hill, we took over our company posts.We had 5 posts under D company .There is a river flowing front side acting as the borderline between the two countries.other side of the river in the valley their state highway is there.The  previous Unit form whom we took over the security of this area,had forced to stop plying of vehicle on that road.Because the other country used that road against us for transporting military and militants.
As we have short of officers , we had only three officers in our company.In few days our Officer Commanding(OC) company had deputed for some other work in Delhi and he had to leave the post.So by default I have to do the officiating OC duties,as the third officer also new but I was one up in rank ( technical entry).

checking the pistol before moving out for patrol

I remained in command post in one hill top and the other officer was send to another hill top around 2 hours walk.Inside my post there is a Peerbaba Mandir.One time people from other side of the river also used to visit the temple.The villge under our area was once had famous market and there were many educated localites residing in that area.I did my first patrolling duty with my men to familerize the area and  the gaps through which the militants can nudge in to our country  and had to take necessary measures to prevent that.I used to give routine reports to the commanding officer and any unusual movements noted in the other side is immediately reported.I used to do   frequent visits to all posts under my controll and observed things and took inputs from the men who manned the posts.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Reach the North most Railway station to move further by road

With almost one week travel in the train,we reached the station where we had to unload our things to move further towards the field area by road.After emptying the train we stayed in the nearby Army units for another one week  to plan and prepare the move.All the things that we got in the train again loaded to the available Army Vehicles and balance in the Civil Hired Transport(CHT) vehicles.

on top of  mountain pass

  with my company commander in our post

We had to move another 400km by road.It the month of June not that much snow in the roads.Our advance party had moved into the field by Nov-Dec and where complaining about snow all over the place and they had to walk/slide over it to reach the destination.But for main column we had planned no-snow time that because of the huge stock of stores and equipments we had to carry with us.We halted at four  nights on the way before reaching Base Camp.Because the large column moves in very slow speed.Every night the cold was better than the previous day.At the last halt I had to get inside two sleeping bags one over the another to escape from the sever cold.The place was on the bank of river and below a narrow hill gap .The sound of chilly wind and the sound of  river water made it a musical night.

Next day we reached the destination.Gun fire from the other side of the boarder welcomed us.They had come to know through their intelligence that new unit is occupying the location.So they want to show their presence or want to scare the new troops!!!! In base  all of us camped for the night .Next day company wise moved to the respective bunkers adjacent to the border and took over  command and control of the area allocated.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Journey in a special train to North

The travel through road was really exciting, by keeping the vehicle column intact and move steadily by maintaining  the distance between each vehicle at minimum.If any vehicle break down, recovery / repair detachment will attend the off road vehicle and catch up with the other vehicles.On the way there was scheduled halts for food and with special permission of convoy commander ,some breaks for rest was allowed. Traveling on road catching up the beauty of desert was really a different experience.We camped at night with some local units on the way.After three days travel ,when we reached the rail head,almost every one was exhausted and we were looking for a good rest.All vehicles parked near platform for loading into the train next day.

 Break time in training during academy days

Next day ,the special train for us had not been placed in platform,so that we could not  load our things.[The rolling stock(the special train) contains,first class boggy,second class for all we soldiers,closed wagon to carry our luggage and of unit items,open flat stock for loading vehicles,and like that different types of carriages(i am not remembering its technical names/railway jargon for each type of carriage) connected together].When we checked with the railway authorities,they told its not readily available because of some reason,and we have to wait for one more week to get the rolling stock.We felt that waiting one more week in the railway station is  of no use.So we approached the ministry and gave an emergency request for allotment and we got the rolling stock placed for us in two days.We shifted all our items including some vehicles in the train.And one fine morning the train started moving towards our destination.

This train took three times more time than the normal train.So we took 5 days,where the normal train will take 1.5 days to cover the same distance.The train had halted in a day minimum three times for food,in some times separate halt for filling water/charging in the train in different places.The halt is generally for 2-5 hours.If traffic is not clear it may halt more.So we will get down from the train and will go for shopping and sight seeing in the near by town.Thus we know the pace of life and people at different place on the way through out our journey.One occasion we had to go to station master to complain about very very low speed of our train  and the station master explained us full railway traffic signal system ,how its works and why they are not giving signal to us,when we urged them to give our train green signal first.
 In another special train to east

Its really fantastic experience to travel such long distance in train with troops.The unit was functioning in the train as it was camped in any other place.So the regular roll call and continuous instructions reached to each and every one as always.We had put security guards on duty and all others were involved with various duties.The sanctity of an army unit was maintained through out the journey.Every one had some story to tell ,on their previous experience in the field,in boarder ,with militants,in tough hilly terrain,in jungles,on snow clad mountains.Newbies like me imagined all those things on the way and geared up more courage to face any kind of such hostile situation.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Prepare for move

In this station, I attended the church function and involved in all the proceedings sitting in the front bench. I felt the god’s presence as days light. In Masjid, Mandir, Gurudwara, Church or what ever way we call it we go and focus our thoughts to the altar and pray as focusing the sunlight with a lens and feel its power.

One day we assembled in brigade head quarter to send off the commander. He is retiring from his service. All the soldiers from that station had assembled there to pull the Jonga decorated with flowers from head quarter building to the gate. There was a strong emotional attachment and bond as one from the family is going back proudly fulfilling his duty after devoting his whole life to the Nation.

      a break during outdoor exercise in academy

It’s always important for an organization to have a proper communication procedure. Army has an excellent way to do that. It’s not in the procedure, but the commitment in following it. So no flip flops and no goof ups. Structured, time bounded, directional, KISS (Keep It Simple and Short) orders reach faster undiluted to all levels and with a feedback at every stage.

By this time the full unit was getting prepared to move. I had to go and see the packing of various sections. Prepared load chart in the vehicle as per items to be loaded in each vehicle. Finally we had to move. I became the In charge of the transport column ,became a convoy commander taking around 40 loaded vehicles under my supervision, travelled around 250 kms to reach the rail head, where from our special train to Jammu had been booked.

Getting closer to my first Army unit

Getting more closer in my first Army unit

After two-three weeks with men in lines, Commanding Officer asked me to shift to bachelor’s accommodation near the Officer’s mess. With this change in atmosphere and life style, I started to realize my rise and thus I felt more dignified. I shifted my entire luggage to the room. Same night from the office a Havildar clerk came running to my room. One of our Jawan’s family members is sick and wanted to go home town immediately. No other officer was immediately available to countersign the travel warrant form. I know it is some what risky to sign without the knowledge of senior officer, but looking at the emergency, I have to sign by reading the document and fully believing the clerk. It was my first signature to approve any official document in the capacity of an officer in Indian Army. 

 a break during weapon cleaning in academy

You can do anything provided it won’t create any problem. You can also do anything provided you won’t get caught! But it’s unofficial and is applicable usually for things like; when you are not reaching in parade on time, one button is missing from uniform, shoe is not properly polished, etc… I meant it for the people in uniform from not getting ticked off by their seniors. This happens always when someone not meeting the minimum requirement; “be in right place at right time with right things”. 

I started taking my food from officer’s mess, even though I hadn’t dined in officially. Dining in itself is a party and an official function. Every unit will have their own way and traditional procedure to do the same. In couple of days my dining in also decided. All officers and families were present. There I sipped my first hard drink in my life. As per the tradition of the unit I had to take three full glass neat cocktail drinks. After gulping each drink, I have to crawl three times under the legs of a Rhino “the symbol of the unit” statue kept in the veranda of the mess shouting “Tagara Raho” means “be powerful and healthy”. After that I could n’t with stand much time and started vomiting and I was taken back to my room. Actually dine-in party is a party for those who comes to dine-in officer and not for the Officer!

I started attending the duties going from officer’s mess. I had to call on all married officers at their house. But, many officers were not available and I could visit to one family only. They had arranged a good dinner for me and gave me a feeling of my own home.

Next  :::::

Friday, February 26, 2010

INDIAN ARMY, a beautiful organization

I found in Indian Army, a beautiful “managerial and administrative” organization. When I joined my first unit, initial days I had not much responsible jobs to do. As I told you, as per tradition of the unit I was asked to stay with Jawans for few weeks. I got one cot allotted with them. A senior JCO briefed me the daily routines of the unit. The unit was in the verge of moving to the valley. There was no much officers present in the unit. Few of them had gone with advance party. I started working with Jawans as one of them. Staying with them I could understand each individual, their living standards, habits and their life styles in a very closed quarter. At this period every one was under my observation and Jawans also started evaluate their officer. As I had lot of time to indulge in the activities what I like. I went personally to all Jawans and enquired about their personal liking being in the Army and their problems in a democratic way. I found the men I am going to command is so complicated. They had brought up in different environments and have different values of life. To meet their diverse requirements as an officer is a cumbersome work. Here is the importance of Training . The goals of giving training to Jawans as well as Officers are to bring a standard in them, which make them fit to work in hand with hand in the same platform. They are standard managers. From all the sides they are able administrators. The mental frame work that formed during the training gives them control over the senses, actions and words. This mental control cause physical control during actions for perfection. Everyone learns all rules and theories, but fails in implementation. Even though, the reason for failure is known, but not the power to act. Here an Army officer succeeds. A man trained with this kind of mental foundation surely became 100 % manager. He became capable enough to work up to the satisfaction of his superiors and expectation of his subordinates.

First Sainik Sammelan I attended was one by the Brigade Commander. The arrangement was so nice to see. From that I could understand how well the system is stream lined in Army. Officers are more vigilant and observed the activities of his subordinates and supported them to achieve the result. Men are more punctual and obedient to orders. Humanbeings are basically lazy by nature. But by training and constant reminders only his active nature can maintained. Some people remind themselves to be active; others want someone to remind them to be active. Every one here must manage people, but also materials (other resources) and time. the challenge is in facing the “do or die” situations in stock while accomplishing tasks with limited manpower with limited other resources in limited time.

Previous post 

Friday, January 29, 2010

Respect to be earned, not the one to be demanded

With Jawans I felt at home. They took lot of care on me. The first day itself they took me to show the entire unit. Also to the tailor shop stitching more uniform dresses, and to cobbler to fit my boots. Next day morning I attended the parade ground for PT.The day I spend with jawans in their routine duties. Night I had  to visit all sentry posts and other key security location like “koth” (weapon store).I understood the way we have to check the guards in night duty. How we have to react while they challenge us before entering the restricted areas at night, where the area will have very low visibility. I had to do all the duties from gardener, lounger commander, section commander, CHM,CHQM.I used to take roll call,go to the lunger ,eat with jawans, monitor liquor issue, attend weapon cleaning session.I used to interact lot with Jawans. I tried to reach deep in to their mind, to understand their personal problems and their way of looking in to army life. This made me to have clear understanding about the men, I have to command. Once in a week we will have mandir parade. We pray with evenness whether it is mandir, gurudwara, church or mosque. Each unit will have one or more such places under their administration. The  days with men, the kind of experience, enriched me and was a stepping stone for an insightful commanding of troops.

One most important principle, I had adopted in my life, I followed here also.” Respect ALL “.When ever I go to even to my junior’s office of any appointment, I salute them first before entering their office; even I am senior to him in rank. I respected his position, his role, his duty, his appointment. More than anything I respected him as a good human being .Respect will come to you, if you respect others.Respect is not the one you do only to someone higher to you in some way, and it’s a way of life to keep relationships in high spirit. It has to flow in all directions. So we also can expect and get it. But for sure it’s not the thing that you demand and get only when you have power and authority. It should come naturally.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Don't lock horns with Seniors and never ever with Juniors

I came to know that my first unit had arranged a grand welcome to receive me at railway station.But luckily or unluckily ,I missed it.Its for sure that this kind of welcome into new unit will mix with some special experiences and incidents having some sort of  embarrassment on waiting.I had informed the unit my expected time of arrival(ETA),so that i will reach one day prior to the joining date .I had to get down at a  place in the main route and had to take another train to reach the railway station close to the unit.

Because of the main train in which I was coming got late ,the welcome program got canceled as they were not able to track me on what time I will reach.The first train, instead of early morning it reached in the noon time. Then I had to get down and wait for connecting train to travel about 45 minutes to reach the railway station where from my transport had been arranged to the unit.

As those who were waiting to receive me had gone back after long waiting,as soon as I  reached the railway station,I gave ring to the unit for transport.So they send a Jonga with a driver and other two Jawans to help me with my luggage.I was in mufti dress.The jawans identified me while I was waiting in the MCO waiting room.They greeted me and guided me to the vehicle.I was little vigilant  and conscious on the movement of these people came to receive me.

When two of them lifted my luggage and moved ahead of me,i was little suspicious that whether it will reach me on time.As there is a fair chance to fool me for sometime,its too common while joining in new unit,as I heard  from the academy.Sometimes senior officers themselves will come in jawan's dress to check how we behave with jawans and react in particular situations etc...and  so I presumed that anything can happen with me also.

But this time I escaped from such situations,thanks to the late running trains.Officers had planned for something like that to me in the morning,but they got engaged in some other works at the time i reached in the railway station.However when I joined my technical unit after attachment with this unit in the field,I couldn't miss this event.Those interesting incidents I will narrate to you  in some other time.

On the way the driver had driven the vehicle in very high speed. I sensed he want to scare me and want to check how i will react to it. He might have eager to know the grit of his officer who is going to command him ,especially in difficult times.

Immediately I reached the unit,I had to change in OG dress and was marched up to the commanding officer.He interviewed me.He gave me some advice and told me the importance of technical officers for doing attachment with infantry units.He felt that then only technical officers can understand the real time problems of field army for getting the repair , recovery and other technical support for the vehicles and equipments used during the war.From this I can understand the hardship of  users,so that when they come for our support I can handle them in right perspective.

As per the tradition of the unit, I had to stay with jawans in the barrack  and should dine with them with the food from" lungar"  and should work as one of them for few weeks before move in to Officer's Mess.

 with the Company Havildar Major(CHM) in front of the barrack ,I stayed with my Jawans

A Soldier's faith is that "I am here to serve in the unit, serve the nation. Its my duty and the role that I selected to perform.So there is no place for any ego with any one,no internal  friction with anyone for anything.Happy to flourish in my role at the best.Better avoid any stalemate with people around us,whatever may be the levels in which they are.Hence new avenues are opened to go ahead and to lead a purposeful life." This kind of a soldier's mindset will be a very good example to follow for every human beings in this world.Read more....

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Changes are sure ; so go well with that

In my first unit after commissioned in to Indian Army

             After the passing out parade in Officers Training Academy (OTA) in Chennai, I went home for three weeks leave before joining the new unit. Even though I was commissioned in a technical corps,I had to go for an attachment with infantry,the direct fighting troops in the field.So it became the first unit with which I served in Army.It was a Battalion ; of mixed troops having one company each Dogras, Garhwali ,Madrasies(South Indians) and  Assamies(North East) ;The Daring Dozen. I had to join the unit after the leave at a place in Rajasthan. I took Train from Trichur to Ahmedabad and to the destination.Even after two days tiredness  in train travel ,I had n't left my grit to land in the new unit with full energy.   Read on......

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Monday, January 4, 2010

Wish you all a very HAPPY NEW YEAR 2010

I personally wish  each one of you ,those who visit  this  blog site, and your family and friends a very happy and fruitful year 2010.Most of us too often so pre-occupied with destination and forget to enjoy the journey.Our Life is a journey.Not from birth to death,its a journey from one goal to another goal.The goal makes the life meaningful.You would have set some goals for the year 2009,now you have to review and reset the goals for the year 2010 and to continue the journey.All the best.  Read on............

stop for a photo

stop for a photo
light moments in tough terrain



below guns,behind flowers