Friday, October 15, 2010

Finally, here is Part III of RJ@RD 1996

RJ’s experience in NCC-Republic Day Camp… If you would like to know the whole story, what went on during the Training Camps and the Journey to Republic Day Camp (RDC), New Delhi, click here for Part I and Part II.

Garrison Parade Ground, Delhi Cantonment: The story continues...
6 AM, Guard of Honour Training begins. RJ and a fellow girl cadet from TN (Tamil Nadu) Contingent, after the grueling ground leveling task and mouth-chattering bath, wear their Uniforms with Jersey, Gloves, Cummerbund, Beret, Boots and the works, run to collect their Rifles. They’re running 5 minutes late. As they near the mist-covered parade ground, they rejoice they are the first to fall-in. As they get closer, they realize they are among the last. A dressing down and 2 rounds around the Parade Ground for being late. Nice warm-up, is how I see it!

We’re congratulated for being selected to the elite Guard of Honour Contingent, told how privileged we were. They gave us instructions and the training roster as to what to expect. Actual training began. 5 minutes parade, 10 minutes break (spent wisely – making new friends, getting our shoes shined by boys who were available at the ground, yapping and napping, alternatively). This went on for a while. Then break for breakfast. Again fall-in, 5 minutes parade, 10 minutes break went on till Lunch time. This was getting to be fun. And good food added to the cheer.

Evening was for cultural competitions. We draped ourselves in the Kancheepuram Yellow with Red & Gold Zari saree and Maroon Blazer (our formal attire). We played cheerleaders in events we didn’t contest ourselves. Then some delicious Dinner. Food choice was good, perfect for the cold weather – Rice / Roti and Chicken (non-veg) / Paneer (veg) was on the menu most days in addition to other North Indian delicacies. And desserts such as Kheer, Gajar-ka-halwa, fresh fruits salad etc. Slurp! No wonder, I put on weight in the one month at RDC, Delhi.

As the competitions were getting tougher, the bias for the ‘M’ contingent seemed to be getting more obvious. In the last 2 years, it was the TN contingent that had won the PM’s Banner. And we were rallying for it this time too, to score a hat-trick. Our scores at the end of every day decided the ranking and TN was No.1, M was No. 2 and K was No.3 for most days.

RJ was selected for Guard of Honour for the Chiefs of Army, Navy & Air Force, the Vice President and other VIPs & VVIPs, with high tea party with them. RJ was even chosen to represent the Contingent in the High tea Party at the Rashtrapati Bhavan (Official Residence of the President of India), the highlights being – tour around the place, audience with the President (Dr. Shankar Dayal Sharma), Cultural Evening and of course the yummy grub part of the high tea. Burp!

Lest you have begun to think if this was all about the good food and a lot of breaks, nope, we had competitions going on remember? The Prime Minister’s Rally on the 27th of January (after the Pageantry RD March on 26th of January), was the high-point of the Guard of Honour Contingent. Plus the Prime Minister’s Banner (for the winning Contingent) was to be announced that day. We were all ready for the Rally. We had had many rehearsals before. And many security checks later, stood firm and proud with our rifles. It seemed like eternity. I had these black-out moments many times, but kept wriggling my toes in my boots and kept myself standing with my weight balanced between my ready-to-give-in-any-time legs and my sturdier standing-me-straight rifle.

The moment had arrived, march, brisk salutes with the rifle, and all eyes on the PM. It was a moment that was to stay etched in my memory for a long time to come. Just as the PM passed by our Contingent, the shortest girl (from D Contingent) in the farthest corner swooned. The PM didn’t know a thing. None of us knew either, until we got back to our assigned seats in the Gallery. The cadet was stealthily whisked away by the medical team. There were a lot of other events to witness. Military and Paramilitary Battalions, men & beasts (horses primarily) marched away in unison. It was a sight indeed! Then Parasailing, Gliding etc by the NCC. Air Show by the Surya Kiran Team.

We had our hearts-in-our-mouths moment when a freak accident occurred on the ground. A cadet who was supposed to take part in parasailing, had her sail tied to her, with the sail kept flat on the ground. When a few helicopters part of the air show flew close to the ground, the sail opened up and she was air-borne without warning. She hit the side rails many times over and collapsed to the ground. We thought that was the end, because she was lying motionless. She was given emergency treatment, and except for a few bruises and fractures, she didn’t have serious injuries. Thank God!

The Prizes were distributed. TN, TN, TN….first in 13 out of 18 Competitions. And the Prime Minister’s Banner goes to ‘M’ Contingent. We are shocked. The Prime Minister (Narasimha Rao) must have been shocked as well, because he was the one doing the honours, and TN was leading all along. He even asked, how is it that TN wins most of the Competitions and some other Contingent walks away with the Banner? We wanted to protest, but it would take away the spirit of the event, so we refrain. The whole Contingent was crestfallen. The others sympathized with us. And that was an eye-opener for many of us, to the bad world out there. Our commanders consoled us, said we were the real winners. We held on to our trophies, proud that we truly earned it.

The few days before the camp ended, we were taken on Delhi –Agra Darshan. It was time to say goodbye to RDC, and goodbye to the series of RJ@RD 1996 Posts. Thank you bloggers for your patient hearing :)

* Images courtesy Google Images / Wikipedia


Bikram said...

THAT is bad, I would have protested against the decsiion of the banner..

and RGB wowo you have explained it so very well I really envy you and seriously now reading i think I shud have gone for it , or at least given it a try ... AH well but I am sure i could not have been as good as you..

I am glad i have experienced a lot of things via Ncc it has indeed been so great.

I like the part about shoe shining from boys hmmmm , Good jod i did not go i would never have done that :)

and 13 out of 18 OH Yes you were the real winner Excellecnt and well done , I still ENVY you
and ouch on the parasailing girl, this happened to one of the girls in chandigarh too she too had a fracture and cuts sad

I have also started to write and next week will be putting it up..

Bikram's Blog

Rachna said...

Wow, well done TN contingent. And, yes it must be sad for you that the 'M'Contingent walked away with the honours. The best part is that you took it all in your stride, just like a true Cadet. It was wonderful reading about this experience of yours!

Shilpa Garg said...

Wow! Awards, meeting the dignitaries, an awesome and an enviable experience, great moments and wonderful memories and of course great food.... ah! and not to forget the grueling schedules, harsh winter mornings, favoritism, accidents...

Simply wonderful journey! Enjoyed it thoroughly! :)
Cheers :)

radha said...

Part I, II, III deserve a notable mention too. Very interesting. How did M win finally? Very unfair.

Balachandran V said...

Oh, I'm so proud of you, RGB!, Truly! :)

Tomz said...

Very remarkable. Thanks for sharing with us...

A New Beginning said...

All your posts on NCC have been really interesting...the last post acts as a feather in the cap :))Amazing...Thanks for sharing your experience RGB, Im really are an inspiration for sure !!!

Kavita Saharia said...

I clicked on the picture to enlarge it ..but it was the same size.I admire you RGB - every girl of our country must read this .It is interesting and inspiring too.Thanks to you for sharing this with us :)

Kavi said...

Great to hear !! I know a lot of close pals who came back from the RD experience with their chests puffed...and remained so for a long time.

And rightly so !!

many congratulations.

Ugich Konitari said...

It has been a complete delight reading your 3-set NCC posts, and I wish today's college girls read this.... I think this kind of experience enriches you in life, in a way that school and college education cannot, by itself.

About losing the banner to the M team, I guess you can say that this trained you in the art of facing disappointments , as well as in realizing that things are not what they appear to be (authorities)......many folks today need this kind of training...

Insignia said...

Wow wow!!! So proud of you...I was waiting to read the complete story and truly amazing. Keep it up! I am glad I know you; how inspiring :-)

The Holy Lama said...

No worry. You won the bloggers banner with this series. Loved it and now I respect you more.

Destiny's child... said...

RGB! RESPECT is what I feel for you now. *Salutes* :)
And TN not winning Prime Minister's Banner was sooo not done. But what the heck, you guys were the real winners!

Rama Ananth said...

Whatever may have been the outcome, the end result is your experience, that really counts. You experienced something wonderful, and meaningful, and not only that, it has also made such a deep impression on you to have led you to share this with us, inspiring us in every way.
Thanks for doing that.

RGB said...

@ Bikramjit,
Yeah, I guess eventually we emerged the real winners, in true spirit of the competition! And...the shoe shining boys were boys eking out a living doing that, not the cadets :D The Parasailing accident was unfortunate, lucky she escaped! Looking forward to your post :)

@ Rachna,
Yeah, I guess that's what counts. Thanks for being part of my journey/experiences and encouraging me by your warm comments :)

@ Shilpa,
Yes, experiences to cherish a lifetime! Mostly good, and the ones that seemed harsh then, have taught us to be stronger. Glad you enjoyed reading it :)

RGB said...

@ radha,
Very unfair indeed. But I guess such things prepare you for the worst in future. Thanks for following my experiences part I, II & III.

@ Balachandran V,
Thank you :)

@ Tomz,
Thank you. It felt great relating the experience.

RGB said...

@ A New Beginning,
Happy I could share my experience with you guys. Happier that you guys enjoyed it. Thanks for your warm and encouraging comments :)

@ kavita,
I'm yet to find my photographs, which I should perhaps scan and put it up someday. Thank you for your comments.

@ kavi,
Yup, it gives us such an immense sense of achievement, I can still feel my chest swelling with pride just writing about it!

RGB said...

@ Ugich Konitari,
Agree with you totally. I've learnt to take life as it comes. And have become more optimistic. A survivor!

@ Insignia,
Thank you :) NCC has taught me one other think. To accept compliments gracefully ;p

@ The Holy Lama,
Thanks (batting my eyelids and blushing) ;p

RGB said...

@ Destiny's Child.
Thanks dear. Yes, we were the real winners, and we're real proud of that!

@ rama,
True. The experience is something I can cherish forever. And it all feels like just yday. I just couldn't stop myself from writing! Thanks for being a part of it by sharing your thoughts :)

BK Chowla, said...

Very interesting blog posts.

Joseph Pulikotil said...

Hello RGB:)

You have a fantastic remembrance of all details.

It is a great honor to be a part of the President's guard of honor because the selection is tough and that too from among the best cadets in the country.

I do not know if you had to march with the rifle only up to India Gate or you marched till Red fort.In our days the women contingent and junior cadets marched only up to India Gate and we seniors had to march with regular forces up to Red Fort.

I also remember going to Rastrpathi Bhavan for the tea party and also a brief walk in the beautifully maintained Mugal Gardens inside the Bhavan.There were amazing flowers especially the roses.

I enjoyed reading your wonderful post and recollecting many scenes which you have described so vividly,

Best wishes:)

R. Ramesh said...

like all others here, me too proud of u my buddy:) keep the cheers:)

Nona said...

:) Quiet an achievement for you.

It was nice reading Part 1 to 3.

Do you have the photographs on that day still with you? You could have put the real ones on this post!

RGB said...

@ BK Chowla,
Thank you and thanks for stopping by.

@ Joseph Pulikotil,
Yeah, it's fresh in my memory and I had so much fun just relating (reliving) my experiences here. We didn't have to march much. We stood with our backs facing the Red Fort - is all I can remember. Would love to read about your experiences.

@ R.Ramesh,
Thanks :)

@ Nona,
Glad you didn't get bored with the trilogy (of sorts!). I do have copies of the photos somewhere. Got to locate them, then scan them! Hope to, someday :)

walk2write said...

What a gas! Especially high tea with the President:) Your experience is a great example of what good sportsmanship, honor, and integrity are all about. Still, I have to wonder if anyone from the M contingent has ever written about why the banner went to them. It would be interesting to find out what lifted them up and at the same time dashed your contingent's hopes to the ground. A mystery for sure since you had won the competitions.

R. Ramesh said...

shukriya ji:)

RGB said...

Thank you :) Yeah, wonder how they'd present it from their perspective!

My pleasure ;D

Anonymous said...

Hai, that pic is of Red Arrows right?

Ashwin Wilson said...

Interesting! I wonder how you manage to recollect all those incidents from so long ago!

RGB said...

@ Stranger,
What's 'Red Arrows?' The 1st picture is that of an NCC 'guard of honour' contingent at RDC, Delhi. The 2nd picture is that of Rashtrapati Bhavan and the 3rd is an air show. The images are courtesy 'google search' and belong to their respective owners.

@ Ashwin,
Some incidents have that lasting impact in our memories. This is one of them :) Thanks for stopping by and hope to see you around more often.

Sandhya said...

I curse myself for not reading this last part, as soon as you wrote it, RGB!

Really, I enjoyed reading all the three parts. I notice that I breath properly now...this was so engrossing.

The god, the cadet came out safe from the para sailing accident.

How can it happen when your TN won so many medals and M got the banner? I can feel the disappointment you and your friends and commanders felt. I wonder how the M contingent felt, the boys and girls felt there. Did they feel guilty. Will anyone from their contingent read this post now and feel guilty, I wonder.

Thank you RGB!

RGB said...

@ Sandhya,

I'm so glad you have been following my trilogy of the episode:)

Yeah, that cadet escaped with just some bruises & minor fractures considering the impact against the rails.

Bias and corruption everywhere. Somehow, it is the affected party that thinks / worries about it. The party who benefits from the bias / corruption appears to celebrate their victories jubilantly as if they earned it, without any remorse, whatsoever!

Thank you Sandhya :)

K. D. Kumaran said...

Oh God! all the scenes just flashed back.. awesome.. Remember Nathan sir and the stay we had in a Basket Ball stadium after returning?

Anonymous said...

Hi Renu, is that you, Pramita here.