Fancy whims of childish teens, thats how i would put it .Sometimes i remember the days of thunder , the days of Republic Day Camp or popularly known as RDC. I miss how simple life was and how simple and basic necessities brought smile to our faces. Now we are not even satisfied with 1tb of movie collection.
Back during the days of RDC things were different .Its all about surviving in conditions pigs find filthy , and here im not exagerating. You may ask the guys from sainik school what reputation RDC has (they would call it the hell on earth). A typical dau for a person ,this one being a best cadet candidate a.k.a Me , was getting up at morning 4 o’clock in central indian autumn and winter (temperatures fell to 7 degrees and in Dehli , the main camp even 2) .After having bath (rather freezing yourself) we marched nearly 3 to our firing range carrying two rifles at times……waait it doesnt end. Imagine being asked during pre-dawn hours to fire at target of 1×1 feet ,5 bullets all in diametre spread of 3 cm. I did that. Then after the usual lectures of how dumb we were of not being able to fire correctly in darkness without vision support ,we were marched back empty stomach to the camp. Usually by now the breakfast (how it was served is another story !!!!! but to tell you a bit , the tea was in same bucket that was used for bathing and washing) was over and we ate what was left by my commorades in tent , a genuine gesture of care by them for their beloved BC (best cadet) . Then we ran about 1km to the drill grounds , just full with tea and poha , so taht we might not be punished.
But there stood our PI staff Subedar Kuldeep singH and Hav. Ramphal , with their smug looks (actually Physical Instructors had a condescending view about best cadets thinking they were too elite to be cut out for hard labour). With the usual punishments of front roll , frog jump , laxmi puja (some weird fatigue that i wouldnt describe now) , murga , i joined my other colleagues for general parade. This parade was highly sycnchonised and disciplined one . One mistake and you repeat the drill as punishment (the whole process took 30 mins and usually it was the best cadets who were at fault due to not being able to devote full time to drill sessions). After usual doses of sugar-coated abuses and having marched for nearly 15 kms at times , we retreated to cultural activities. All this was from 8 o’clock to 12 o’clock under bright sun.
Sounds amusing of what cultural activities are there in N.C.C . My friends RDC camp has cultural events that would put best events of colleges in india to shame . And i surely have witnessed musicians that would maket our IITian rockstar look like toddlers with jingles. But then BC’s being class apart had to attend GD sessions , GK classes , Interview mockups , First aid classes , Psychology tests and loads of other stuff , all lasting for about an hour and half.
Then came the best part of day …. 2:30 to 4:00 pm we were unmolested , free to rest , usually a time i woul d wash my clothes (sometimes after days ) , sit back and relax in my tent. This was time to chat with colleagues about things happening outside. One thing about camp is you rarely know what is happening outside. My whole 7 months of 9th standard are in some way missing.
But then time always flew , with a blow of whistle , the PI staff swooped upon the helpless , exhausted cadets , sometimes brandishing a self styled reed like sabre at lazy butts. With droopy eyes we marched back to drill area for another 10km of drill lasting sometimes upto 7:00pm.
With sun down came the biggest relief , with sore soles , broken back , dried mouth , and sweat beads on brows , we returned back to the lovely tent which was actually meant for 6 people but accomodated 10 cadets. With usual dinner at 8 , the classes for cultural and natiaonal integration programme (in short drama , spoof and other crap for spreading NI ) started . But then , we the elite BC , had a different routine , with sessions of General awareness , cuuernt affairs , interviewing techniques we were bored till 2 0’clock .
We cringe to study here , imagine giving test and interview after this fatigue!!!!!
Then we retired to our overcrowded yet cozy tents , only to hear whistle after 2 hours of sleep and the whole process began again , and where there was no whistle there was the sole of DMS boot of instrustor on our arse …….. for 7 months.
Our tent area was made in area cleared of shrubs and grass , though occasionaly dogs and pigs did pay a visit , acoompanied by snakes .During autumnal rain the tents sometimes got flooded with water and mud and we had no place to go .Unable to do anything , we put ground sheets on mud and slept like logs. But one thing i cherish is we switched on the radio , put it on low volume and went to sleep hearing songs of kishore da.
And here i meet boys who think they have seen all. Those were the days ,,,,, Golden days