A leaflet from my diary - AFTC is Chill! Jhilmil Jhilmil Jhilmil
A TRIBUTE TO 80 & 119 OF my 81
Disclaimer:- For those who know AFTC, this is not one of those “Journey through AFTC” articles and for those who don’t know this place, boy, did you miss it!
Human tendency is to experiment, drift, think, ponder, react, love, hate, ignore, cry, laugh, shout, sulk, cheer, empathize, support, disagree and most of all live.
AFTC’s survival policy is to NOT experiment, drift OR think much, never ponder at all, DO NOT react AT ALL, love little, hate discreetly, ignore some, NOT cry ever, laugh , shout only when asked to, sulk in your own room only, cheer wherever possible, support, empathy and disagreements to be limited to yourself! AND THEN YOU SHALL BE ALLOWED TO LIVE!
And yes, it stands as a beautiful place, loved by each one of us living here.
I haven’t blogged since the past year and a half. Thanks to AFTC. So, thank you readers for exploring this one.
Straight from ACADEMY, HYDERABAD after a high of topping my course I was raring to enter AFTC. BUT, I entered this campus of negativity about a year back a couple of days before my birthday on 16th December. Yes, negativity. And I was finally born! 18th December 2012 turned out to be a nightmare not just for self, but for 120 others who bled with me. Correct! Bled! There were 120 others who came here 6 months before me and they ensured that my eyes looked straight to mother earth for the next few weeks.
Humility and selflessness is best experienced when you’re down giving up with 5 others struggling to get up. It is then, when a man is his true self and wakes up exploring all options just to survive. The Defence way just makes it easier for you to realize this when it keeps not just you but many others with you ‘down’ to earth till you get up together!
During this escapade of mine, I gained more than I thought. Never ever did I get time to think like a human back then. Thinking back, I found this new species I started calling friends! 52 weeks later today, I still call many of them friends. I refrain from naming any because I’m sure I’ll miss out so many.
I find it worth mentioning here that we lost one of our friends during these physically taxing sessions who broke his leg and did not continue with us. He would later join the next batch 6 months later, fit and fine. Another example of the undying spirit to continue.
Pride and honour is well celebrated by humans all over the civilizations ever known to mankind. It feeds the human ego of recognition and appreciation. I too, like any other, fell for it. After being chosen to lead 30 of my earlier mentioned friends, my year of 2013 began on a high. There is only one way of doing things around here, the way it is TOLD! But unfortunately as a leader, I never gave up my tendency to experiment. I took chances. I supported. I yelled. I laughed. I commanded. I gave my best. But then, why would I be writing this article if every aspect of my tenure would have been a smooth sail. There were many a times my chances fell wrong. I gave all I had for many to lead from the front. On the other hand, I hurt some in the rush to succeed. I supported the right, but I took the wrong route too.
I distinctly remember one of my experiments. I facilitated passing of a weekly assessment for some, which was the only way they would be allowed to leave this city of madness and negativity with all of us on the nearing Sunday. I succeeded but as parlance says, died in action! I still don’t know if I was right or wrong, but the music faced was loud and clear! After intense grilling, somehow I was allowed to continue my job. It affected me tangibly and intangibly. I failed to give my best in my own assessments for next few weeks and I was rest assured that this will affect my future assignments during my tenure here.
And so it did. The first six months as a junior trainee were rigorous and extremely adventurous. The structure of the program is such that it simulates all your senses. Athletics, games, culturals, academics, and what not. There is only one thing which holds a man good in the long run – Will to move on. At regular intervals I was made to realize the same. Be it the late night sessions with 15 others to succeed in examinations, be it the long races, be it the midnight oil burnt for extracurricular activities. Nothing pinched although that could be because of the generous instructors’ allowance to sleep during lectures. The junior tenure concluded on a decent note. I faced failures, some great friends, some loved ones, and most of all a beautiful 6 month coming to an end.
A reasonable EQ is a must for any military leader. With EQ around women, comes the boyish nature to charm everything moving around you! And as any other ‘boy’ here, amidst the chaos of day and night, survival, lack of sleep, I too managed to stay in controversy more often than I thought. This article should also come as a tribute to all those who fed my share of stories beyond work. A ‘fauji’ seems incomplete without one or two or sometimes three or four failures or successes with the women around him.
One of my last and strongest memories of those 6 months is when my immediate senior chose to pass his nickname of ‘the course demo’ to another good friend of mine. A shy confession would speak that I wish my efforts were also recognized in the same way. An honest assessment would speak that there were better plans to push me more to my limits! Nevertheless it was a satisfying evening when 120 of those who bled and sweat with me had my name too on their tongues to vouch for. A recognition in itself.
The 6 months ended and many questions were left unanswered, many relationships half built, many men confused of what was in store next, many controversies unattended to. But there’s time. There’s time to seek answers, to have closures and probably make more out of this place and its traditions.
Check list of first 6 months
1. Tears of happiness – √
2. Tears of disappointment – √
3. Bleed for nothing (or everything)! – √
4. Lose consciousness due to zero energy – √
5. Hear your name cheered by each and everyone around – √
6. A genuine thank you from a friend – √
7. A sincere apology to the same friend – √
8. A smoke in a restricted area – √
9. Standing up for self’s logic – √
10. Facing the wind & symbolically peeing against myself!(Calling for intense trouble)–√
11. Wearing the first set of original ranks – √
12. A late night seemingly never ending conversation so that you sleep all day in class. √