I joined the National Defence Academy (NDA) in 1979. I was commissioned into the Sikh Regiment and during my tenure of 36 years in the Forces, I have seen all corners of the country. Be it the fiery hot deserts of Rajasthan, or the chilly winds of Siachen; an Army man would have seen the best and worst of all places.
When I joined, I knew that I had chosen life for myself that very few people choose, and I was prepared for what was to follow next ahead.
You Know Who Will Have Your Back In Times Of Crisis
Life in the Defence is very different to what it is outside. When you look into someone's eyes and tell them that a particular task needs to be done, the other person knows that you mean business. Likewise, it does not take you more than a minute to realise who will have your back in times of crisis. The friends you make in the Forces stand with you throughout life.
Even today, I can call up my coursemate from the NDA, whom I have not met in years, and I know he will be there for me. That is the kind of camaraderie you build in here. The second is self-discipline; the Fauj teaches you enough to last you this lifetime. I feel self-discipline is lacking in our nation; if the youth becomes disciplined, there is no stopping for the heights we can reach.
The Tradition Goes On
I have commanded in Siachen, and throughout my tenure, I came across wonderful troops. I have learned that if your men have faith in you and your leadership, they will not even hesitate to take a bullet for you, and I say this in the most literal sense.
I have a son who also joined Army in my regiment only, and the tradition goes on. I am retired personnel now and have considerable free time at hand. Once you work for 36 years, you do not understand what to do when you are free. Lately, I am just catching up with old friends and improving my knowledge.
I would still want to join the Forces only in my next life. There is no other option, not even a chance. This is the way of life I have known, and I am proud of it.
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