Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Rambling in the rain...

I didn't really have a reason to walk to office yesterday in nearly waist high dirty water, but I thought that it would be a crazy thing to do, and I really had'nt been upto any crazy act for a long long time!(Getting drunk and sending rude messages once in a while is not to be counted out here!) Anyways... here's the link in case any of you want to check out what it is like walking down Mumbai's roads when they get flooded.

It's been quite a while since I chose to get drenched on my own accord. Last time, if I remember correctly, was many, many months back near the Gateway of India where I got totally drenched, had some awesome bhutta and actually enjoyed the experience for a change!(getting drenched in the rain I mean... I've nothing against having bhutta. Which reminds me that that was the last time I had bhutta actually!)

I remember the time when I was in class XI,some of us got the idea that we have to celebrate Aishwarya's birthday by having Coke (I am obviously referring to the cold drink out here!) It was raining like crazy, and the mission was tough, but we were determined in our goal. We (four or five morons who were sad enough to be infatuated by Ms Rai at that point of time in our lives) braved our way through water logged streets and mean vehicles determined to splash as much water as possible as they crossed us, survived the impact of millions of bullet like raindrops that never ceased in their velocity and reached a shop selling the drink that the goddess advertised. (Before you get the idea that Coke was a rare commodity in Kolkata and could only be found in a few shops out there , let me add that part of our deal was to walk through the rain in order to prove our devotion! ) The entire journey was worth it just to see the look on the faces of the shopkeeper and general junta around as we took our bottles and started singing Happy Birthday at the top of our voices!

Pune was heaven when it rained. It was magical sitting at the Pagoda on Fergusson Tekdi (a hill at the boundary of my college) watching the rains wash away the grime off the thousands of trees below us and paint them in brilliant shades of green, shivering away to glory as we shared a solitary cigarette and laughing our heads off thinking of the unfortunate ass who lost his foothold on the slippery rocks and went tumbling down some distance! It was sheer delight biking down the roads in Pune when it drizzled slightly. I had this (in)famous flourescent orange wind cheater in college that was bright enough to ensure I could be spotted from nearly two miles away. (which was precisely the reason my parents made me buy the thing ...It was supposed to reflect light in the dark or some shit like that!. To give it credit, it did help scare away any vehicle coming from the opposite side of the road in the middle of the night !

I joined IMA in Jan '04, when winter was just about starting in full fledge in that part of the country. For a second imagine that it's a typical Delhi winter, and the only thing you are wearing is a thin cotton vest, a shirt, a pair of trousers, and one ordinary sweater. O.k... now replace yourself with Gentleman Cadet Sritanu Chakrabarti, D/36335, Jr Coy, Ma Bn, 116 Regular. Since you are not allowed to wear civvies in the army, replace your shirt and trousers with a pair of olive green dungarees. Throw away that sweater, add a cap to your head and wear combat boots. No wollen inners/woolen socks/thick vests allowed. (nearly all of us tried wearing them surreptitiously the first few days... always got caught by the seniors, got rogered first thing in the morning, and then were sent off for the day's training ahead...came back, and again got rogered for messing up in the morning) To make things fun, one person fucking up by breaking rules (in this case by wearing clothing that was not regulation) , meant that the entire first termers in a particular company got rogered. We fell into line within the first few days itself, better brave the cold than face the wrath of the seniors !

Anyways... so there we were in our dungarees, wearing them everywhere as our Olive Green uniforms were yet to be issued. We were issued three- four pairs of dungarees, so that the pair that got drenched due to sweat by the time you returned to your room, could be left to dry/given for a wash , and you would wear another one the following day. Things were going fine until it suddenly started raining in Dehradun one fine day. My first reaction to the rains when I woke up in that particular morning was 'Rainy Day ... no training today!' Then realisation crept in that it did'nt matter whether it was rain or would continue as same as ever. Only difference would be that the temperture had drastically dropped a few degrees lower. Riding on your bicycle on mountainous terrain (you always move about in IMA in squads of four or six ,either on your bicycle or you march. If you are unlucky enough to be the odd numbered guy after a squad is made, run all the way to wherever you are going. Walking is something you don't dare do unless you are an officer or a third termer!) in that biting cold ,amidst the rain was tough. Your body got so numb, you could hardly feel anything. And at 4.30 A.M in the morning, the combined effect of the mist and the rain meant that you could hardly see where you were going! Come rain, come shine, the GC has to reach on time. Being late means all your coursemates get fucked by the instructor because of you !

It rained incessantly day in ,day out for about a week. By the third day, I was out of dungarees. Two had gone for washing, two pairs were wet. Have you ever tried wearing dripping wet clothes first thing on a winter morning, then gone out in the rain and got drenched for the whole day ? Try repeating this schedule for about four days in a row. Surprisingly, none of us fell sick or anything. By the end of it, we were so toughened up, that we knew that the first step towards becoming a soldier was taken. We were weather immune to some extent at least.It all seems like a dream today as I look in the mirror and see a fat slob staring back at me! (O.K... resolution made yet again to start exercising and get back in shape from tomorrow!)

Well... rambled on quite a bit I guess. :) I'll go back to my pensieve now and revisit IMA for some time. It's funny, that after all these years, the army is still the only thing that I have been ever passionate about from the bottom of my heart! More from me later...till then Jai Hind! :)


Vaijayanta Chattoraj said...

Unless someone is athletic right from the childhood, it becomes very difficult for that person to cope up with the pressures of training at IMA.

That is why Bengalis always find it difficult there as they do not have a born athletic body.

Sritanu said...

@vaijayanta - That's a big misconception you have. There are plenty of Bengalis who undergo training at NDA/IMA every year... and they are amongst the best cadets in every company. Even the most athletic people find training difficult...not just bengalis!

The training at NDA/IMA/OTA is structured in such a way that you get used to the rigour with time !

Bongs in general are lazy fucks...thats why most would rather die than indulge in any physical activity !! :D

Zahra said...

Niiiiiiccce!!! :-)

Am a sucker for rain myself.... reminds me that I'd better get drenched a coupla times this monsoon!!
Interesting read on life in the army.... you musta enjoyed it despite the torture... like IIFT was in a different way for me ;P

Keep 'em coming!

Deepa said...

Indeed, a heart-felt post! Really nice and funny, the para abt the winters made me feel cold and warm at the same time :)

Sritanu said...

@zahra,deepa - Thanks !! :)