Me and Myself : Journey through Cantonments

  Avinash P


July 18' 2017

A

bright sunny day in one of 200 Military Hospital across India. I opened my eyes and saw Dad in Olive color uniform. I was though mindless but was able to see his colleagues in same outfit. Trust me if I use to have a sense back then, I would ask myself "What that dress mean ?". The day passes in one of Maternity Ward, and then a decorated welcome by Dad back in Quarter. Wait "Quarter" , the one fourth of Drink. 'Nahh' the frisky accommodation where your fan sounds more than empty vessel, where Gardens surrounds your walls and trust me the dull lights glowing after eve. But I like those houses. Cause I know the coming 18 years of Life will be in there.

I grow enough to walk on my own. But still my parents use to worry about by interest of going out of the door. May be that was the reason they introduce a wooden blockage on door. Then I realize what 'Barricades' were. To call my day awesome I must admit the 'DD National' broadcast running every hour on that box TV. And off course the Dad's time of switching volume between 8:00 pm - 8:30 pm for daily news on DD. That time Dad taught me how to concentrate on things.

It was my first day at Nursery, first time not to see mom in front of eyes for long hours. I cried a lot on first few weeks and tried to debate with her not to leave me. But that time I learnt to stand on our own. I got many friends, a nice teacher and a 'bell-master' whom we loved a lot. The final bell and my eyes look out at Gates for Mom. And unlike today's kids who have greater demands, we kids of 80's - 90's demand of visiting park for some ride and then walk back to home.

Life was just astounding till I got admitted to One of Unrivaled and Prestigious Army Schools. A "AWES" logo becomes your identity for next 12 years. The first day in first standard was like 'oh my god' . The campus, the security and most probably the crowd. Talking literary the primary wing ( from std 1st - 5th) was like a Colosseum of Rome. I found great friends, fight for tiffin reservation and most seriously was debating back on lemma word called by your rivaled class mate. There I learnt how to work out with your enemies. If you beat them once, you celebrate whole week. But if you were beaten, you debate with mom to complain about the rival.

And the final day Arrive 1st April, when I entered in Colossal and Eminent wing of Army School mostly know with the term "Senior Wing" . I don't find a suitable words to describe it, but for sure know that it would be combination of seven wonders for every Army Kid. There were many great moments in those 7 years. Even we change cantonments and schools, the only thing remain same was the uniform and books. More deeply even the nature of every kid we met. That's how we learnt of adjusting with situations.

You hear Dad's voice saying he got transfer to 'Insurgent Valley' , the crash moment for every Army Kid. Every day and Night he pray for Dad's return safely. A news flashes Army men killed in patrolling, but feel safe when you come to know that your Dad's name was not in that list. But feels bad for those who sacrifice their life. Unlike other kids we kids of Indian Army always pray to God to keep our Dad safe out there at frontiers. I salute to all those kids and wives of personnel who are serving at borders, who have courage to bear every odds. Respect to all Martyrs of Indian Armed Forces.

Remember the day of PTA meet, you wake up with a fear of getting in spotlight among your friends. Your heart beat depends on with whom you are visiting the school. The beat use to be normal when you hear that Mom is coming, but beats fast when the voice says "I'll take him on bike, you stay". Cerebral, the fear gets double. And then the stomach pain increases with the descending distance between your Dad and your Class. The half an hour in class and then the Dad's lecture all way to home. But thanks to Mom who defend us against our odds. But a real feel comes when you see 'Promoted to next Class. All the Best' . Well time goes by and one day your parents plan of visiting your Native village. 'huh' the immense feeling of love when you hear Indian Railway locomotive and the tracks traction. And 'sone mei suhaga' when Dad vocalize that we got one Lower Berth and even when you see the fare on ticket says 'Zero Only'. You feel as if you are surfing on clouds. The day arrive, and you become conscious of your Dad's job when a Stallion comes to drop your family at station. You feel unique in Civil areas.

Among your relatives or siblings you feel proud of your Dad's job. You love to share your Cantonment's Journey and even you School Moments. During those days I realize for us the world was divided into two category : Civilians and Army. For us malls/canteens means CSD, furniture means MES, environment means Cantonments.

The 'Bada-Khana' and Regiments 'Annual-Day', I use to go crazy those days. May be sometimes I use to lie I'm deceased and take a leave from school. The Olive color open tents and division by companies make you Thor of the event. Remember those days when Dad's use to get Promoted. the 'Promotion-Party' to your Company and even the 'Send-off Party' in every regiment you pass by. Dad takes you to 'MT Garage' and says his colleague to give you a ride in T-90's or Arjun Tanks. And even those 'Tatra' whom we use to call 'Big Daddy' . I still remember those rainy days when our school bus 'shaktimaan' use to leak and the water drops falling onto bags. We were like 'uncle yaha se paani aaraha hei'. 'Uncle' or 'Shayak Bhaiya' sitting back in carriage with us was not a security person as civilians thought of. He was guardian beside parent, who use to wish us Good Luck on our exam and can fight with School authority to save our odds. In my whole Cantonments Life I would salute all those 'uncle' who use to sacrifice there family time to guard us while we are en-route to home.

A occasion came when you reach 12th, the maturity reaches on peak. Started to fall in Love with Dad's profession. You make promises to join soon. And of course the intimate memories you had in Army Schools.
Now I'm a ex-APSian ( graduated from Army School ) . I love to tell every time I meet a stranger. I got admitted to university and then a moment pass by when you hear that your Dad is now a Veteran. Those long 18 years in various cantonments makes you cry. Now I feel difficult to adjust in the corrupted Civil Environment and staying in one house for long life. But I feel proud that once my Dad was in Indian Army and served the Nation Selflessly.


- Dedicated to All Army Kids and Parents who are serving in Indian Army.