Living a Warrior’s Life
I clearly remember that when I wanted to take the National Defence Academy examination at seventeen years of age, my mother and sisters were all tears, and my father was tense. Well, I was not going to the Battle – just the entrance examination. It has always been a very tender spot in me when I meet the families of Defence personnel – just the idea that someone has come to terms with putting their loved ones in harm’s way consciously. I bow to all those brave families.
A senior officer’s wife was sharing with me that in their 36 years of marriage, they have been together only for 12 years. When they were married, they were together for 21 days, and then she did not see him for four years, he being in active postings. How do we compensate this noble woman who, as a newly married bride waits for her husband with the inevitable fear of the terrible news that may come her way.
It was a profound week for me to be with these valiant lives during my brief trip to Leh, Ladakh, and Siachen Glacier. The Siachen Warriors, as they are called, are posted at altitudes above 18000 ft., up to 22000 ft. MSL. They prepare for over 30 days, take up to 25 days to get there, and stay upon the peaks for 120 days. Staying at that altitude in temperatures ranging from -25° to -45°C can freak one’s body chemistry, which can be fatal. The war with the enemy may happen once in a way, but the battle with the elements is moment to moment. The right sort of yogic practices can greatly ease this struggle with Nature’s onslaught.
Ladakh has been a popular tourist destination, an incredible landscape that could be mistaken for Moonscape. Very much like the Tibetan Plateau, but still unique in its own way. The Drives are exhilarating; let myself go a bit. Been a long time since pushing powerful vehicle to its limits. Glad to notice that a whole lot of youth, both male and female, have taken to Motor Cycling. Thanks to Royal Enfield revival that many can afford to ride long distances. When I rode across the country, I rode alone on a 250cc Roadking, Yezdi/Jawa – a Czech machine, but made in my hometown Mysore.
After this many years, that exotic roar of a zero idling machine, which expressed its many moods as I goaded it to do the impossible, still rings in my ears. Though I may not be able to sustain those sort of over 1000 km of riding in 24 hours anymore – sometimes non-stop up to three days and nights – one part of me is still just the same. The roar of an engine, the biting cool breeze of the mountains, the monsoon drench, the hum of the sunbird, to name a few things, still makes me feel the same way. I am just as youthful as I ever was.
Are you youthful? You need to check. Youth does not mean a certain age. Youth is a life in the making. If you are always in the making, that is you are an endless potential, you are a Youth, for sure. If you wish, I could give you a check list to monitor your Youthfulness.
My profound gratitude and Regards for all those wonderful officers of Indian Army who are not only Brave Warriors but also most wonderful hosts.