Daisies- The heart of a Soldier

“They symbolise innocence, purity , and positivity.” – Web

The world outside his or her olive greens is overwhelming for the soldier whether he or she walks into the world either as a mortal or simply as a bodiless soul. The world looks so new, like a new leaf.

When I stepped out of the boots , I felt I was in some time machine. Everyone was so in their hustle , and me scuttling to catch up with them in vain. CoVID came as a rescue (yes seriously!).

When I was making attempts to hold the sand in my hand, the world had to come to a standstill. This might sound so selfish but it was not just my wish but heart of heart of every soul on this planet. Everything was fast, and that made it senseless, just like a fast driven car repelling all the breeze that could have been felt by you, but the speed fades away your senses… or May be like a bottle of spirit that distances you from yours…You forget to feel.

The numbness of ourselves was the most dangerous thing that had happened to the mankind because of the gadgets. We preferred touching screens then souls..

But lockdown came as a blessing in disguise (though the most horrific one, almost a lesson learnt in the hardest possible way). We realised (at-least few of us) that the gadgets can’t appease you for long. You need people !! Real people! And this was something we Soldiers are good at handling ,people vis-a-vis Facebook pages.

When you speak it’s not just words , it’s your eyes that talk.. and when that’s not happening, the conversation is just another boring chat. The satiation comes only when the soulful self of two people connect and this depends on the depth of your eyes and your thoughts. Just like the purity of the daisies.

Our uniform takes through numerous moments of life and death few mortal and few mental. And in these moments we learn to touch people with utmost purity , innocence and optimism so that all that the other person receives is humaneness in its purest state. Soldiers connect not to be forgotten but at some point of life be remembered as a beautiful flower that brought smiles!

The Language that killed an Emperor

The duals fought in historical courts between poets is a tradition still revered as one of the most intellectual and literary traditions. Not just poets, musicians, educators, all strived to make a mark on the mind donned by the royal throne.

The commonality between the above historical artists is the language. Language has been the showcase for religions, regions , mindsets and different realms. Today let’s look into one such realm.

In the book titled,” Adrishya” on the greatest spies of Indian history, the mention of Bardai opens up uniquely different dimension of spy craft. Most unassuming individuals hidden with most unassuming skills often make it to this strata of warfare. And when you read about Bardai, this is more evident.

The chapter speaks of the extraordinary skills of Bardai in spy craft, but most historically significant was the use of Brij Bhasha as a secure means of communication. As we commemorate Hindi Diwas today it’s imperative to know little more about this language.

As per Britannica ,” Braj Bhasha language, also spelled Braj Bhasa, Braj Bhakha, or Brij Bhasa, language descended from Shauraseni Prakrit and commonly viewed as a western dialect of Hindi. It is spoken by some 575,000 people, primarily in India. Its purest forms are spoken in the cities of Mathura, Agra, Etah, and Aligarh.”

Who knew this dialect would carve a great part of India’s Historic Journey? So back to Bardai. Bardai had the poetic skills which made his communications with Prithviraj Chauhan more worthy to etched into a book. And none other than Chand Bardai himself wrote the epic ,” Prithviraj Raso” in Brij Bhasa.

“In the world of intelligence-gathering, jargon acts as a much needed veil of secrecy. “-Web

Brij was that veil to the association of Bardai and Prithviraj especially while executing tactical activities. When Prithviraj was imprisoned by Mohammad Ghori , Chand Bardai strategised a plan to help Prithviraj kill his enemy as escape wasn’t possible. Bardai spread this rumour that Prithviraj can aim by hearing and the sold this to Ghori , who blindly believed Bardai as by then Bardai had established his influence on Ghori. An Archery competition was organised where Bardai played this ace of spades about Prithviraj’s skill. Ghori’s curiosity about his enemy coerced him to witness this skill. And that’s when Bardai recited,

“चार बांस चौबीस गज अंगुल अष्ट प्रमाण ता ऊपर सुल्तान है मत चूके चौहान !”

-Prithiviraj Raso by Chand Bardai

The same verse and the event has been narrated in this excerpt from the Book ‘Adrishya’.

Excerpt of the Chapter on Chand Bardai from the book ‘Adrishya’

This excerpt clearly brings out that how Brij was used as a secret language akin to signal codes of the modern era. The explanation of the enemy’s location in Brij gave Prithviraj the exact clarity which he needed to aim at Ghori. This brings out the need to have a very in depth understanding of the language.

This historical account of Chand Bardai and Prithviraj Chauhan is only one drop as a witness to the advancement and vision already seen by the ancient India in terms of how evolution of language can exceed beyond the spheres of mundane human communication to significant military craftsmanship!

The Symbolism-Paradox of Womanhood

Flash back to “Kuchh kuchh hota hai”, Kajol who was a tomboy in college , walks in wearing a saree and makes Shahrukh fall for her. Suddenly, “he feels that he is in love”. It’s nothing but idiotic infatuation glorified. We all suffer from this OCD even when it comes to our personalities. We get into defining people … she’s a tomboy, yaar she’s so girly… oh god isn’t she too bold ??? And the list never ends.

Then comes in symbolism. It can be seen being sympathised for ‘short hair’ to “Oh Nithi, you’re in the Army ? But u don’t look like ?”

This is a never ending psychological controversy. The main reason for this is our emotionally exaggerating selves.

Isn’t it possible for a soldier to where a cocktail dress and yet maintain her professional demeanour? She very well can! (Disclaimer: please don’t drag the uniform this !!! Because the sanctity of the uniform should not be experimented with..) So what if she wants to feel solemn by wearing a saree for an occasion? You will then see sarcasm knocking there.

At the same time there are people who are over concerned about “oh my god how do you wear those heavy boots?!! Poor girl!!”

We reach nowhere in this! Actually!!

Interesting is what we are left with as identities especially women? Either one who’s portraying to be a non conformist by ‘equating’ men through their appearances or one who portrays as an idealist by being conventional and socially acceptable.

I am reminded of Sadhguru’s quote that the believer and the non believer are on the same side… they both believe in something. Beliefs make us shallow , rather, we must endeavour for experience!! Want to sport a western dress do it !! Want to be ethnic the next day, do it!!! Let the superficialities of our attires don’t affect your identities, let them be cherished only as recreation for oneself, just to feel good , feel happy for yourself, cherish culture , not for portraying it to people!!

I hope this made sense to you!!! Simply enjoy what you want to be today !!!

Fifteen minutes of Patriotism

Patriotism holds different meanings to each one of us.. even at different times within each of us…. And over these years independent India has definitely seen the changing hues…some bright and some dark… but has it lost the spark???

When anyone packs bags for their visit to Amritsar, Harpreet was the first one to get a ping on her mobile. “Hi, We are coming!” This phrase meant more than what it sounds like. The meaning often varied depending on how close they were. Friends? Relatives? Or acquaintances? Because the visit could transform from anything between fun to formality.

Harpreet Kaur was a soldier in the Border Security Force which was responsible for the famous Parade at the Wagah Border in Amritsar, Punjab. And her present posting at the same place , was the reason her phone mostly rang. Except one, that of Biji (referring to Mother in Punjabi language). Biji’s call involved queries related to having proper meals, safety, situation between the two countries vis a vis the requests by people to visit Golden Temple ( famous temple of Sikhs) , or witness the Wagah Parade. Calls for passes to see the parade might shadow that of well wishers in number but cannot weaken their blessings.

Wagah and Attari are the bordering villages between Indian and Pakistan, wherein Wagah is part of Pakistan and Attari is in India. The two nations are geographically connected here through railways as well as bus services, all taking place under the vigilant eyes of both nations. The parade conducted at Wagah between the border forces of the two nations, Border Security Force (BSF) of India and Pakistan Rangers is a melodramatic spectacle most sought after by the general public. ‘The Retreat‘ as it is referred to is a formal ceremony conducted by the parading contingent for lowering their National flags for the day. The main parade is an approximately 15 mins event , but the public conglomerates much before time for witnessing the cultural activities and also participating in the same. The parade epitomises many things, the historical relations between the two countries, the competition, the hatred , the love, inquisitiveness and the Patriotic demeanour.

It was time for the retreat. Harpreet was in the marching contingent again. As she got ready in the ceremonial uniform, she could hear the cheers of “Hindustan Zindabad” (Long live India) and “Vande Mataram” (Hail Motherland) , filling the air. She peeped out to see people gathered in thousands with the tricolour Indian flag fluttering in their hands. She gently smiled thinking of the fates of these flags in an hour from now. She looked at the gleaming faces of innocent youth painted with saffron, white and green. Each pair of eyes on both sides , filled with pride and anticipation that their country’s parade will be the best. Her thoughts dissolved when a colleague called,”It’s time!”

The master of the ceremonies dressed in white, made the announcement and signalled the public to welcome the contingent with cheers and war cries. The drums rolled and the parade commander gave them command. With one smart jerk the contingent marched towards the Border gate and took positions. Next followed Harpreet and her partner marching towards their positions near the gate. Cheers for the Women soldiers filled the air. Stamping the last step Harpreet faced her Pakistani counter part with show of anger and pride which was also part of the drill , and what actually gave the viewers the adrenaline rush.

Lastly, the parade commander marched smartly to his position near the gate. There were gates on both the sides painted in their respective national colours. As contingents of both sides smartly stood for further orders to retreat the flags from the hoist, the decibels of the patriotic cheers increased with the setting of the Sun.

Just when the Sun reached the point between the flags, the parade commander gave the command for lowering the flag. The contingent held on to the ropes strongly and brought down the flag slowly and gently , as it still proudly fluttered. The public had already stood in respect as is customary. As the flag further swirled down, the contingent formed itself in a manner to hold the flag and prevent it from touching the ground. In a military order they folded the flag. One of the soldiers marched back with the folded flag, which received salutes and standing ovations.

Rest of the contingent reeled back into a pre-rehearsed formation and marched back to the place of origin of the parade. Applause, appreciation and amazed expressions accompanied the contingent as they marched.

“It was again a good show,” Harpreet thought to herself but soon returned to the usual composure. This was all not new to her she told herself as she gazed at the fading public. Few clicked pictures with the soldiers on guard, few with the contingent. A dreamy Harpreet was also pulled for a picture by few where she grinned with plasticity. And as dusk fell, silence and darkness cladded the place. The waved flags now lay on the dust like any other plastic trash lying there.

As people started their retreat, Harpreet viewed the changed souls, not struck by instilled patriotism but by their usual selves! Unruliness won over patriotic discipline as people refused to move in a line when requested by the BSF soldiers. Few even got into heated arguments.

Honking of vehicles replaced patriotic cheers. At a distance, two groups of youths got into a tussle over some parking issue. The laughter of few girls echoed who discussed about what movie they should go and watch now. Few mothers spanked their kids demanding them to walk faster as they had domestic chores waiting at home. Vendors greeted the dispersing public to earn their living through the patriotic mileage.

But the fence gazed quietly at the schemozzle. The civil volunteers started their job of cleaning up the place to prepare it for the next day and Harpreet and others prepared for their turns of night duty on the fence. Whatever may be the situation, the vigil at the fence was uncompromising.

Some important activities were to be finished. Representatives of both countries completed the formalities of few people who were being repatriated to both sides. Few had families to receive them and few had solitude.

And so all human souls got back to their routines, few by keeping the parade as a good travel memory and few falling back to their true duties. As for patriotism…well that continued having its 15 minutes fame.

Ode to the Black Cat Soldier

I was born with a normal human skin,

Unaware of the mettle inside.

I jumped and hopped through the woods in my country,

Unknown where does my future reside.

When books replaced my colourful marbles,

It was little disheartening,

“Can’t I just keep playing with my toys”, was a thought always recurring.

And lo behold ! One day who knew I will get that call,

Which every youth in this nation pleads,

To be the most unique of all.

The Olive green with beautiful stars

Was more than a costly dress donned,

It was my second skin,

And the Army my second home.

But still I felt my fate doesn’t end here,

There is so much to conquer,

so many unseen fears.

The craze to be unique still had not died,

The black combats is what now I started to eye.

Sleepless nights with endless training,

The bruises had grown so deep ,

That it had stopped paining.

Weapons of insurmountable power,

Were now my new toys,

This land my bed, and my workplace in the Sky.

So beware oh Enemy!!

I am no easy animal you could hunt,

I am a predator who will tear you down,

Till from my land you’re nicely shunt!

Until then I watch you like an eagle,

With a thirsty weapon and a mettle hat,

I m the deadliest protector of this pious land,

I am the Black Cat!!!

A Soldier Prays

Greetings to all on Army Day. Sharing this small prayer which every soldier carries in his or her heart. Please spare a minute to this. Jai Hind

May you Flutter with pride,

My Soul prays everyday.

My longing to clad in you,

my mortal remains,

Be a wish that doesn’t go in vain.

For you’re my Mother

and I your protector,

Our bond cannot be a uncertain end.

Let my soul win this fate

oh dear Mother Land !

With this thought

I live each Day….”

~Nithi CJ

A Soldiers Oath

Scoot from the left,

scoot from the right.

Crawl up to the enemy,

and destroy him with all my might.

Don’t mourn my beloved citizens,

Nor possess any uncertain tremor,

I am here to safeguard our land,

Your Knight in the Shining Armour!

I watch over the Mighty Himalayas,

And dive deep in the blue sea.

Not a morsel of this land can be snatched,

the enemy must submit

or flee…

The sandstorms cannot blind me,

nor can I be washed away by a Tsunami.

I will be the wall for you,

No matter what is the calamity.

I exist for the nation’s interest,

I cannot be weakened.

Rumours and Vices can try their best,

But my duty is my religion.

My people know my mettle.

And thus, happily I leave my nest.

Challenges are now routine,

And soon I would have to give my best.

A word of caution dear citizens.

Ignorance towards your responsibilities,

is an enemy bigger than the West.

Let knowledge win over ignorance

and harmony over distrust.

This land is sacred due to sacrifices

of Saints, Poets , Soldiers , Teachers and Farmers,

Let that not go in dust.

For to a Soldier’s soul,

that adds only agony and disgust.

Take care of my mother land,

not my family,

as through these games of war,

it has learned to survive itself.

Fulfil my this dream ,

and cloak me in the Tricolour.

Let my soul become immortal,

and be your knight in the shining Armour!!

A Soldier will be Born Again

(Tribute to our paratroopers who martyred on 06 April 2020)

And just when we thought nothing would go worse than this,
They fell like the leaves that give us shade,
By mesmerising us lesser mortals,
With patriotic bliss.

“ Look there are enemies, stay at home “,
“ Look there is disease, stay at home”,
“Look there is a calamity, stay at home”, they always said.
And still many of us chose to step out with our fancies,
And when they shielded us ,
we had not a drop of remorse instead.

The papers continued,
With the usual jing bang and money minded hustle.
And destiny left their loved ones with a life of uncertainty to jostle.

Their souls assured, “But don’t be sad dear people and our mother land!
We will for surely return”,
“ As one soldier breathes his last,
A soldier will be born again!”

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