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Showing posts from November, 2017

The Hawaldar's Tale

Yesterday, I was rejected from Pre-RDC. As I was walking out of camp, a hawaldar I knew asked me where I was going, and I told him I was heading home. His response wasn't the usual hand-holding or the "You'll make it next year" that most people come at you with. Instead, he told me to focus on my education. "I'll probably be a hawaldar for the rest of my life because I joined the army as soon as I finished my 10th. Now that you're out of RDC, go home and study, get a good job." These are sentiments that I've heard echoed many times by other NCOs and JCOs. They also eerily resemble what other people who dropped out before they got a high-school diploma have told me.

The regret for people I've spoken to is that because they dropped out, they lost a great many opportunities that they didn't know they'd even have at 16. It seems like people don't realize that they need a good education - or, come to that, any sort of education - unti…

The Cadet's Diary

In many of my posts over the past two years, I have made subtle (and sometimes not-so-subtle) allusions to my membership in the National Cadet Corps. About a month ago, I embarked on what is known as the "RDC chain", a series of eight camps which culminate with the Republic Day Camp and parade in Delhi. Being, as usual, out of things to write about, I decided to write about the camps.

I was fortunate enough to have been born into an upper-middle-class family. I also happen to have a mother who is more than somewhat compulsive about cleanliness. Let me put that into perspective for you: when I was a kid, all our bathroom breaks on road trips coincided with the appearance of a Coffee Day by the wayside,  and not because anyone enjoyed the food (we're all tea drinkers at home, and anyway, you can't really enjoy a soggy, week-old sandwich). We stopped there because Coffee Days have reliably clean toilets. Sixteen years I was raised like this, and then packed off to an NC…