Sunday, February 25, 2007


Disclaimer: All characters, situations and humor in this piece are fictional. Any resemblance noted is purely incidental. All views expressed belong inordinately to yours truly and do not in any way reflect opinions of any canine, feline, bovine, rodent, human, organizational or governmental set up.

Let’s call a spade a spade. Outdoor is not easy-peasy by any stretch of crazy imagination. It is a series of back breaking, bicep enlarging, quadriceps hurting, knee spraining, ligament tearing, wrist fracturing, and shin shattering exercises. Constructed in such a way that it faintly disguises the essence of medieval torture at its core, this recipe has running, marching (in quick step and dheere chaal), horse riding, swimming, arms drill (salami shastra, bagal shastra etc ad nauseum), rope climbing, yoga bending, aerobics, push ups, chin ups, sit ups as its ingredients. All of these activities have specific procedures that have to be strictly adhered to. And all the salami I was conversant with was of a different nature, taste wise.

A hundred and one mostly out of shape bodies, are churned, wrung, chopped, sautéed, fried, baked, stuffed, sieved, curried, spiced, pressure cooked, boiled, steamed and cooked into a strange smorgasbord that, I’m not surprised, no one wants to sample. This assorted amalgam of human fat, muscle and bone bathed, fed and uniformed ends up indoors to the tune of discussions pertaining to law, procedures, prisons, bullet injuries, leadership, knife wounds, dowry deaths, sincerity, honesty, integrity and competencies. Let’s call a spade a spade. Indoor is not easy-peasy by any stretch of crazy imagination. Not when twelve hundred marks are at stake.

Let’s call a spade a spade. There’s nothing that can be done. The 2nd of November means the 2nd of November and it will come only after the months of March, April, May, June, July, August, September and October are over. So how does one sustain and retain the self in the face of such a hard hitting schedule? (Well, the ones really badly hit go to the hospital. However, they have, since the last two weekends been made to realize the folly of their ways. Ask anyone who has had PT and Drill classes on a Sunday…you’ll know what I mean!) The rest, who have kept in the various shades of pink of their health yawn, sigh and doze indoors and shuffle, drag, pant outdoors and thus forth cancel dates on the calendar.

Yet, you ask, how does one keep sane? Oh dear! That’s a wrong question to ask, lil’un! You see sanity has nothing to do here. As the weeks have gone by, I have been privy to the progression/regression of quite a few of my colleagues. Be it the lanky ‘Godfather’, one of the Kerala brothers, who has done everything from nostril flaring like a horse to a staccato ek-dab-ek which still persists while he runs the cross country forever looking for cover behind tiny rocks and shallow ditches. Best thing though is that we’ve arranged a rather elaborate method of saluting, and that keeps me going every morning. The second part in the Kerala brothers’ series is an earnest ‘banana’ youngster who is diligently attempting to learn Hindi and grow a respectable moustache at the same time. He is quite aware of his limitations on both counts though.

Then there is Bhai, who is bummed about going to the hills, actually he spent most of his time here calculating his cadre. Alternately, every week, he was either happy or sad…but as he’s put it best: “it’s all in the mind”. Did I mention, he could be a great playwright and director? To bhai ka cadre aa gaya, aur bhai ko running bhi aa gayi, bas swimming baki hai! Undoubtedly the best runner in our batch, Dulari, is another person who goes to great lengths to maintain aerodynamics. I guess, that is why he doesn’t cut his nails too often, to slice through air…slackers take note. This is a gem of a coaching trick. “O teri”, I can hear Mr. Shin. Too bad, you can’t transplant Maharaja’s. “Jis din meri shin thik ho gayi na…” He threatens… But then he has another strategy planned out with Motey: “End tak expose nahi karenge. Bas last mein position exchange kar lenge.” I’m not sure which way the wind shall blow, but I’m hoping by the last 10 km marathon, we’ll find out. Motey, we’re not quite sure if he was in the Island police or was he at the hands of the Island police. His dexterous digits can not merely sketch but also flick wallets, watches, pens… He’s lost weight, a new name is in order, hmmm… lemme think…

Oh! Mandeepjee ke bare mein kuch nahi likkha to woh na bura maan jayenge.. sorry jee! His biggest issue is changing clothes for that means changing his head gear. Strangely though, he has been asked to wear the turban and not the helmet for horse riding. May be he should swim the same way!

Bringing up the rear are two really unforgettable persons… One Lieutenant Tangri Kebab who keeps us droolingly enthralled with the sight of his muscled thighs and laughing at his aerobic antics. Peeche ka salute is his patented move as is the demo UAC. Any one caught copying shall be punished under Section 30 of LSW Act 2007. “Kitne chakkar lagana hai for writing this?” The other Dr. D, or D Buddha as some people call him. He is the masterful composer and lyricist of famous songs like “Jaane kyon log drill karte hai”, “Drill na kiya to kya kiya”, “Drill se laga le dil”, “Just chin up, chin up”. These numbers can be heard on the lips of everyone who thinks he or she’s not tone deaf and in the minds of the very few who know they are. We think a dedicated radio channel for the two of them should do splendidly, if not, perhaps a recording studio could be arranged. Such talent should not be made to leave the country without a trace.

Let’s call a spade a spade. These people are fun to be with. They make the troubles of the routine quite bearable. Whatever be the cause of this training, whatever it is that I have to achieve here in terms of the profession or the career, methinks life should be great with these guys around…

Friday, February 16, 2007

The Incredible Weight of Being

Being here that is the premier training institute for police officers of India amidst a hundred people, all apparently the intellectual crème de la crème of the country this year… this batch will soon be replaced by another. The circle of life has a new meaning with the UPSC selection process, yet people refuse to face the truth and hang on to notions of superiority. The real person gives way to fresh blood. Perhaps that is why the country goes nowhere!

Whoa!!! Hold on before you think that this is a subjective vent of anger disguised as an objective analysis of people around me. Where is my sense of humor? I vaguely recall a jocular answer to this query. It was something like – “look at the guy she’s with… She definitely has a sense of humor!” Ok, I’m rubbing it in, but it’s too late to mention that now.

Enough digress; I shall get to the subject related to the incredible weight of being here…in this place…with these people. I have been asked to put on 10 kilos on my frame (for the love of god, I don’t know where I’ll be able to put that). I’m one of the few here who’s on this side of the fence. Where the grass is greener, people have been asked to reduce their weight anything between 1 to 14 kilos… However there are weightier issues. For example the kind of food available and the nature and manner in which it is consumed. Often it is the fear of the body giving way that ensures that we all stuff our faces every time we see food. Hence the efforts at reduction have been met with utter failure. Wherever I see the pants have only become tighter, and they’d like to think those are muscles… Looks like most are broadening their horizons.

Over and above this, there is further burden imposed upon us in the name of attempting to maneuver this girth on the PT field, the gym, the games field, the parade ground, the aerobics class, the yoga mats and the climbing rope. The only ground (quite literally I tell you) where this comes in handy is the WT and the firing range where cushions are handy. At least it doesn’t hurt everywhere and every time the bone contacts with the hard earth. Places I’m hurt are unmentionable, unnamable and unpardonable. Sigh!!

Yet I trudge, plod, dredge and drag myself on each day. Every morning I wake up to the sound of the bugler. He blasts off at an unearthly hour, though of late methinks he has a cold or a sore throat. He begins with a clear sound, short and smart bursts in the right pitch, but within 5 seconds it peters off towards utter flaccidity leaving my mind in splits. We have been instructed not to crack up publicly, audibly or visibly.

As I giggle, chuckle, mumble in my mind, my body stands in the midday sun in this god forsaken piece of Government property, my face and forearms tanned to king‘black’dom come, my scalp dripping each and every gram of salt available in the body along with every bit of the 70% water that I’m made of. One can actually feel the strength ebbing out as the tickled-with-rivulets-of-sweat quadriceps muscles refuse to obey commands of savdhan or vishram. One more thing…I’m learning to incorporate nomenclature like glutes into my regular vocabulary… Man, let’s just call it the ass!

Though the way everything seems to be going, I’ll be lucky to leave this place with my humor intact if not the femur or the humerus. Though the incredible weight of being here may achieve exactly this, I’d rather leave with what I came in… and, maybe a few rope burns!