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Ablaze in a Blizzard

Ablaze in a Blizzard - Col.(Retd.) P. Ganesan





The Take Off



The Army

When India was advocating, "Non-aligned" international policy at that time, Army was given only scanty attention. The Chinese attack on India came as a biggest blow and proved the proverb "If you want peace, be prepared for war" to be true. Senior intellectuals started advising youngsters to join Indian Army and strengthen the nation. So the Executive Engineer did not accept my resignation and instead advised me to join the Army. Being from an absolute rural background, I did not know anything about Army. The department sponsored me to attend Service Selection Board at Bangalore in June 1963. Without any preparation and without any knowledge about Army Life, I attended the Services Selection Board at Bangalore. To my great surprise I was selected and directed to attend Officer's Training on instruction from Army Headquarters.


The Painful parting

There was a great uneasiness and disturbances at home on hearing the news about me leaving PWD and joining the Army. Generally the impression with everybody in rural area was that Army means War Front, Injury Disability and Death only. So a general gloom was set at home. My brother went to an astrologer to find out life expectancy and safety of mine. Then both of us went to a distantly known Army person to find out Army life. He was a middle aged person who had just retired from Army that time. After informal chat my brother introduced me and requested him to explain about life in the Army. He had examined me on my outlook and talked high about Army life. Then he asked me what Trade did I get? I said that no trade was given. He was little disturbed and said that every person joining Army was given a Trade including Barber, Sweeper, and Cook etc. and generally no one was interested to do such trade work and hence it was not told to the candidate initially. And further continued, I should be careful and find out my trade. I got angry and said "What nonsense! I was an engineer from PWD and going to join the Army as 2nd L/T after some training. There was nothing called trade for officers. The person who was casually sitting and talking suddenly got up on hearing the word officer and apologised to me and explained that officers were born with silver spoon in their mouth and it was really a great news that you were going to be an Officer. He then congratulated my brother. With all such preliminaries and funs I was excited to travel beyond the boundaries of my village, in Tamil Nadu. The cosmic force in the external world blessed its fragment in me and started guiding and directing there on.

And thus I left PWD dept. on 05th October 1963 and joined Officer's Training school Pune, Maharashtra on 09th Oct in Emergency Course no.8.

Reflections











"If you want peace, be prepared for war"