Wednesday, January 03, 2007

An NCC camp

Sunand vanished sometime in May 06. We waited, checked with his mother, and waited. He still didn't turn up. And, I was convinced that our man has eloped with some girl, will soon 'knock knock', his mother will open the door, to see a grining groom & a shy bride with garlands on!!!

Sunand did turn up, and had an equally exciting tale to say. Sunand writes....

Hum Sab Bharatiya hain,
Apni Manzil ek hai…

Yes these are the lines I have been chanting the whole of last week Starting 10th May to 16th May 2006,

650 Girl cadets from various district of Andhra pradesh ( most from rural background).
7 days of rigorous training.
Total army discipline .

The fifth Andhra Girls Battalion NCC ( National Cadet Corps) Had there Annual training camp at Tirupati, the camp was held with the following aim




The KMA team comprising Anand( 4 days), Suma( 6 days), Jagadish (4 days), Kiran ( 7 days)and myself the camp leader had to stay till the end of the camp shouldered the responsibility of undertaking adventure training for the whole battalion

Various activities like firing, karate/self defence, meditation, drill, obstacle challenge etc were a part of the camp

We had initially planned to go and demonstrate adventure activities for two days and return, but on reaching there early 10th morning to be greeted by the Camp commandant and the group Captain I started discussing the nature of the camp its aims, back ground of the cadets, their schools college details etc,

To my surprise more then 80% of the cadets were from rural background, most of them from government schools. Many join the camp( or NCC(National Cadet Corps) on a larger level) just for the good food provided. There was an air of total discipline, the army officers who were managing the camp. Cadets in uniform, a loud call of 'order' from some far corner every now and then.

All this looked very thrilling and tempting …

After doing a preliminary reki( this is a preliminary assessment of the situation) of the camp site for the adventure activities, we located few spots for some activities, we were suggested a hill about 10 Kms from the campsite that is called Chandragiri. At about 9 am we set out to the hill with a batch of about 50 senior cadets in an army truck with an open top, we were accompanied by a lady officer an army Jawan and another cheerful army officer Prahlad who is from Darjeeling.

At Chandragiri myself Anand and Kiran had the task of finding a spot for Rappelling,

It was then that we realized the temperature was soaring ( it was some 40 d c) we found the rappelling spot , got all the cadets to the top the activities went on till about 1 in the noon, we returned to the camp site , wondering what sort of adventure training are we going to do in this heat, after lunch confused about the progress we went to sleep only to be waken up abruptly at about 3:30 pm by some uniformed guy, saying hey guys the cadets are waiting for you for the evening activities, taking a sudden decision we organized a jumar climbing for few cadets that evening, by then lot of cadets were watching us and wondering as to what these guys are doing with ropes, and gear.

The first day I also discovered that I had to revoke my Telugu speaking skills as most girls knew only telugu , none in the KMA team knew, during the briefing I had a tough yet enjoyable moment of having to speak in Telugu. ( I could see some cadets trying hard to control laughter… discipline issues)

Now that we had a fair idea of the camp, the cadets timings, activities timings, climatic conditions, I decided to make a plan for the adventure part of the camp. As that made a major composition in the whole training camp.
We would start as early as 6:00 am go till 7:00 am with the jumaring activity, 7:00 to 7:30 is the camp breakfast time, after that we set out for the Chandragiri hills for hill climbing, rock climbing and rappelling activities, in the evening we would do other activities between 3:30 and 5:00 pm,. With this plan in hand I went to the Camp commandant Lt Crnl Jude rocque and group Captain Ms.Chandra. The plan was accepted with a strong request from them to continue the training till 16th as the top army brass including the group commander were to visit the training camp that day.
All of us had different things to do back home, Anand had to go to work, I had an event at DSF to be involved in and some projects, It was tough for us to decide on staying that long.

That evening during the Cadets roll call I heard the song live for the first time, though I have heard it so many times and love the song too

"Hum Sab Bharatiye Hain, Hum Sab Bharatiye Hain
Apni Manzil Ek Hai,
Ha, Ha, Ha, Ek Hai,
Ho, Ho, Ho, Ho, Ek Hai.
Hum Sab Bharatiye Hain."

After the roll call there was a cultural show

We were to wake up early at around 5 from the next morning to start the session at 6, in one of the boards I saw this:

Obey with a smile.
Be punctual.
Workhard and without fuss.
Make no excuses and tell no lies

There was something in this camp that said Lets do it … JUST DO IT

Next morning we were happy to have Suma with us there was a 'fall in' at 6 and the cadets were there dot on time . we selected about 25 cadets took them for jumaring ( a type of climbing technique. ) we set out to chandragiri Hills early with a mix of senior and junior cadets, a little bit of antakshari on the way to and fro the hill was good , the problrm was most wanted only telugu songs, so we had a hindi vs telugu antakshiri,

Some girls did know Urdu, English and Tamil too, so we took there help during the briefing sessions and giving instructions while rock climbing etc, , the second day I didn't feel the great heat ( may be got acclimatized) reached the camp site a bit early went for lunch then sleep,

For the evening session we had the river crossing rope ready and an extra jumar rope fixed to cater to many more cadets,, as the word had spread about our activities , and many more were willing to be involved, we too were eager to impart the spirit of adventurism, various mountain skills

"Kashmir Ki Dharti Rani Hai,
Sarjaj Himalaya Hai,
Sadiyon Se Hamne Isko Apne Khoon Se Pala Hai
Desh Ki Raksha Ki Khatir Hum Samshir Utha Lenge,
Hum Samshir Utha Lenge."

The junior wing starting from 8th std till the senior wing upto final year degree, all came in batches, company wise, about 50 to 60 per batch per session,

The activities went on the same way for the next two days too and on Friday 12th we requested for permission to visit Tirumala and have a darshan of lord Venkateshwara, immediately special pass and a vehical was arranged to drop us, that was something I was very happy about.

Now that we had decided to conduct the camp till the end and deliver the best possible training, we roped in jagadish on Saturday in order to relieve Anand and have a steady flow of 4 instructors. Myself Kiran and Suma decided to stay till the end. With The team becoming more confident on our training schedule we increased the difficulty level for the Cadets in River crossing and introduced the Zipline into the schedule,

Sunday was a very tiresome day as we planned to conduct training in a little more adventourous manner, ( I had Sunday in my mind as that was the day Bangalore marathon was scheduled and at the n th moment cancelled, so wanted to do something worthwhile that day)

By this time we became friends to some cadets too , who were volunteering with us ( one of them Sunitha has done her Basic course in Mountaineering and has got Alpha grading too… that's cool) another one Taj a very good cadet has a intention of becoming a C A , she has come up facing a lot of difficulties , there were many more such cadets who are highly skilled in these activities, many of them didn't know these things exist.

"Bhikre-Bhikre Tarey Hain Hum Lekin Jhilmil Ek Hai,
Ha, Ha, Ha, ha, Ek Hain
Hum Sab Bharatiye Hain."

For most of the girls this is the first and the last( as they say) opportunity for such a camp, some of them will get married after their degree(I even got invited for two weddings:: - ) ) about 5 of them I spoke to said they will join either the armed forces or police.

On 15th there was a visit by the Group commander who commands about 7 units , the whole camp site was sparkling , we were told he will come straight to the hill for watching Rappelling Demo, thus we set there a bit early, with 50 girls , a mix of senior and junior cadets. They did rock climbing and slow rappelling ( which is a bit safe and that's what we did for all ) but there was more time for the GC to arrive we selected a few confident ones to allow them do fast rappelling , surprisingly there were many volunteers for that both juniors and seniors, we did as many as we could, ofcourse some of them did slip topple but in our hands they were very safe,

The demo in front of the top brass and media glare was superb, I gave an equipment briefing for the second time in that day some talk on nature conservation, The group Commander himself a mountaineering enthusiast was happy about the whole rockclimbing programme and was full of praise for us.

At the campsite we had increased the difficulty level of even the jumar now.

More and more girls were coming forward for the activities, they were eager to learn and take this further ,

There were girls who had earlier said they never knew anything existed like this now pleading for more chances on doing these activities, some of them coming forward to do some difficult techniques of river crossing, a few even dared to try out the other Rappelling techniques like the stomach and side rappelling which we had demonstrated. At times it rained during the evening session , but the cadets would wait in the rain for their turn I enjoy rain, so had more fun and even my team did.

The final day 16th we were supposed to do a demonstration by the Cadets at night in spot lights, we fixed the ropes started early and many girls knowing this would be their last option tried their hands on various activities( by now all cadets had undergone training) there was heavy preparations for the cultural evening with VIP's family members of the officers and other personnel, Cadets,

The Cadets put up a splendid show with a mix of folk dances, songs, classical dances, and a lot of other activities, There was wide publicity of the Adventure , rock climbing activities in the newspaper, My pic appeared in two papers(yeah ;-) Anand's appeared in one, and a lot of write up like "Bangalore team does rock climbing for NCC camp", "Karnataka mountaineers train the cadets at Tirupati" etc, lot of that was in Telugu too.

Mandir Gurudware Bhi Hain Yahan
Aur Masjid Bhi Hai Yahan
Girja Ka Hai Ghadiyal Kahin
Mullah ki Kahin Hai Ajaan

Ek Hi Apna Ram Hia, Ek hi Allah Taala Hai,
Ek Hi Allah Taala Hai, Rang Birange Deepak Hain Hum,
Ek Jagmag Ek Hai Ha, Ha, Ek Hai, Ho, Ho, Ek Hai."

In his speech he expressed total satisfaction towards the adventure activities and the rock climbing part of the camp.

BADA KHANA … Gave an opportunity to rub shoulders with some of the top Brass and discuss business, While Suma left for Bangalore before the bada Khana saying her job as an adventure trainer is done, Jagadish and Kiran found it more worthy to have food with the cadets, I joined the Officers and during the course of Dinner surprised myself by getting confirmation for two more such camps, ( although I am not sure if I will attend them) , I have also convinced them to think of sending their deserving Cadets for climbing expedition's. and also upgrade their existing adventure equipment gear.. . After a while I too joined the boys,
Time for Slam book, Autographs etc It has been a long time I had done that,

ON THE WHOLE this was the best camp ever as it involved a large magnitude, no scope for mistakes as we were always in the army glare ( they have experienced all this in their training) , the training was for NCC cadets so there was an added purpose of service to the nation also. , many girls who had phobias of height are now confident of standing high… alone …

The overall outcome of the children is very good, the amount of exposure given to them to various activities, from the cadets point of view,

  • Waking up at 4:00am or some even earlier
  • Getting dressed neatly
  • ' Fall in ' at 5 am & warm up exercises
  • Following strict rules, disciplined life , group manners
  • All the various activities they get involved in and
  • The benefits they get after successful completion of the NCC training all this put together makes it a great opportunity.

I would suggest more of our children to be put into NCC, Scouts, Guides, Cubs and Bul buls etc, .

After this … Yeh Dil Mange more.....may be a national camp.

Signing out,
Proud leader of the adventure training team
Combined Annual Training Camp ( CATC )


Casy said...

Sunand might want to elope... but who would want to elope with him ;)???

For once Akash, I am glad NOT to see photos of some creepy crawly creatures on you blog.

Good post Sunand. Great writing. I suggest you start blogging soon. I loved the song... I would love to listen to it someday... but please YOU don't sing... :) may be I should ask someone who can really sing... you know what I mean :)...

Joby said...

Went through all the back log on your posts :).
Dont be discouraged by Casy who ever that might be. Keep posting creepy crawlys.. the only things woth living for :)).
I was reminded of our Nandi base walk when I went though yhat section. Should do it next time.. Nandi has a good charm..