Wednesday, 8 July 2015

Life at BoPs



It was during the tenure in the BoPs (Border out Posts) that you come to know about the troops up close. The officers either have to drop down all the egos and mingle with them enjoying with the small talks and be satisfied and happy with meager things, or be aloof and start the countdown starting with minutes, hours and days.

Following the second part of being aloof would make one understand what isolation can really do to you. The places near the Chinese borders are such that when the sun goes down together with it takes with it all the noise of birds, insects and animals. There would be a dead silence and even the wind swish by as if it is afraid to make noise. No wonder the monks go to such place to practice meditation.

And one amazing thing with our soldier is that they can go to sleep the moment they hit the pillow to the envy of some of the officers who cannot go to sleep and lie awake till late at night almost to the tune of going insane. Is it due to the collection of fire wood from the lower altitude on their back that is making them dose off?

The following day I went with them to collect firewood. They were shocked to see officer accompanying them. Like a crow gathering twigs for its nest the fire woods are collected one by one and the twigs were literally of the similar sizes that a crow may use to make its nest. I thought of becoming more mindful of keeping the bukhari burning after seeing how rare the fire woods are at this altitude. 

The carrying of the firewood on the bare back had made me feel the rib-cage being counted by the twigs, not once but again and again till I reached the destination, coupled with that excruciating pain near the calf region made me reaffirm the faith in the skin covering the calf muscles, so that it is strong enough to withhold the near bursting of the calf muscles from within. That night did I sleep well? The answer is – “no”. The two novels that I carried were read and reread all the while thinking of carrying more books in the next tenure. 

I followed the same routine of carrying the firewood thereafter, due to the simple reason that ‘carrying your own fire wood, did really, warm you twice’.   
 
It was during such tenure that I came to know about the each individual up close - about their problems and aspirations. It was humbling to learn about the hardship that each one of them had been through, and how they tried to cope up. They are ingenious in their own little way; with little or no education at all, they could balance their time and attention for their family and for the job. And their loyalty is unquestionable.

Half way through the one month tenure the eleven of us becomes more like a relative than a boss and a subordinate. The days which normally seemed to have 36 hours per day now seems like it was having lesser hours per day. Few of the men knowing my insomniac habits lay awake till I went off to sleep. A little pat on their back and a little show of concern for them had changed their attitude, just like all human beings.

After one month all my friends departed and I could not accompany them for I got the orders to stay back one more tenure as there was paucity of officers in the wing location. I being equipped with the knowledge of interpersonal relations looked forward to knowing another 10 new men up close, trying to suppress the feeling of nausea associated with  the counting of DLTGH (Days Left To Go Home)
                                  
At the wing location those men with whom I had a memorable tenure at the BoP became more approaching and vocal with their problems be it personal or professional, I can see the twinkle in their eyes as they tell me that they look forward to serving another tenure at the BoP, to which I jocularly reply, " Why do you want to punish me".

It is during the hardships and the constant association in isolation that a true colour of a man is displayed, the innate leadership qualities are brought to the fore ground and whether to be happy or just slob counting DLTGH is entirely in ones hand.