F.R.I.E.N.D.S

Amidst all the misery that has beset the world something good happened to me. I made a new set of friends! This is how it happened. The other day I just started a random conversation with an old classmate of mine and before long I was part of  Whatsapp group  with 5 more of them.

At the beginning I was apprehensive. I thought I would never fit in. I mean these guys were the cool kids back at school, the toppers, the leaders, the achievers. How do I even figure into the equation?

With much trepidation I typed the first “Hi!” and immediately braced myself for hours or blank screen followed by a slow death of the group as is the trend with so many groups today.Apparently not here…I was welcomed into the folds almost immediately.

Much to my surprise we got along like fire.We spent the first days reminiscing our school days. The teachers,mutual friends and then for the first time someone actually appreciated my taste for Balkan music. That’s big!!

It’s been only a week now but I feel there’s something we have in common apart from the school. I can’t put my finger on it yet but somehow after years of mismatch it feels like I might finally have found my “Crowd”. I don’t know but it just feels right. We discuss each other’s issues and try to help each other out. Perhaps it is fueled by a shared sense of struggle against the established norm or a longing to stand out? I don’t know.

Matter of fact this post is a direct result of a pep talk yesterday by the junta. Suggestions are pouring in that I ought to try my hand on stand up comedy but then politics hardly interests me and I had been a part of the HR department for 6 years so…In the end they settled for me improving my writing skills so the deal is that I write about 20 sentences per day. I will give it a shot!

Lastly a bit about the junta. Among the six people we have : An Entrepreneur, a Social Activist, a Designer , the other two are engineers so  basically not worth the effort.

Bwahaha I kid, one of the engineer duo is an IITian working for a leading consulting firm and the other is a consultant with a Big 4 in the US. Formidable peer group but these guys are helping me find my path. I hope they succeed. I hope I succeed!

Signing out for today.

Ciao!

 

A Glittering Champagne Soiree hosted At Hyderabad

The City of Pearls recently hosted a classy evening social for all the top-tier interior designers and architects of the city, together with French, home-decor, trade-fair organiser Maison & Objet.

There were many eminent names that graced the occasion, but the most glittering attraction was Mathieu Lustrerie, with its chandelier design and art restoration experts and their chandeliers on display at the event.

The Soiree was hosted by Vanto, a showroom of luxury Italian furniture.

The chandelier design was inspired by French Art of the 18th century and constellations of stars in the sky, as suggested by Mathieu Lustrerie. The objective of the having such an interaction was to showcase the ease with which such classical pieces of work can find a place even in the most modern households.

 

The city’s interior designers, architects and decor experts found a rare platform to exchange notes and network with some of the most notable names in the industry. The display of objects was a work of sheer genius and creativity that was brought to life by the efforts of Maison & Objet and Vanto.

The city of pearls and of nawabs is already on the global map for being one of the best and most luxurious cities to live in. Events such as the ‘Champagne Soiree’ will only leverage this position and put Hyderabad on the map of highly fashionable and inventive people as well.

Can Pakistan afford an all out war with India?

Can Pakistan afford an all out war with India? by Naman Chakraborty

Answer by Naman Chakraborty:

Yes, Pakistan can afford an all out war with India.

It is perhaps the only country in the world which can afford a war at all. A war with India will be just another war for them. The others being:

  • War on the so called Bad Taliban (Haqqani is good, TTP is bad, Kashmiri Militants are good, Tajik are bad)
  • War on the Urban goons in Karachi (MQM and Altaf Hussein)
  • War of all other states against the state of Pakistani Punjab
  • War on the narrative of Pakistan and The Pakistani identity (Nazaria-e-Pakistan – Since after the implementation of the Two Nation Theory, there remained more muslims in India, Bangladesh became a more successful economy, and Pakistan is still to find out if Mohammed Ali Jinnah was a Shia or a Sunni)
  • War about legitimacy of the current government and Panama Leaks – (Think of a Canadian Cleric and a former Test Captain of the national cricket team)
  • War around debt servicing (last I checked, no one was found on the front line for this one.)
  • War against common sense (Militant trained in Mureed-ke or PoK are good, All terrorist activity in Pakistan are done by R&AW and other intelligence agencies, Those who do terrorist activities in Pakistan are non-muslims, Trade with India is bad, being a facilitator of trade between Afghanistan and India is bad, Polio drops is a conspiracy against muslims, Kasab was an Indian agent, Everyone in India is a Hindu Zionist, Sharmila Bose and Arundhati Roy are the only Indian writers worth noting, A Pak soldier is equivalent to 3 Hindu mushreek soldiers etc etc)
  • War against Ahle Tashi, Shias, Barelvis, Mohajirs, Balochs, Deobandis, Angrez, Amreekan, Bharti RAW, See Aai Ye, Musaaad, Khaad, Abdullah Abdullah, Hamid Karzai, Malala, Mashriki Pakistaaan, Hindu Dehshad gard Taqatein, Muudi aur Muddi ke Yaar and so on…

Pakistan is a strange country from many aspects.

They put permanent posters of a foreign head of state (Chinese premier in Lahore and Islamabad) on their main streets, guarantee 18% return on investment to foreign investments (Chinese investments on Coal powered power plants), have developed tactical nukes which are supposed to be used within their own territory, have given away large swathes of land to a neighbour to help them build roads, has been officially implicated in over a dozen international acts of terrorism around the world, have been the only country caught red handed selling nuclear technology to rogue states and have basically survived by threatening to blow themselves up time and again.

Everyone who was ‘someone’ in the country has either already left for London, Dubai and New Yarak along with family and assets (Zardari, Musharraf, Bilawal) or is planning to leave as soon as possible. The ambassadors of this country regularly decide not to return back to their ahl-e-watan after their services are over. Has a vibrant media which regularly hosts shows about lost glory and missed opportunities.

A war actually might be a welcome change which will unite the country together and give it a purpose. For a Pak strategist, an all out war with India, that destroys the nation will be a welcome development for an otherwise failing economy in the process of turning into another Chinese colony; failing everyday to justify its existence and deal with real problems of the citizens.

The problem with Pakistan is that it has stopped looking inwards. Today Pakistan has nothing to offer to the world. Nothing to contribute in.

It has been reduced to a visa stamp that no one wants on their passports. Not even the Pakistanis.

Yes, Pakistan can afford a war against India. It is like a last stage Cancer Patient being diagnosed with AIDS. Kuch farak nahi padega ji, hum to dubenge sanam…south asia ko bhi le dubenge.

Note: Although, it may be hard to believe after reading this, but I am not anti Pakistani. I have had many Pakistani friends and had at one point, wanted to go to Lahore to experience the Lahori street food (During the last India-Pak cricket series which was cancelled). My intention isn’t to malign the people of Pakistan but to just show how decades of mismanagement and wrong national priorities have completely destroyed what could have been a great Asian success.

Can Pakistan afford an all out war with India?

Ohebbou Yadayka – Faia Younan

 

Lyrics

Eaynak hilmi aldhy sayakun

kbyraan kama yuhlim almuttaeibun

kbyraan kkhyr biladi

 

Yadak tlwwh lileayidin

watahmil khbzaan ‘iilaa aljayiein (2)

Ohebbou Yadayka (2)…

wa’akthar ‘akthar ‘uhibb biladi

 

satakun li law tueashshiq al’awtan mithli

sa’akun lak law ead lil’awtan ‘ahli

earsi hnalk hayth yahmaluni fuadi

wa’umut fik ‘amut fik

mataa tamut ealaa biladi

 

yadak tlwwh lileayidin

watahmil khbzaan ‘iilaa aljayiein

Ohebbou Yadayka…

wa’akthar ‘akthar ‘uhibb biladi

 

wa’ana ‘uhibbuk kay nudus ealaa almudafie

watudiq bial’atfal sahat alshshawarie

wamataa yaeud alssubh min bayn alrramad

sa’amut fik ‘amut fik

waqad ‘akhunak mae biladi

 

 

Svetla, Svetlosti | Bright Light

 

 

Roman:

Tu je moj svet i sve je moje tu, Sve je moje tu.
Tu je moj dom i parče neba mog, parče neba mog plavog.

Svetla Svetla Svetla Svetlosti među nama treba još
Svetla Svetla Svetla Svetlosti.

Svetla Svetla Svetla Svetlosti među nama treba još
Svetla Svetla Svetla Svetlosti odozgo.

 

Cyrillic:

Ту је мој свет и све је моје ту, Све је моје ту.

Ту је мој дом и парче неба мог, парче неба мог плавог.

Светла Светла Светла Светлости међу нама треба још

Светла Светла Светла Светлости.

Светла Светла Светла Светлости међу нама треба још

Светла Светла Светла Светлости одозго.

 

First Krav Maga Class

“I will die here today, any time now!”

So ran my thoughts during the first 10 minutes in the Dojo.  For the next 80 minutes, I wished I was dead. Thus began my first Krav Maga class.

Krav Maga had caught my attention quite a few years back when I chanced upon a video  on YouTube by martial artist Roy Elghanayan. Curious, I researched a little more.

Krav Maga, literally “contact -fight” in Hebrew, is an Israeli self-defence system combining various martial arts forms from across the world, including Ju-Jitsu, Aikido, Muay Thai and wrestling. Developed by Hungarian-Israeli martial artist, Imi Lichtenstein, Krav Maga was initially meant as a defence against anti-semitic thugs in Hungary during the dark days of Hitler’s reign.

Born on the streets of Hungary and perfected in alleys of Jerusalem, what sets Krav Maga apart from the other martial arts is the lethality of the strikes. Krav Maga is pure street combat with the focus on ending a fight as quickly as possible. There are no rules!

The relatively simple yet deadly efficiency of Krav Maga is what really caught my attention. Like most kids I have had my run in with bullies, oh what will I not give to turn the table! But first came the procrastination and the excuses.

The only certified Krav Maga centre in Hyderabad is in Jubilee Hills, about 20 km away from where I stay. This became a convenient excuse. Also the fact that the classes are held on weekends, the two days when you want to rest, didn’t help.

When about one and a half years ago, I quit my job to essentially restructure my life, Krav Maga was on top of my list. Sadly quitting my job also meant clamping down on my expenses, which again impeded my decision.

Towards the end of June, after a lengthy and enlightening conversation with my colleague, I made up my mind  (Thank you!). Finally yesterday I forced myself out of the bed at 6 am (on a Sunday!), washed, procrastinated a little more and said, “Fuck it, let’s go and enroll!”.

The plan was to just hang around the centre for a few minutes, talk to the instructors, complete the formalities, pay the fees and come back next weekend for the class. To that end I even had breakfast. Bad idea!

As I entered the Dojo, there were a few practitioners already. I met the instructor, Captain Ajit Varma. Before I could say anything else I was asked to attend the class. Slightly taken aback, given my original plan, I nonetheless complied. More out of politeness than any real urge to go right there and then.

Apart from me, there was one more chap who had come for the demo class. The thought that I was not the only noob was somewhat comforting, especially so when it transpired that both of us had a Deloitte connection. Apparently, a lot of Deloitte chaps are regular students, leading the instructors to joke how the class was being overtaken by Deloitte. Hah!

The class started with the salutation ‘Kidah’, a salute to our fellow practitioners, to the instructors and to the Dojo itself. After stretching, the first 10 minutes were warm up beginning with that Godawful pushup-jump-pushup. And there were 20 of those!

The last time I did a proper pushup was more than two months back and even then I could barely do 10. Yet here we were asked to squeeze out 20, and there was a jump between every pushup. Hence the thoughts of imminent demise.

It was with a grateful heart as I heard the instructors finally call out 20. If I was thinking the worst was over, I soon changed my mind. The next step was to run around the room as everyone else tried to touch your head. Our goal was to thwart them. The instructors did show us the basic deflection, after which it was open season.

This was followed by another “game”. This time, we were segregated by colours…of our t-shirts. The blacks on one side, the rest on the other. The game was simple, one side was to clasp their hands like a club, hold it straight up and try to push into the chest of the other group.The other side had to dodge, deflect and follow up with strikes as demoed by the instructors.

After a few minutes, we switched roles and so on it went, followed by an ‘on-the-job’ lesson on tackling a basic grasp using our body weight. Same thing, except everyone was now frantically trying to grasp the other while busy dodging the third dude who was sneaking behind.

This was more activity in 45 minutes than I had in the last 6 months combined. I don’t know if I am articulating it adequately enough, but it was intense, at least for me in my current shape. So when the water break came I dashed for it immediately. Water has never tasted this sweet.

After the water break, we were introduced to another drill. The instructors brought in the bags. The drill was to jump on the bag and hit it with our fists until the instructors told us to stop. Simple yes? So they  threw in a twist, there were six of us and only five bags. Anyone who missed out had to start giving out squats. The first to miss started with 60 squats, and so on it went. By the time I missed we were four down and I had to do 20 squats.

Anyone who missed out had to start giving out squats. The first to miss started with 60 squats, and so on it went. By the time I missed we were four down and I had to do 20 squats. Believe me you, after the bags, the squats were very welcome!

And the Krav Maga lessons hadn’t even begun. It was only after the bags session that one of the instructors took me and the other new chap aside to finally begin our lesson, while the senior practitioners moved on to more advanced moves.

Our first lesson was the stance. The passive stance or natural position, the semi-passive stance, when your alarms are up but you are not in the fight yet and finally the active stance which essentially means shit’s hit the fan and it’s time to fight.

The next half an hour or so were spent learning how to make a fist, how to hit with your palm, stance, moving with your stance – forward, side, back and change. We finally wrapped up with another session of stretching exercise and Kidah!

By the time I was on the way back, I was a famished, drenched in sweat and thoroughly exhausted. Needless to say, the lunch was extra delicious following which I dropped off to a 2-hour long sleep. Overall a weekend well spent!

 

 

What is the best incident you heard from the Indian Army?

What is the best incident you heard from the Indian Army? by Chandrahas Rao

Answer by Chandrahas Rao:

This is a story of leadership told by Subedar Major Darbara Singh to NDA cadets in the nineties:

During the rehearsal for the Passing out Parade, the cadets were in a particularly rebellious mood. The noise did not die down even when the Nishan was brought into the QM fort, and this was a serious matter indeed, for the Nishan is held in high esteem by the cadet community.

The insult to the Nishan did not go down well with Subedar Major Darbara Singh. With his measured steps he stepped up to the podium and with a voice heavy with anger and gruff with emotions, he asked the cadets to lend him their ears.

Subedar Major Darbara Singh "Cadets, I am 52 Years old and have served in the Indian Army for 36 years. I have seen the 1962 operations, the 1965 and 1971 wars as a combatant. The Nishan that you have not acknowledged today, stands for me and countless others who have taken up the profession of arms and given their youth and lives for the honour of being given an opportunity to salute the Nishan, as the symbol of the supreme sacrifice made by our martyrs.

I will tell you a story that might indicate to you the feelings that we soldiers have for the Nishan". The SM drew a deep breath and continued, In this very academy we have a hut of remembrance,where the names of all the former alumni of this institution who have fallen in action are inscribed on the wall, I have been in this academy for the past three years and I have been able to enter that hut only once.

Because written on the wall is one name, Lt Palta of the 9th Battalion the Sikh regiment." " During the 1962 China War, my Paltan was posted in the Tawang sector. I was deployed right on the border, and my section commander was the same Lt Palta whose name is there on the wall in the hut of remembrance.

On the fateful day of 15 Nov 1962, the Chinese attacked our post and we were told to fight back to the last man, last bullet. Lt Palta was personally leading the fight back. It was a harrowing time, we were outnumbered, out gunned and desperately short of ammunition. Yet we soldiered on , because Lt Palta did not know any other way. Sometime during the night. Lt Palta was hit in the face by a mortar, the explosion severed his head from his body and the headless body was thrown on me. The enemy overran the post as soon as the officer was dead and I, 17 years old with 11 months of service, fighting a bloody skirmish with the enemy and out of ammunition, was hiding under the dead body of my section commander.

The blood from Lt Palta's body soaked my beard and chest and the enemy, thinking that I was dead, did not bother to even take me as a POW. Through the night I lay there, in the tattered remains of my post, freezing in the Himalayan cold.

All my comrades dead, and the dead body of that heroic officer shielding me. It took me three days to wash off the blood from my face, but in my mind, the blood of Lt Palta is still there, warm and caking slowly.

I will carry this blood to my funeral pyre." The SM's voice became gruffer with verbalised emotion, "When I entered the hut of remembrance the first time, I saw Lt Palta's name and picture on the wall.

In an instance I was transported back in time to 1962 and felt his cold stiff body on top of mine and his blood congealing on my face. Till date I haven't been able to enter the hut again.

" Cadets, its for officers like these that the academy has been given the Nishan. It has been won by the blood of ex NDAofficers and it stands for all that is good and pure in these kalyugi times; I will not permit you to insult the Nishan and Lt Palta as long as I have breath."

So saying the SM stepped off the dais and strode out of the QM fort in fragile silence. The silence of the QM fort was shattered only by the echoing word of of command of the parade commander some eight minutes later, ordering the passing out parade to coil its sinuous way out of the QM fort in to the drill square.

The Nishan is nothing but a piece of cloth for those who see it as such, but for Subedar Major Darbara Singh of the Ninth Battalion of the Sikh Regiment of the Indian Army, and countless others like him, it stood for Lt Palta and a cold winter night when a young Lieutenant died trying to protect and lead his men in to battle and to supreme honour. It stood for a quintessential Indian army officer, who, even when dead, continued to shield a young frightened soldier who was out of ammunition and at the end of his wits.

A breed of officers who gave these grizzled old men the self-esteem and sense of izzat, of belonging to a family, of mattering, of esprit-de-corps, and in the end, a way of life. And that, in my opinion is true leadership.

Jai Hind

Edit: The original article by Sandeep Chowdhary was published in Infantry Journal, 2013

What is the best incident you heard from the Indian Army?