Friday, 15 May 2015

An ODE to SODE 103

A few of us!

Long overdue. The 2nd floor studio apartment in War College brings us back to Mhow and hitting the town again after spending 2 glorious years here, hit us…hit me hard! The place is so overpowering and overwhelming with memoirs that I am roaming around like a stung bee, BElieve it or not! Could not have been a better time than this to write about what SODE was. An officer from 105 mentions to me today…“Ma’am, I have heard that 103 had some chemistry! Quite talked about! Very few courses have that!” And I wanted to jump in my very own house (he being the current occupant) and scream “But not all courses have crazy-heads like us!” Of course, all of this in MY crazy head.

Officer's Institute, CME.

So we started 3.5 years back. 22 officers headed to become “Abhiyantriks”. The full form of the course being “Signal Officers Degree Engineering”…that took some time to learn. The first one year was in “Pune tithe kaay unee”. It took us some time to familiarize with the officers and ladies (hardly 5-6 of us being there, rest all were enjoying bachelorhood then and some were forced bachelors!). Our first party at OI (Officer’s Institute) in Pune saw us seeing each other’s faces for the first time. The first impressions, needless to say were badly mis-concocted, as we were to learn later on. Some were behaving sophisticatedly and some were too shy to even interact. Some were worried about fitness and someone about a beauty parlour!! This mad woman (read nemo) is now one of my closest friends and hardly visits a parlour btw! A game of dumb-sheraas broke the ice with ladies becoming a team and beating the officers hands-down! Following months were spent in increased interactions between certain groups of people like Capt Sanjay and Hemu and Capt Gaurav and Divya as they would be seen loitering in our alleyway with tiffins in hand. Going this way or the other! Would meet the new moms like Pooja, Narayani, Kusum and Geet once in a while, in the park whilst taking a stroll. It was completely useless to catch my next-door neighbor, Ankita, while on a walk as she would be almost on a run then, looking all scary from even a distance! Other major interactions were during Saturday night parties with almost all bachelors, officers and ladies getting together. Dance-floor commoners were Hemu, Dua, Divya and self. Ankita claimed back then that she did not dance. We broke THAT curse all right!

The first Baaraat!
6 months down and I was to witness a “Baaraat”. Coming from a Maharashtrian household in Mumbai, the galore surrounding our weddings (which by the way lasts a few hours on A single day and I still think is overdone), I had never seen a baaraat in my life. The newlyweds basically are drowned in sufficient amounts of alcohol and we take them for a party to the Officers’ Institute in the form of a baaraat. The idea and the most exciting part for us was the “dhol” and us dancing to its rhythm. It was quite an experience (something similar was witnessed during Ganesh Visarjan, as a child). Anyway, so Capt Sumit and Capt Archita were the first ones and many more to come, as time was to tell. People now started socializing with stories of Miami and other pubs in Pune, doing rounds. The usual Saturday master-blaster continued and the year soon came to an end. I won’t be able to do justice to the last night in CME (College of Military Engineering) as I was not there but as always, the stories are umpteen! A new addition to the stunts was Capt Kulbir trying to scale a staircase railing on his bike! I just have a mental image as people laugh on it to this day. A medley of bhajans(!??) and dance numbers saw the noisiest lot leave CME with a bang, not without getting a complaint registered in their name. This was to become routine in Mhow with almost all social institutions having some or the other trouble with us, claiming that we have always been LOUD. :p ::p

December 3rd week saw all loaded trucks take the Mumbai-Agra highway and officers travelling in their respective cars. I got a new neighbor, Navkiran aka Otg, whose home saw almost the whole of Mhow dining in. She with her husband Capt Ghumman, soon ended up adopting a stray and naming him 3-wheeler as he had got an injured leg (let’s not get into how when what!). The initial challenge in taming a stray saw them grow as they finally made it! Another neighbor, Narayani and Maj Karthik, occupied the flat right upstairs. Arjun, her son had become big by now and true to his name, had started aiming random things at our garden (thankfully, not us!:p) I once saw her almost half-dug in our bushes and was about to react when her pleasant face popped up with a big smile “I came to look for a shoe and found one of another pair! Bahar toh jaa sakte hai”. Laughter. Major and Mrs. Chaturvedi were bang opposite and Kartikeya, their son too had become Arjun’s buddy. Both the boys, very different in spirit and persona, would giggle around every now and then and were seen playing football in the evenings with Major Chaturvedi. The block right next-door was abode to Capt and Mrs. Murari and one of the smartest girls-for-her-age, Dishita. One of the couples I learnt immensely from, but will get to that later. All the other 3 accommodations, soon-to-be-filled saw the block getting abuzz and going berserk on late-Saturday-night (or should I say early-Sunday-morning) parties with barbecues, khatri songs, disco light and a blue tape-recorder cum speaker (OK I don’t know what that thing’s called but Thanks Capt Ahlawat!) becoming our favourite props. Add to that the company of those who could join in and at times, rain! The converted garage cum dance floor cum barbecue corner saw the best of us, what with our dancing and singing talents hitting the roof, like literally! The last few months saw Capt Ahlawat and Capt Arun taking the plunge. Pooja and Shruti joined us and the lawyer-duo added some spark of their own! Major Kamble and Sara along with their daughter Tia, thankfully shifted from their aboriginal home in Robert Barracks and spent a good (literally and metaphorically) 6 months in human-land!

A few meters away, though there was this short-cut with thorny bushes and big stones all along the way, was Capt Gautam and Divya’s block. Capt Archita had joined Capt Sumit and this was another all-SODE block that used to be abuzz at all times! Capt Panwar and Swati, the flyer along with Capt Binesh and Geet (their super chubby UV was doted upon by one et al), Divya’s neighbor, saw active participation in all events, parties, meets alike. This block was also to witness our last crazy night-out thanks to Capt Archita and Capt Sumit (their home being raided) and the last campfire. Some cement was broken and a dog was stolen but what the hell! And ohh yes, the bursting of crackers on the last night saw some dry bushes almost lit on fire! It aches as I type ‘last’ as no matter what we say, ALL of us will never be together again. Another lesson learnt, being with the organization. The memories, the ties, the bonding and the fights, of course will! What are friendships without all these! 

A few of us seen celebrating Diwali!

It must come as a surprise that I write with such sentiment, but 22 officers and almost equal number of ladies by the end of the course made a CROWD, precisely why we were always LOUD, the reason being we were always together! We were blessed; each one of us, to have found such extraordinary company and an ambience that by and large, survived and saw the end of the course! 3 years is a very very long period for people coming from practically all corners of the country, living so harmoniously with one-another. No doubt, there were differences, where aren’t? With such diversity, you can only expect that but the best part was that these, were successfully brushed aside and under the carpet. Each one of us was unique in our own measure and that was respected. Always. By everyone.

Moving ahead, like literally, a few meters and turn left to go to another almost-sode block. Capt Sanjay and Hemu occupied the lower house on the right with a big garden (beautifully and dutifully decorated). The ever-ready enthusiasts, no matter the event always added charm and much more to any personal or official gathering. The course got a fitness alert thanks to this gymmer and I have a personal reason to thank her as my inspired husband lost a good 15 kgs (of course, his own contribution can’t be forgotten :)

Moving on, Capt Yashbir was right next door. We did not see Dua’s company in the latter 2 years as she was studying elsewhere. Though theirs was touted the most beautiful garden of the course. Very well and creatively maintained. Also, the one garden that was blessed with a shade thanks to a big mango tree. Rest of us were roasted! Anyway, upstairs was Major Raghav, the course senior and Ankita, with their English pointer, Pointer. They were our old neighbours from Pune and the first couple of days, I was wondering as to why, they called the dog by its breed! Hehe..that was his name. A royal creature who would resemble a horse while running. Having survived an accident and a jump from the first floor, this dog soon became tough in our company! What else was going to happen you wonder! This block was known for our pajama parties and impromptu reunions on the street. This was like a chowraha-block where people would inadvertently bump into each other.  

Moving right next door was an all-sode block again. Although, only by the end of the course. Capt Kulbir and Japneet went to live there when it was totally ‘veeraan’ and that scared the hell out of Japneet. Soon, they got Bruce, a French Mastiff when he was a pup. Besides pulling children’s cheeks, we would also pull Bruce’s cheeks as they often hung around his face cut when he made a little “Take-me-out” kinda expression! He is a full-grown guard dog now and hopefully remembers us, though not what we did to him! Next door came in Major Naveen and Jyoti, married mid-course and shifted into the block. Japneet rejoiced. Soon-to-join were Capt Ajay and Jyoti aka Churan. I feel so proud of myself at having christened my girlfriends with such great life-lasting names! An Ayurvedic doctor by profession (justifies the name), they occupied the house on the first floor, atop Japneet’s. Last to come in were Capt Rakesh and Prerna (whose wedding at Rohtak saw us dancing like crazy and people had mortified looks on their faces!...some other incidents are thoughtfully not written about). Aside of Japneet, we could not successfully fool any of the other 3 ladies during their infamous welcomes. Jyoti, (Capt Ajay’s) post the most idiotic your-husband-is-actually-a-jawan plot, enacted, over-enacted at our place (people were cleaning leaves from our lawn!!??), was left mid-jungle and called ‘chudail chudail’ by Capt SKY (who jumped and hid in the bushes??) but she stood there only to take out a coke bottle from her purse and drink from. Prerna was left at the hospital entrance and the other Jyoti (almost half-fooled) fell prey to a similar plot as Japneet’s, where husband was kidnapped and shown hurt. As for the block, we also celebrated Lohri here with snack items pooled in from all homes and a campfire with songs and more laughter. This was one thing we were ‘slightly’ infamous for. Loud and I mean, loooud laughter. A few ladies from the course were naturally blessed with deafening laughing styles and the madness that we indulged in, often brought out this talent. Much to the annoyance of a lot of people around. So?? :p :p 

Some candid moments at Bercha!

Snooze time! Sorry Kaptaan Ghumman!

Moving on, having less knowledge of the bachelor block, (not the bachelors though!) Capt Sky, Capt Nitin and Capt Pramod, lived a little far away from where we had settled in for these 2 years, though would pay us regular visits. The ever-enthusiasts, adm-managers, dancing partners (for each other) and the we-are-always-there Ma’am saw us spending a lot of time together and going on multiple trips together! Choral was an easy escape, close-by and easily reachable (back), given our history. Mandu, the historic town within an hour’s distance, saw people visit it in different groups. Bercha too was used for camping and an almost-entire-course outing once went there to spend a day. Some people decided to trail (off) to the banks of the lake, looking quite scenic, only from a height. They soon came back with thorns, mud and dirt all over. A few people then climbed the rooftop while the rest prepared selves for a sumptuous meal, as always, pooled in by one and all. Bamiyaan Kund was a newly discovered spot and had adventure stories of its own. From trekkers to heightophobics to terrible swimmers, this kund saw it all!

The main reason why I started even penning down these not-so-tiny thoughts was because it is a lifetime memory, a golden phase as we see it. I am sure the incidents are one and many and interpretations even numerous but the sentiment is mutual. 

Mandu ke Pandu!

Relaxing at Bercha!

The outings and the craziness saw us laugh, cry, fall down, get up, jump, roll, hug, share and most importantly, care! No matter the hour, we were always there for each other. All birthdays, anniversaries and welcomes for the newly-weds were enthusiastically celebrated and we often went to DSOI for a get-together. A great initiative to celebrate the birthdays of ladies by them alone (this was our time and officers were not allowed) saw us take out time and prepare delicacies. Each one of us was busy with either work, kids or both. But that did not deter us from spending quality time together. Badminton court was another place with feverish action and best mornings spent. We would occupy as many as three courts at a time and deliver entertainment to those who chose to join us. All were welcome. The war college gym was another place that saw our course in maximum attendance and MCTE soon got banned from there too, due to over-presence of officers from another institution. Col’s Uphaar, Satyam Dhaba, Mashal, Chef’s Alcove, Sayaji and other places in Indore were often frequented. The regular army bus would help us go to Indore for work, shopping or just an outing. The Mhow market gave us ample. It’s a township in itself with Smocking, Maheshwari and Chanderi artwork (famous of the region) available for a reasonable pick. Leather work and handicrafts would also be doted upon and we picked up a lot of stuff before leaving. Shopping outings in the by lanes and over-crowding in shops was a favorite activity. Swimming in the evenings (not much time could be given here though) saw the most hilarious moments of all. Someone forgot her specs once and SIGNALled a wrong officer to come and join her! Thorough embarrassment. Someone refused to let go off the rod to be able to swim as the water looked too muddy and she was in the mood of a pool party rather! (….) Someone once pulled another lady from underwater (Need I mention, a case of mistaken identity and further embarrassment!) A lot many of us learnt swimming and driving here and had other adventures of bike-breaking down (multiple times at different places), car going in a ditch while going for a game or shoes eaten by a dog! We did theme and pajama parties and Saturdays were reserved for an after-the-exhausting-game-snack as most of us had Saturdays off.

DSOI, our second home!
Diwali time!

Anyway, moving on, comes my favorite part. A real ode to sode. The people who made it! Will tread on this one by one starting with the bachelors.

Ab meri shaadi ho rahi hai!
Capt NitinEasily the most helpful person from the course and the officer who enjoyed the company of one and all. We saw his love for Shubhanjli (they are getting married in a fortnight) bloom with each passing day and was a study partner to my husband. (no squadron anecdote whatsoever!!) 

Kaptaan Piku
Capt Pramod – Capt Pramod aka Piku aka the fighter-for-shaadi officer. We were one hundred percent supportive of such a venture but it is yet to happen. Our wishes are always with you! Another study partner to my husband and again a very helpful person by nature.

I ride the 9 pointer!
Capt Sky – Capt SKY aka Capt Sunil Kumar Yadav (ohh that’s his actual name) aka the course topper. An intellectual mind coupled with crisp humour saw some laughter moments. A Diwali regular and a no-nonsense officer, he hung out with us at all good and less of bad (read crazy) times! :p 

Hum 3! (3 wheelie was yet to come at this juncture!)
Capt Ghumman and Navkiran – Our very next door-neighbours. We saw some moments of Capt Ghumman being fooled into a field posting and Navkiran aka otg almost in tears. An incident to kickstart the 2 year-stint (read stunt) in Mhow! The couple always embraced all social occasions (which honed Kaptaan Ghumman’s dancing skills on ‘main tera hero’) and otg aka baking queen, a very dear friend now, made us relish on cakes, tarts, nimboo and other paani, milkshakes, spicy delicacies, non-veg items and desserts! Did I miss something out? Feel free to add. 3-wheelie, their dog soon became a member of the family and gave otg some adventurous moments. (read running after him all across Mhow, cleaning him after a gutter splashdown etc..etc)    

For want of a better pic!
Major Karthik, Narayani and Arjun – The neighbors living on the first floor atop us and gems of a people! I still fondly remember the “I have crush for you!” or was it “On!?” and we still have a hearty laugh on that! The officer, who comes across as a rather shy-at-first-sight soon showcased some of the best dancing talent and their son Arjun is one of the wisest boys I have seen. A keen observer with an I-know-it-all sly smile and a twinkle in the eye. It was a pleasure seeing this fellow (in Narayani’s own words) grow up and get a little talkative with time! As for the lady, a multi-talented juggler, blogger and an engineer by profession, we saw some of the most intense discussions on politics, society, life, happening in this block. (Add to that otg tooJ). 

Pooja : "Me with the 3 boys!"
Major Rohit, Pooja, Kartikeya and Rishit – The neighbours in the opposite block and Pooja, the Superwoman of the course! Managing 2 boys and staying fit and ever-smiling brought about such respect for her in my eyes that in certain ways, I learnt a lot from her. Patience of all and passion for it all. My work breaks used to give me an opportunity to peep into their lawn to see the younger toddler sun-bathing! Quite a heartening sight. Evenings would see her giving some lessons and the elder one running off to play football! Major Rohit would take the boys out to give Pooja some her-time and he once fondly prepared Kheer for our Diwali celebrations! (Maj Rohit, since you back here, you are free to use our kitchen! :p)...all in all, a great family. Stay blessed!

A rare off-the-dance-floor pic!
Capt Murari, Kusum and Dishita – I have finally come to call her that. One of the couples everyone learnt a lot from, in the course. A balanced duo and a dedicated officer, a down-to-earth lady and one of the best mothers I have seen, saw their daughter Dishita being born and grow up in and with the course. An easy-to-go child and she soon got spoilt in our company. Saturdays were always party nights for her! Add to that the barbecues and dinners that Capt Murari and Kusum organized in their lawn for the entire course! Twice! They cooked a 3 to 4 course meal for these many people with their bare hands and it was one of the best musical nights we had!     

Hum toh aise hai bhaiyaa...yeh apna tashan hai bhaiyaa..
Capt Ahlawat and Shruti – The newlyweds and the party frequenters of the course. Proud owners of a Harley..this happening couple fought a some sort of arrival-sickness for poor Shruti. But a lawyer by profession, she turned out to be a fighter alright! A lady I have never seen so cool about anything and everything in life! Makes it so much easier to manage stuff, given our tricky situations! Shruti, thanks for passing the aura around! Capt Ahlawat, known pre and post wedding, saw no difference whatsoever btw! Isn’t that how it’s supposed to be!?  Cheers to you guys!

Happy US at completing 365 days!
Capt Arun and Pooja – The last-but-one newlyweds of the course. I did not know much of Capt Arun during his bachelor days except that he was very fond of tennis and cricket. But going by popular opinion, everyone saw a sea-change in him. The Baaraat gave him a tough time, though we were heartened to see his candid expression of love towards his wife, clinging (Capt Arun was) from the first floor and held thoughtfully by Capt Ghumman and someone else, I do not recollect now. The lady, again a lawyer by profession, was new to the army milieu (like most of us were) and so spent some time adjusting. Photos now reveal that they are doing just fine! :)

Yaaay Dennis Road!!
Major Kamble, Sara and Tia – They moved in to Dennis Road and the madness therein, six months prior the course ended and thankfully so. Major Kamble, an excellent mimic with a soulful voice and fantastic narration skills always had us in splits! When in Bangalore, he once narrated a self-binging incident and had 2 tables on both sides laughing their guts out! His wife, Sara, an MTech (this I came to know a week before leaving!!) with her evergreen and contagious smile was known for her culinary experiments and their daughter Tia was soon seen mixing up well with the course!

Hum talli...hum talli...hum talli ho gaye re!
Capt Gaurav and Divya – Moving to a not-so-near block (for me), one of my closest friends and gym-badminton-swimming-shopping partner, this woman has seen the thick and thin of it all. A project manager at IBM (doesn’t look like at all!! :p :p), gifted with an extremely shrill and a high-pitched voice, couple that with a very witty and a crisp sense of humour and she would easily be a great entertainer to one et al. Another mimic artist of the course, she showed us dance moves of (Capt Dviwedi, Major Raghav and Hemu in particular) people more than they themselves did! But the best ones for her were with her own husband, Capt Gaurav. A very soft-spoken and soft-hearted (so we were told ;)) person, he kept up with our idiosyncrasies and craziness at all times!

Kaptaan Binesh, Geet and UV!
Capt Binesh, Geet and Yuvi aka UV – Again, a rather shy officer although the last night of the course saw the 3 of them join us at Capt Sumit’s place and I was compelled to change perspective. J Geet would try and participate as much as she could since UV was quite small. A baby to dote upon, UV grew up to be one of the most active boys in the course. He spoke in a Chinese dialect which Geet alone could make two and two of and would constantly keep her on toes with all his head-shaking and running around!

Phir se udd chalaa..
Capt Sumit and Capt Archita – So proud to pen down two ranks in one name! She was the pride of the course and we often spoke of how lucky they both were to serve with the organization. A task albeit difficult but still, hats off to them. Capt Archita joined us in the last two semesters of the course and we soon raided their house and also celebrated the last party and the last campfire here. Both jovial in nature, going by popular opinion (of the officers’ alone ;)…..sorry Capt Sumit), Capt Sumit came across as one of the most notorious officers. A few incidents here and there would make me believe so..hehe but both were and Capt Archita still is, excellent company! Being a lady officer, it has always been interesting to listen to her perspectives and learn from.

Hamari Baaraat after many 'speedbreakers'
Capt Panwar and Swati – An ex and again a current air-hostess by profession, Swati, coming from where she did always made us feel safe with her dare-devilry tactics, especially when we stepped out. :p One of the ace drivers and a badminton regular of the course, we saw a little less of her as compared to the others but did have a great time on a few trips together. I would fondly mention Goa (they were yet to get married) and Thailand, the itinerary of which was planned with great detail by Capt Panwar! I am sure Talbhet must have him reminiscing all the fun we all had. Their home too was home to a lot of get-togethers and some interesting incidents narrated by neighbors would have us believe so. A fun duo!

D-day...i.e Diwali day!
Capt Sanjay and Hemanti aka Hemu aka Lolita – I don’t know when, why, where and how did I come up with such a great name!! I am sure everyone will agree. Gym-enthusiasts, omnipotent, dance-floor regulars and one of our best friends for life and travel partners! Eagerly participated in all our pranks and housed many a meals and pyjama and theme parties! Didn’t I mention this block being a get-together block? Rightly so. A partner-in-crime with my husband (I have lost count of incidents and places…grrr), I don’t remember a single gathering where these two weren’t around! The head shaker (a trend that I passed on from Xavier’s) and the hideous laugher (yes I coined that term especially for hemu), the enthusiast dancer (husband…ask Divya how) and great friends for life! Thank you for being.

Meet us, the trekkers!
Major Raghav and Ankita aka breezer – Though we did not come to call her that! But she was an epitome alright! A true ‘tanki’ and disastrous at that! The Bangalore train incident will speak galore! We actually would get scared of this woman when high as she would get scarily defensive, possessive and would fight till the end of the world for her friends. Feel blessed to have her as one of my closest friends now! A trustworthy girl, an artist at heart and one of the most sensitive people I have seen. Major Raghav, the course senior, too would scare us with his study patterns and the efforts put in! Especially given Sunny’s record! :p Jokes apart, a thorough perfectionist and a dedicated officer. We lived a door apart in Pune (ours being not there or should I say ours being theirs! heheheh) and had a great time and some night outs. Pointer was a dear friend and him and self would often have these little talks in the evenings. Miss you guys!

Capt Yashbir and Dua – Our May Queen friend and a dance-floor enthusiast. Blessed with a great voice and a guitar player at that, she did enchant us with a performance or two at Mashal, during one of our anniversary celebrations. We did not see much of her in the last 2 years though as she went to Chandigarh to study. Capt Yashbir, from what I know was a gym enthusiast and known to take proteins in crude form. I have already mentioned their beautiful garden. The only officer to have got posted down south. Good luck to you both!

For want of a recent pic with the new addition to the family!
Capt Kulbir and Japneet aka Tweety aka Japs– Even to this day, my autocorrect writes this as Maps and she has got used to it! A recently proud and a proudly recent Mommy, she was another gym-regular and badminton enthusiast! Add to that an artist! Her kalaakari would leave us spell bound and we remember the one time when she coloured an entire wall in the time that Capt Kulbir came home from half a day full of classes! Texture painting at its best. One of the non-drinkers of the course, it amazed us as to how they tolerated our company and US on weekends and other night outs. Easily one of the most mature couples and I fondly remember the time spent at Choral (from what I remember)…Japs had given us company over the phone! Capt Kulbir too was another soft-spoken officer, a dedicated one and would always enjoy our dumb jokes and all the madness!

Major Naveen, Jyoti and …… - The …….. is post the naming ceremony of their daughter!. Another recent mommy from the course, albeit whose company we dearly missed in the last few months. Her evergreen grin would bring cheer (not cheers!) to all around and she was one of the quietest girls with the softest hearts I have seen. Major Naveen was the Master Chef and I heard umpteen praises of his culinary skills and got lucky to taste some a couple of times! A great dancer and party enthusiast, we enjoyed their company during our get-togethers at Milan or DSOI! Enjoy parenthood!

When we go to other weddings! :D
Capt Rakesh aka Capt RK and Prerna – A recent addition to the course, we failed to fool her during our welcomes to the new brides. Although we did barge in late one night as per tradition and she prepared aloo parathas for some 15 people, who even sumptuously ate them! On another occasion, she also fixed a great meal for all the ladies, which we obviously, thoroughly enjoyed. Capt RK aka the prankster of the course was again an omnipotent and “we are always there Ma’am” kinda officer. Always in the lead of all the pranks in the course, a fine dancer and a chef (only during one of the pranks in my kitchen!), we saw his acting skills get better with every marriage! A fond memory is our visit to Rohtak to attend their wedding! Enjoy Srinagar!

Peeche green!!
Capt Ajay aka Capt AJ and Jyoti aka Churan – It gives me immense pleasure to call her that. An ayurVEDI (vedi in Marathi means a crackpot….coincidence!?...Churan , pls don’t kill me!) by profession, I still remember storing her name as “Mhow Jyoti Ayurved” in my phone! (Don’t ask why… am clueless!...I guess everything about this woman has to be funny!) Shrill laughter, a god-gifted pretty (I mean it) face and paranoia for riding her scooty, she was our favorite cartoon! Simply couldn’t do without her, although she did make us miss her on multiple occasions! Could not be fooled on her prank day making us look like the biggest duds on this planet, she soon made up for it by her quick wit, her ‘bakaida’ harkatein and her just being! Jokes apart, Churan, I can’t imagine SODE without you! A very close friend now, time and tide has seen their ‘pyaar panpoing!’ Capt Ajay, one of the most ever-smiling officers I have seen. No one must have laughed louder than him on our silly jokes and Capt Ajay, just a big thank you for marrying her! 

Cheers to US!
   Zindagi milke bitayenge, haale dil gaake sunaenge......

Thursday, 7 May 2015

SODE 103 welcomes the newlyweds!

The newly weds, post their successful army-christening!


Marriages are made in heaven they say, and keeping alive the tradition of welcoming new couples into the fraternity has been a very exciting experience! I can comfortably say this as I have never been at the receiving end! Our tenure at MCTE started with the chill of December winters, dry and cold, but the course soon made up for it, so to say the least! The year started with a bang when SODE 103 extended an exciting welcome to Capt Kulbir and Mrs Japneet Singh, exciting for all but Mrs. Japneet! I am sure she must be smiling on reading this now and agreeing wholeheartedly to my narration. 

Coming from a business class family and being warned  about such notorious welcomes into the army by her father-in-law (a Retd Officer himself), did not deter Japneet from believing the drama that was staged in the hearts of Mhow market. Kudos on acting to all those involved and especially, her better half! This is how it went…an evening bike ride in the by lanes of the market and the couple reaches the ChowRaha, the famous round about by Jaiswal. 4 self-proclaimed goons who manage to reach just in time as their car breaks down 100 metres short of the actual spot, show as if coming from nowhere! Really!!?? Japneet is taken by surprise as Capt Kulbir warns them against eve teasing and threatens to stop the bike…Japneet wonders “Oye tu gaddi ni bike chala raha hai…rukna mat….waise bhi who char hai!” She refrains from saying all of this as their marriage is 12 days old. What follows is a fist-fight with no interference (!) (fortunately for the goons) from the locals and Capt Kulbir is shown hurt. 

Somebody manages to arrive just in time to bring her back to MCTE premises, pale with fear and anxiety. The whole course gathers in our lawn and successfully makes her life miserable! The poor newly-wed hardly knows anyone and is being offered sugar, Bournvita(?) and chikki from Punjab! She doesn’t know what goes with what but somehow we keep her pressure from dropping as her fainting would mean a disastrous end to the act. Someone comes up with the bright idea of calling her father-in-law under the pretext of asking Capt kulbir’s blood group. That does it and the poor frightened girl can no longer stop those tears! Half the course mates run outside to celebrate victory! Someone else mentions some broken bones and ladies put in their mirch masala by narrating non-existent events from the past at CME, Pune. Cherry on top of the cake, all of this is video recorded. One hour into the drama and Capt Kulbir arrives with a bang to ceremoniously take his shaken wife home and prepare self for some real beating! 

The glorious evening comes to a theatrical end when SODE 103 makes Capt Kulbir climb atop a slippery tree and propose to her, convincingly enough. Nonetheless to say, she takes her revenge by not relenting and he woes her with a beautiful song. All of this against the backdrop of dholaks and us dancing, of course! A memorable evening and a fantastic start to their wed life (they said so themselves!) has only seen the couple grow fonder of each other. May we all wish them a great married life ahead!