Wednesday, September 29, 2010

1 month into FC

Its almost 1 month into the FC and I have begun to find and sink into my comfort. Some guys have gone ahead and stopped caring for the Show-Cause memos as well. 4 short treks have happened so far each one tougher than the previous one and preparations are in full swing for the 8 days long trek to begin this statuurday.
The long trek was postponed by a week due to heavy rains for weeks.
Aha! that reminds me of the inclement weather that persisted for 4-5 days. While on hand it was irritating to me because I can't stand absence of sunlight for more than 2-3 days and the damp, sticky air that seemed to permeate every inch of the space, every pore in the skin, on the other it also brought us relief from the morning PT. Well not completely, since we still had to go for it but only to the sports complex downstairs, sparing us the 2 km walk/run to the polo ground. Another reason to hate the weather, it gave me a throat infection that seems to plan to stay  with me till I stay in Mussoorie. Damn!
But finally FC gave those golden memories, dreams of which are injected into every OT's mind to make the stay as pleasant as possible. I got complements. And u r thinking wrong, they were not about the well-known genious that I am, rather my good looks. I was told be handsome by so many that I began doubting the truth in it. I could feel their cold sighs.
But as it happens, all good things must come to an end. And as of today I am already experiencing the feel-good curve has reached the inflection point. BUt perhaps this is exactly what I should guard against. Exactly what I had set out to work against when I set my objectives for the FC.
The curve slopes upward as long as I believe it to be. Using my mind whenever my heart tries to steer me in the wrong ( read negative) direction.
So much so for now.Will come back again when time permits which would most probably be after my trek.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Short Trek to Kempty Falls

First Weekend at LBSNAA and it was awesome. We had a short trek to Kempty Falls. There was a tree plantation event on way coordinated by Ecological Task Force. The instructors took the the short way down through mountain tracks to save time and distance, but importantly to prepare us for our long trek 2 weeks later in the Himalayas. It wasn't a new experience for me given that I had done 2 treks in Uttarkashi, far tougher and more rigorous than this one, just that I was quite out of shape and was trying to make full use of my camera.

Due to first outing of whole batch, gentlemen OTs (Officer Trainees) were trying hard to woo the ladies and as expected lady OTs were biding their time. Why won't they? They had so many options to choose from, 3 boys for every 1 girl being the ratio of the batch.  True to the words of our course coordinators, few couples could already be identified. I was content taking pictures of everyone. Honestly!
The mountains as always made me happy. They humble me, as did UPSC. While we were treading down the slippery mountain paths, the caution of our instructor, Rana, kept coming to my mind, "पहाड़ कभी माफ़ नहीं करता". Since I was at tail end of the group of 277 OTs there were no saplings left for me to plant. But the refreshments offered by Eco Task Force were more than welcomed by my stomach that had missed last night's dinner for a movie and the breakfast due to paucity of time.
Then we reached Kempty Falls. And it was one of the best marvels of nature I had seen in last 4 years, the last being the Dodital, a lake at 13000 feet. We had not planned to take a dip in the water, but the temptation was way too much to let go. So there we went with total disregard for the cold water.The sheer force of falling water was breath-taking. And while we were trying to force our way directly below the falling water, we didn't expect the mass of small gravels that came along with the current and slammed all of us.
A temporary link to the pics is on my friends Facebook album.
http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=70964&id=1134485378
Pictures from my camera to follow soon on my FB profile.On our way back, the effect of smoking on my muscles gradually started fading away.My nerve cells recalled their memory of earlier treks, my breadth and steps adjusting in the perfect rythm for minimum exhaustion. I started enjoying the way up, trying once in while to motivate those lagging behind. Everything reminded me of my earlier treks, the exhaustion, the aching muscles,  sprained ankles, people cursing every step that led upwards, smell of rain on the mountain shrubs, some people falling behind, some people rushing ahead to prove their toughness, smokers trying to steal a smoke out of instructors' watchful eyes, throats begging for a drop of water, sweat dripping by the chin, clothes wet by rain, body heat making the cold rain water inconsequential, me trying to become an integral part of a peer group. And it felt like nothing changed in past 5 year since my first trek. I was the same guy, yearning for same things, happy at same sights, sad on same happenings. History has its weird ways of repeating itself.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

First Day at LBSNAA

My mood was jolly, apprehensive and anxious. I was happy to spend another few months of my life as a trainee, perhaps my last stint in training, apprehensive of meeting new people as I always am. I reached there with Shanshank Sethi, selected for IAS. Luckily thigs fell in place as two of us were alloted the same room. It was good to spend time with someone you know is reliable.
The academy is splendid. The exclusivity of the academy only adds to its aura.I had come here a month ago with my parents and was stopped at the gate.
On my persistence the guard had told me that he could allow me only after a month but not now. I wanted to find him out now and have a chat about that incident. So much so for the humility expected out of a future civil servant.
The first day was spent sleeping an recuperating. The rapidly changing weather and slopes everywhere can cause weird health problems to a man from the plains. My room was in Ganga HOstel and we had to walk down a slope equal to atleast 12 stories. I remembered anecdotes where trainees used to skip their dinner because they could not gather the will power required to dress up in formals after a hectic day and walk 12 stories up to the Officers' mess.
I met many friends from college, coaching classes , interview prep sessions who got lucky enough to have their names in the final list. With the continuing stream of trainees I was having nightmares about having to remember the names of all of them. I am really bad at recalling names, but this was somehting that I could not afford to do without.
The room was excellent and apart from other things it also had a TV. As I understood later, one rarely gets time to watch it. There was also a room-boy and lavish, posh common room in the hostel. My previous hostel experience told me this was so beacuse it would remain largely unutillized by the trainees due to paucity of time.
More about LBSNAA in next post.