Nikhil Sharma

Drama Inspirational


Nikhil Sharma

Drama Inspirational

Ten Memorable Days Of My Life

Ten Memorable Days Of My Life

16 mins

It was partly, cloudy morning. I woke up very early as I was very excited...

'Nikhil'! My mother called from the kitchen.

"HnJi mmi ji"... I replied.

'I have kept all the needy things near your bag', mom said and came to my room with a tiffin box.

"Sabji is in this box, achar is in the small red box", mom explained to me pointing at the boxes.

"Fifteen chapatis enough?" mom asked

"Fifteen?" I replied surprisingly

"Yes your friends will also eat", mom replied.

I accepted coz mom packed tiffin like this every time, whenever I went outside of my house. Then mom helped me with packing.

After one hour I was ready to move, touched mom's feet, and hugged her.

"Bye mmi," I said

"Bye! Go carefully," mom replied.

I lifted my bag on my shoulder, put my black shades on, and left home with excitement. Enthusiasm was of NCC Camp for which I was going to Amritsar for the next ten days. It was a National Integration Camp (NIC II). It was the first occasion in my life, in which I went out of my home for ten days without my parents or guardians.

* * * *

I reached the railway station immersed in my thoughts of camp. I met Nishant outside the railway station, my best friend who was also going to attend the camp with me. Vibhore and Shalu were also going to attend camp with us. We are a total of three male cadets ( me, Nishant, and Vibhore) and one girl cadet ( Shalu ) selected from our unit 2HP(I) coy Dalhousie for NIC II.

"Where are Vibhore and Shalu?" I asked.

"They are in the waiting room", he replied.

"Let's go", I said.

"Aa gyaa", Shalu said with a loud voice as soon as she saw me.

Everybody there saw my side.

"Hmm....! Hey everyone".. I said

There was 6 more with Shalu and Vibhore. Three girl cadets and three boy cadets from the junior wing of our unit. I noticed there was a crowd of bags around them.

"Has Sanjeev sir arrived"? I asked.

Yes! "he went to get tickets", Shalu replied.

Sanjeev Sir came from our unit to take us to Amritsar for camp.

Sanjeev Sir came.

"Jai hind Sir", I regard him.

"Jai hind", he replied.

"All arrived"? Sanjeev Sir asked.

"Yes Sir". We answered.

"Ok! Train will come on platform no. 2 after twenty minutes... Let's Go", Sir said.

It took 3 hours to reach Amritsar Junction. Then we left for Khalsa college in Riksha. We reached the Khalsa college campus at 4:20 pm. What campus! The main building of college considered a gem of the Indo-Saracenic style, which is strongly influenced by traditional Indian and Mughal schools of architecture. I stared at the building of the college only.

Many more cadets arrived from distinct states. There are also many cadets from our state Himachal from different units. We all had the same group i.e. Shimla Group. Sanjeev Sir introduce us to all.

Now we were a total of 11 SD and 8 JW cadets and 5 SW and 3 SW cadets and from Shimla Group. Senior Division (SD) refers to which male students from Colleges are enrolled and Junior Division (JW) refers to which male students from schools are enrolled. Senior Wing (SW) refers to which female students from colleges are enrolled. Junior Wing (JW) refers to which female students from schools are enrolled.

Then Sanjeev Sir handover us to BHM of the camp NIC II and went back to the unit. (The Battalion Havildar Major (BHM) was the most senior non-commissioned officer in a Battalion equivalent to a Battalion sergeant major.) BHM sir distributed us Barracks. We total of 11 SD of the Shimla group stayed with Ludhiana (Punjab) group. Girls were arranged to stay in the girls' hostel of Khalsa College.

We were just keeping our stuff in our barracks and a long whistle rang. I peeked out and I saw everybody ran that side from where whistle rang. We also ran and got there. There everyone stood in their own group. And a sir took us all to the ground. Girls were already standing on the left side of the ground. We boys stood on the right group wise.

CO Sir came in the ground to address us. {CO is the officer in command in the military unit.}

He said..."You all have come here to participate in the camp of NIC II i.e. National Integration Camp. The main aim of the camp is community living. As compared to all the camps which lay emphasis on Drill, Pt, Weapon Training, etc. The focus of NIC is on cultural activities. And if you see from my point of view, you are put to live with people from all over India. A diverse country in which 400 languages are spoken and you'll get to know about the culture of every part of the country."

He ended up saying that "in the next ten days forget everything and enjoy all the activities of the camp."

Then BHM sir gave us basic instruction of the camp and explained to us do and don'ts during the camp, the timing of all the activities for the next day. He told the barracks lights should be off after 10 o'clock in the night.

* * * * * *

The next morning as per schedule whistle rang at 7 Am in the morning for breakfast. There was Puri chana with chai... We had breakfast.

At noon we all gathered at the auditorium. It's very big in size. There are thousands of chairs and a big stage adorned with garlands. It seemed very big and beautiful. There Major Karan sir addressed us. He welcomed us all and said...

"There are a total of 456 senior and junior cadets from 26 states attending this camp. Here you'll be getting a chance to know the versatility of our country. So here will be a competition of speech in which one cadet from each group will participate and will describe the culture of their region... But speech should be in the English Language so that everyone can understand 'coz here we also have cadets from the northeastern region and southern region." He said there will also be more contests held in the camp ... like games competition, quiz competition, folk dance competition and cultural presentation competition between groups. Also, we will visit some army units in Amritsar and will also visit eminent places of the locality.

After those cadets of First Punjab girls Battalion, under which this camp was held, performed Punjabi Bhangra-Gidda. Performace was so tremendous that the auditorium was echoed with applause and whistles. Then we came to barracks.

In the evening we gathered at the playground. There we play different sports. The ground of Khalsa college was so large that 450 cadets seemed very little in it.

There I saw a boy sitting on the side of the ground, very sad. I remembered that he was from our Shimla group. I went near him...

"Why so serious", I asked him.

"Bhai! They are teasing me", he said in a very low voice, pointing to three boys standing near him.

They were also from Himachal.

I stared at them and said, "Oye," in a loud angry voice. "Go and play there", I said. They ran away from there.

"What's your name", I asked.

"Joginder...", he replied.

"You won't play?"I said.

"Not interested at all 'coz they are bullying me", he replied.

"Ok! Where are you from Joginder?" I asked.

"Sundernagar", he replied.

"Which class?", I asked.

"9th", he replied.

"Name of school?" I asked.

"Divya Manav Jyoti Ashram", he replied.

As soon I heard the word Ashram I wanted to know more about him 'coz Ashram word made the image of foretime in my mind.

"So do you stay in the ashram?", I asked

"Yes! My home is far away from ashram", he replied.

"Why not enroll in a school near your home?", I asked

"My parents are not capable of taking my education, so they sent me to the ashram", he replied.

I was eager to know more about him. But I felt that he was not interested in talking to me anymore, so I got up from there and said to him...

"if anybody teases you let me know."

"Hmm...", he replied.

A long whistle rang. Everybody stopped play and stood in an attention position.

"Fall in," BHM Sir said in loud voice. {"Fall in" means to take one's place in a military formation.} All of us fall in group-wise. BHM sir said "tomorrow is 21st June, International Yoga day. All will come to the ground to do yoga at 6 o'clock in the morning. And the day ends with NCC Song..."

"Hum Sab Bhartiya Hain"

* * * * *

6 o'clock in the morning, Everyone gathered at the ground. We got yoga mats ready and waiting for us. We were given white T-shirts for Yoga camp. It all began with a prayer and continued with four trained yogis who were leading the session by demonstrating 'asanas' that we were to perform. All the instructions were given by the male speaker beside the stage.

As we started to leave the venue, my stomach was craving food, as I had done almost two hours of Yoga that morning. Then we got refreshments of juice, biscuits, and chocolate.

Then in the afternoon went to the auditorium for the speech competition. A person like me doesn't like listening to speeches at all. My eyes had to find Joginder. He sat five rows next to me. I couldn't call him because he sat far away from me.

As the last day, it was falling after the games in the evening.

BHM Sir said," tomorrow after breakfast we are going to visit 7 JAk Riffles unit."

And the day ends with NCC song...

" Hum Sab Bhartiya Hain "

Three days of camp were over and I didn't call home even once. I was that type of person who did not pass even half an hour without my phone. But three days passed in the camp and I didn't even touch my phone once. I called my mom. I was walking outside, talking on the phone. And I saw Joginder was coming to my side with a pillow and blanket in his hand.

"Bhai! May I sleep with you," Joginder said.

"Yes sure", I replied.

"I didn't ask him why."

I wanted to know more about him but he was asleep soon.

* * * * *

The next day, after breakfast a lot of busses arrived in the ground. We moved to the 7 JAK riffle unit. CO of 7 JAK riffles addressed us and we visited different places of the unit. They taught us about different weapons, their effective range, and many more. They told us the achievements of 7 JAK Rifles. Then we all move to the ground.

There were three army personnel with camouflage concealment. Their face was painted black. They seemed very lethal. They gave us a demosntration of fieldcraft and how the army fought when ammunition finished. This skill called "Dhaba". Their aggression was very influential. Their speed of tactics showed how powerful our army is.

We came back to Khalsa college in the evening. Everyone had the words of those soldiers in their tongues. Everyone became a fan of their skills.

* * * * *

The next day we went to Shri Harminder Sahib which is famous by the name of Golden Temple. When entering the Gurdwara one is expected to remove the shoes and cover one's bare head as a sign of respect towards the sovereignty of the Guru Granth Sahib... Hence Kesh must be covered in the Gurdwara. There are many counters for devotees to hand over their shoes for safekeeping.

Then I entered the main gate and I saw the sanctum has a marble platform and a gold foil dome. It sits inside an almost square pool called Amrit Sarovar. The sanctum is connected to the platform by a causeway and the gateway into the causeway is called the Darshani Ḍeorhi. The sanctum has two floors. The Sikh Scripture Guru Granth Sahib is seated on the lower square floor.

There is also a central Sikh museum in the golden temple. It has a rich collection of coins, old arms, and ancient manuscripts. It also exhibits paintings of Sikh gurus, the Sikh warrior who has contributed to the enhancement of the Sikh religion.

Then we took holy offerings in Langar Ghar. It was so big that hundreds of people were eating holy offerings at one time. Then we came outside of the golden temple and went to Jallianwala Bagh near the Golden temple. Jallianwala Bagh preserved in the memory of those wounded and killed in the Jallianwala Bagh Massacre. At the entrance is a statue of Udham Singh. Once entered, some old trees can be seen in the garden with some buildings at the back. With the words 'Vande Mataram', a flame titled 'Amar Jyoti' is seen burning to the right under a domed meditation area. There are also marks of bullets that were fired during the massacre.

'Coz we all wore combat dress, every other visitor were looking at us. Many visitors took photographs with many of us. At that time I realized the importance of combat uniforms. The honor of uniform was realized in the minds of the Indians. At that time I was feeling very proud of being an NCC cadet. Then we went around the whole market and ate many Punjabi dishes. More than half of the cadets wore turbans. We had a great day. Reached back to Khalsa college at 8 o'clock.

* * * * *

The next day after breakfast Aditi came to me and said all boys of the Shimla group come to the ground. (Aditi was SW cadet from Hamirpur college). We all gathered in the ground.

"There will be a dance competition in the last day of camp and we will perform Himachali Nati", Aditi said.

We made six couples for Nati. (Nati refers to Himachali folk dance) Aditi and Swati were from the same college. They had already performed Nati during their college function once before. Both started teaching us the steps of Nati.

"What about the cultural presentation?", I asked.

"We have already prepared it", Aditi replied.

"Great job", I said.

"We know you guys won't do such thing, so we already did", Aditi taunted me. (She seemed extra excited for events of the camp)

We had a cultural presentation that evening and really our group's girl cadets did a very impressive job. They showed our Himachali culture including history, different communities, and famous personalities.

* * * * *

The next day we visited the BSF campus at Attari Border. They welcomed us with nimbu pani. They also taught us about different weapons, their effective range, and how to use them. They explained how they work. They showed us trucks from Pakistan which came to export. They explained to us how the jawans of BSF inspect all the material exported by Pakistan.

Trucks of Pakistan were very large in size and their makeup was done like a bride. Lots of parandas hanged with them. Then we were sent from the inner gate towards the Attari border where the evening parade was to take place. Every other visitor had been checked by the BSF personnel. But we the cadets of NCC entered directly with the jawans of BSF.

We were all sitting together. Popular patriotic music blasted through the speakers. I never heard this much sound of speakers before. It was electrifying – women were dancing, hollering, and radiating their pride for the country. Only women were allowed to join the party while men watched from the stands with their smartphones and cameras aloft.

Twelve thousand were dancing with patriotic slogans on the songs of Deshabhakti (Esa desh hai mera, chak de India, Jai ho, and many more.) What a scene! My combat uniform was drenched with sweat.

After the females retreated back to their seats, some girls and ladies were invited to carry the flag and run to the border gate and back. They bore the flag proudly and ran across the stage like a torch race. The crowd cheered boisterously for them which is really revealing of the national pride of we the people of India possess for the country.

When the festivities finished, the ceremony began and soldiers thrust their legs upwards and maneuvered passive-aggressively. Jawans partaking in the ceremony – the Border Security Force (BSF) – had a red headgear, spreading out like a peacock’s feathers. It was a really unique ceremonial uniform; pretty but also giving an aura of importance and solemnity. It was also to show Pakistan how united India is – with our soldiers ever-ready and loyal to the country.

It was a goosebump moment for me. Bloods in my veins ran very fast. All the area echoed with the slogans of... "Bharat Mata ki Jai" and "Vande Matram."

After an hour of parade and cheering, the ceremony came to an end with soldiers from each side standing off and shaking hands. It was 8'o clock when we reached back. Everyone had a sore throat.

* * * * *

The next morning... it was a written quiz competition. I and Nishant participated in that competition from our group.

In the evening sports competition was held. Tug of War... Our match was with UP. 10-10 boys from both sides of the white line stood lifting the rope tightly.

Boys of the U.P were very heavy in size. A whistle rang and they pulled our whole team in just 3 seconds. Everybody laughed at us. We went to side bowing in shame.

Now it's the turn of SW. Their match was with Punjab. Whistle rang... And girls from both sides started pulling the rope to their side. And we won... our girls hugged each other with joy. Our girls' team won the finale of Tug of War and also Kho-Kho.

Joginder was sitting there with me. It was very hot that day. A boy brought a water bottle with him.

"Give me water please", I requested him. He gave me a bottle...

Before drinking, I offered to Joginder.

"Nope", he said.

"Why? Are you not feeling thirsty", I asked.

"Yes! But Bhai he has brought water for himself, I'll go and drink myself", he replied.

I was impressed by his words and thought myself foolish in front of his thinking. I didn't drink water and returned the bottle... He was a very decent boy. Many times I noted his activities. He always prayed to God before eating food. I used to learn a lot by being with him. He was much younger than me in age but much more sensible than me.

* * * * *

It was the last day of the camp. The auditorium was all set for the closing ceremony of camp. Brigadier of Punjab Group came as the chief guest.

Every group performed their respective regions' folk dance. We also performed wearing our traditional dress. But we lost in the competition. Bhangra was declared first and ghoomer was declared second in the dance competition.

Joginder came to me with a small piece of paper and a pen in his hands.

"Bhai", He said.

"Hm..." I replied with a nod.

"Give me your mobile no." He said.

I wrote my mobile number in that piece of paper. I asked him for his parents' number.

"We don't have a phone", he replied.

"I'll call you once I got my mobile", he said.

Now it was the turn of prize distribution. All the winners got medals by Brigadier Sir at the stage. I was not interested in the prize distribution ceremony. There was also a reason, I did not even win in any event. I was talking with some tamil friends. I was getting to know the language of them.

I asked them, "how to say I Love You in Tamil?"

"Nan unai necikkiren", they replied.

I also learned the same three magical words in different southern languages like Malayalam, Telugu, and Kannada.

And then, anchor from the stage said. "And the winner of quiz competition."

"Any guess?"

Everybody was quiet.

"He is from Shimla, any guess?"

Everybody was quiet.

"Nikhil Sharma", the anchor said in a loud voice.

"OMG", how is this possible I thought.

I stood up and everybody was whistling and screaming Nikhil...Nikhil.

(It was dark where we sitting. The light was on the stage)

Everyone was calling my name. I was feeling like a winner. I had never experienced such supercilious feeling ever before.

I reached the stage. I regard Brigadier Sir with Salute and took the medal from him. Photographer took a photograph while shaking hands.

And the camp ended with a proud feeling. I couldn't have such exposure anywhere else before this camp. Meeting new people from different regions, learning new cultures, all of it was unexpected but it felt wonderful from inside. The camp is over but the memories are still alive.

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