Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Kanya Kumari to Karakoram

After Trivandrum my next stop was Ladakh as i was transferred there, however, i also spent considerable amount of time in Rajasthan before moving to Ladakh.
The memories of Rajasthan take me back to the unending stretches of sand dunes which we had to traverse during the course of our battle simulation exercises. The most difficult part of any military operation in the deserts is keeping correct directions as there are no landmarks to guide one through the sandy desert. Most of my memories of Rajasthan pertain to our operational exercises, hence, not being shared here.

In February 1982 i moved to Ladakh

 Change of Shoulder Badges in a simple ceremony. Doing the honours are, Col Balbir Singh, Commanding Officer and Major Gupta Second-in-Command (now a retired Brigadier) while the Other Ranks look on.


While in Ladakh look as Ladakhis do. The officers can connect better with the troops by adopting their culture. Self in Ladakhi dress in one of the Unit functions.

My entry into Ladakh was marked by a tragic incident. I have written about it in the previous post. 

Having been born and brought up at Shimla, i felt at home during my Ladakh tenure. As it is said that 'the experience counts', my skill in ice skating which i had learnt at Shimla helped me in assuming the charge of our ice hockey team as team captain. The boys in our team were local ladakhis therefore we had no problem beating all the teams which visited Ladakh to participate in ice hockey tournaments.

Receiving individual prize and the team championship trophy from General Rodrigues who was our Divisional Commander at that time who later became Chief of the Army Staff. (Pictures can be enlarged by clicking over them)
The ice hockey matches were so popular that the locals from nearby villages used to descend on the venue of the tournaments and would watch the game from the roof tops.

This post also forms part of series on my life journey. To read all the posts in this series, please click here


Farishta said...

After a brief hiatus you are back Sir, and it feels good to be reading your posts again, :)
And I was shocked at how certain people were indulging in pilferage in an organisation of such stature.
Oh, and it looks like mine is the first comment. :)
Sir, I have been wondering. Will you, or have you published a book? It would be wonderful to see the facets of fauji life on print.

Reflections said...

Good to see u back....& as usual a very interesting post:-)).

Balvinder Singh said...

Farishta, i have moved to a new station so could not keep in regular touch with blogging.

Yes the corrupt people are everywhere who remain on the look out for slightest opportunity to indulge in corruption. And in our country the opportunities are available in abundance for such people.

No Farishta, blog is the only place where i have published my writings so far, thanks for the compliments.

Nancy, yes i am back, and thanks for compliments.

LazyKing said...

grat post.
I'm a little jealous, I never ride a camel in my life.
It's great that you're back. Welcome back

J P Joshi said...

Welcome back. Hope you have settled in to your routine in the new place. Winter months must have been tough there?? Only the army can have fun even at the so called HARD, toughest places. For us, even summers were grim (1984) - no piped water, limited electricity and just barely basic accomodation and the vitamin B complex tablets to take after meals to cater for the tinned food intake.

My impressions of Leh - a really beautiful, out of this world, arctic desert AND Hats off to the Army guys is all I can say, after having visited Sia-la and Bilafond-la during 1984 - for precisely two minutes each.

Balvinder Singh said...

Lazy king, you can visit Rajasthan and can enjoy a camle ride easily. Tahnks

JP, yes, now fully ensconsed in the new den.

Yes i was posted to Ladakh in the peak of winters and that too after doing a stint in Kerala and Rajasthan. But at that age it was fun.

Yes Ladakh is a place out of this world. The mountain ranges in summers just look like those seen in Mackenna's Gold . I will be posting some more pictures in next posts.


How do we know said...

Sirr... every single post of urs is a revelation in itself... this one too... !! Please post the next one soon..

Balvinder Singh said...

HDWK, thanks, yes will try to put the next post soon.

Soul Searcher said...

Thanks for stopping by. Engelbert is on my list too and "quando quando" is on my Mushy Song top ten but he just did not make it to the top ten just like others like " Listen to the pouring rain" , Sounds of Silence, Jimi Hendrix and the "Cotton Fields" and so many others . Maybe I will come up with a list of ten which did not make it!

I love the new picture you have and camel ride stories bring back painful memories of the tme my camel decided to leave the trainer and go off on a stroll with me and only me. By the time the ricde was over I could not figure out if my insides were on the outside or vice versa!!

LazyKing said...

yes, I'm looking forward to visit India

Suresh M.G. said...

Thanks for this wonderful post after a long interval and also thanks for letting us know more about the Indian Army. Blessed are the peoples who have served /serving in the armed forces.

Balvinder Singh said...

Soul Searcher, Thanks. Your list of all those classics took me back to the college days.

I can understand your experince with the camel once it left its trainer.

When i stopped the camel for posing for the photograph it was itching to run. You can see me holding on to the camel's rein so tightly to prevent it from taking off.

Balvinder Singh said...

Lazy King, you are most welcome. Don't forget to visit Rajasthan.

Balvinder Singh said...

Suresh, thanks, sorry for the long intervals.

yes, i am proud of having served in the elite force that Indian Army is.

Time permissing, will try to put next post soon.

Nagesh said...

Dear Sir, After reading jeffrey archer's "paths of Glory",I started reading all your old posts , wondering what will happen to my blood at -50 degree celsius now :)

Balvinder Singh said...

Nagesh, proper acclimatization and mental make up enables the human body to undergo any extremes.

Latin Sardar said...

Loved your blog posts (the 2-3 that I was able to squeeze in the tiny amount of time I had). Will return to read more. Nice stuff and thanks for your views on my blog. Keep writing and do visit again for more on my blog.

Balvinder Singh said...

Latin Sardar. Thanks. I discovered your blog at Pinku's. Good find i must say. read some of your posts. very interesting indeed. Sure will keep visiting your blog for more. keep it up.

prajatantra said...

very interesting indeed

Anonymous said...

Hey thanks for dropping by my blog. You have got a nice blog! Blog on!

Balvinder Singh said...


opinionsandexpressions :

thanks for the compliments.

PARRY said...

The incidents and your way of presenting them is very unique and in simple language. one feels it through all of them.
i really didnt knew that u have so much a treasure of experiences in ur cut short army careear.
i am also the one who will insist you on making it into a book.
keep them coming.

Balvinder Singh said...

Parry, i was lucky enough to have traveled across the length and bredth of the country during my Army tenure having varied experiences. Will keep writing as and when the memories find right words.

Book ? yes may be at a later stage. Let us see how it shapes up. Thanks for the good words.