And the sol­dier marches on

HT Ludhiana Live - - In & Around - Colonel RD Singh

Last week, I hung my boots af­ter 38 years of ser­vice in the army. I felt a sense of sat­is­fac­tion, hav­ing played the first in­nings of life quite well. Ups and downs, joys and sor­rows, makes and breaks, they were all part of nearly four decades in uni­form. But I lived life on my terms, based on three val­ues that I will al­ways cher­ish.

First, from the day I joined my unit in 1974, I de­cided to live in the present. I con­cen­trated on the task at hand and did what­ever task was as­signed to me to the best of my abil­ity. If the day started with PT, I sweated it out with the troops. Dur­ing the main­te­nance pa­rade or troop train­ing, I joined the tank crew through the dust and smoke. In the evening, we played hard to win the in­ter­squadron matches. At night, it was party time with se­nior and ju­nior col­leagues min­gling over a drink at the of­fi­cers' mess. It was one big fam­ily. One had a sound sleep, to wel­come the next day with the same gusto.

The sec­ond value I cher­ished even more as I grew in ser­vice was to in­tro­spect. There were times I'd be pulled up and even given 'guard checks' by the ad­ju­tant, but I took it in my stride.

But be­fore go­ing to bed, I would go over the events of the day and in­tro­spect on where and why I had fal­tered. Rather than blam­ing oth­ers, I would look at my lapses and vow to cor­rect them. That would re­lax me and I could get a sound sleep, with no ran­cour to­wards any­one. This habit of re­al­is­ing that 'you are your own en­emy' held me in good stead. When I was over­looked for pro­mo­tion af­ter the rank of Colonel de­spite hav­ing done suc­cess- fully well in all cri­te­ria staff and com­mand ap­point­ments, I ac­cepted it with grace. Per­haps I had said some­thing that didn't go down well with my se­niors. As long as I lived with sel­f­re­spect, I knew I'd be able to walk with my head held high.

The third value I have lived by is to for­give and for­get. One can't live with acrimony or with a sense of re­venge. I be­lieve in straight talk and pre­fer to sort out the mat­ter there and then. There's no point sulk­ing or talk­ing be­hind some­one's back. If some­one hurt me, I'd give it back there and then or try to re­move the mis­un­der­stand­ing through di­a­logue, and then move on. I would not carry the bag­gage of neg­a­tive thoughts or make my mind a 'garbage bin' for oth­ers.

As a sol­dier, my big­gest sat­is­fac­tion is that I was fit when I joined the ser­vice and have left it in top shape.

I am all set for my sec­ond in­nings.

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