Tag Archives: Pakistan

Bishal Singh – Pride of India!

Indian Army, Pakistan, India Pakistan, Kargil, Border Military, Armed Forces, Border, Air Force

Bishal Singh

It was my first trip ever to Darjeeling. One of the best hillstations of the country, no wonder it’s called ‘The Queen of Hillstations’ After a tiring 36 hours of train ride in one of the worst trains that I ever sat into, my this journey was certainly one of the worst ever if you consider the quality of the travel, the amount of time spent in the train and the worst toilet arrangements. Started from Old Delhi, possibly one of the stinkiest stations in our country to the North East of India towards New Jalpaiguri. Sad to say that, but Old Delhi station did need improvement and has been for ages. To add to that, I was sitting in Mahananda Express. Before I boarded, my fellow passengers who welecomed me with a grin, looking at my backpack and fancying me for a ‘so called adventure traveler’ had already warned me cheekily that this train will reach NJP next year. A couple of them were regular travelers.

But I told them smilingly at that time that it doesn’t matter as long as I reach the destination… And after all I always keep telling everyone now don’t I, ‘It’s all about the journey and not the destination.’ So yes, they were right, being regular travelers and I was wrong this time around… I did more than a few times think about the destination and when we possibly would reach there… Frustrated at times, toilets didn’t have water, food wasn’t that good, a lot of time was spent sitting on top reading or just lazying around…

After arduous and laborious journey of 36 hours, we managed to reach, but we reached at midnight. Which meant, the hopes of the jeep that we had to take from New Jalpaiguri to go to Darjeeling was as thin as ray of light… Maybe even slimmer. So a few of us decided to head to a lodge, split the cost and move next day…

While we didn’t enjoy one bit of our journey and a couple of them were cribbing about the whole problem we went through, there wasn’t much we could do. All we did was enjoy the dinner, which by the way was a saving grace. ‘All you can eat’ for a paltry 40 bucks per plate… We were so impressed that the next day, when we decide to set for Darjeeling we had breakfast there again, though we were disappointed that breakfast wasn’t eat all you can. After all, every day isn’t a Sunday and of course, they also need to do business to serve people like us.

Anyways, now comes the most interesting part of the story. After all the trouble we had gone through I decided to take a jeep to Darjeeling while the fellow passengers headed in another direction taking a bus. I was waiting in the Jeep when I met this lean and atheltic guy. Wearing an olive green, track suit jacket on top of khaki pants he wore green spotted military canvas streakers.. Looking at his outfit I could immediately figure out that he most certainly was from the Army. Yes a lot of times, there are people who wear such outfits or caps for décor, but looking at his spic and span outfit and the way he carried himself, my mind was sure that he was a defense personnel.

While we both waited for the driver to get in more people in the jeep, I started talking to him. He introduced himself to me with a smile on his face. Very down to earth and most certainly looked like someone who was content with his life. He told me his name, Bishal Singh, from Section 2 IC of the Indian Army. He said that with a hint of pride gleaming in his eyes.

“Aap kahaan posted ho?,” Where are you posted I asked him, trying to find out

“Kargil, No Man’s Land near the Pakistan Occupied Kashmir” he said.  One of the dangerous terrains, facing war threats day in and day out. He lived life by the minute, hour and days…

“Now I’m on a leave, going to meet my family in Darjeeling.”

“Nice.” I said with a smile. It must always be a great feeling for soldiers to get such leaves. He had taken a leave after two years and it showed with the smile he had on his face.

“I can’t imagine how difficult it would be.” I said in Hindi…

He just smiled.

Many of you might have seen the ‘Shiachen glacier’ in a national anthem played in one of the theatres in the country. Yes, the Bharatabala productions of national anthem that brings goosebumps to your entire body. Bishal, told me that he was posted there a few years back. He told me about the stories of how they just have to patrol for a few hours, cook their own food, exercise in that biting cold, cook for others, do rounds of the entire area and scout for any dangers if emminent. He also shared with me how hard it is to even find anyone to talk to. How hard it is to even breathe, due to the freezing below 0 degrees centigrades. But now, he was happy that he got time off to visit his parents and his brother in Darjeeling. At the end of the conversation, everything just made sense to me. The problems that we faced were like a miniscule drop of water from the very ice that surrounded his tents for more than 6 months. Suddenly it all made sense to me. I was awe inspired by the amount of overwhelming sense of appreciation I had now for life.

Here I was cribbing about a 36 hour journey and the pitfalls of not having water to clean myself while there was the Pride of the nation, who took great pains to protect us from those very militants who made a difference to my breath and my life… I truly Salute the Soldier who makes our lives worth living each and every moment of the day! Jai Hind! What do you think?

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Amritsar – Punjabi delights…

The State of Punjab has been on my mind for quite a while… I mean who wouldn’t want to go there hah? Makke di Roti and Sarso Da Saag!!! Oye hoye!!! Truly something that Punjab is known for. Besides just their truly amazing food that one would cherish… the warm and hospitable culture that most Punjabis are known for is something really remarkable. One of the most dildaar, or generous, helpful and loving people of this beautiful country. Where if a boy is born in a traditional family, the mother is proud because she knows that her son would be the one who would be able to go across the border and be a part of the country’s security force and military. Numerous tales of their patriotism and their war heroics have been portrayed in stories, movies and real life.

One can’t just miss the beauty of this state and one can’t especially if you are anywhere near by. If nothing else, I had to visit Amritsar as it was on my mind. Not just for it’s amazing Paratha and Lassi… But of course The Golden Temple, The Wagah Border and of course, the Jallianwalla Baug. Something I have in common with the Jallianwala Baug is the date 13th April… Yes, unfortunately, that date is my birthdate, nonetheless, I realize despite being one of the most brutal massacares in our country’s history, this significant place and date is still remembered in our long fight for freedom struggle. Something that gives us a reality check of not to take this ‘freedom’ of ours for granted.

Which is exactly why I made it a point I go visit this one as I was in Delhi for work and had time to fly to Amritsar over the weekend and then move on to my other tasks.

It was a Friday evening. After I finished my work, I headed to the Airport and boarded a flight to Amritsar from the Indira Gandhi Airport in Delhi.  I reached Amritsar late at night and decided to

While I had a cab that took me in the city, I noticed something really interesting. Lot’s cycle rickshaw drivers are still a very popular in the city and that is one of the easiest mode of transport available especially if you are taking a train. The next day was going to be a really exciting day as loads of sight seeing, food and yes, a visit to the Wagah Border was on the cards. I made sure I made the most of my visit in Amritsar.

Cheese Nan, Dal Makhni & Mango Lassi @ Brother's Dhaba

Cheese Nan, Dal Makhni & Mango Lassi @ Brother's Dhaba

Before I went anywhere, my first order of the day was to stuff myself with something… something really Punjabi… That’s when I dropped by the Brother’s Dhaba, courtesy my Auto driver… Said, this is one of the best food joints in that area… And truly, he didn’t dissapoint.

Durgiani Temple - Amritsar

Durgiani Temple - Amritsar

Next up was a temple nearby. The Durgiani Temple. Very peaceful especially with the pond that surrounded it. Inside the temple were a group of musicians and worshipers who were singing and playing songs to delight their spiritual side. One wonders how much devotion they had and how beautifully they execute it out.

Jallianwalla Baug

Jallianwalla Baug

Despite the pain associated with this place, you have to actually go inside and feel the actual realm of what possibilities that day might have brought upon us. This is something you can’t easily forget and if you are a true Indian, then this place is a stark reminder of the trials and tribulations gone by, for our freedom that exists today.

Golden Temple - Amritsar

Golden Temple - Amritsar

One thing you must do after visiting the temple is sit outside, listening to the melodious kirtan, songs that are played at the Gurudwara… I literally went into a state of trance and felt so close to myself meditating while sitting outside on the carpet…

India-Pakistan Wagah Border

India-Pakistan Wagah Border

One of the surreal feelings that hit you is when you see the Pakistani flag flying across the border and the people sitting and watching us from there… Although Paksitanis being less in numbers, you still get to realize, there isn’t any difference between them and yourselves and wonder, perhaps, as to why this whole meaningless borders exist in the first place?

Defense Personnel posted at the Border

Defense Personnel posted at the Border

The Indian Tricolour Soars High!

The Indian Tricolour Soars High!

The whole experience at the border is completely something that you will never forget. The cheering of the people, the dancing to patriotic songs before the parade happens is something you shouldn’t miss. The parade itself is quite a spectacle. The salute to the tricolour, the opening of the gates at the border and soldiers o each side showcasing their best presentation skills as far as their military techniques are concerned. This is something that everybody is charged up about. People waving at each other, looking at each other’s nations flag flying past and at the end of the session synchronously being un-hoisted and kept aside… This shows true peace and harmony that exists and can very well continue to exist especially with loads of love around us.

This was certainly an experience I enjoyed and something that made me feel really alive! True Punjabi Spirit is what I call it…

Flights to Amritsar