Wednesday, March 12, 2014

  From my new   e book  Book  Tears Smiles and Heart breaks 
 ( from


IT WAS THE PROVERBIAL ‘LULL BEFORE THE STORM’ that day of September the 8th, a Saturday, a weekend, the legacy left by the British. In bracing cold Tawang at 10000 feet plus was basking in bright sunshine. A clear day with the greens of the meadows, the  deep blues of the sky, the silver of the river Tawang Chu flowing deep in the valley, the browns and reds ofhouses of the Tawang village, the
majesty of the Tawang Monastery visible not far away was over powering.
It was not too cold, not too hot but just pleasan
Tawang that day was a tourist’s delight. However, there were no tourists to Tawang those days, except the occasional VIP brass, those who choppered to
stay for lunch, give sermons, and talk in platitudes and fly back again to civilisation in plains of Tezpur, Lucknow or Delhi.

In any case it was too quiet and peaceful to resemble a noisy and bustling tourists resort with the Brigade HQ equally quiet. There was no officer present in the HQ except Lt Sharma, the Brigade Ordnance Officer, the duty-officer of the day; all others had gone off to attend a Bara Khana in one of the battalions.

It was my practice to go for an evening walk in the afternoon. I was reluctant to go out on this day as there was no one in the Brigade HQ. However, Lt Sharma insisted even though he was the duty officer. We had been lulled to the extent that even the duty officer was
willing to leave his post with firm faith that nothing could happen, especially in our Brigade Sector. We left via the Signal Centre as was my practice. It was all quiet there, nothing on the air or line: some how too peaceful for my liking. We may have been away at the most for an hour. However, as we approached the HQ, I could feel a tension in the air resulting in quickening of our pace. The scene had completely changed. It was
getting dark and gloomy and there was unease in the atmosphere.

Some thing was wrong, very wrong.

Wondering as to what had happened to bring about the sudden and drastic change, both of us gingerly trooped in to the Brigade Major Kharbanda ‘s room, apprehensive and expecting a rocket for our absence from the HQ, where in every one seemed to have

 No one took notice of our entry. It transpired that ‘Bingo’ the Assam Rifles post had been surrounded by more than 600 Chinese earlier in the day.

Kharbanda a bit worse for wear, thanks to some extra beer, incoherent with his eyes- bleary, red and watering but a soldier to core - he was all decked up in full battle gear with his large-pack ready for move, as we could see was, and all set to relieve the post single-handed.

All of us were more worried about him, desperately trying to hold him back, than the Chinese or Bingo.

The scene would have definitely appeared a bit comical to an outsider, ideal for a sequence in the war movies being produced in Bombay.

Suddenly Hindi Chini ‘bhai bhai’ became Hindi Chini ‘bye bye’
Kharbanda’s small room, the telephone ringing continuously with incoming and out going calls to Tezpur where all of us of the Brigade HQ had gathered resembled an ad hoc Operational Room.

With so many of us crowding around the air had become charged with combined energy of diverse emotions: excitement, apprehension, uncertainty and even fear of the unknown, all adding to the whole in various proportions depending on the attitude of the particular

With the BM being out of action, Major Pereira the DQ, the only
possible link with the Commander at Tezpur and possibly me the  Signal Officer….

  To  be continued


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home