Wondering what are these ? They are the names of temples … read on …….
Prof. Rajeshwar Upadhyay tells us that there is a temple in Hyderabad called the Visa Mata Temple which is thronged by people who have to go to the embassy (US) to get visa stamped. Legend has it (is the process of visa stamping that old to call it a legend … but anyway…..) that the conversion rate of prayers into visa stampings is extremely high. Who are the people who visit this temple? ….. IT engineers, engg grads seeking admission to MS programs in the US etc.
Capt. Raghu Raman tells us that there is a temple called the pressure cooker baba temple in Siachen. Many years ago, pakis fired a heat seeking missile aimed at an Indian camp in Siachen. The armymen were sitting away towards the sides of the camp and food was being cooked in a pressure cooker at a distance from them inside the same camp. The missile sought the pressure cooker and blew it into pieces while the men were saved. In the words of Capt. Raghu Raman: “in a place where you do not know whether you will be alive the next minute …. in a place where you go out on a small mission to check if everything is alright and don’t know if you will return back …. and if you return back and remove your gloves, you do not know whether your fingers would have frozen to death or you would be able to bring them back to life …. you do not know whether you will be back with your vision intact ….. you never know whether the next step you keep might send you hurtling down a bottomless crevice that is so deep that if a stone goes down, you can hear it hitting the sides but never hear it hitting the bottom ……. the only thing that keeps you sane and in control is probably your belief in god … I mean you are already so close to god … how much more closer can you get …..” (Apologies if I misquoted anything that the captain said …. I have tried to reproduce things to the best of my memory which is at times pathetic).
So coming back to the pressure cooker incident … this pressure cooker blew up and saved the lives of many of the armymen posted there. Since then, they have made a temple at that spot and continue to worship the remains of the pressure cooker there, in the PRESSURE COOKER BABA TEMPLE.
The men in siachen stay in a bunker probably 5 ft by 5ft (guess so from the area shown by capt Raghu on the stage) … 20 of them in one …. if anyone dies, you can’t even throw him out coz he is one of you ….. no change …. no going back for six months at least …. no taking bath … -40 deg C ….. a 8-10K salary with a siachen allowance of Rs. 32 per month, thanks to one of the huge-hearted defence ministers who doubled it from the earlier Rs. 16 per month ….. the only thing that probably brings a smile on their faces is a rare occasion when they get a letter from home …….. and the question the captain asked was … “Why do you think they are there? Why do you think people serve in the Indian army saving the lives of people of their country when their families might themselves have no one to save them?”
Some anwers given by people: pride of being in the army, patriotism, prestige etc … The men from army in our batch got it right …. of course they got to …. the real reason is they do this all for their leader, the one guy who commands their platoon and for the honour of their platoon. There are people in the army from such remote villages of India that they do not know the concept of a nation ….. what they know is that they have a leader whom they are supposed to follow …. there has been someone doing this before them, they have to do it now and there will be someone doing it after them.
So what is crisis ….. it is certainly not “oh .. my boss didn’t look at me today”, “i got poor grades in the exam” OR “oh there are so many assignments to be submitted” … real crisis is probably what many of the armymen face out there and leadership skills probably are best tested in situations they face.
In case someone wants to send a message to our people in Siachen, do write to:
Brig. Om Prakash
Cdr 102 Inf Bde
C/0 56 APO.
The captain says that every mail is read out to them !!!
That said, I end my long post ….. time to go back to finish the remaining assignments ….. we are turning slowly into and will probably leave this place as OWLS.