Roadtrips are fun aren’t they? This one had plenty, but it wasn’t all fun.
In the year of 1992, there was a sudden deployment of a TROPO unit to somewhere near Hajipir, Gujrat. It was of immense strategic importance and the move was based on reasons of the clandestine kind. A perilous location (marshes, barren land and then of course the LOC). An officer was called back from his honeymoon to lead the move of this unit. As the execution of the unit neared the end of its tenure, his wife undertook a roadtrip to the unit along with some friends.
The roadtrip consisted of a family of four, a young couple (my parents) and the wife (I’ll call this whole bunch of people: *the group*) all stuffed in one Gypsy. They started from Naliya and travelled for 90 kilometres in sandy, inhospitable conditions and rough terrain to reach as close as possible to the unit. They reached to a point where even the mighty gypsy couldn’t go further. There was a BOP nearby which provided some camels for the next part of the journey to reach the unit. Here comes the fun part! The moment everyone sat on their respective camels, it rained which is very rare in that part of the country. Now imagine this! You’re sitting at the height of almost 12 feet and the camel suddenly starts feeling “not so sure” about his legs owing to the slippery muck created due to the rain. The camels panicked and started running. The person who handled the camels had instructed everyone that a nudge on the rope on either side left or right would turn the camel. The detail he had left out is a nudge too strong would make the camel do a 360 degree turn and it would feel like figure skating (due to the slippery ground) except with a camel in the middle of the nowhere. As the camels scurried across the barren, sludgy land through babul trees and thorny shrubs, people on top of it screamed and the person in charge of the camels tried to catch up with the camels. What a jolly good chase that might have been! Exciting!
A widespread and very inspiring quality that the people posted/deployed at the border posses is optimism and they are always beaming with pride and patriotism. A feeling which surpasses all. An indescribable emotion of serving the country and the satisfaction derived from the fact that their contribution matters. Delightful!
The whole party finally reached the unit. They were served with dinner, drinks and a gala time. Tents were pitched. Everything looked quite stable for a while when everyone was served by a second shower of rain. Though it brought down temperatures and it made everything pleasant, the humans were not the only ones enjoying the cool wave. Scorpions, Scorpions everywhere! Scorpions started trickling out in huge numbers and that caused a lot of inconvenience since everyone was supposed to sleep in tents. The huge move of the unit was the very next day. So, the whole unit started to pack and the group started their journey back to Naliya in the morning. As fate would have it, their gypsy broke down leaving them stranded in the middle of nowhere. Unexplored, detached from human civilisation and disconnected would describe the place they were stuck in. When the unit reached Naliya and the group still had not reached, it put the people there in a nervous wreck. Everyone knew about the risk involved. The group didn’t lose hope and left the gypsy and walked till they found a little village of nomads. Here’s the thing about these villagers that I liked, they engaged the group with great admiration when they came to know they were from armed forces. They spoke a gujrati-sindhi dialect hence my father was able to converse with them. A car passing by helped repair the gypsy and off they went.
My mom recollects it to be one of the cleanest villages she has ever seen till date. The humble yet progressive nature of the people from gujrat is commendable. I shouldn’t say this, but it really pains to see the people of some states being hostile towards the very power responsible for their safety and wellbeing. I wouldn’t name the state. This blog is way too young to take on political stuff, anyways entertainment is way cooler.
P.S Tropo is basically a mobile communication unit and BOP stands for Border Observatory Post