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Updated: Apr 1, 2022

Every kid of my generation has grown up seeing the men in combat dresses. ‘’Army is the backbone of a nation’s sovereignty and integrity’’. My dad said once when I asked him what do these men in uniform do. ‘’Fauj is the one who give chocolates & gifts to children’’ answered my brother Adil Wani, when he was a seven year old Kid. ‘’Army is the one who gave me wheelchair, who helped in taking your aunt to hospital for delivery when circumstances were very adverse in 2016’’ said my grandmother Ruksana when I asked her the same question.

For me Army has been a synonym to courage, humbleness, uprightness, polite yet firmness, someone or somebody who is at your beckon call to help you to comfort you. But it always excited me and developed a curiosity in me to find out how do these simple looking humans deliver all these roles so perfectly. This was all a mystery to me till I moved out on vacation from my college in Delhi to my sweet home in Kashmir. It happened that, I got an opportunity to attend an event called as ‘A Day with Company Commander’ where I accompanied my cousin Aftab Wani.

So when we reached the Army Camp, they received us with warmth and made us feel comfortable, all the faces there, felt like very excited and happy hosting us. After having a brief laughter and talks, we were taken around by the Company Commander. Firstly we were taken to their living area, which they call it as lines/ barracks. The room was not luxurious, it was adequately spacious but extremely well organized and neat. The beds were well done up, the footwear’s were on the shoe racks, luggage was kept in lockers onto a side under lock & key, one bucket & mug under every bed, There was something more interesting, a mirror on the wall next to EXIT, on which it read ‘AM I SMART’ and every one of us moving out of the room gave it a look with smile and we could understand what these words meant.

Next, we were taken to the cookhouse (Lungar), there we saw an Army uncle named Bilal slaughtering chickens. He suddenly noticed us & passed a bright smile. ‘’Bachon, aaj aap log ke liye halal chicken bana rahe hain’’ he said ‘’Haan bache log, aaj badiya butter chicken bana rahe hain appke waaste’’ Shyam (cook) uncle added. I understand, being considerate is a quality that Army has. From there we moved to their prayer area, Sarva Dharma Sthal. What grabbed my attention was a platform on which Quran, Bhagwat Gita, Sikh Granth and the Bible were kept. I had to believe that there is nobody whom I have seen who respect all religions and maintains a harmonious environment amongst them. Then we were taken to their makeshift area. Seeing the obstacle one of my friend asked, ‘’ye sab kuch zyada mushkil nahi hai?’’. ‘’There is no substitute to hard work’’ promptly replied the Company Commander. I was only getting more & more fascinated & attracted to all this what I was seeing.

After having a photo shoot with the Company Commander & others in all sorts of ‘Commando’ poses we could do then we proceeded for lunch. On the table we found everything well laid out and while we were seated, the food was being served to us. I felt like ‘home’. We shared lot of gossips & stories on the dining table & enjoyed the meal. ‘The Badiya Butter Chicken’ deserves a special mention. After the meal, we all thanked them and some of us even urged them to call us often for such good times.

All the way back, I was in awe of all that happened. With conviction, I say that Army is not just a Military/ Force, but it is an institution. Prophet says, Hubbul Watani Minal imaan’’ which means ‘’Love for the land of abode is part of faith’’. Army is the institution which teaches you this. It is the institution which trains you to be disciplined, humble & polite yet firm, respect all the faiths all the faiths of every religion, chivalry, sincerity, being magnanimous yet powerful, and forthrightness.

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