Part 2: An excellent company

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A lively man with a lot of vigour in his hands, he was a repository of ready wit, open minded, candid and frank speaking style with a touch of personal affinity. With chubby cheeks, a good height, proportionate body build, straight line broad moustaches, every bit of him looked like an army officer. He was an unforgettable personality. He also vividly remembered each and every detail of our togetherness in a year-long refresher course in public administration held at the Indian Institute of Public Administration campus years ago. But in the lap of the hills it was a chance meeting, I must say. I had gone there with my wife for a 10-day break on our fourth marriage anniversary.

The NCC field programme schedule included some social work besides their usual parade and discipline promotion activities. The same evening I visited his tented dwelling. From another attached tent emerged a good-looking lady whom he introduced as his wife and a boy aged approximately 10 who, I was told, was his son.

“At NCC camp”

When I told the Colonel that I was there with my wife, he immediately came out with a suggestion that, for fun, we also should participate in the field activities of the camp along with his wife, son, staff and cadets. He himself was predominantly occupied with heavy responsibilities of supervising the operations of the 500-strong NCC camp. As I understood enough work for cadets and staff was being created to keep them fully occupied to give them a strong feel of purposefulness of the camp in their day-long schedule.

In the low hillock ranges there was lush green vegetation all around. The activities included soft mountaineering, long walks through the natural environs, social service like cleaning the town and planting more saplings in and around the vicinity of the camp. The food was being cooked by the professional cooks, but the utensils were being cleaned by the cadets themselves.

In the evening there were mimicry, cultural singing and dancing shows. Some educative documentary and feature film shows were scheduled in close coordination with state and central government public relations departments. More than anything else what kept Col Buxi attentive was the concern for safety and security of the cadets, particularly girl cadets.

The joys of my excursion had gone up manifold. I had never imagined that far from the humdrum of metropolis, we were going to have such an excellent time. Col Buxi was as friendly as in the past. My wife had an excellent company of Mrs Colonel. The evening cultural programmes put up by girl and boy cadets were an added attraction. I was doubly happy for my wife as she was mentally occupied in the kind of activity amidst lush green nature.

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