Training in the Army 37
of extreme exhaustion, was a revelation of endurance. The list
of such extremely testing activities and situations is long.
If you do not give up, you will not experience
defeat or failure.
5. Trust Yourself. We were required to hang a framed copy of the
poem ‘If’ by Rudyard Kipling in our room and the one phrase
from the poem that got stuck in my mind forever was ‘If you
can trust yourself when all men doubt you’. This thought has
been the most decisive thought in my life. There will be times
when people will have doubts about your dreams. At such
times, continue to trust yourself.
Effort Is More Important Than the Outcome
I continued to write poems even during my days at the Defence
Academy. I always had a desire to explore nature. I had a desire to
do something that could bring in variety in my everyday routine.
I wanted to do things for the welfare of others. And I was sure I would
one day fulﬁ l these wishes. Though our training at the Academy was
rigorous, it never restricted my dreams and my thoughts. Sometime
in my 1st semester I had noted down in my diary,
‘What you have to face in life is never in your hands, but
what you feel is in your control. So, better feel good.’
I had been an animal lover and a nature lover since childhood.
One day as I came out of my room, I saw a small squirrel running
in the corridor. It was a baby squirrel and looked scared. The other
cadets were running around in the corridor wearing big boots and
I thought someone may hit and harm this tiny squirrel. So I picked it
38 In Quest of the Last Victory
up and took it to my room. My room was on the third ﬂ oor and right
outside the window of my room, connected to the window sill was a
ﬂ at surface, few inches wide, which ran around the building at that
height. Squirrels from the trees used to run around on this platform
from one tree to another as the branches of most of the trees brushed
the building. I thought I would place the squirrel on that platform
from where it could run away into the trees. The squirrel was deﬁ nitely
scared in my hands. As I gently placed it on the platform, in a very
unlikely and unexpected manner, it ran off the platform and into
the air. The fall wouldn’t kill the squirrel as it spreads its limbs to
slow the fall but the fall from three stories would deﬁ nitely daze it
for three to four seconds. As the squirrel hit the ground with a slight
thud, a cat which used to usually nap in front of the next building
woke up by the sound. The cat immediately saw the fallen squirrel
and ran towards it. As the cat moved close to it, I saw the squirrel
come out of its daze and run to the nearest tree. The three seconds of
daze after the fall proved fatal. The squirrel was still a few feet from
the tree when the cat caught it. This small incident and the lesson
I learnt from it is something I would always carry with me. It’s a very
valuable lesson for me.
At the best you can only have good intentions. Whether
the end result would be good or not or what the result
eventually would be, is not in your hand.
So, always just focus on your good intentions and work with the
same, irrespective of the outcomes. Let the possible outcomes not
On the 4th of June in 1994, I completed my three years of training
and passed out of the portals of the National Defence Academy. I had
to join the Military Academy at Dehradun, a month later, after the