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We Have A New Leader And A Hero - A True Life Story

This a True Life Story about how we had a new hero and leader born due to a small incident which required a lot of guts to achieve. This true life story happened sometime back in the year 1986, when we were in the Academy at Goa, India and were just about to go to Kochi for our Preflight training course.

We were never allowed to go out of the academy gates because we had not passed the drill test and swimming test. The academy was situated on top of a hill in Goa. We never knew what Goa looked like because we were living inside the high walls of the academy which gave us no view of what lay beyond those walls.

The only glimpse of the outside world we got was during the Sunday marathon run, which we had no choice to skip, along the eight and a half kilometer unpaved hillside road around the academy. The local people in Goa are mostly Christians. So there are so many churches in Goa that you will see at least two churches every kilometer.

The Sunday Marathon At Academy - A True Life Story

The marathon run on Sunday morning starts at 6:00 am and was a big demoralizer to us. On normal days we have to wake up at 5:30 am. But on Sundays we have to be up and about at 5:00 am to be at the parade ground at 5:30 am, from where the Marathon run starts. 

This one hour is used by the instructors to ensure that each of us have come for the run and they check this by name. If anyone is found missing then a sailor is sent to the barracks to get him. The only difference is that the guy who is caught missing will end up hopping, front rolling, running on one leg or whatever else that instructor sailor orders him to do, starting from the barrack till the Marathon starting point. Everyone else will wait to see this fun.

And after doing this circus he may have lost half his energy. Running Marathon for that missing guy becomes a torture. The only thing we all could look forward to, in this grueling 8.5 kilometer Sunday Marathon was to seeing an abundance of some beautiful dark faces mostly in white gowns, going to the church all along the route.

Churches of Goa The Marathon Morale Booster - A True Life Story

Goa has a church at every 300 yards thanks to the Dutch occupation of Goa. The Marathon has no timings. But there were rules that segregated the first 100 guys who come first, then the next hundred and so on. The last 100 will get some sort of punishment in the form of a second half marathon in the same Sunday evening for having come in the last 100. My aim always was to avoid being in the last 100.

If you have already passed the drill test and swimming test, and if you happen to be in the first 100 in the Marathon, then you get to go out of the academy that Sunday. The first and second lots of 100 also will get Morning Physical Exercise session of half an hour off on Monday. That means one of extra sleep on Monday morning.

It was not so difficult to be within the first 200 out of the 800 odd guys who run the Sunday marathon. It was the last Sunday just prior to our departure from the academy to Cochin. The chief instructor was kind enough to grant us who had joined as Aviation Cadets, one day out at Goa because we were leaving on next Monday to do our Pre Flying Course in South India at a place called Cochin.

Dressed to Impress 10 Cadets Venture Out of Academy - A True Life Story

We did not have to run the 8.5 kilometer marathon that Sunday. We were in all ten Aviation Cadets out of the four hundred odd Cadets in the Academy. We have joined as Aviation Cadets which means we will be going and flying aircraft with in just six months of joining after the basic Naval Orientation training at this Academy.

Thus, a total of ten, dressed to impress, aviation cadets went out of the academy gate at 6:00 am, walking past the entire lot of Cadets of the Academy, lined up for the Sunday marathon who were envying us. We never wanted to come back to the academy again, where we were allowed to sleep less than 2 hours a day by our senior cadets.

And when we sleep in class because our bodies were dying for sleep, we were awarded more punishments right in the class like standing on our hands with our legs up on the Window. Some could sleep even in that position. That was not ragging.

But our seniors would make us endure everything to make us rugged and sharp to be able to survive a tough life we would be facing in a ship thrown around by the huge Ocean waves, like a paper ball in a storm to make us ready for a war the moment we graduate as Naval Officers.

We Follow Our Hero And Leader - A True Life story

As we walked down the hill merrily, before the marathon began, Aviation Cadet Nick named Kaps, suggested that we will go to Calengute beach. Kaps was such a talented guy, that he created and did a full ten minute skit, including script, dialogues and direction, a couple of days back at the Academy, with all ten of us Aviation Cadets participating in it during our farewell ceremony at night.

The skit was a super hit and Kaps became a sort of our hero after that. He in fact had earned respect from the entire academy with that skit. Now when Kaps announced that we are going to the Calengute Beach, he got all of us excited as he mentioned it was a beach where foreign people roam around without wearing anything.

This beach decision actually established his leadership firmly in our team of ten now walking down the hill for our first outing at Goa after a few months of living like captives inside the academy. We took two auto rickshaws which are basically covered three wheelers with a scooter engine in which three people can sit behind a single row of seat behind the auto driver.

Our Hero And Leader Lead Us To A Deserted Beach - A True Life Story

But since we were short of money, we hired only two auto rickshaws, four guys squeezing into the rear seat and one of us forcibly sharing the driver’s seat. We reached the nearest bus station and took a bus from there to the Calengute beach. We reached the beach early morning by around 8:00 am. The beach looked deserted and it doused all the excitement we had.

We started walking in one file, as if we were doing morning walk on the beach. We then entered a small hut like restaurant which was still being cleaned up. We asked if it is a holiday for the beach. The hotel guy said that tourists come only by around 11:00 am after a lazy breakfast. We sat there and with whatever money we could find in all our pockets, we had a decent breakfast and tea still keeping aside the bus fare to go back.

Getting back to academy was important because we were supposed to be taking a train from Goa to Kochi early morning, the next day. We sat in that restaurant for almost two hours talking about our academy life and cursing all our seniors and instructors who humiliate us and don’t let us sleep peacefully even for a couple of hours a day. For us getting physical punishments were not an issue. It was lack of sleep which was our biggest problem in the Academy.

Missing Sleep And Dinner At Academy A Daily Affair - A True Life Story

The entire morning till lunch is dedicated only for physical exercises, gun firing, drills, swimming, rope climbing etc. All the class room lectures were conducted in the afternoon till evening 5:00 pm followed by games for an hour with a tea break in between. The day is completely tiring. So most cadets are caught sleeping during the class room lectures and invariably they end up with more punishments called ED or Extra Duty in which they are made to run around the perimeter wall.

During the ED run we have to collect tokens from each and every security sentries posted all along the four kilometer long route. Some guys end up with half a dozen ED a day and end up running a distance of over two marathons a day. There is no time set for the ED, so one can walk or run the distance. Only the tokens have to match the number of security post each time. One can take the entire night missing dinner to complete the complete set of ED awarded during the day.

Our Hero And Leader Was About To Be Dethroned - A True Life Story

Sitting in that deserted beach restaurant, we talked about our home and family etc. An hour or so later the foreign tourists both men and women who wore nothing, started coming into the restaurant and have breakfast there. It was a good sight for ten guys in their early twenties. Most of us were embarrassed even to look in that direction. But Kaps, Ajay and Tom, were three carefree guys amongst the ten of us, who had no shame or embarrassment of any sort keeping their eyes pinned on what their eyes wanted to see.

Occasionally, the restaurant owner will come and tell us if we can vacate the chairs, so that more foreigners could come and sit boosting his business. So five of us would order a tea to extend the time holding on to the chairs. Fifteen minutes later the restaurant owner would come again asking us to leave when we would order a tea for the remaining five of us.

We had three tea each by the time we finally had no more money to spare for tea without eating into our bus fare back to the Academy, which is two hours away by bus and there was no way could we walk sixty kilometers. Reaching the academy late means losing the next morning train reservation and getting punished for reaching late to the academy. Getting ED on the last day means we are doomed.

Our Hero And Leader Failed to Impress A Lady - A True Life Story

Whilst the tea was being ordered, there was probably a French lady sitting and reading a book. None of had the guts to look straight towards her even though she had her back towards us and we actually could see nothing. I could see people trying to act looking away, with their eyes still focused on her. Kaps wanted to try his luck befriending her. He was our leader and hero. We all encouraged him to go and strike a conversation.

Motivated by us, Kaps walked up to her and sat on the chair next to the lady. But the lady did not show any response in acknowledgement. She completely ignored his arrival and presence just twenty centimeters from her. Kaps sat there for a while trying to make a start. He coughed, made some gurgling sounds and things like that. But nothing worked with the lady. Not once did she take her eyes off her book. Kaps retured back defeated. We felt sad for Kaps.

Another Cadet Succeeds In Impressing The Beach Lady - A True Life story

Then, we looked up to Tom to show his ability to strike a conversation with the same lady. He was reluctant initially. But when all of us coaxed him, he felt energized and slowly but firmly went and sat on the same chair next to the lady which Kaps sat and had tried his luck. Tom was blushing and was not able to look at the lady on his side just twenty centimeters away. He sat there like a statue. After about a minute or so the lady looked at him and smiled. That is when we all realized that the lady is probably twice Tom’s age.

Nevertheless, Tom was now in full swing. He sat talking to the French lady for about ten minutes. Tom was thoroughly enjoying his outing, so we thought. That is when the restaurant owner came and curtly asked us to vacate this time. The time was now well past 10:30 am and the sun was already making us sweat.

The nine of us vacated the restaurant and stood outside in the hot sun waiting for Tom, who took another half an hour before he came back to us completely happy and smiling. We asked if she called him over somewhere. Tom said, “No pal, she said she had a son close to my age and was talking only about that idiot. I could have left her. But you guys will mock at me. So I was forced to listen to all that she was blabbering.”

In our morning episode inside the restaurant we had forgotten to look outside the hotel. We had missed a lot of action happening outside on the beach in those two hours spend drinking tea after tea for no reason except to hold on to the restaurant chairs. Kaps was absolutely right. All along the beach there were foreigners lying in one row all long beach as far as the eyes could see.

We Were In A Beach Where People Don't Wear Anything - A True Life Story

They wore absolutely nothing on their body. They all lay facing up at the sun with their eyes closed, bathing in the sun shine. And a few meters behind them, there were dozens of Indian families fully dressed, giggling at I don’t know what, embarrassed even to look at these sun bathing foreigners.

The ten of us walked along the beach in a single row enjoying the cloth free scenery. Kaps being on the right side, could have the closest view. Ajay was on the other end of the line closer to the sea and the rest of us were all in between. All of us were trying hard not to look at the sun bathers, as if we were inspecting a ceremonial parade.

Other than Kaps on the wrong end of the line, nobody else had trouble looking to their right. We all were smartly talking to Kaps walking on our right side, so that we can have a good view of the beach beauties. But Kaps had to look left towards the sea to talk to us. But Kaps was a super smart guy. Kaps realized this mistake being on the wrong side of the line and wanted to fix it. He started rotating his keychain very fast and casually threw it to his right.

Our Leader And Hero Fails Himself - A True Life Story

Fortunately or unfortunately, it landed high up in between a pair of legs of sunbathing lady, who did not even have a single thread on her, for achieving maximum benefit from the sun for her entire body. But the only problem was that she had two bodybuilder like male friends, lying on her either sides. We did not know that this true life story was gonig to give us a New Hero and Leader in a minute or two.

Hero Leader - A true life story

Anyone trying to pick up the lost key chain, will surely have to face her bodybuilder friends. Even all 10 of us were no match to either her Humpty or her Dumpty. Kaps says in Hindi language, "Yar thoda jaldi chalo." Which means friends lets walk fast out of this place. Ajay asked Kaps, "Why, you don't want your keychain? How will you open your steel box, after he gets back to the academy?"

Kaps said, "I will break its lock. For God’s sake, let us walk fast and get out of here". A few naughty ones encouraged, "Kaps, opportunities don't come again and again. Go and get your keychain." After all he was our leader and we were expecting some heroism from him.

But Kaps was so embarrassed at the proposal that, he just wanted to run away from there somehow or the other. So, he threw the challenge at Ajay and said in Hindi Language, "Dum hai to ja, tu le ke aa mera keychain" which means, if you dare then you go and bring my key chain back.

A New Leader And Hero is Born - A True Life Story

And to everyone's surprise, without a second thought, Ajay breaks the line, confidently walks up to the lady lying barefoot till her forehead and loudly says, "Excuse Me Please", bends down, picks up the keychain and then walks back as confidently as he had walked up there.

The lady who probably was intelligent enough to understand what was going on amongst the ten of us, seemed to be playing along with us for fun and just smiled at our friend Ajay as he was bending down to pick up the chain. And neither of her body builder friends ever opened their eyes throughout this episode.

Ajay gave the keychain to Kaps and said, "Are you happy now?” We all stood speechless for a few seconds. Without any formal announcement, from that very moment, Cadet Ajay became our hero. We had a new Leader taking over the command from Kaps, at that very moment. If you liked this True Life Story then please do share with your friends and family.

A True Life Story


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