Wednesday, September 23, 2015

OROP: I have told my son – you will join Armed forces over my dead body, says an ex army Colonel

Col S S Cheema (Retd)

I do feel ashamed to ask for OROP. At the end of all this what did I really do? Of course I did one tenure of Leh, flying at 20,000 feet plus altitude, then one tenure flying at North Sikkim again at 20,000 feet plus of altitude (with no integrated Oxygen masks, which my country could not procure for 22 years I was in uniform) and one ground tenure at Gurez – oh that?

It was only at 14,000 feet stay for 2 years – a cake walk. The doctors do advice that there should be no more than 2 tenures at high altitude – but I am sure they would have some vested interests in saying so. But then look at the hardships of my counterpart bureaucrat – He had tough decisions to make – there were power cuts every now and then in those days over and above to handle the pressure of politicians, and imagine the pressure of getting some tons of money home and trying to hide it.

As for the bureaucrat, he could not comfortably sleep over it as they poked his back through the mattresses. He was living in perpetual fear. Anyone can nab him – that no one did as long as he did not become overly greedy is another part of it. What pressures did I have – believe me – NONE, I laughed and LIVED my life to the fullest when I was up there, and when I was down here.

I stood on the bund of my bunker after two drinks and threw best of my abuses to our adversary – of course who would have been stupid to shoot me down – a Paki? Forget it – those fellows could never aim straight. And then I had so much activity to choose from, how could I not live to the fullest I mean.

There was a competition with my senior subaltern as to who can cross the LOC and piddle in the enemy territory in the middle of the night. Bloody hell! He could not decide the winner because both crossed over and did the thing and we had to repeat it for a week before we were caught by our company commander.

Now imagine the hardships of my counterpart – close your eyes once again and think – Blood pressure and the diabetes of long and stressful working hours. No entertainment other than a few clubs, drinking sessions and back to his home.

How could I not think about those poor souls? Dying at 90 (in Chair) doing their good work because a bureaucrat, a judge and a politician never really retires. He works and dies in chair – after all there are so many studies, one man panels to study and planning commissions to sit too. If he continues getting his house, a few servants (aka helpers) and a vehicle to run around – he deserves it.

If he really gets sick of it and decides to retire (an honest) bureaucrat would have only 200 odd crores at his disposal – he can only buy a small house and live his remainder life in poor perpetuity. My discomforts are just my imagination because I cannot remember number, name and I have a loss of words when I am speaking. Doctor said that it may be “High Altitude Affect” where the rare air has low Oxygen levels and kills the brain cells. (I was really good in my hey days with numbers at least).

Oh, he has to be wrong. In any case I would have got memory loss within another few years so why the hell should I attribute it to hard service conditions? And then my demand is more so unfair when I heard our prime minister Mr Modi say that the OROP is at the cost of the poor of our country. Imagine the millions of FREE mobiles, laptops, TVs that would now not be distributed to the poor. How sad.

Imagine the poor could have been lifted from their poverty (what has not happened for last 60 years) in one stroke of the money being set aside of OROP. He could have bought a better Jet, better and more secure multi million dollar cars – after all he is now the prime minister of the fastest growing nation and has to live his life so. And then why do I deserve OROP as I quit my job only after 22 years?

I did not serve to my last day of retirement. Well I should have continued. So what if I lost my mother and my father (Also a retired Fauji) was all alone and his second son was also serving in Fauj? He could have always stayed alone – after all he was from Infantry and could have done so for some more years of his life. Because I was a Fauji and due to posting to field – my wife and children could have shifted with him. That aside, none of the school was forthcoming to give my daughter and son admission.

They (Like me) had no permanent friends as till class 9th they had changed 8 schools. There is another thing that I overlooked – I chose to be Fauji – why should I crib? I signed a bond when I entered NDA at the age of 17 that I should have read more carefully. It doesn’t matter that most of these bureaucrats were studying hard for IAS and other services at this age and their mothers were still wiping their back sides clean. The politicians and the bureaucrats are fighting a battle and not looking at the bigger picture.

I pray to almighty that this fight should not change the outlook of the serving Faujis – They (bureaucrats and politicians) may win this battle – but they will lose the war and the nation will suffer. But then who cares? I was an idiot all along and hope to die believing that this nation is mine…. – Oh and me I am a proud Col S S Cheema (retd). It is indeed a sad day for me. My Grand father was in army, my father retired from army, my brother retired from army – and I have told my son – you will join Armed forces over my dead body.

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