I loved doing this story
Secret of a cadet’s energy!
His breakfast includes:
* 350 ml plain milk
* 30 gm butter
* 30 gm jam
* Five toasts
* Fruits – mostly bananas
* Non-vegetarian - two eggs
* Vegetarian - two cutlets
A soldier’s life is a tough one. If we needed any reaffirmation, we got it when we spent one day at the NDA trying to catch up with the cadets. This photo spread aims at giving you the big picture of a cadet’s life.
A cadet’s day begins with the Muster (6.15 am), where he recites NDA’s prayer, followed by the Academy’s Honour code. Then off he goes to attend the various activities lined up – horse riding and drill. The senior cadet attends session for his chosen service like Army, Navy and the Air Force.
In the second half he has classes to attend. Evenings are reserved for swimming, soccer, gymnastics and athletics
Nearly 3 lakh students strive to get into NDA every year. Only 300 lucky ones cross the hallowed portals. Once selected the cadets find themselves ‘cut off’ from the civilian world.
What makes them choose this career? What keeps them going through the strenuous but exciting three years?
We spoke to Academy Cadet Captain (ACC) Romen Yumnam, Squadron Cadet Captain (SCC) Karan Kochhar, Divisional Cadet Captain (DCC) Inom Jon, who is from Tajikistan, Cadet Rohan Batra and Cadet Karma Wangdi from Bhutan.
Karan Kocchar, who belongs to Udhampur in Jammu and Kashmir, decided to join the armed forces after seeing the respect the army commanded in strife torn areas of Kashmir.
“I come from Udhampur and the presence of the armed forces has left an indelible impact on our lives. Everything is so different about them – they commanded respect and I wanted to be like them,” says Kocchar.
What is his experience after going home?
“Earlier, I used to look up at the army. Now, I experience the reverse feeling as my family and relatives look up at me,” he says.
From Kashmir, we move to North East. Romen Yumnam has something similar to narrate.
“There is terrorist trouble in North East too. And, my getting into NDA is a matter of respect for my entire village,” says Yumnam.
Yumnam studied in Sainik School for two years, then he went to RMC Dehradun. In a way, Yumnam was already prepared for his life in NDA.
Don’t they miss out on college life?
“We do miss our family, easy and carefree days. But, NDA is the best choice we have made. We know what our future is, unlike other young people we know. They are studying MBA and medicine, but are unsure about how their careers are going to shape up,” says Yumnam.
“If others can get into armed forces, then why can’t I?”
Rohit Batra found his way into the armed forces through sheer determination. Batra, who looks up to his mother as role model, has an interesting anecdote about how his outlook towards basic amenities changed after his stint at NDA.
“In Delhi I never bothered to close a running tap. Somehow, I did not think that it was important. But, when I returned home from NDA, I began to take notice of such things. I recalled how we craved for water during our runs and treks. I had changed in some ways,” says Batra.
“Life in NDA doesn’t leave us time to do anything else…much less to regret anything,” Batra says.
What made Inom Jon and Karma Wangdi join NDA?
In Tajikistan, there is compulsory military service for youth and for Jon it was a natural career choice. More so, because his mother also wanted Jon to take up a career in army. Jon wants to learn the basics of the warfare at NDA and also improve his English speaking skills.
Interestingly, Jon is also a big fan of Bollywood movies. His favourite movies are Veer Zara and Namastey London.
Karma Wangdi, like Jon wants to brush up on his Hindi and English speaking skills. Drawing comparisons between his life in Bhutan and at NDA, Wangdi says, “There is not much stress on physical training in Bhutan unlike NDA.” He signs off saying, “I am proud to be a member of NDA.”