From a Petite Girl to a Cadet
by Nishu Bagdwal
(New Delhi, India)
We all were casually chit-chatting when a loud voice ordered us to fall in which means to stand in an orderly manner such that the number of persons in a row or column is the same.
Madhuri was the Senior Under Officer in NCC and was a year senior to us in NCC, as we all were in the first year of NCC training.
She ordered the other rank holders to check our uniforms and buns and one after the other the defaulters started coming out of different rows and then out of 36 girls, 20 girls were circling the ground followed by punishments like bending and frog jump. On the other side of the same ground, NCC boys were practicing drill march but the students stopped only to watch us march. For most of them it was funny seeing girls shouting at their highest ek do ek…ek do ek
but for most of us marching and screaming in the scorching heat was josh and adrenaline at its peak, it gave me goosebumps every time I heard the command to put the first foot to the level of my chest and start the march.
It was the first NCC camp that we all were going to attend as juniors, living in dormitories, carrying our own bedding or sleeping bags, fetching water, gossiping till 1 am and still waking up at 4 in the morning to outrun other girls in the bathroom lines. We not only learned how to be self- sufficient but also how to work as a team in such situations as one used to carry the water while the other girl was attending the nature’s call and vice versa.
One of the most important rules in the camp was, you cannot roam around alone after evening, it might have forced us to be with a buddy all the time even when one was going to the next dormitory, it created life-long bonds as those small walks and talks cherished into friendships that formed over helping each other out everywhere. ***