28 days. 18 days of it above 11500 feet. 4 baths. 2 T-shirts. 2 pants. 4 underwears. No washing of clothes of any category (unless you are a DIG or some decorated Army officer, in which case you could get special treatment). A place where UK is an acronym for Uttarkashi and RC for Rock climbing (i am yet to come to terms with RC being Rock climbing and not Royal challenge:). Where tea is typically had at 4:45 am. Where you carry ice axes when you go to shit (to make pits), and you wave to batchmates while you're at it (beleive me, after a point, it is not embarassing, and shitting with a view of the Himalayas is no longer surreal)! Where you figure out if your socks is wet or just cold by checking if it is half-solid cos of frozen sweat. Where you're ordered to do knuckle push-ups or frog jumps, depending on the instructor's mood, for acts of indiscipline (like being late for a fall-in). You camp on snow and there is just snow all around. And it is not like being in a dream sequence...it is so fucking cold that you put your hand in your crotch or arm-pits for warmth (i found the former more effective). Along the way you are taught Rock craft, Ice craft, Snow craft, Crevace crossing, Crevace rescue, Map reading and navigation techniques, among other things, and you're taken to a height of ~16500 feet as part of the height-gain exercise. You're made to do things that are so demanding physically that you wish that the course gets over soon. And when it does get over, you hug your rope-mates (the batch is divided into sub-groups of 8, called ropes, and each rope is assigned an instructor), you hug other friends you've made, you hug your instructor, and you think the course was a pretty good thing to go through after all. And when the jeep rolls out of NIM, you look back at the campus fondly, and wonder if you would go back to do the 'Advance' course. (Ofcourse, for that you need an 'A' in Basic, and the inclination).
This one, all grown up!
11 months ago