I was watching the rescue operations in Uttarakhand… “With the launch of Burma Bridge across Alaknanda River at Lam Bagar on Joshimath – Bardrinath road, it is now possible for pilgrims to be evacuated from Badrinath to Govindghat.” The Indian Army and Indian Air Force personnel have put their heart and soul in the rescuing operations, carrying people to safety, lending them helping hand, providing food and all this at the cost of his/her own life! What a challenging job! I salute their spirit! Recollecting the various challenges I have faced in life I am tempted to recount my experience at service selection board for IAF.
My daughter doing Burma Bridge.
I went through the selection procedure at Mysore for five days! The group events though challenging were easy. It is always easy to meet challenges as a group, however when alone the task may look difficult but definitely possible! The individual physical events look difficult and very challenging if you have never done them. One such event which remains clearly etched in my memory is the ‘parallel rope walk’.
(Parallel rope walks have two ropes tied parallel to ground to two strong poles. The lower one is at a good height from the ground and the top one six feet above the lower one.) I started off with lot of confidence and courage holding on to the top rope tightly. Since I was no talented rope walker, to cross the distance I slid my feet on the lower rope, one after another and my hands on the top rope simultaneously.
Initially it looked fine and as I moved with increased speed, the rope started oscillating. The more I moved forward the oscillations increased vigorously. Now I felt a little scared, because though my hands held on tightly I was worried my feet would fall off the oscillating rope below and I would be left dangling. My mind said: SLOW! I decided to halt, took deep breath and thought for a while. I was almost half way that is why the oscillations were highest if I move further towards the finish point the oscillations would reduce (simple physics). Returning to start point would take the same time as reaching the finish point. Jumping down from there would look foolish!
I had to comfort my mind: after all officers are not supposed to get scared. They have to lead their men from front and that kept me going! Finally I completed the challenge successfully and did I relish it? Of course! I did!