I have given ten years of my life to the gallant Indian Army and the service of the nation, donning the olive greens, which to date has been the best colour which suited me. But being in the Army does not mean that army men don’t have fear in their life. Big or small, at some point of life or the other we face known and unknown fears in life. We can either keep avoiding it through our entire life, or get up, push them behind and tame them forever. The choice is all yours.
At times we have fears which we fend off till they stand against us, life size tall, looking straight into eyes, inviting for a bout of life. It is up to us, whether we stare and roar back to diminish them eternally or look down, show our back and tell ourself that we will fight next time when we are more prepared. Believe me that day never comes, the fear stays with us like a stigma and reassures its existence on top of us, lifelong ahead. If you have a fear of height, you will conquer it only when you jump off that cliff, if you have a fear of water, you will sail through only when go in for a splash and make your way through those waves of life, if you have fear of public speaking, you will live with it until and unless, you stand on that podium, look into the eyes of your audience and address. So fears can be of various kinds which once you defeat, it will reassure you of your own capabilities and strength. I had fears in life which I faced and defeated to emerge as a winner. Here I share one with you.
Joining Army as a woman officer was considered a taboo when I joined forces almost 12 years back. It was a man’s world, then, it still is. Having a company of boys and being a tomboy was a different thing and leading tall, robust men of almost your father’s age was a different ball game all together. Although getting trained in the academy we get a fair taste of what lies ahead in life but facing things in real life, it did make me feel a bit weak in my knees. The incident I am talking about, dates back to Sep 2002. It was the same month when my shoulders became heavier with the responsibilities of serving the nation in the form of two brassy stars. The world never seemed brighter before the shine of these two adorned my very own shoulders. When I got commissioned in the Army, I got placed on the forefronts of our nation where my unit was then deployed in field conditions. That was the first time in my life, I realized why the woman in the Army was considered surprisal. In field conditions we stayed in tents and in the entire spread of the unit, and horde of almost 200 – 300 men I was the only female. The first look around, made my head spinning. It was certainly a man’s world. The entire view in front of my eyes with the soldiers busy with their routine work, spread around me, kept revolving for a few minutes before I held myself. Well, that was just the first day and the fear of being surrounded by so many men and a distant voice with just echoing ‘what if?’ kept haunting me with me brushing off the probabilities every time. And the biggest one came in the evening when I told by my senior officer that I have to go for the guard check as a duty officer at 2 O’clock at night along with the duty JCO (Junior Commissioned Officer). Till now I was only battling the awkwardness of being the only lady in this soldierly world and pulling myself up, but this one really hit me hard. The fear of moving out at that hour with a not known man, that too in a hostile terrain and going on armed posts for guard check shivered me. Thousands of thoughts raced my mind every second and I kept striking them and pulling myself out of my imaginative world. So there was a task at hand, which was to be done and more importantly, there was a fear which had to be defeated. I gathered up myself, assumed myself in the combat fit, put on the boots, picked up my arms and told myself that I fought against all odds to be here. This is where my today lies which is responsible for the tomorrow of my nation. I reassured myself to believe in the integrity of the forces, wore my helmet and kicked myself out of my tent. My duty JCO was ready outside and we went ahead with the task assigned. We went around in the darkness, post to post checking the alertness of the guards. Getting acclaimed on every post, receiving those sautés and that proud calling back of ‘Jai Hind’ filled me with a sense of pride and immense boost of energy which kept me driving for the rest of my years in the forces.
[Image from my personal album]
So it's all about how you tackle your fear, rise above and defeat it. The rest is like a story what you are reading right now.
This post is written as Rise above fear for campaign as part of Happy hours on Indiblogger. Here's the new, awe inspiring video of Mountain Dew re-establishing faith in self and courage.