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Army days were happy and satisfying. I made a few innovations and got appreciated. With family or in high altitude non-family stations I had very satisfying tenures. I love discipline and starched khaki uniforms (not any more with terry cloth) and prior to joining the army I was in the NCC for 5 years and loved every moment of it. One exciting incident was when the aircraft we were flying into Leh indicated that landing gear did not lock.

If we crash-land there with the wheels collapsing under the belly, there is no way the aircraft could have been salvaged.So our young Air Force pilot came back to base and tried to land. Everybody was tense and on alert and fire engines and ambulances with engines racing were waiting at the beginning of the runway for us to pass over.

The moment our huge plane passed over them, they came screaming after us at full speed with sirens blaring and bells clanging madly. The landing gear locked in position and we had a safe landing. The problem was the indicator light confirming the locking for the landing gear did not come on – the tiny bulb fused! (This story was published in life 365)

The other scary moment was when my driver and I were coming back in my army jeep in ladakh and were at the highest point on the pass – over 5,000 meters closer to heaven – when the ruts proved to be too deep and the bottom and of our jeep rode over the high ground between the ruts. There was no other traffic and we two could neither push the jeep nor dig it out. Light was fading and the crane (we call it a breakdown vehicle) was some 2,000 meters below. The winding mountain road would be over 8 km long. So, I decided to go straight down the mountain.

An officer will not expose a soldier to unnecessary risk, so I chose to go down the snow covered hill slope. Nothing heroic about this decision. Like water puddles, snow covers deep ruts of depressions in the hill side.

Suddenly my leg sank down right up to the thigh. nothing more happened and I continued down the hill and got the breakdown vehicle to haul my jeep out. On the funny side, in my very first unit, as a young and over ambitions Lieutenant, I went out in a breakdown to pull out a lorry that fell off the embankment. I merrily drove the rescue vehicle also down the embankment! We had to get a second breakdown to haul us all up. On the satisfying side I topped a course and was sent as an instructor, which is an honor in the army. There is no end to studies in the army – there are any number of courses to take and exams to pass to remain proficient and catch up with the latest equipment and tactics.

through the glass ceiling
through the glass ceiling
By: DVR Rao

Through TheGlass Ceiling