LIFE OF A GENTLEMAN CADET AT THE IMA (INDIAN MILITARY ACADEMY)
There are so many aspects that come to mind while i write down the experiences of a Gentle Cadet, besides the usual military routine of Drill, PT, weapon training, i’ll cover and cover various accepts which are very not discussed in training.
1. For a Gentle Cadet new into the academy having no miltary background, things will seem very unsettling from day-1,. The entire aim of training is to break the sense of self, ego, that you have thought yourself to be. Your identity changes at the end of training. Training changes the mental and physical of which you are made of. Your understanding of words and concepts like pain, impossible, your requirements in terms of food, clothes and shelter, rest are all altered before your eyes. you start thinking differently
2. The first thing every candidate experiences is the haircut. Famously called the katora cut, which eventually becomes your identity to the world outside. Each Gentle Cadet is given a GC number. basically a roll number and assigned to a company which is basically his home for the duration of his training. Each company in academy is named after a famous theatre of war in which indian soldiers have proved their mettle in the times war. Each company has its “colours”, which you will find the GC endorsing in the colour. and t-shirt he wears while participating in games and sports. each company in academy competes with each other to win the coveted “banner” at the end of the training term by participating in various inter company events. A GC learns to foster strong feeling for his company. So much so that he is even not allowed to wear other company’s colours.
3. Any new GC to the academy is to settle down to the fauji grid of things. In this period GC basically acquaints himself with the many rules and regulation in place at the academy. How to wear his basic uniforms (rigs) in the right way, how to wish/respect superiors, how to move around in squads, so on and so forth.
4. Each company gets cadet appointments from the senior tremers looking after the working of the company. There are various appointments such as, Senior Under Officer(SUO), Company Sergeant Major (CSM), Company Quarter Master( CQM), and Junior Under Officer (JUO).
5. Early in the morning a first termer wakes up the entire of the company and hurries to start and finish off his daily routine , he’s normally given a clearance time (0400-0430 Normally) after which he is not to be seen near the toilet. Second termer are given the privilege of waking up by 0430 hrs and thereafter freshen up and a third termer may use the bathroom whenever he wishes. He attends an early morning roll-call called the “muster fall-in” after which they proceed to attend their morning parade which can be PT/Drill or if you are from OTA both on the same day. Morning parade is of 2 periods each of 40 mins duration. On some days swimming, horse-riding or BPET may also be done. I do not have to tell how gruelling these 80 minutes are, but i’ve known GCs shed as much weight in the first period of the training.
6. After PT/Drill GC hurries back to his barrack, takes bath, changes has had his breakfast and attends his classes. which is no easy a task considering PT ground/Drill Square, Company location, Dining Mess and classroom are separated from each other by a distance of atlest 2-3 kms. Every GC has difficult time making in time to his class, by the time he reaches his class the instructor is ready with his lecture. GC almost almost sleeps and seen another world away to glory. anyone found sleeping is dealt with punishment. but after a period of time one learns to sleep even with their eyes open. GCs have this special knack of sleeping off whenever they wish , almost at will ( he is even slept off during, firing in the ranges).
7. Classes are over by 1340 in the afternoon after which he goes back to have his lunch and back to company for the next period. their is PT for week GCs and other classes for week GCs in the field they are. Extra drill for GCs found lacking a military bearing or any other flimsy ground. You will be lucky enough if you get no extra punishment. your Ustad gives you extra punishment for not being alert during the training period. In the evening GC starts with whatever hobbies he is interested in evening settle down for his study period.
9.After dinner the study period follows those who are given extra duty go for the same in big pack is over which is normally by 1945 hrs, GCs are broken off to have their dinner and assemble back in the company in PT rig in half an hours time.
10. But the most amazing aspect of training is reserved for the late hours of the night, when some senior of yours finds one of you course mates defaulting on one or more of many rules in place and he makes sure that his coursemates learn a lesson. The Fallins, A GC is made to do unthinkable apects. Imagine gulping down water canters and then throwing it all out, thereafter imagine you being made to stand with your back wieghed down by the load of 16 bricks in your piththoo or going round and round in circles with your bicycle held above your head. Oh There are so many ways to screw one’s happiness, its too long to even list out, front-roll, back-roll, side-roll, cream-roll, egg-roll, murga, patti parade, maharaja, all become words having an altogether different meaning to a GC. There are also positive fallins when one is made to push ups or situps all night long or made to climb up a rope and stay on top until told to to come down.
11. No two days at the Academy are the same, although we people do not follow a strict routine, every day brings a new challenge, a new experience. In between GCs also get to stay and survive in the wild during week long camps, he learns to defecate in the open, skin a live chicken, light bon fires and mastering the basic battle skills.
These are just the few things in the life Of a Gentleman Cadet at The IMA
Where Service come before Self…