That Nostalgic Journey

    When I look back at my life as a ‘Fauji’, I find my association with the Army’s one ton truck of the old days almost giving me the feel of the Second World War. It has been nostalgic. Nowadays, one does not see them. They vanished more than a decade back or so. Their make and shape, as appeared to me, always gave a feel as if I was visiting a war zone of the Second World War. The tarpaulin cover over its body gave it a feel of ruggedness, connected to tough conditions that a soldier would undergo in an operational area.

    As a young officer, at the most I could think of getting on this vehicle was while I was on official duty. Rather, my association with this vehicle like any other ‘Fauji’ of my era has been historical. I vividly remember that this was the vehicle which had picked me from the transit camp at Tenga Valley, when I had reported on my first duty after commissioning from Indian Military Academy (IMA).

    Even the interiors stood out in simplicity. It could not have possibly been simpler in contours. The use of tarpaulin in abundance— be it in the seats in the driver cabin or behind— added to its simplicity. The use of Army blankets over those seats added to warmth and its cushion and conveniently could be defined as a luxury to the user.

    Being a petrol user vehicle and fitted with a carburettor; a ride on this vehicle was quite interesting. It could spring surprises by being vulnerable to frequent breakdown. This was more pronounced in case one was riding a vehicle of slightly older vintage.

    This vehicle stood out on the parameter of excessive fuel consumption. It could hardly run for more than three or four kilometres per litre of petrol. So, a ride on this rugged looking vehicle with its ever-vintage look, came at a very heavy cost. Since then, we have come a long way, with technology having made strides and advanced at a much faster pace.

    In areas with restricted road-width and motor-abled tracks, this vehicle extended its wholehearted support to meet the logistic needs of even the last man in the line of defence. There is an old saying, keep your friends close, your enemies closer and your supplies closest. The last one is where this vehicle defines itself. No leader has won without logistics. When one goes to the war, one needs to have rations and bullets at the right place and at the right time. In other words, one can win only through superior logistics. This vehicle has played a key role in smart logistics.

    The line between disorder and order lies in logistics. Every struggle this vehicle underwent, defined logistics at the last line of defence. I wish to pay my gratitude to this vehicle for its struggle to make the life of each soldier better. There is not a more pleasing exercise of the mind than gratitude. Let me pay it in abundance, as it alone will bring happiness. There is an old saying, the struggle ends when gratitude begins.



    Author : Col. N. S. Malhan

    Col. Narinder Singh Malhan was commissioned from the Indian Military Academy (IMA) Dehradun. On having served for almost four decades in Indian Army, he loves to share his experiences through his writings. In his opinion, every life has a lot to unfold. Each life is unique and is a historical document with its own identity. He strongly feels, real discovery is through introspection by looking back in own time. He believes, sharing own experiences are like revisiting life's milestones with more intensity. He thoroughly enjoyed his journey in uniform.



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