Two days ago I went to the gym in the evening. When I left home there was a slight drizzle. I ignored it and cycled to the gym, assuming that it would stop in an hour, when I would return after buying some fruits. Post my gym session when I came out the rain was much stronger. I thought I should alter my plan of buying fruits and head straight home or go ahead with the plan? I have rarely been worried about getting wet in the rain. As I cycled, I began thinking about the effect rain has had on me.
In Jan 1983 I was a newly commissioned 2 Lt. The CO had assigned me the responsibility to train our Boxing team. I promised to do my best. One morning, in the second week of our training there was a slight drizzle. The unit PT started at something like 6:15 am but Boxers started training at 5:30 am. I found that my team was missing. This was normal. On rainy days PT got cancelled and I think in general people were quite happy to get a morning “pakora break”. Our major opponent in Boxing was 3 PARA. 3 PARA had a 1982 Asian Games Welterweight silver medalist, Dharam Chand and several Command and Services level players. As per past credentials we stood no chance; I was teaching most of my Boxers how to skip and maintain guard! In the evening session I clarified to my Boxing team that rain will not stop our training. We will find a shed or whatever but training will go on. I could not allow rain to disrupt our plan. Time to train was limited. We rarely have time to waste in life! We did not defeat 3 PARA in the competition. Real life is not a fairy tale. The CO of 3 PARA invited me to join 3 PARA. Brig J Mehmood, later Eastern Army Commander, nominated me to captain the team of the Division for the Western Command competition. Not allowing rain to disrupt our plan had played an important role in our performance.
After my tenure as instructor at NDA in 1991 I became a Major and D Company Commander in Nagaland. In Nagaland it rains a lot. In D Company no activity stopped because of rain. At our improvised shooting range, we created a shed to cover the firing point as well as the target end. We only had to stop shooting when low clouds obstructed our vision for short durations. No operational activity was ever stopped because of rain.
In Dec 1998 I became 2IC of 23 PUNJAB and upon joining the unit I found rain and fog affecting training, just as I had found in 20 PUNJAB in Jan 1983. I changed this outlook for good till I left command in 2004, including our tenure in snow bound Arunachal Pradesh.
In 2008 I headed 4 Corps Counter Terrorist Training School. The evening I reported it began to rain. Around 11:30 PM I got a call from Lt Col, who headed the training team. He asked me whether we should have PT in the morning or cancel it? I asked him what was the past norm? He said that PT got cancelled due to rain. I told him that conduct of operations in adverse weather conditions increased the element of surprise and the troops could reach the target without raising an alarm and henceforth training will never stop because of rain and he never had to clarify this issue from me till I was the Commandant!
I have found no reason to change my outlook towards rain till date. I bought the fruits, as planned and reached home wet, just the way I have done numerous times. This evening I got down to sharing my thoughts with you. Thanks for reading!
–BY COL M M NEHRU