Ketan – XI Defending The Indian Cup Against All Challengers
Lt Col Yogesh Singh Sikarwar
It was yesterday only that the virat xi ‘slayed’ the pakis and the whole nation went gaga over it. For me and my team fondly called Ketan-XI by my company, it was business as usual.A night-out, in the moonlight, In the company of jugnus, earthworms and what not,I extended congratulations on behalf of my team to Virat for winning the match.
Ruining my plans of watching it live, was the’,that someone is expected..This much of information (and some more, ofcourse) was enough for me to call up my xi and to get them moving for the operation.
And why not,it was an opportunity to add some zing in an otherwise usual but demanding routine of collecting your Khabar,talking out with your knowns,reading out signs from faces expressing no emotions, knowing each and every inch of the land like the back of your hand, crossing over many springs-nags,on which Anantnag is named,and yes brushing up political science knowledge of some locals who insisted of calling it Islamabad initially, but then reconciled credit to some slog overs batting done by my pinch- hitters.
By the time Kohli lost the toss and started batting,I had finalised my batting order,oops Order of march.Selecting my team is no easy task.
With each man better than the other,more motivated than the other and others volunteering,I had to use my rights as the team captain.really man apart,every man here is a Tiger.
I cherish my Rashtriya Rifles tenure till now,for all the momentsspent with them in innumerable operations,night-outs in frozen air and icy waters.
It took me more than an year to pick up and develop my team,even accounting for departure of some of the experienced team members after every 2-3 months.
Hunted with them,got few successes with each member chipping in with his somewhat limited skills but unlimited will and passion,without expecting any award or reward in return.
It was during such a lighter moment in one of the ‘bada khana'(dinner one can say) organised after a successful clean op,that my QRT was named KETAN-XI”,and it stuck eversince.
The energetic young boy who doubles up as commentator cum analyst in our company matches even compared my team with kohli-xi, bringing out similarities in both.
Similarities are often deceptive,hiding the differences that are deeper.
In our game,we couldn’t afford to go in for some fun activity or as a fitness break.Every match is a life-saving or life-taking event for us depending on where we stand after match finishes.
There is no ‘Barmy Army’ cheering you up,but expert ‘stone-throwers’ testing your patience and resolve.Injuries sustained while playing instead of making you skip few innings,can actually take you to visit of Srinagar and Delhi (92 BH & R/R),that is IF they are not fatal.
Ofcourse,we don’t have Poat-match pressers and felicitations by Harsha bhogles but debriefing session to our Tiger over a hot cup of tea with crunchy pakodas,with him only saying-“well done boys,be at it.
Take care,Jai Hind”.Further deliberations held in my ‘bunker’ or cubicle with my team,talking out each operation threadbare,analysing & planning for future ops indeed made us a hard hitting team.
And I’m hell lot of proud of my boys who willingly join me for every single match I play,even if they are longer than Test matches without any ad or drinks breaks,at times.
We may not score hattricks and centuries but we do honour our brave,develop the knack of sensing danger but do not avoid them,derive the thrill of fighting it out against all odds together and coming out victorious.
Never realised, THAT surprise call of ‘launch immediately’ will deprive me the opportunity of continuing with my team in all future innings here.May be,the ‘Third Umpire’ knows the best.
But no regrets,we came together,bonded well,enjoyed a lot,Hunted with ferocity and when the time came,moved ahead together.
Oh yes,may be,to continue our innings in the heaven as KETAN-XI.
PS-assumed to be the thoughts of Maj Ketan before his last operation.
Dedicated to our brave soldiers and the everlasting enviable spirit of camaraderie that we share.As they say,’Its always about the Man Next’.
Proud of you, brother.