Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Pakistan and Plebiscite in Kashmir

Mr Qureshi is at it again. Beating the same old "Kashmir' drum. This time he did it in his address at the UN General Assembly, much to India's chagrin.  Typical ploy to divert attention of Pakistanis when there is trouble within the Country. Little realizing that this 'game' played by the politicians and the Army in that Country, cannot go on forever. For instance the Americans are already calling General Kayani, a liar.But that is another story.

As regards 'plebiscite' in Kashmir is concerned - Mr. Qureshi should be categorically informed, that plebiscite is not the sole privilege of the Muslims of the State. The right to franchise in the plebiscite lies as much with Hindus and Sikhs, and the Buddhists in the State of J&K, as much with the Muslims. That's fair, isn't it? (That said I am personally not even convinced that it is a Hindu - Muslim issue. Peaceful co-existence between these two communities has been legendary, and generations old).

But that aside, is the welfare of the Kashmiris or the Kashmiri Muslims really Pakistan's concern? I can't digest that. More likely, it is the obsession of Pakistan, with that piece of land which they wanted at the time of partition, but didn't get. So the logical question is this - isn't plebiscite all about choosing or voting for a ruler or Government? And if my layman's understanding is correct, then one simplistic solution to assuage the concern of Pakistan about the Kashmiri's is this. Let the people of Kashmir decide. But they will decide on which Country they want to adopt. Those that want a Government like in Pakistan, should be accepted by that Country in a fully honorable way. Those that choose to stay back and prefer India, are obviously - more than welcome to stay back in their own homeland - Kashmir. 

But one thing is clear - Kashmir stays where it is - with India. 

What say - Mr. Qureshi? Time to demonstrate your 'genuine concern' for the poor Kashmiri...All those who want to go with you...take them all... 


Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The Great Indian (CWG) Tamasha...!

Less than two weeks to go. Teams from some Countries are already here. Is Indian ready - for what is easily one of the biggest events she has ever hosted in her history? An show that every Country would pride itself in putting up. A show that every guest attending would remember for a long, long time...

Less than two weeks to go. Construction in stadia and the games village is still incomplete. And whatever is supposedly complete - some towers in the games village which houses the living apartments for the participating teams - have been clearly and unambiguously been certified as 'un livable'. Because animals are roaming around inside apartments and 'shitting' on top of the beds. Electrical systems are faulty and therefore there is danger to life.

Yesterday, a foot bridge meant to be used by the team members and officials collapsed, injuring 23 people.

A foreign journalist manages to purchase explosives - enough to organise 200 different explosions, stuff all of that into a large suitcase, and then slips in, into the games premises. So much so, for security, two days after a firing incident in which two foreigners were injured, and the message from a terrorist organisation clearly stating that the Games will be targeted.

Amongst all this, the Organising Committee, The Minister for Urban Development remain shamelessly unfazed. Jaipal Reddy termed the bridge collapse as a 'minor incident'. In his definition any incident in which people didn't die, is minor !

Bhanot - a senior office bearer of the Organising Committee dismisses the mess in the games village by stating the standards of hygiene are different for Indians and foreigners. Let me ask him - how would his Indian sensibilities respond when he checks in, into a hotel or a guest house, and finds dog poop right on top of the bed? Or when female members of his family look out of the window and see the staff urinating in front of their eyes? Is all of that fine with him, because he is Indian?

Indian hosted the Asian Games in 1982. And we put up a damn good show, by any standards, thanks to an organising committee who were bothered about India's reputation and prestige. The OC was led by Rajiv Gandhi and supported by two of his everyday political supporters - Arun Nehru and Arun Singh.

The story goes that one evening, just two or three days before the games were to begin, they got to know that the roof of one of the stadia was leaking. The three of them mobilised a team, and stood guard the whole night, and left only when the problem was fixed.

Twenty eight years have passed between then and now. And the extent to which our character, values and sense of responsibility as a Nation, has eroded is evident to one and all.

While all of us wait and watch, what's left now is one by one, teams will take a decision and not attend the Commonwealth Games 2010, because they are being hosted by India- a land, where a guest is supposed to be regarded as God.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Lt. General Hanut Singh PVSM MVC

In an earlier note, I wrote about moral courage and the ability to stand upright for what one believes is right. One such officer was Lt. Genl. Nathu Singh. I am reminded of yet another Army officer - a general belonging to an entirely different generation and an era. That officer was Lt. General Hanut Singh - PVSM MVC.

Many many know of Lt. Genl. Hanut Singh, as the elder cousin of Jaswant Singh -the famed leader of the BJP.

Genl Hanut Singh is described by many - as a 'complete soldier'. He epitomised courage - moral as well as physical, fair mindedness a very high standard of morality, discipline and professionalism.

Born into a proud clan of 'Rathor' Rajputs from 'Jasol' in Rajasthan, Hanut Singh joined the Joint Services Wing (JSW in Dehra Dun in 1949, and was commissioned into the '17 Horse' popularly known as the 'Poona Horse' in 1952. Poona Horse - a coveted cavalry regiment, had the unique distinction of having won 4 Victoria Crosses and two Param Vir Chakras -one in the 1965 war and the other in the 1971 war with Pakistan.  Hanut was Commandant of 17 Horse, and led his regiment to victory in the famous 'Battle of Basantar' we Indians know it,or the Battle of Bade Pind, as the Pakistanis call it. 

Hanut was himself  decorated with the Maha Vir Chakra for displaying courage while leading his officers and men during the battle.

Hanut Singh's subsequent tenures as commander of an armoured Division and a strike Corps, left no doubt in the minds of military experts that he was one of the best armoured commanders India had produced.

It is not my intention to write much abut his achievements as a military strategist and a  tactician. However, one of the qualities that he displayed time and again, was his ability to stand up and speak boldly for what he believed in. I have read about two such instances during his tenure in the Army, that merit sharing.

Shortly after he assumed command of an independent armored brigade, a discussion was held at the Corps HQ about a concept of crossing a water obstacle by the armored division and the subsequent breakout. Attending this discussion apart from Hanut Singh, were Lt. Genl ZC 'Zoru' Bakshi and Lt Genl IS 'Inder' Gill the Western Army Commander. While this concept had been formally approved by teh Army HQ, the Corps commander had initiated the discussion as he wanted the concept to be evaluated and tested before implementation. Most senior formation commanders were attending this meeting.

When Hanut Singh read the concept he as surprised to see such an impractical concept probably written by an 'armchair' tactician, had been approved all the way up to the Army HQ. He expressed his reservations about the concept, within the syndicate that he was part of. The syndicate leader overruled him, on the grounds that the Army HQ had already accorded approval. Undeterred, Hanut sought permission from the Chief of Staff of the Corps HQ, to express a personal opinion on this issue. Permission was granted. 

Hanut's words while addressing the meeting were simple and bold "Though I find myself in a position of being one man against the house, I have some very major and serious reservations against this concept". He then went on to outline in detail just how the concept was 'not workable' even in an exercise leave alone a full scale war.

The entire audience was shell shocked at turned to look at the Army Commander - Inder Gill who responded by saying "Hanut - you aren't alone against the house - I too do not agree with this concept. Gill then asked Hanut if the latter had any suggestion as an alternative. Hanut presented a workable solution. The Army Commander and Corps commander both agreed to Hanut's observations and the concept was 'dropped'.

In an exercise held some time later after this incident, Hanut's brigade was asked to execute a 'breakout' plan. Hanut expressed reservations about the plan but was overruled. The situation that developed 'on the ground' was exactly as Hanut had predicted. Hanut immediately  called off the plan. The next morning when the Army and Corps commanders inquired as to why he had aborted the manoeuvre he replied "I am not prepared to order my leading regiment to undertake a mission that would be suicidal"

Hanut Singh went on the command a brigade and a Corps. His last assignment in the Army was that of Commandant, Armored Corps Center and Ahmednagar.
With a flawless service record, it was expected that Lt. Gen. Hanut Singh would make Army Commander. But that was not to be. He was passed over, on two major grounds - one that he was a bachelor and shunned social life, which was partly valid, and the other allegation against him was that he was a 'religious bigot' The second charge was seen to be utter nonsense. Hanut was a deeply religious person, and at the same time very tolerant of all other religions. The fact that all rank and file under him literally worshiped him, should have been enough grounds to call that insinuation a blatant lie. 

He took his 'passing over' quite philosophically.When a subordinate informed him of his passing over and expressed sorrow, his typical reply was "Why are you sorry? It's the Army that should be sorry. If the Army they don't want me, the loss is theirs, not mine" Hanut Singh continued to serve his assignment with the same dedication and zeal till the day he retired - on July 31, 1991.
Today, Hanut Singh lives in an 'Ashram' in Dehra Dun. 

Hanut Singh will always be remembered as one of the finest armor commanders the Indian Army has produced. His simplicity, courage, boldness, and a high sense of professionalism will continue to inspire thousand of officers and men of the Indian Army.

(This blog post has been adapted mostly from the book titled:

"Leadership in the Indian army: biographies of twelve soldiers"

 By Major General (Retd.) V. K. Singh)

Friday, September 10, 2010

The Joint Commissioner of Delhi Police (Traffic)-Mr. Satyendra Garg, has threatened, that if a driver driving on a Delhi road does not give way to an emergency vehicle-like and ambulance, fire engine etc. wanting to overtake, all such vehicles will be hauled up, and the drivers will have to pay a fine of Rs 100. Their vehicles could also be impounded.
Finally, someone has decided to think about this problem ! I have in course of my daily commuting, been witness to this almost heart breaking spectacle on the roads of Delhi, when an ambulance with its siren shrieking, is desperately wanting to cut through the traffic and rush the patient to the hospital. I have wondered as to what must be going on in the minds of the occupants of the ambulance -specially the patients' attendants and near and dear ones, in this chaotic situation, where they must be totally helpless and frustrated.

But then I also wonder at Mr. Satyendra Garg's decision about imposing a fine. To me, it is unfair. There would be a handful of drivers, who are totally insensitive and do not move out of the way, when an ambulance or a fire engine wants to pass. And such drivers should be punished.

I am certainly not insensitive. But I have a problem with this decision taken by the police.
To understand the dilema of a driver who is otherwise a sensitive human being, and who encounters a situation where an ambulance is right behind him, depserately honking his horn, and blowing his siren, wanting to pass, you have to first look at this picture below.....

This is the normal scene on a typical road, at practically ANY time of the day. I travel on such roads daily, as do thousands of drivers. Just for a moment, imagine you are the driver of any one of those cars you see in the picture. And imagine that there is an ambulance or a fire engine behind you. ....

My question to you is - HOW - do I move out of the way to give way to that emergency vehicle? I along with others am 'packed' like sardines on this road. I cannot move towards my left, and I certainly cannot move to the right.

Where do I move??

Mr. Garg - I would like you to look at this photo also and answer my question please !

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Leave the Army out of this...

This is my second post on this subject, which is the involvement of the Armed forces in civilian matters.
Lately, there has been a lot of debate about he dilution of the 'Armed Forces Special Powers Act' of the AFSPA as its popularly (or infamously, now) known. The people of Jammu & Kashmir, as well as the State Government are strongly lobbying for dilution, repealing or at least diluting this Act. Others - champions of human rights, NGOs and so on, have also found opportunity to 'drift with the flow'. The Army, on the other hand feels, that rather than diluting the Act, it should be made even more stringent, thus enabling the Army to be more effective in dealing with the task that it has been entrusted with - that of fighting insurgency.
There is however, one dimension to this issue that sadly gets ignored always. In recent times, it is the Army that gets pulled in, at the drop of the hat, in almost any kind of civil emergency situation. The kind if situations that our soldiers are called to help in, are communal riots, natural calamities - floods, tsunami earthquakes etc, and now on a kind of permanent basis - counter insurgency.
It needs to be emphasised that the primary role of the Indian Army is to guard the frontiers of the Country. And, in a situation where the enemy States act in a manner that threatens the sovereignty of India, the Army fights to ward off any such threat, and this might mean killing enemy soldiers.

Considering this role, every single jawan or officer recruited into the Army, is trained from his first day of existence in the force, to fight a war and kill. For that is his 'raison de etre' in the Army. Over a period of years, his entire mental and physical make up, his psyche is that of a warrior.

Any Government however, will not hesitate even a little, in taking a decision to deploy the Army in situations where close civilian contact is warranted. In many such situations, the Army is helping out civilians from 'near death' situations.

And why does the Government trust the Army more than the thousands strong police forces and the para military forces? Because the Government knows that because of the strict code of discipline and chain of command, the army is the most effective in all such situations. This was also the reason why the Army first got deployed to fight insurgency and terrorism. The army did not want this, because this isn't the role of the Army. More importantly, this is certainly not what an average army man is trained for.

And when in the process of fighting terrorism, there is collateral damage by way of some civilians becoming causalities, it is the same Army that is blamed squarely.

Isn't this unfair?

It isn't the Army that's doing anything wrong. Its the political decisions that are all wrong.

The Army is tired of doing jobs that it wasn't expected to do. So therefore, by all means, repeal the Armed Forces Special Powers Act. But at the same time, pull the Army out of all such situations, where you first depend upon them and ask for their help, and then blame them.
Its time the the para military forces - thousands of jawans, move in, to take over that job that the Army finds itself 'reluctant' to do. These jawans need to be trained, properly equipped with arms and weapons, and then deployed. If necessary, raise a specialised force to combat terrorism. But for God's sake, leave the Army out of this.
It's high time we stopped humiliating and demeaning an Institution that has over the years withstood all trials and tribulations, and still remains one of the most disciplined forces in our Country.
As a Country we should thank the Army for its services rendered, and forever be grateful to them. And then leave them to do the job they were expected to do, in the first place.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Time to let go....

Today, is Asha Bhonsle's 73rd birthday. I wish her a long life.

Her elder sister Lata Mangeshkar is- well -even older. I wish her a long life too.
The contribution of the two sisters, to Indian cinema, and to music in India,
cannot be praised enough. For over 60 years, both Lata Mangeshkar and Asha Bhonsle sang virtually every song as playback singers, that was recorded for a Hindi movie.

They sang for regional language movies too - Punjabi, Gujarati, Bengali and Marathi, and sometimes even in South Indian languages. They won numerous awards, and generally enthralled audiences wherever they sang.

Lata Mangeshkar's and Asha Bhonsle's contribution to Indian music has been immense.

However, its high time both sisters called it a day. And I say this, not out of spite or jealousy or any other bad intention.

Over a period of six decades, their voices and singing capability has undergone a change, and not for the better.
And this can easily be gauged, by simply comparing songs sung say 30 years ago, and those rendered recently.

This is natural and would happen to anybody. An individual capabilities diminish as he or she grows older. Nothing wrong in that.
It's time to make a graceful exit from the scene and allow other, younger and talented singers to come to the fore, and get equal opportunity.
And its also time, for all their admirers to also let go. Its time for the 'Yash Chopras' of the world to stop believing that unless Lata Mangeshkar sings in a movie he produces, it won't be a runaway hit.
Its time for their admirers - the audiences, we - the common people, to stop 'living in the past'. Lata Mangeshkar and Asha Bhonsle were great - once upon a time. Sadly no performer remains great forever...
Let us be fair to all the younger singers who are 'waiting the in the wings' and encourage them to come up to the top. A cricketer cannot remain a passenger on the Country's cricket team, just because he was great once upon a time in the past. In just the same way, every performer after reaching the peak of his or her career, should exit gracefully, and make way for the new generation.
Let us all continue to listen to the songs of the last few decades and remain mesmerised by the magic of Lata Mangeshkar's and Asha Bhonsle's voice. At the same time, let us lend our appreciation to a wide range of good quality singers of the present generation.
The young performers deserve our attention and our appreciation too.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Group Captain Sachin Tendulkar

So Sachin is an honorary Group Captain in the Indian Air Force now. In a much publicised ceremony - attended by none other than the Marshal of the Air - Arjan Singh, and a large number of Air Force Officers, other Government dignitaries and the media, Sachin was conferred this honor, by the Chief of Air Staff - Air Chief Marshal Naik.
Many thoughts related to this event crossed my mind then, and I continue to think about it even now.
I admire Sachin Tendulkar -for his achievements as a cricketer, and for his huge contribution to Indian cricket.
I saw photos of the function in which Sachin was honored. I saw him, wearing an IAF uniform. At the same time I couldn't help notice his long hair, side burns, and an unshaven face. For a moment that image reminded me of the 'rogue' policemen that one comes across is so many of Bollywood movies. Those cops, who are dishonest, corrupt, and those that generally bring a bad name to the service.
Now I don't have anything personal against Sachin. But I certainly have a problem with the decision that the Air Force has taken to confer this honorary rank on Sachin. Here's what I think
What does the Air Force want to achieve by conferring such honorary titles? The top brass I am told, hopes that the youth of the Country would get inspired to join the armed forces.
Is that right? I can imagine a young boy watching Sachin at the crease, blasting away fours and sixes, and the young boy getting inspired to become a cricketer...
But why would this boy be motivated to join the Air Force - is something I cannot comprehend....
Second, honorary ranks should be conferred upon those individuals who contribute towards the progress and development of the armed forces themselves. And the honorary rank should be a symbol of appreciation and gratitude towards the individual who has personally contributed towards the betterment of a force. Examples could be engineers, scientists, doctors and other professionals who while being outside the forces have helped in some way towards the betterment of a force, or all forces in general.
Because Sachin is a great cricketer, is no reason for him to be conferred military title ! By the extension of this logic, every other distinguished performer in his field of speciality, should also become an honorary Colonel or a Group Captain. Why not Bollywood actors like Amitabh Bachchan or Shah Rukh Khan? Their contribution to Indian society through the medium of cinema, has been significant, by any standard.
What is sadly not understood, is the link between an individual's contribution in his field of speciality or his profession, and a military honor
Third, what is the message that the Air Force has sent to its rank and file?
An officer who joins the force through a fierce competitive written examination and an rigorous interview and personality test. He then undergoes tough military training, before he is commissioned into service. Every promotion comes his way only after continuous training and upgradation of skills, and through selection. It is after some twenty years of above average performance, that he attains the rank of a Group Captain. By this time this officer is well past the age of forty.
What would this officer feel when he sees Sachin Tendulkar - a boy who was born when this Air Force officer was in senior school, wearing the same uniform and the ranks?
Let's talk about a 'jawan' - known as an airman in the Air Force. Who does he look up to, as his leader? More importantly, who does he accept as his leader, whose command he will not hesitate to obey? It is an officer who is more educated, more trained and qualified and more experienced in the same profession - which is air combat.
How will this airman feel, when he sees a senior officer's uniform being made available so cheaply to a civilian?
The Indian armed forces are known the World over, for their customs and traditions. Repsect to the uniform is one of the 'values' taught to every soldier.
Don't fritter away such values, just because you admire a sportsman !
There are enough civilian honors and awards that the likes of Sachin have already got, and can get in the future.
Save the uniform for someone who devotes his entire life to the force.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

From the diary of a Sales Manager - II

The year was 1989. I was a rather ‘junior’ Sales Manager – recently ‘covenanted’ which meant having joined the ranks of the management cadre after successful completion of the training program.

One day, news came around that two truck loads of biscuit, manufactured in our sister Branch – Calcutta, and being transferred to our Branch – Delhi, were held up at a Sales Tax check post on the Bihar UP border, at Balia. The officials suspected something was wrong with the documentation accompanying the stock on the trucks, and this practically amounted to violation of sales tax rules. The official threatened to formally seize the stock, and this would mean a complete loss because biscuits being food products, were perishable.

My Boss – a seasoned sales professional of twenty years, and normally a very confident and dynamic decision maker, faced a predicament this time – a rare occasion. And my counterpart - the Sales Manager for UP, who should have, in the normal course of things taken the responsibility and the initiative upon himself, chose to keep a low profile. Getting out of this problem was going to be tough – there was no doubt about that. And who wanted to face a tough situation ?

I felt bad for my Boss. I felt like helping out for the sake of the team and the Branch. And then I made that one big mistake. I lent words to my thoughts, and spoke up offering to help. My boss was actually looking for such an opportunity, and he grabbed it. Within moments, it was decided that I along with a clerical assistant specialising in sales tax matters, would go all the way to Varanasi to meet the Assistant Collector of Sales Tax, and plead our case to him. We were confident that this would work, as we were on the right side of the law. More importantly this seemed a one day job.

Seemed easy. But what started then, was to become one of the most tough and challenging assignment that I undertook, in the early years of my career.

I rushed home, and after packing a bag in fifteen minutes, reached the railway station. Those were the days when tickets for long distance travel on trains could never be available at short notice. And this was asking for for a bit too much.
When I hit the ticket queue, there were fifteen minutes for the train to leave.
Due to some Divine intervention, two chair car seats were available. We barely managed to board the train coach when it moved. Destination was Mughalsarai twin city to Varanasi. We would drive from Mughalsarai to Varanasi and check into a hotel.

At 4.30 am next day, we landed at Mughalsarai. And the moment we landed, we got the first shock. The entire city of Varanasi was under curfew due to communal disturbances.

A few hours into the day were enough for me to conclude that it was going to be impossible to meet the Sales Tax commissioner. He was deputed on special judicial duty in the riot hit town. Then began the longest three days of my life – days full of trial of patience, frustration disappointment, sometimes hope, but no positive result. We just waited and waited in our hotel, doing nothing except making occasional calls to the commissioner’s office to check on his availability. One morning I kept vigil outside the District Magistrate’s office hoping to meet him, so he could issue a curfew pass to me, so that I could move around in a car and meet the one official that eluded me.

On the afternoon of the fourth day, we decided that we had to change our strategy. We decided that we would reach the Sales Tax check post in Balia, and tackle the issue ‘on the ground’

The UP Roadways bus took something like 5 hours for a 150 km journey, on a rather cold, misty afternoon, that December. When we reached, we were tired, cold but still anxious to solve the problem as quickly as possible.

We reached the only contact we knew in this old sleepy town of UP. And that contact was the Company’s distributor. We introduced ourselves, and naturally he didn’t know me. There was no question though, that after gaining proper references from the Office, he would help us in any way possible – physically, with money etc.

We checked in, into the best rooms of the only decent hotel…and the owner of the hotel? Surprises of all surprises – it was our distributor. We then decided to waste no further time, and reach the check post.

The Sales Tax check post was on the Bihar UP border, about 20 kms from the city of Balia. The road was dark, obviously without any lights, with dense forest on both sides. It was in the middle of this forest that we found the check post. A small round cemented cabin on the road side, and a barrier on the road. A few trucks were parked along the sides, and we wondered which ones were laden with our biscuits.

It didn’t take long to identify the trucks, and almost as soon as we did that, the drivers came to meet us. They had been parked there for ten days now, had run out of money, and were completely nearing the limits of their sanity. For a moment I thought they would attack us. But I guess in a sense they were relieved to see us, for now there was hope for them.

Then came the bad news. The check post officials had initially held up the trucks but when no one landed up in time to clarify their doubts, they had gone ahead and formally seized the material. The only way now, was to pay the fine at the check post and have the trucks released.

The fine to be paid was 1 lac rupees in cash for each truck, and there were two. That was a huge amount of money those days. One lac rupees was the value of one full truck load of biscuits !

So now the question was, where to arrange for two lac rupees, and that too, in cash.

The distributor after having completed his check of our antecedents was ever willing to help, by making the payment on the Company’s behalf. But like I mentioned before, the amount was huge, and the distributor would need almost the whole of the next day, to arrange for the money. We left the check post that night, promising the officials as well and the crew of the truck, to return the following evening.

It was 5 pm the next day, and already dark, by the time the distributor returned to our hotel and announced that the money had been arranged for. I sensed a certain air of anxiety and nervousness about him. This was a very very dangerous area he explained, infested with criminal who wouldn’t hesitate to kill for even a hundred rupees! Therefore carrying two lac rupees in cash in the dark, through a jungle would be suicidal. I began to feel nervous too.

The half hour drive to the check post seemed like ages. We all sat on literally on the edge of our seats.. At nigh, the scenario around the check post was even scarier. The check post had only one kerosene lamp. And that one lamp seemed to be the only light around for miles. A perfect setting to invite trouble !

Even after depositing the cash with the check post, we remained nervous, anxious to get ourselves and our trucks away from this scene. The clerk commenced a long rigorous paper work procedure to complete the formalities of releasing the material. Everything was hand written. And if two copies were needed – well, they had to be hand written twice over. There was no question of a computer or a photo copier!

We finished the formalities at 3 am. The trucks on their way, we returned to our hotel.

Next morning, we commenced our return journey to Delhi. We landed at Buxor Station by car. We had just about bought tickets when we saw a train waiting, about to pull out and head towards Mughalsarai. With our suitcases on our head, we jumped on the tracks, crossed four of them to get to the train, and just about made it.
At Mughalsarai, we enquired about tickets on the Rajdhani express which was to arrive at 930 pm to reach us to Delhi the next morning. Divine intervention again ! We got two seats for Delhi.

Now – all we had to do was to wait. From noon till 930, for the train to come. But we had got used to waiting, going by the experiences of the past week.

The next afternoon, we met the Boss. “So – what happened” he asked, anxious to know about the outcome.

So much had happened in the last one week. So many experiences, so many events. All I could say in reply was “It’s done. Problem solved”