Wife and I Just returned from Ahmedabad and had the good fortune of sharing a Train Cabin with two of our Indian Airforce Personnel…one a senior veteran of 25 years in the Air Force,married with two children and the other an unmarried and handsome 6+ foot junior who has served just three years yet but could well have successfully tried his hand at Modelling or films instead !….both do not serve in Flight…so they don’t fly MiGs and Sukhois !….but they serve as vital support staff….Spic and Span..Starched Light Blue Half Sleeve Shirts with shoulder straps and Airforce Insignia…..Looked Starched,but definitely well ironed Navy Blue Trousers…..Glistening and well Polished prescribed Black Shoes…you could see your face in them….
Inspiring Snippets from our brief conversation (wish we had some more time) with them very early this morning just before alighting….this is what they said on our eager queries
- The Morale of our Indian Defence Services has always been high and will remain High
- I’ve been 25 years in the Indian Airforce and have no regrets…been proud to serve the nation and been treated well
- The button which is right in the centre below the waist on the backside of of our trousers is because we sometimes have to wear another belt…a combat belt
- The varied colour stripes on my band on my lapel signify the places I’ve been posted as also some represent seniority…He (the junior) will earn his in due course
- Indian Airforce is a great career…yet many are not attracted to it….we have launched an aggressive recruitment drive to get our young men and women to join the Indian Air Force….you must have seen that recently we made Sachin Tendulkar an Air Force Captain….we hope this will inspire many to join the Air Force
- The Current Chief of the Air Staff is from Maharashtra…Air Chief Marshal P V Naik
- My Wife is happy as a housewife and loves my career too…we get transferred every few years…lovely Lodgings…well ventilated with huge open areas….everything available within our base… and Kendriya Vidyalaya schooling for our Children whereever we go…in fact they first build the Vidyalaya and then the Base !
- Depends on my children…what they want to do in life…I shall not force them to join the Defence Forces
- We are trained all over India…Bengaluru,Delhi,Wellington….and we can be posted anywhere….even in troubled locations where we don’t know where the next bullet is going to come from!
- Rs One lakh a month earned by a Civilian and Rs 30000 a month earned by us is equivalent because the facilities we get are really good…we are well taken care of…so it’s not that we are not well paid,if all is considered….(Heartening that this came from the Junior !)
Just before we alighted,both,my wife and I,vigorously shook their hands and said we were really proud of them and grateful that we have such people in our defence forces
We Salute their Patriotic and Selfless Spirit….we feel really humble in front of them
Our brief Conversation with these two IAF Personnel really opened our eyes to our clouded minds….there is great SPIRIT and HOPE….they came across like rays of sunshine in these times where the Media exposes Corruption and Scams in Defence Deals …we have let such expose cloud and influence our minds to form adverse generalisations on our Defence Forces….it is truly uplifting and inpsiring that a 25 years IAF veteran had simply no disillusion or cynicism or frustration….on the contrary he loves his Employment and his Employer !…and we Love him for this !
We pray that more and more of us Indians,even while we grow economically more prosperous as a Nation,opt for the Indian Defence Services as a strong career option…..maybe we too as the largest Democracy in the World,like USA,should consider a mandatory Defence Duty for One or Two years when we turn 18…will help our youth imbibe sterling human qualities to take our Nation forward to greater heights
…….and One last Strong word…..since there has been strong debate in recent times on this…..How in hell can civilians like us grudge our Defence Personnel certain privileges and a Justifiable Pay Hike !….we are there because they are there !…there can be no argument or difference of opinion on this !….we must realize and feel this deeply from within us…by default