It was during the winters of 2013, that I went to witness the Winter Passing Out Parade at the National Defence Academy, Khadakwasla. It was a school trip and I had many classmates along with me.
Nearing the gates of the Academy, I felt nervous. I felt as if I was going to perform at the Drill Square that morning. But no. There is time for that.
As we got off the bus, my heart started beating faster. And faster. And faster. Until we reached the Drill Square where the prestigious ceremony was to be held. Throughout this, I was quiet. Not interested in the gossip that my classmates had to share. I was patiently waiting for the Passing Out Parade to start.
Dear friends, it is really difficult for me right now to describe the expressions of the proud parents of the ones who were passing out. I just cannot emphasize enough on the fact that how proud they were of their son’s accomplishment.
The Quarter Master Fort sounded of the trumpets and the bugle; a signal for starting of the parade.
Out came the cadets through the huge doors of the fort. Looking smart in their Blue Patrol uniform. Boots shining like they were being polished for the last time. Which was not to happen. Cadets sporting their crew cut also known as the ‘Gobri cut’ or the ‘Katora Cut’. Shouting commands after their Squadron Cadet Captain. Stamping their feet as if it were the enemy. The vibrations could be felt till the stands.Knowing that they had eyes from the the stands looking for their son, who was going to pass out from the Academy within an hour or so.
I stood there. Aghast. Speechless.
Ladies and gentlemen, if you ever get an invitation from the National Defence Academy to witness its astounding Passing Out Parade. Do not accept it. Because if you do, for the boys you’re most likely to return wanting to be a cadet. And for the ladies, cursing the fact that why don’t they have Lady Cadets in the Academy.