Never Say Die
A consummate brat, my father packed me off to a boarding school in Dehra Dun at the age of eleven. Far away from home and in an atmosphere that was distressingly distant from the one that I knew back in Guwahati, I took a while to come to terms with not only the Spartan character that governed the “cradle of warriors” as the school is known, but also the legacy in which it is steeped in.
Indeed, the towering War Memorial near the parade ground continually reminded us of the sacrifices that had been made by alumni of the school in war and the ones that we would one day be called upon to follow.
We were clearly being groomed for God and Country. Indeed, our motto is ich dien (I serve) and the gravity of the crest in which the two undemanding words adorned the signet ring of every Prince of Wales said it all. The then Prince—later King Edward the VIIIth—had, after all, founded the Royal Indian Military College (RIMC) in 1922!
On entering the hallowed portals of RIMC—the admittance to which literally challenged every bit of my intellectual, physical and psychological constitution—every aspect of my life underwent a sea change: I had to use fork and knife in the dining room, speak in Queen’s English, learn how to knock a sparring partner down in the boxing ring,
run for hours together, shiver in the cold of an icy Mussoorie night even as we were asked to stare at the shimmering lights of Landour at midnight for having played truant with regulations and had to wake up every morning at 5 to the shriek of a frightful siren! I was completely regimented.
But I can now proudly say that I am one of the very few cadets across the Indian subcontinent who survived Asia’s most prestigious of finishing schools.
Today in the midst of the Wuhan scourge that is upon us, my Rimcollian innards cry out “never say die”.