NCC Camp at Pachmarhi

My elder daughter’s NCC battalion will be going to Pachmarhi this summer. Pachmarhi is a remote hill-station less than two hundred kilometres east from Bhopal by road. Its one of the closest weekend getaways from here and its common to see hoards of Bhopalis enjoying a few days off from the blistering heat of the city during the summer months.

This is the first time my daughter will be out of the house on her own. Even though she will be with her own battalion in the army cantonment area of Pachmarhi with twenty other kids from her own class, we are all a little bit nervous. We are hoping she will enjoy herself and acquire some more independence and self-confidence in the raw natural habitat Pachmarhi offers its visitors. Her itinerary includes shooting, hiking, climbing, outdoor cooking and a basic course in survival. The fellowship and camaraderie instilled in the kids during these camps often generates memories and friendships cherished for a lifetime.

NCC or the National Cadet Corps is a branch of the Indian armed forces started in 1948 to develop character and incorporate qualities of discipline, leadership and self-less service. Each year kids are selected from premiere schools and colleges in India to participate in NCC activities across the country. Its an honor to get the opportunity to be a part of the NCC family. And if she should so choose when she is older, participation in NCC gains preference for those opting for a career in the armed forces. Besides, she will be a more confident and disciplined person as well as being a better human being for having been a part of the NCC.

My daughter attends a missionary school here and it just so happens that the order of sisters which run her school has its regional headquarters situated in Pachmarhi and lot of the older staff of her school, including the previous principal, currently live in Pachmarhi. It will be double the fun for her party as a sort of homecoming for her troop. I am sure she and her friends will be delighted to meet their former teachers and principal.

Right now we are going through a long list of things she needs done before the trip. Also this was the perfect opportunity for her first cell phone. Since mobiles are not allowed in any schools here, there was no sense in getting one for her before now. But its almost a requirement for the camp and we got her a basic model which would fit the bill. It may be pretty basic today but compared to my first mobile, it has features I couldn’t dream of in those days and today none of us could live without. Now while her mother and I go around the city collecting her various uniforms, boots, sleeping bag, backpack and a hundred other things big and small, she is busy playing with her mobile as soon as she comes home from school. LOL.

I am proud of her selection and hope that she will have fun, learn some essential survival skills and return home safely from her two weeks trip. Her summer vacations will be going on when she returns. I know once she gets back, her usual summer past-time is sitting before the TV or the computer. At least now, all this physical activity will be a good start of the holidays.

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