It’s been almost two years since I hung my uniform after serving in the Indian Air Force. As I cherish the memories, it will always be a matter of pride to have been associated with one of the finest forces in the world.
One day, an officer wanted to know the height of the flag mast. When I suggested that we may unscrew the mast from the base, put it on the ground and measure it, prompt came the reply, “Gentleman, I wanted to know the height of the mast, not the length.”
Once it was reported that someone had intruded into the domestic area at an air base. Promptly, all exit points were sealed and a combing operation was carried out to nab the intruder, but to no avail. A court of inquiry was ordered. It revealed that though all exit points were sealed, the intruder escaped through one of the entry points.
Another incident pertains to my colleague, who while performing an assigned task on the tarmac, accidentally, spilled white paint on it. With the Directorate of Air Staff Inspection around the corner, the air warrior thought it would be prudent to carve a shape of a square out of the spilled paint on the tarmac.
The inspection was over peacefully. It so happened that the same officer visited the air base after six to seven years. Incidentally, it was again time for inspection at the base. To his amazement, he found that the same piece of square was given a fresh coat of white paint to gear up for the inspection.
It was amusing to note the so-called ‘surprise checks’ of I-cards and turnout carried out by the security section. Wide publicity of these checks used to be made before the ‘surprise checks’ were carried out.
Strict vigil used to be maintained at the headquarters to the extent that we used to have our lunch on blank A4 papers lest any classified information should be inadvertently leaked out by using the old rough papers.
Every morning, ‘working parade’ used to be conducted for a roll call and to issue other instructions. It became the joke of the day when one of our colleagues from Odisha referred to it as ‘barking parade’ in his typical accent.
Come New Year, and the coveted ‘flight safety calendars’ used to be the talk of the town at our base. Since the number of calendars used to be far less than the total strength, bizarre permutations and combinations were worked out to select the chosen few. Another interesting fact was that the cost of procuring these calendars from the printing press in Delhi to the bases used to be more than that of the cost of the calendars.
The days spent in the air force were the best days of my life.