Even in times of gloom, every cloud has a silver lining

With safety measures in place due to the Covid-19 outbreak, it is indeed heartening to see a steep fall in sneezing, coughing, spitting or cuddling and cooing at public places.
A person with a facemask who was earlier treated with suspicion now attracts loving looks.(Getty Images/For representation only)
A person with a facemask who was earlier treated with suspicion now attracts loving looks.(Getty Images/For representation only)
Updated on Jul 25, 2020 10:46 PM IST
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By Col Avnish Sharma (retd)

We were at the tenth green playing golf when my partner coughed and the other three in the four ball gave him a look as hostile as the one reserved for a crime convict.

The poor man sheepishly remarked, “Sorry guys, I was just clearing my throat.”

Such is the transformation in people’s behaviour, thanks to coronavirus.

It is indeed heartening to see a steep fall in sneezing, coughing, spitting or cuddling and cooing at public places. Masked people who heretofore would have been viewed with suspicion now invite loving looks.

Everyone is making an effort to maintain hygiene, improve immunity, eat healthy and avoid meaningless jaunts. Extravagance at weddings and celebrations is a thing of past. With due concern for dwindling businesses, the realisation that not being ostentatious and focusing on essentials is important will definitely level things out

I was commanding my regiment when we got mobilised after a terrorist attack on our Parliament. War with Pakistan seemed imminent. We were equipped with partly indigenously manufactured and assembled Russian made tanks. The originals were a class apart and still form the backbone of our mechanised forces. This indigenous version, however, had major issues. My predecessor handed over a fat bundle of files and three dozen power point presentations to all and sundry during his two years of agonising command. I realised in the first few days that though everyone was seized of the issue, it was a case of misplaced priority mired in red tape. Such was the repetitive content of the presentations that any discussion with the powers that be was considered tedious, in fact irritating.

The looming war clouds prompted me to vigorously revive the matter.

The feedback I got was that strong wordings and brazen statistics of my war fit machinery had raised hackles at the decision-making level. Someone even remarked, “Why is this commanding officer (CO) belly belching?”

With only 31 out 45 tanks fit for action, it seemed as if the matter was only the CO’s headache.

My immediate commander called me and expressed concern at my getting down to brass tacks, but said under his breath: “Well done, it’s now or never!”

It was on January 14, 2002, a day after General Pervez Musharraf’s address to Pakistan that three truckloads men with a battery of technicians from the tank manufacturing facility reached the forlorn dunes of Longewala near Jaisalmer. Within days the tank fleet of our regiment was a roaring 100%.

Our three year old grandson doesn’t fail to surprise us with his innocent wit. His desire to own a puppy wasn’t welcomed enthusiastically by us. “ Grow up a bit, children your age are susceptible to infections from animals at home”.

Just the other day, out on a short drive with us, he saw a masked master strolling with his pet and came up with: “Dadu, who spreads infections, the mask-less puppy or his master?”

Silvo is the name of his newly acquired beagle.

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Sunday, October 24, 2021