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Memories of my Birth Place

About ColNarinder Singh Malhan

Colonel Narinder Singh Malhan was commissioned from Indian Military Academy (IMA), Dehradun. On having served for almost four decades in Indian Army, he loves to share his experiences through his writings. In his opinion, every life has a lot to unfold. Each life is unique and is an historical document with its own identity. He strongly feels, real discovery is through introspection by looking back in own time. He believes, sharing own experiences are like revisiting life's milestones with more intensity. He thoroughly enjoyed his journey in uniform.

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My life is a beautiful & comprehensive book. Revisiting the same is a life levelling exercise and a gratifying experience. It encompasses most of the answers which one tries to find out outwardly. It is a self-discovery which makes it easy to establish the relationship between cause and effect. Walking backwards to find out where it all began takes me to the first memory. The memory that resulted from the narrative of someone close in the family or a personal recall.

Setting of the circumstances and surroundings, in which I was born, has been narrated to me by more than one member in the family. My mother, grandmother, grandfather and others. Elderly neighbours residing in close proximity contributed in equal measure. Learning that I was born within four walls of a house in a small village, sounds quite enterprising in the present-day context. Healthcare services were not available, so God had to take charge of the birthing process. Complications, if any, were more or less at the risk and expense of life of the mother.

In hindsight, debate on the date and time of birth ran through many interesting twists. Most of the members of the family had some or other inputs to zero down on the most likely figures. Grandfather, who was a teacher, was about to leave for school roughly around 7:00 AM, as affirmed by grandmother. Another member of the family happily threw more light, by confirming that it was first or second Thursday of January. Another very interesting addition was, cattle of the family had just returned around that time after drinking water from village pond in the morning hours. After tremendous deliberations from my family members, I was left with lot of flexibility and ingenuity to decide on the date and time of my birth.

Mother, after delivery of the baby, was confined to a room for about a month. Ambiance of such a carefully chosen room was built on interesting logic. It warranted that certain prerequisites were met for overall safety of mother & the infant. Vulnerabilities of both, at this critical stage, required a pitch dark room without any window. A window could allow invisible evil forces to enter the room with ease and pose life threat to the new born baby and his mother!

At times I wonder, what had changed after fifty eight years? It wouldn’t be possible for me to know unless I revisited my birthplace once again. Staying there for some days would certainly make the assimilation better. Some repeated visits found the situation very gloomy. Changes appeared superfluous. Looks like, basic issues and concerns have remained the same. Most probably, addressing them was never a priority. Mothers continue to be alone in their battles. Decent medical facilities are still absent. Mobiles in hands, television in houses and well-built streets contribute towards development but they don’t make up for growth of a country. The attitude of indifference has persisted for the last fifty eight years. It is dangerous.

Who is in command? It is difficult to find out and no one appears to know!

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