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Soldier Dogs

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 Each life is unique and is an historical document with its own identity.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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I call them soldier dogs. They always have drawn my attention. They approached me with warmth. On arrival to a field military station and having spent some days there, I could effortlessly count their numbers and even their locations. Their day-to-day presence at around the same place with deeper, probing eyes caught my attention.

One could find them relaxing most of the time; and more notably in frosty areas. Most perceptible, they would get up leisurely wagging their tales. Their posture, one could always make out, was full of warmth and affection. They would tag along for a distance with a laid-back pace. Their shape and size looked like the Titanic, more so in the colder areas. Their large body instilled fear at times. But they were the affectionate, steadfast and authentic companions of a soldier at those isolated places. The loyal dogs.

Eye contact they established looked like human beings. Just that they were less guarded.

Their presence, very discreetly, added a lot of difference in my life, especially in those lonely places. On arrival there, I could not stop thinking of the duration, that of around two years, which I was to traverse. The emptiness in those areas felt worrisome, disturbing and grossly boring. The journey looked infinite, very slow and sluggish. It was to be lived on a daily basis. This is where they made their presence felt.

Their humility through their unassuming presence would certainly draw attention of a vigilant person. This quality of their unselfishness stood out the most. They made me remember very appropriate and apt quote by Roger Caras, “Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole.” I found them perfect and effective communicators.

Their presence in those areas encompassed invisible pages of their family account. In most of the cases, their being there was an inheritance, from one generation to the other. The places, where they lived, belonged to them. This was their birth place; the most likely one. My eyes were witness to see some generations growing and gaining full adulthood. They grew there playing and fondly fighting with each other. This made their integration into ecosystem unfathomable.

Their presence made me feel at home. They gave a feeling of being a part of a larger family. They added feelings of life with their presence. Their vigilance and alertness was noticeable through their timely forewarning, upon sensing the presence of outsiders in the areas of their domination. Their love was priceless.

Their contribution needs to be documented and acknowledged with deeper tenderness and gratitude. They deserve to be thanked for their priceless contributions, which they made in my life or in the life of all other soldiers. My association with them will always throb through my happy memories. They were my greatest friends and buddies. They were, probably, the first to know that it is better to be hanged for loyalty than be rewarded for betrayal.

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