Sunday, 9 November 2014

Back from Village Visit

We are back from the village visit. For a week we forgot all about Mussoorie, Officer's Mess, the rigmarole of dressing in smart casuals (at least) for breakfast, lunch and dinner, the pain of PT early in the morning, the dread of horse-riding every once or twice a week et cetera. We got a taste of what it means to be a civil servant in India. With the benefit of hindsight one can say it was a bitter sweet taste. As a representative of the government, even if a junior most officer of the senior civil services (All India, Group 'A' etc) one has signed away their privacy. It was akin to being on a display in a zoo. One knew in a muddled sort of way that a career in the civil services involved certain trade-offs. However, did not expect that one's privacy would be the first casualty, followed very closely by one's sense of right/wrong/correct/incorrect/good/bad.

Enough of these harangues already. Sunday mornings are best spent in the quiet of a library, fighting post-breakfast slumber, watching the scant traffic on the Kalindi lawns from a vantage perch. However, retired bureaucrats eat the morning silence for breakfast by a two hour long phone conversation in the reading room, organizing meetings, moving and shaking things over phone. I wonder if civic sense departs once one is out of the civil service.
One looks away from fiction to notice pretty girls taking selfies in the pleasant sunny lawns of Kalindi, a middle aged woman dressed in an egg yolk yellow chudidar and a white sweater, for all appearances a cross section of a boiled egg on two legs-a lady Humpty Dumpty, OTs taking relatives, family friends and prospective in-laws on a guided tour of the campus and so on and so forth. Matcmaking, soul-mate finding and cadre marriages are an integral part of the FC. They are traditions coming down from ages and one respects traditions. To the curious outsider or the clueless insider who queried Google in a charming naivete, "Are couples formed at LBSNAA?" (and landed on this mine blog), yes, couples are formed at LBSNAA everyday. It is a chain reaction really. Once the couple formation process starts, no coolants or control rods can stop it. We only watch from miles away, safe in our radioactive shelters, through darkened glasses the flash and the shock waves and the fire storms. Couple formation is assisted in most instances by catalysts in the form of helpful family members, relatives and well-wishers packed in to an Innova/Xylo and disgorged at the Academy or the Ganga Hostel gates. Out pops the nani, dadi, dada, nana, foofa, foofi, bhatija, bhanja, bhanji, sala, sali, chacha, chachi, chechi, cheta, mummy, daddy, uncle and aunty from next door, dad's colleagues from office, his boss' in-laws, the all important match fixing aunty from somewhere in the extended family etc. It is a charming sight.

Persistent queries on the quality of food and non-veg being served at the Academy also land on my blog. I can only say with the utmost conviction that the food served here is A-1, top class, number one quality. Non-veg is generic Chicken preparations (the butter chickens, mughlais and tikka masalas of the world-boring fare) or mutton or fish once in a while. Pork and beef are not served, to my utter disappointment. Fish is a poor stand in for the amazing variety of sea-food one can eat. This high in the mountains, one is satisfied with chicken. For everything else, there is Momo's on Mall Road (Kulri Bazaar).

A host of dignitaries are scheduled for guest lectures this week, staring with a luminary from the Foreign Services. Also, the PT and class hours are shifted by half an hour. So we trudge and trundle to the Polo Grounds at 6 instead of at 5.30 am.

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