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  • #91
    Originally posted by Ray View Post
    It is not a story.

    It is a true narration of events! :)
    Very well written Ray Sir, Can we have more?


    • #92

      Go to

      "Some have learnt many Tricks of sly Evasion, Instead of Truth they use Equivocation, And eke it out with mental Reservation, Which is to good Men an Abomination."

      I don't have to attend every argument I'm invited to.



      • #93
        Originally posted by kams View Post
        Very well written Ray Sir, Can we have more?
        I agree. I have very much been enjoying your stories, Sir. Please keep them coming. :)
        "To dream of the person you would like to be is to waste the person you are."-Sholem Asch

        "I always turn to the sports page first, which records people's accomplishments. The front page has nothing but man's failures."-Earl Warren

        "I didn't intend for this to take on a political tone. I'm just here for the drugs."-Nancy Reagan, when asked a political question at a "Just Say No" rally

        "He no play-a da game, he no make-a da rules."-Earl Butz, on the Pope's attitude toward birth control


        • #94
          GENERAL P’s NEPHEW
          Ray sir your a bengali "the best food lovers in india :P"? :O cool.
          that story was amazing and pretty funny too haha.

          Needless to say Calcutta is one of the best spirited city in India, people needs to come to Eden Gardens to feel the heat.and ah Girls of Calcutta "xavier girls ;)" nvm.
          cool stories sir, keep them coming!! some are pretty laughable haha though.
          I gotta go now "today is my bday"
          Peace/PLUR !!


          • #95

            My stories are at


            "Some have learnt many Tricks of sly Evasion, Instead of Truth they use Equivocation, And eke it out with mental Reservation, Which is to good Men an Abomination."

            I don't have to attend every argument I'm invited to.

            HAKUNA MATATA


            • #96
              You might want to take a look at this place,

              Last edited by Jay; 11 Nov 06,, 00:50.
              A grain of wheat eclipsed the sun of Adam !!


              • #97

                But how does Lulu sell the book?

                What is their distribution system has not been mentioned.

                And it may not appeal to US readers.

                But all the same thanks.

                I will keep it in mind and will interact with them and check if they can have to sold in India and the UK.

                "Some have learnt many Tricks of sly Evasion, Instead of Truth they use Equivocation, And eke it out with mental Reservation, Which is to good Men an Abomination."

                I don't have to attend every argument I'm invited to.

                HAKUNA MATATA


                • #98
                  I came across these on You Tube. What a great story teller!! I love this kind of stuff.

                  This is a 94yo WWII Vet telling his stories, including a friend he met in Japan and still remains friends with, 50 years later.

                  Great stories.

                  Video One

                  Video Two

                  Video Three

                  Video Four

                  Video Five
                  "To dream of the person you would like to be is to waste the person you are."-Sholem Asch

                  "I always turn to the sports page first, which records people's accomplishments. The front page has nothing but man's failures."-Earl Warren

                  "I didn't intend for this to take on a political tone. I'm just here for the drugs."-Nancy Reagan, when asked a political question at a "Just Say No" rally

                  "He no play-a da game, he no make-a da rules."-Earl Butz, on the Pope's attitude toward birth control


                  • #99

                    Ramzan, the holiest month in the Islamic calendar. The month of fasting. The month in which the first verses of the Holy Quran were revealed to Prophet Mohammed (peace be upon him).

                    But this is not about the holy month. This is not about fasting. This is not about the Holy Quran.

                    This is about a militant who called himself Ramzan.

                    An absolutely low level militant of the HM whose interests lay more in stealing, womanising and bullying the locals rather than in fighting for any particular cause. He’d never been involved in any ops against us and from whatever we knew of him, it would take a lot of positive thinking to weigh him against the cost of a 7.62 mm bullet.

                    Therefore, while one had heard of him, no one ever seriously contemplated mounting a specific op to get him. The general consensus was ‘galti se mil gaya toh thok dena, else let the jerk die of old age’.

                    I got to hear of him when an acquaintance of mine, HPS, who was doing 2IC (Second in Command) of an RR battalion in the area, came to meet me.

                    I was going through an uneventful time and was happy to receive a visitor.

                    After the initial exchange of pleasantries, HPS asked me what I knew of Ramzan.

                    "Not very much, Sir. I know his name, his village and a bit of his background which is nothing exciting. What’s your interest in him? He's a low life scum. Not even worth being called a militant." was my reply.

                    "Well Khalid, my information is that he's been made the Battalion Commander in this area."

                    I'll be damned !!! Ramzan being appointed as a Battalion Commander. Jeez !! The HM really must be scraping the bottom of the barrel with their finger nails. Not that an HM battalion commander is anything big, but nonetheless, in their hierarchy, it means quite a lot.

                    I can't get over it and HPS is not amused.

                    "Its not funny, Khalid. We knocked off the last guy with great difficulty and now this jerk takes his place. You know the pressure on us to get rid of their commanders ASAP and this is one guy no one knows anything about. "

                    HPS goes on to tell me that his unit has tried putting pressure on Ramzan' s area, by way of raids, CASOs, visits to his family, etc. But all to no avail. They are totally unable to get a bead on him and now want me to help track him down.

                    Well !! (Between my readers and me, it's a big jolt to my ego to be asked to sniff out a weasel like Ramzan.) "I'll ask around, Sir and let you know." is what I tell HPS.

                    Having nothing better to do, the next few weeks I ask people about Mr R. The Ikhwans, the cops, locals and my sources. From everywhere, I get the same old story. But I do manage to build up a hazy picture of him. He's a bully. He's ruthless and vicious. He's not a family man. He's lazy. He's very cunning. He's a loner. And he seems to be a bit of a coward. Every time he’s run into a security force’s patrol, he’s scooted without firing a shot.

                    No pictures available. Physical description: Tall, slim. Long hair. Beard. Jeez ! That could be any militant or or any local. It could even be me - for that matter.

                    Anyways, I make a visit to his village with a few Ikhwans. His house is a ramshackle two storied building in one corner of the village. A set of old parents. Sullen, quiet. A wife. Looks twice her age. Sad, silent, stressed out. Absolute poverty all around. Not what I'd expect of an HM guy's family. It's obvious that this guy doesn't care for his people. The wife refuses to talk but I manage to make the parents sit across me. My questions elicit no answers that can help me get to him. All they keep saying is “He’s a bad man. Kill him and we’ll be happy.” Now, on the face of it, that bit isn’t surprising. The parents of most militants say that but don’t really mean it. It’s just the typical sneaky Kilo way of keeping themselves out of trouble with the security forces. But here, I sense absolute disgust and resignation to fate.

                    So, over all I get nothing from his family. Ditto from the villagers. A bit of heavy handed questioning is also tried. Same result - zilch. But I do detect a very strong undercurrent of fear within the entire village.

                    Nothing to be gained here, I head back.

                    A few days later, I'm sent a militant radio intercept from my controlling HQ with a portion highlighted by the Brigadier.

                    “Kal Khalid mere gaon aaya tha. Pooch tach ki. Aap log fikr na karein. Us kutte ko main jald hi khatam kar doonga.”

                    This perks me up. Maybe the guy does have a spine. I like his spirit.

                    The fact that he got irked by my visiting his village means I should go again, and again. Let me rile him up and then maybe he’ll emerge from the woodwork.

                    A few more visits follow. I make threats all around. I get hold of the entire village and announce to them that Ramzan is a worthless SOB (sorry, this is not being expanded) and that I’m going to behead him personally.

                    All this to make him react because I’m sure he won’t like being abused, insulted and undermined in his own village.

                    Slowly, I start pumping in some funds into the village. Kilos love crispies of the 500 variety and I hope to buy myself some ‘sources’.

                    One morning, as I’m sunning myself outside my hut, Karan turns up with two men. Ones an MM (Muslim Mujahideen, another counter insurgent group like the Ikhwans) chap and the other guy I have no clue about.

                    I’m shortly clued up about his identity by the MM lad. The man is Salim, he’s from Ramzan’s village and wants to give me information for hard cash. Ah, well !! I have absolutely nothing against a free trade agreement.

                    The man’s info is that Ramzan visits the village mosque every morning and if I lay an ambush there, I can easily get him. Very nice. Except that the mosque is in the middle of the village and there is no way that an ambush can be laid without getting compromised. I ask the fellow to give me something better. This isn’t good enough. He argues with me. Says that I ought to get into the mosque at night and wait inside. Ramzan gets there early in the mornings and I can easily knock him off. The whole concept is fraught with too much of risk and too many intangibles and in any case, there’s no way I’m going to be firing guns inside a mosque, so I tell him to buzz off unless he wants to talk sense.

                    Seeing as he’s getting no richer than he was when he arrived, he gets serious.

                    “Uski ek mashooqa (lover) hai, Saab. J gaon mein rehti hai.”

                    Village J is close to Ramzan’s village.

                    He goes on to tell me that Ramzan visits his gal often and it’ll be easy to knock him off there.

                    “Are the lover’s tryst’s in one house always? Her home or some other?” is my query.

                    No, is the answer. “Kabhi yahaan, kabhi wahaan.”

                    Darn these Kilo militants. Why can’t they do up a nice little lover’s lair and get comfortable. Would make life (and death) so much easier.

                    J again, is a village out in the open. So there are no specific routes for ingress/egress. That cuts out an ambush.

                    RV with his lover girl at different locations. No fixed schedule. Cuts out a break-in op.

                    All that I can think of at the present moment is a CASO. And that’s so unpredictable. The night/day the CASO is effected, he may not be in J Village. It may turn out to be a waste of time and manpower and also, will alert him to our intentions.

                    I should try something else.

                    I decide to go look up the lady in question and see what I can achieve there.

                    The next morning finds me with Karan and two Ikhwans in J Village, settled comfortably on the floor in Ms Nazreen’s house. Her parents are around but have no answers. They regret the fact that their daughter has been selected by a militant as his girl friend, but can do nothing about it. They are vehement that he never visits this particular house and therefore, they cannot help me in any manner. A question thrown at them by me asking if they would tell me when and where she leaves home to meet him is answered by silence, though their eyes seem to be saying, “Think we’re fools? Think we don’t value our lives?”

                    Sigh !!!

                    The meeting proceeds. Ms Nazreen is on the agenda now. All of 15. A school girl. Unable and unwilling to talk to us about Ramzan, except to admit that he’s seeing her. She’s far too young for me to get into ‘bullying’ mode. I leave her to her fate and we leave.

                    Something ventured, nothing gained.

                    I decide to let it ride for a while. Maybe something will crop up with time.

                    And sure enough, that happens.

                    Two days down the line, I get a call on my radio from the RR company commander of the area. “ Mike 30 for Khalid. Request meet me at XXX location. One of my patrols has found something.”

                    “Wilco.” I rush off with Karan.

                    XXX is located on a track going from Ramzan’s village to the North. It cuts across a thickish grove, through which a nala (rivulet) flows.

                    What I see horrifies me. Near the nala, a headless corpse nailed to a tree. And at the feet, a head. It’s Salim.

                    “The patrol found this in the dead man’s pocket, Sir” says the company commander as he hands me a folded piece of paper.

                    ' Khalid, yeh tere mukhbair (informant) ka haal kiya hai. Tera haal is se bhi kharab hoga – Ramzan.'

                    I feel sad, disgusted, angry.

                    But the battle lines are drawn.

                    Over the next few days, all hell breaks loose.

                    Day One, Salim's family comes to me and cries their hearts out. I feel for them, because I know how it feels to lose someone near and dear, but there really is nothing I can do. I give them some money and ask them to bear the loss with fortitude. Salim is not coming back and they'll have to cope.

                    Day Two, I get a delegation from Ramzan's village. They tell me that the previous evening he got them all together and threatened to set fire to the entire village in case I was allowed to enter it. I tell them to buzz off since I'm going to visit the village whenever I wish to and woe betide any drama done to stop me. I feel for them, because they're simple folks, stuck between a rock and a hard place.

                    Day Three. Nazreen's parents turn up. Ramzan has kidnapped her. I feel for them, because I'm a parent myself, but what am I to do here? I assure them I'll do my best to get her back and thats that.

                    Day Four. I'm feeling for myself. Damn ! This Ramzan character has got on my nerves and if I don't do something fast, he'll gain a psychologically upper hand.

                    I speak to HPS and get a section of RR boys temporarily from him. I task them to carry out relentless patrolling in and around Ramzan's village. Day, night, good weather, inclement weather, whatever. I want the locals to see us and not him. Let them learn who runs this place.

                    Karan and I start moving around a lot ourselves in the area. The village, the orchards, the fields, along the nalas. Searching for Ramzan, searching for any information on him, searching for any damn thing that will get him to us or us to him.

                    I keep scanning the HM frequencies, hoping to get a peep out of him.

                    I go to Nazreen's school and meet her classmates, hoping to get some news of her whereabouts from them.

                    All adds up to a big zero.

                    And then, one afternoon a week or so later, as Karan and I are walking back from town to the village I live in, a little girl from within a bunch of school kids, drops a piece of paper as they cross us.

                    I wait till they're out of sight and then retrieve the paper. Neatly written on it, in english, are the words ' Mr Khalid Sir. Nazreen is in Ramzan's village. He has hidden her there. Please save her. She is my best friend and I want to celebrate Eid with her. Yours faithfully, Tarannum.'

                    I can't stop the tears that spring to my eyes. I think of the child that wrote this and of Nazreen and am suddenly reminded of my own children.

                    Eid is two days away and I make a silent vow to get Nazreen back, come what may.

                    The next morning, I ask HPS to get the village cordoned by a company and once thats in place, Karan and I move in with the RR section. We carry out a thorough search of every house and are done by late afternoon. NTR.

                    Damn ! I just cannot understand where Ramzan could have hidden Nazreen. If she's here, we should have found her. And I'm not willing to believe that little Tarannum's information is wrong.

                    But I've searched every house,out house, barn, toilet. Every damn structure. And I've done it myself. What else can I do? I think of my silent vow and feel bad.

                    Anyways, moping will not get me anywhere. Its getting dark and I might as well head back, leaving the villagers to prepare for their big day on the morrow - Eid ul Fitr.

                    As we are heading out and cross the village mosque, the local maulvi and I exchange greetings. He invites me for Iftaar (the meal taken at the end of the day to break the fast, during Ramzan) and while I'm in no mood to make PC with him, I accept out of courtesy.

                    I leave my rifle and magazines outside with Karan and enter the mosque. The maulvi lives just behind it. As we're walking through the prayer hall, the maulvi draws my attention to a little rug in one corner, telling me how pretty it is. I look at it and wonder whats wrong with him. It's just a simple, drab rug. But then I guess it's his mosque and he's entitled to propreitary pride, however warped it be. I nod my head in agreement to humour him and walk on.

                    We get to his place. Some polite chitter chatter about how militants misuse mosques, thereby defiling them, a simple meal and I'm ready to leave. As I'm headed back through the prayer hall, I look at the rug again, wondering what in the name of God the maulvi finds exciting about it.

                    Suddenly my two old friends, intuition and perception, are yelling into my head.

                    I walk across to the rug and pull it away. Under it is a trap door, snug with the wooden floor.

                    Immediately, all the locals inside the mosque rush out.

                    I yell out for Karan and he comes charging in.

                    I yank the trap door open and before I can take a look, Karan has chucked in a flash bang and jumped in. I follow.

                    It's a cubby hole. Theres a lantern burning and before I can take in anything else, I sense rather than see, someone lunging to a side. It's a guy reaching for a rifle hanging on the wall.

                    Sadly for him, he doesn't get there. Karan fires and the guy drops, yelling in agony.

                    In one corner, I spot young Nazreen sitting on a mattress. Tear streaked face, looking shocked, but happy.

                    We got Ramzan.

                    The maulvi got his mosque purified.

                    Most importantly, Tarannum got to spend Eid with Nazreen.


                    "Some have learnt many Tricks of sly Evasion, Instead of Truth they use Equivocation, And eke it out with mental Reservation, Which is to good Men an Abomination."

                    I don't have to attend every argument I'm invited to.

                    HAKUNA MATATA


                    • War In The Wilderness

                      21 June

                      Am neatly attired for once. Regular fatigues, et al. Not my birthday or anything, but have been called by the General. He normally avoids hob nobbing with me and conveys whatever he needs to say to me through the Brigadier or other minions. But this time it's an invite for a one on one. I'm a little surprised and more than a little apprehensive. I hate these meetings with the brass. Nothing good ever comes of it. Personally, I like to take the line most of our troops do - avoid placing yourself behind a mule or in front of a senior officer.

                      But then ( yeah, yeah, you've heard it before) .......... ours is not to reason why....

                      I meet the General in his operations room. After the usual preliminaries, he gets down to it.

                      Background. Information from the DGP (Director General of Police). Corroborated by RAW (Research and Analysis Wing). A large LeT training camp located in the valley that runs parallel to the Kashmir Valley to the east (we'll call it Zulu for ease of comprehension). Likely location of the camp is X Village. Estimated strength of militants : 25-30 hard core and 100-150 trainees. Weaponry includes SFSAMs (Shoulder Fired Surface to Air Missiles), PIKAs, RPGs (Rocket Propelled Grenades) in addition to the usual AKs, grenades and stuff.

                      Terrain. Narrow valley with a river running through it. High, densely forested features both sides. No roads. Access from present location across the dividing ridge line from north and/or west, on foot, 3 days walk. Access from the south. Drive across the Pir Panjal upto the road head. 2 days. Walk thereafter. 2 days. No access from the east. Ops have never been conducted there earlier and there's absolutely no information on locals, resources, etc. All that anyone knows is that it's a God forsaken place. The only time it was heard of was when the foreigners held hostage by the HUA ages ago, were hidden and finally killed there.

                      Own Forces in the Area. No Army. No BSF. No CRPF. No JKP. No STF. One Reserve Police post in Y Village, at the southern tip of Zulu Valley. Strength of 1 Sub Inspector and 10 cops, equipped with .303 bolt action rifles.

                      Mission. Destroy camp. Eliminate militants.

                      Time. By yesterday.

                      Plan. That I'm supposed to make. The General's said his bit. Cushy job he has, isn't it?

                      Anyways, I've been staring at the map. The terrain is miserably tough. I make my pitch.

                      "Give me three Mi-17s (medium sized transport helicopters) and one SF (Special Forces) assault team and I'll do it."

                      Negotiations commence.

                      "You're talking rot, Khalid. Choppers are out. The valley is too narrow and they've got Stingers (a type of SFSAM, US origin). One SF team is too little. You'll go across the ridge on foot with four HRM (High Risk Mission) companies of regulars."

                      "No can do, Sir." I manage to pipe in "Thats too large a force to control. And with so many guys moving over such a large distance, theres absolutely no chance of achieving surprise. And commanding 4 companies from 4 different units will be a nightmare. Give me my own crowd and I'll do it."

                      "Shut up and do it the way I'm telling you to." he roars.

                      "Yes Sir." I bleat.

                      Negotiations end.

                      Remember what I told you people about the 'when rape is inevitable..... thingy? Well, thats the line I find myself being forced to adopt.

                      Sigh ! My knees are already groaning.

                      Ok. The plan.

                      Four company columns. Thats about 40-50 men each. 3 days walk either way with one day for recce and at least one day of ops implies an outing of 8-10 days. That calls for an extremely large adminstrative load in terms of ammunition and rations. Very unweildy force.

                      I decide to insert this force along 4 different routes, marrying up at a pre designated RV by a pre designated time, and then take it from there.

                      I study the map, looking for tracks across the imposing ridge line. Find none. No choice but to pick up a marker and let my creativity find freedom. I look at the gradients on the map and draw 4 lines across the ridge, along what will hopefully be easy routes. Easy, in this context of course, is a very relative term.

                      I ask for a meeting with the four company commanders. The ops staff officer opens his beak for the first time. "They're already here. I'll get them in."

                      So much for my negotiations. Now I understand the term 'fait accompli'.

                      The General leaves me to it after wishing me luck.

                      I meet up with the four company commanders and brief them. The routes are discussed and agreed on. Alpha will move in from the north. Its a 4 day walk in his case, so he'll have to start a day earlier. M minus 1. Bravo and Charlie will move in from the west. M Day. I'll be with Bravo. Delta will go across the Banihal Pass by MT (motor transport) upto the road head and then hoof it. Move from here on M minus 1.

                      Alpha, Bravo and Charlie to link up in the forest just above A village by last light M plus 2. X Village (the target) is located across the river from A Village. Delta will move up to the southern end of the Zulu valley and stay put there at Y Village as reserve till I call them up. First light, M plus 3 is the last time anyone can get in. Any column delayed beyond that will be rendered LOB (Left Out of Battle).

                      Executive orders for the op will be issued by me after an 'on ground' recce on M plus 3. M plus 4 will be D Day.

                      All columns to be self contained for 10 days for ammunition, rations, water.

                      Radio silence all through.

                      Thats it. There really is nothing else I can tell them at this stage. Tomorrow is M minus 1. So they all scoot off to get their preparations effected. I tell Bravo where I'll meet up with him tomorrow night. Move from the jump off point will commence the next morning., that is, day after tomorrow.

                      22 June

                      Spend the morning getting stuff ready for the impending op. Pore over the map. It's a long walk and I'm not at all happy about moving by day. Maintaining surprise is a prime requisite for this op and movement by day is open to getting spotted. Sadly, the terrain is too tough and the numbers too many to be able to make good time by night. I'm not worried about whats going to happen when we get there. Thats because I'm convinced that the number of militants supposedly there is exxagerated. Kilos talk only in multiples in 10, and therfore any numerical information must immediately be divided by that figure. So, IF there are any militants there, I seriously do not expect more than a total of 15-20. Anyways, first let us reach that darn place.

                      In the evening Karan and I hop across to the RR company which is going to be the launch pad for tomorrows padyatra. We reach by 2000 hours. Bravos already there and Karan goes off join the other jawans. The RR Company Commander has a small hut and Bravo , he and I settle down in it. We talk awhile and after an early dinner, knock off.

                      "Some have learnt many Tricks of sly Evasion, Instead of Truth they use Equivocation, And eke it out with mental Reservation, Which is to good Men an Abomination."

                      I don't have to attend every argument I'm invited to.

                      HAKUNA MATATA


                      • War In The Wilderness - II

                        23 June - M Day

                        Up in the wee hours. Weather looks okay. I'd hate to be walking in the rain. I mean I love doing that, but when I'm in civilisation and don't have 40 kg on my back.

                        Bravo's lads assemble and after a quick check of weapons, equipment, logistical loads, etc we set off.

                        The RR Company Commander has given us a guide for a part of the way. He knows a little foot track that goes upto a Gujjar settlement. The walk is not too bad and we make good time. Around 1400 hours, we reach the Gujjar huts and take a break for lunch. MREs are broken out and I can see guys sprawled all over the place. No human beings in sight. I bid farewell to our guide and after lunch, we set off again.

                        The trek is getting tougher now. No specific track now and we are on hit and trial mode. Walk up a spur, then find a very steep gradient, get back a bit, try another approach. Can't be helped. The walk goes on. I look back at Bravo's lads and they all seem in fine fettle. No fatigue problems......yet.

                        1700 hours. Its started raining. F*** ! Now the climb has got a few more things added to trudge.....slither, slip, slide, etc. No place to halt. We keep moving. Around 1800 hours I decide to call it a day. The rains got heavier, it's getting dark and we're in a location that affords some cover. Bravo issues orders to his men accordingly. A few guys are sent out around us as sentries. The boys find places beneath trees, boulders, whatever to bed down. A few little fires start up and in spite of the rain, the place suddenly seems very cosy. Essentially, it's the tiredness catching up.

                        Bravo and I study the map a bit and plan out the next days route. Karan gets me a very welcome cuppa tea. Hot, strong and courtesy condensed milk, very sweet. Just the way I like it.

                        Around 2000 hours, we eat dinner and before I can ever think of my God and my kids, I'm fast asleep, snuggled up in my sleeping bag under a tree.

                        0100 hours. I wake up with an uneasy feeling. Look around. Bravo's not in his sleeping bag. I can sense a lot of movement around. I tug my boots on and go looking. Find Bravo in a huddle with a few men.

                        "Whats up, Bravo?" I ask.

                        "The sentries to the north reported seeing some lights , presumably torches, on the spur to our north Sir."

                        Thats not good. Gujjars don't move at night and in any case, even if they do for some odd reason, they don't use torches. But then, neither do militants. And theres no other kind of people here for miles in distance and a few thousand feet in altitude.

                        Bravo tells me he's sent out a small patrol to the north to check.

                        Thats not good either. Theres radio silence and the spurs too far away to support from here if the patrol makes any kind of contact. But I hold my silence. He's made his call and I'll respect it. In any case, the patrols out and barring keeping my fingers crossed, I can do nothing. Best to wait it out.

                        24 June - M plus 1

                        First light is approaching. I'm back in my sleeping bag, though half awake. Bravo informs me that the patrols back. NTR.

                        I decide to move on. A quick mug of tea and some biscuits and we take off again.

                        The climbs getting bad. The gradient is much steeper. Luckily, there no rain. We keep trudging on. I'm thinking about and wondering how my other columns are doing. I hate this concept of being in command of guys that are so far placed from me in time and space. I curse the General in my head and walk on.

                        1300 hours. A quick lunch and move on. I want to get to the ridge line before the end of the day. Only then will we able to complete the descent and be in Zulu by last light tomorrow. Walk on.

                        The tree line has vanished and we're out in the open. Scenic splendour at it's best. Walk on.

                        1530 hours. We're negotiating a tricky part of the feature. A very narrow stretch. The columns spread out in single file.

                        Bang! Bang! Bang!

                        F***! Whats this?

                        No space to even take cover. In any case, there is no cover. I look around. Can't see a thing. But I can definitely hear firing. Karans behind me. He draws my attention towards our north. Far away, on the spur running parallel to us, I now spot some movement. Binos (binoculars) out. A group of 6 militants, firing at us. With AKs. Crazy jerks. Those bullets can't reach us from there. Bravo has also spotted them and has by now got an LMG firing at them. Well, even our bullets won't get to them. I yell out for Bravo and tell him to get an RL HE (High Explosive) airburst onto those guys. A minute later.....Boom!

                        I watch through my binos. The HE rocket explodes in the air over those guys. I don't see or hear them any longer. Walk on.

                        No further incident and we reach just short of the ridge line by 1900 hours. It's dark and cold. But thankfully, dry.

                        Tea, dinner, bed. 16000 feet altitude. Aching bones and muscles. A warm sleeping bag. I'm out like a light within a nano-second.In any case, I can sleep easy. No more climbing. Tomorrow, we roll down.

                        25 June - M plus 2

                        A peaceful albeit very chilly night. I wake up to a hot cuppa tea served by the trusty Karan. 30 minutes to clean self and weapons and I'm ready to move. So are Bravo and his merry men. We take off.

                        A short climb till the ridge line. 16530 feet. And it's beautiful. Flat, bare, a lovely view to our West of the Kashmir Valley and to the east, my first look at the Zulu Valley. Narrow, green and far away.

                        And the most fascinating thing. Right next to us on the ridge line, is a little lake. Ok! Ok! Not a lake. A pond.

                        Time schedule be damned. I strip and jump in as do a few more courageous and crazy souls. Brrrrrrrrrrrrr!!!! Its miserably cold but tremendously refreshing and when I emerge I feel like an abs new man. Feel ready to walk a 100 miles and take on a 1000 militants.

                        0800. A short halt as the scouts move up to try find a route. I switch on my radio to see if anyone's talking.

                        "Charlie for Khalid, Charlie for Khalid, Charlie for Khalid."

                        Damn!!! What ever happened to radio silence?

                        And before I can respond, "Akbar for Khalid, Akbar for Khalid." Thats the General.

                        What the hell is happening? I'm totally zapped.

                        "Charlie for Akbar, Khalid not responding. Request advise further action."

                        Further action? Advice? Whats the General involved for now? Has Charlie gone nuts?

                        I decide to take the plunge, " Khalid for Charlie, go ahead."

                        "Charlie for Khalid. We've been attacked."

                        Attacked? What the f*** is he talking about?

                        "Charlie for Khalid, we've been attacked, we've been attacked." The young Majors voice is sounding frantic.

                        "Khalid for Charlie, cool down. Are you in contact?"

                        "Charlie for Khalid, no, I say again, no. We were fired upon last night. We had halted for the night and they fired PIKAs. I have 8 boys wounded."

                        **** !!!!!

                        Akbar pipes in again. "Akbar for Charlie. Stay put. Choppers coming in for cas evac. Give your position and locate and prepare nearest possible landing site ASAP."

                        Akbar continues, " Charlie , wait out to you. Akbar for Khalid."

                        "Khalid for Akbar, go ahead."

                        "Akbar for Khalid. Mission aborted. Head back."


                        What IS happening? Is this some f****** nightmare?

                        "Akbar for Khalid, did you copy? I say again, mission aborted. Head back. Charlie has casualties and Alpha is behind schedule. He's stuck in the hills."

                        I think awhile. I haven't walked this far for nothing.

                        "Akbar for Khalid, did you receive?"

                        F*** you General, Sir !!

                        "Khalid for Akbar, nothing heard, nothing heard."

                        "Akbar for Khalid, come in dammit!"

                        The General goes on and on and finally stops when I switch off my radio set. Everyone be damned.

                        I'm worried about Charlie and his casualties, but am confident that the General will organise the needful.

                        But what do I do now? Alphas missing somewhere in the hills far to the north. No news of Delta, but even if he is on schedule, he'll only be on the southern end of the Zulu Valley. Can I go in with just Bravo? What if there really are over a 100 militants?

                        I yell out to Bravo, " Lets get a move on buddy."

                        Thats it. Jo hoga dekha jaega. Let not some m***** f******* militants say they scared us away.

                        We head downwards. Walking fast. Downhill is tough on the knees, but I no longer care. Want to get to Zulu and want to kill those jerks there. Period.

                        Around 1300 hours, we're back in the tree line and shortly thereafter, come acros a Gujjar settlement. We halt short and the scouts check it out. No danger. We move up.

                        There are about 2-3 Gujjar families. 18-20 people, all sexes, shapes, sizes and ages. 200-300 sheep, all sexes, shapes, sizes and ages. Seem harmless, both these categories.

                        But I'm worried. I don't want them slipping down to the village and giving advance warning of our arrival.

                        "Give us that boy" I tell one of the adults, pointing to a young lad, perhaps in his late teens.

                        He looks very worried as he asks me why. The lads his son.

                        "I want a guide down to the village. I'll pay him for that." I inform him.

                        "Oh ! Okay," is his postive, though a wee bit reluctant, response.

                        "Fine, we're off. Your son will be back by evening, unless..."

                        "Unless what?" he asks.

                        "Unless one of you decides to cut across to the village and talk about us. If that happens, he'll come back without a head."

                        "Nahi Maalik. We wil not talk about you to anyone."


                        We move on.

                        Time passes by and just short of last light, I find myself in a little copse on the lower slopes of the feature. Just below us, 2 klix at best, is A Village.

                        The guys spread out and I tell Bravo to get them to relax. But to be watchful. He deploys sentries and everyone chills.

                        I can see the village clearly from where Bravo and I are lying under a tree. Theres still some ambient light. No movement can be seen though. Not a soul. If I couldn't see the lights in the houses, I'd say the village was deserted.

                        "What do we do now, Sir?" asks Bravo.

                        "What else, Bravo? Lets go explore the village" I tell him.

                        "The village? But that will compromise surprise Sir, I mean, so many guys and all."

                        "Relax buddy. Just you and me." I give him a wicked smile.

                        "Wow. Thats fun. Lets go" is his brave reply.

                        I whistle up Karan and tell him my intentions. He looks happier than he's done in the past 3 days.

                        We down some tea and shakarparas and after a quick nap, at around 2330 hours, Bravo, Karan and I enter Village A.

                        TO BE CONTINUED.......

                        "Some have learnt many Tricks of sly Evasion, Instead of Truth they use Equivocation, And eke it out with mental Reservation, Which is to good Men an Abomination."

                        I don't have to attend every argument I'm invited to.

                        HAKUNA MATATA


                        • War In The Wilderness - III

                          We enter the village from the southern end. Its a small village, 40-50 houses at best. Surrounded by fields. The village is quiet. Everyones indoors and sleeping. Suddenly, Bravo spots a couple of large sheds. Whats this? Villages don't have these kind of sheds. These are pretty huge with a fence around them. Needs a look see.

                          We cautiously approach the sheds. As we get close, Karan nudges me. I look towards where he's silently indicating. Yup. I spot the glow of a cigarette. We get down and crawl till the fence. Look again and I see one guy sitting with his back against one of the sheds, smoking. No signs of any weapon.

                          For the life of me, I cannot make out what this is all about. Are these sheds being used by militants? Is this guy some kind of sentry?

                          Might as well find out. I whisper my orders to Karan and while Bravo and I cover him from our present position, he crawls off, gets through the fence and approaches the smoker from behind. He grabs him and pulls him away. We wait.

                          3 minutes later, we hear a low whistle and Bravo and I jump across the fence and sprint to where Karan is. The guy Karan nabbed is on his knees, hands on his head.

                          "Kya khabar? " I ask Karan in a whisper.

                          "Saab, yeh FCI (Food Corporation of India) godown hai aur yeh aadmi yahan ka chowkidar hai."

                          Gadzooks ! An FCI godown? In this God forsaken place? Wonders will never cease.

                          I question the chowkidar. This place holds grain stocks for the winters. Summer is spent transporting the stuff from the south on mule back. Theres a total staff of 6. One clerk kind of guy, 3 storemen and 2 chowkidars. Barring the clerk, they all live within the FCI complex in a small hut. No families. The clerk is a local and lives in the neighbouring village to the north.

                          Ok. So thats the background. I ask the guy about militants and get the standard "I don't know anything " answer.

                          A whack followed by my dagger poking his rib cage has him telling us that there are no militants in this village but he has seen groups of them moving around. He's seen them on both sides of the river and on the hill sides astride the valley. Thats the extent of his knowledge.

                          Another whack on his jaw, a boot in his belly and a deeper poke that draws a bit of blood, extends this extent.

                          "Get hold of the Muqaddam." He tells me "He is with them. Militants often visit his house."

                          This sounds good. I send Karan to get a section of Bravo's lads. Once they arrive, they take over the hut where the chowkidar's compatriots are sleeping. They'll ensure these fellows stay put within.

                          Its nearly 0045 hours now. We 'liberate' some of the FCI guys' clothing and change out of our Army fatigues into salwar suits.

                          The chowkidar chappie points out the Muqaddam's house and the three muskeeters head thataways.

                          Knock! Knock! Knock!

                          The sound of someone moving within, and then the door opens. A guy, mid to late 40s.

                          "Are you the Muqaddam?" I ask.

                          "Yes. Come in" he answers.

                          These guys don't speak Kashmiri the way I do, the way it's spoken in the Kashmir Valley. It's similar, yet different. But I can understand.

                          He takes us into a room, lights up a lamp and even before we are settled down on the carpet, a middle aged lady, presumably his wife, is making tea for us.

                          Whats surprising me is that he's not asked who we are and what we want.

                          Tea arrives. "You've come from across?" he asks me.

                          "Across as in? " I ask back.

                          "From the land of Allah, Pakistan." says the M.

                          "Yes" I answer "why?"

                          "I can make out that you are not Kashmiris. I saw you and realised that you are our brothers from Pakistan."

                          I give him whats supposed to be a sweet smile, though I'm seething from within.

                          "Whats the news here?" I query.

                          "News is not good. You should not be here" he says

                          I give him a quizzical look.

                          "The Kaffir (infidels) army is moving from Kashmir. They'll be here by tomorrow. The other mujahideen brethren have already moved out." He continues.

                          I ask him how he knows all this and he informs me that word had come across two days prior. Some Army people in Kashmir were hiring civilian mules to carry loads into Zulu and thereafter, the columns have been spotted moving into the hills.

                          Mules? Damn!! Alpha or Charlie, or both, must have f***** up. This op was supposed to be pure man pack. Anyways, too late to cry over spilt beer.

                          "Where have the Mujahids gone now? Is nobody left? We need to meet up with them." I tell the M.

                          "I sent some mujahids to ambush the Kaffirs. The others have moved into the hills to the east and south. Theres no one left , though there may be some one still at the base in X Village" says he.

                          "You sent people to ambush the Army?" I ask, trying to keep the anger out of my voice. It takes all I have to stay in control.

                          "Yes" he proudly replies "I control all Mujahid activity here. One of the groups I sent killed 50 Kaffirs to the south yesterday."

                          50, my a** !!!!

                          "Which tanzeem are you from?" I ask, changing the subject before I lose my temper and snap his neck.

                          He seems surprised at my question. " You don't know? I'm from the Lashkar. Didn't they send you to me?"

                          Oops ! Seems like I've committed a faux pas. Better cover up fast. "We're from Al Badr. Some Mujahideen we met on our way told us that you are a true supporter of the cause and will help us."

                          That appears to please him. "Yes. I'm the number one Lashkar man in this area" , is his proud reply.

                          I ask him about this 'base'. "Its a camp we have set up to train young Mujahideen. Instead of sending them all to your country, we are getting some boys from Kashmir and the South and training them here."

                          "I want to see this base" I tell him.

                          "We'll go in the morning. You all sleep here. My wife is making some food."

                          I can't argue with that. But theres a problem. If the three of us go to the militant camp/base with him, what happens to Bravo's lads? And what do we do at the base? Covert is okay, but the mask doesn't stay on for too long. And if the base has a sizeable number of militants, what will the 3 of us be able to achieve on our own? Barring making the 'supreme sacrifice'?

                          Jeez ! I can't think.

                          Anyways, food arrives, and we eat.

                          "Your men can sleep here. And for you, theres place upstairs" the M informs me, post dinner.


                          Bravo and Karan are given some smelly quilts and they seemingly settle down while I walk upstairs with the Muqaddam. He takes me to a small room with a bedding laid out on the floor. "You'll be comfortable here."

                          As I smile at him, he adds "I'll send my daughter up. You enoy yourself."

                          I snap. And before I can control myself, I've hit him with the butt of my rifle. He goes down, head bleeding. I peer down the staircase and yell out for B and K. They come up. Karan kneels, has one look at the M and pronounces him deceased.

                          There goes my 'guide' to the base. Damn !!!

                          I'd intended to kill him, but later. Damn ! Damn ! Damn !

                          Anyways, theres nothing to be gained here now. We move out of the house.

                          I now decide to prepone things. No time for recce. No time to wait and check if Delta is in location at Village Y.

                          I send Karan off to get Bravo's company to the godowns.

                          They arrive shortly. It's 0430 by now.

                          A quick brief and we set off.

                          The plan. Cross the river ASAP. A small party led by Karan to move up and ascertain the precise location of the so called 'base' as also try get whatever information they can on strength, dipositions, etc. Thereafter, Bravo's company, less a section, to cordon the base while the section moves in with me to search and destroy.

                          Its still dark. We cross the river over a narrow foot bridge and deploy east of the river, about a klik plus from Village X. Karan moves off with his gang.

                          0545 hours. Karans back. "Saab, ek location nazar aata hai jo camp lagta hai. Shayad is gaon ka school hai. Par, udhar humne do sentry dekhe. Hathiyar ke saath."

                          He goes on to explain the layout. Three huts. Single story. An open ground in front. Luckily , this complex is on the far edge of the village. Little chances of collateral damage.

                          Bravo is listening in and moves off with his men to lay the cordon.

                          Karan and I head for the militant camp with 8 of Bravo's guys.

                          It's daybreak. The village is waking up and as we walk through, the locals gawk at us. No time to lose now. Speed of move and execution is my only hope for success.

                          My Kenwood buzzes. Its Bravo . "Bravo for Khalid, in location, out."

                          Cool. Lets go in now, boys.

                          A silent prayer and we get into the complex. The LMG guy has already deployed on the ground, and two long bursts at each of those sentries provides them with their final 'good morning' kiss. Only, its the kiss of death.

                          As we get close to the sheds, firing starts from within two of them. Not too much, though. Still, it's enough to make us go into creepy crawly mode. I get the RL to address them, which he does with pleasure. Four rockets each and the sheds are down, burning. No more firing from within. As we move up to check out the sheds, I hear firing from the east.

                          "Khalid for Bravo, whats up?"

                          "Bravo for Khalid. Eastern cordon under fire from the hills. Moving there. Will report situation ASAP."

                          I leave the section to clear out the burning sheds as Karan and I sprint off eastwards. As we get there, I can see gun flashes in the hills. A look through the binos reveals at least 4 guys in the trees.

                          I meet up with Bravo. He tells me that he's spotted the guys and plans to go in from a flank and get them while they're held by fire from here.

                          Good idea. Bravo scoots off with a section pulled in from the cordon and moves off northwards to skirt these bad guys.

                          About 45 minutes later, some more firing and then silence.

                          "Bravo for Khalid, 5 militants. Dead."

                          "Roger, get back."

                          We hang around the area till noon. Nothing else happens. Guys keep scanning the hills with their binos but nary a movement is spotted.

                          I get Delta on the set and since he's already in Y village, ask him to move here, bringing the cops with him from the Reserve Police Post.

                          They arrive by 1500 hours and we hand over the bodies, as well as pointing the cops towards the Muqaddam's house in Village A. They get his body as well as a nice cache of weapons and ammunition.

                          We peel off thereafter, Delta headed back south while Bravo and I move back to the godowns with a group of very happy and satisfied men. A nice cheery evening is spent there, full use being made of the Government of India's wheat, rice and dal enhanced with a few chickens and two goats set free from the evil clutches of the locals. I'm in no ' win hearts and minds ' mood.

                          A good, well earned night's sleep and early next morn, we set course for Kashmir.

                          Two days of brisk, incident free walking gets us home, safe and sound.

                          My band of brave boys got 12 Lashkar militants.

                          I got the Muqaddam, a *******ing from the General (followed by a bear hug) and 23 blisters on my feet.

                          "Some have learnt many Tricks of sly Evasion, Instead of Truth they use Equivocation, And eke it out with mental Reservation, Which is to good Men an Abomination."

                          I don't have to attend every argument I'm invited to.

                          HAKUNA MATATA


                          • Check the War in the Wilderness about Counter Insurgency in Kashmir.

                            Colonel, Shek and military friends,

                            Comments please!

                            "Some have learnt many Tricks of sly Evasion, Instead of Truth they use Equivocation, And eke it out with mental Reservation, Which is to good Men an Abomination."

                            I don't have to attend every argument I'm invited to.

                            HAKUNA MATATA


                            • Sir, this is the link for the same.

                              I had forwarded it to the good Captain earlier, he had pointed out that they did seem authentic in terms of details - perhaps even if its not the person writing, its someone "in the know".

                              Last edited by Archer; 13 Nov 06,, 13:12.
                              Karmani Vyapurutham Dhanuhu


                              • He seems to be a real one- eg he says:


                                hi folks...that was one complete set of reminiscences of one tenure in South Kashmir. The next one will be in after a experiences from Sri Lana (the IPKF saga). Thans for ur support n encouragement !!- Lethal Weapon
                                Karmani Vyapurutham Dhanuhu