Cadet Daud ke Chal ….. Shouted the PTI (Physical Training Instructor) . This phrase was good enough to give us a spine chilling moment. Naval Academy days were one of the toughest yet one of the most memorable part of my life. Ask any Fauji and Academy days would be his best days . The camaraderie, the course mates, the ragdas, the restrictions, the drill , the parades, the patti  parades , the list go endless …..

Read it somewhere  “My Sports is the punishment for your sports/activity “.  How true this phrase is , most of our punishments use to be running  round the parade ground with or without  rifles,  initially it use to be horrible but things started changing and running became part of our life albeit the enjoyment and the happiness it beholds now .

“Restrictions”  were running around the parade ground during the afternoon hours , so one restriction means 5 rounds  of the parade ground  which use to be more than 600 Mtrs , so restrictions use to add up and the punishments started to be in the number of restrictions …… 1, 2 …… 20….. 25 restrictions.

The most awaited event of the academy was the cross country were in the squadrons use to pitch against each other for points and the championship , there were many sports and the points earned by squadron  used to get added up as a cumulative score  generic for celebrex. When the cross country were announced, entire academy use to  go in to preparatory mode, entire squadron has to run. On the race day it was  like entire academy runs as if there is no tomorrow. More than anything it was the pride to ensure that your respective squadron flag is hoisted in the academy for the academic year.

Today in contrast, running has become a passionate sports to me  , I love every moment of it , every stride I run , every km I run , every breathe I inhale , back then in academy everything use to work on a reverse clock , it was like running 12kms in an hour time or  so we were more worried about the timings and we knew if we are not able to make in the cut off time ,  what awaits at the academy gate was more worrying , the frog jump  from the base of the academy gate to the main gate (it was like the first climb of the yeoor hills) ….. we were always worried about the timings then …..

Today when I hear about the cut off timings at various events it reminds me of the academy days , where cut off was the most dreaded word ……

All our activities in academy was on DAUD KE CHAL Mode and when any seniors or Adjudant use to notice us on the academy roads it use to be in  DOUBLE UP mode and when any seniors use to be in punishment mode , there was a particular word “SPRINT  BASTARDS”, during this announcement we were not even allowed to look back and have to sprint as I do today during my last 100 mtrs of the run ….

The annual passing out camp was the most dreaded one ….. in the running parlance it is called Ultra Running ….. we had to undergo a compulsory 2 days camp where running use to start in groups or division, the beauty and the uniqueness was all the 8 cadets in the group had to run together covering more than 100kms in 2 days , throughout the night using GPS and with limited ration , we had to run through the tar road, the trails , the jungle ………and have to reach the base camp at the predecided time……..

We never had the luxury of  Carboloading, hydration , sports shoes , post run stretches etc…..

Canvas sports shoe was the most prized possession , the morning tea and the glucose biscuits and the occasional cold coffees were the elixir of life , punishments were our warm ups and stretches…….

Running was an integral part of growing up in Fauj , from cadet to an officer ….. Running made Faujis out of Men and Women…..Long distance running was not a passion then…. it was compulsion …… wish it had been a passion then……..

Once a Fauji , always a Fauji…….Jai Hind.