Two young girls,
Priyanka Jain and Kartik Rathore were part of the NCC marching
contingent at the Republic Day Parade this year. To present
the wonderful show and to reach that stage, they had to put in
very serious efforts. "To get selected for the parade we
had to work very hard," said Priyanka, a second-year
journalism student of Kamala Nehru College, New Delhi. Kartik
Rathore, IInd-year student of political science, said that the
chosen cadets were put through a Republic Day Camp. The
pre-condition for this Republic Day Camp was that one had to
clear three pre-RD camps. Each of these pre-RD camps lasted
for around 10 to 12 days. The main purpose was to increase the
stamina of the cadets. All the cadets were made to get up at
5.30 in the morning and carry on non-stop with the daily
chores with small breaks in-between.
Meeting all these
challenges, Priyanka and Kartik made it to the final Republic
Day Camp where they met NCC cadets from many other States.
They also interacted with cadets from other countries like Sri
Lanka, Maldives and Nepal who had come to participate in the
parade. It was a very enriching experience for them. Both have
come out of the camps and the Parade with interesting views.
Priyanka has come out very confident after meeting all these
people. "It was so nice to know their culture, their way
of dressing and everything else about them," Kartik said.
Talking about their
daily grind, the two said they were woken up early in the
morning and all of them had to assemble by 5 am at Rajpath for
practice. The selection for the Parade was finalised on
January 6. Those who were finally selected practised in the
Polo Ground and on some days at the Rajpath.
Inspite of hard work it
did not stop them from having fun and the naughty pranks
played on each other. This kept them motivated. Priyanka would
play daring games with her friends. "Once, we asked a guy
to take off his blazer and took it away until he came and
pleaded for it. Later to our embarrassment we discovered that
he was our earlier Guard Commander," said Priyanka with a
big smile. Also in her list of naughty pranks was an episode
when she and her friends went to the canteen without the
permission of the teacher and received scolding for this act
Kartik also has a few
anecdotes to narrate. They would always go and stand right
behind the Army squad during practice on the Rajpath so that
they would be able to march first among all the cadets. They
were very fond of singing songs, some of which included a few
patriotic number from an old movie, Shaheed.
There were very special
moments. For Kartik, one of her unforgettable moment was when
she walked down the Rajpath saluting the President. She became
emotional. "It was as honourable as memorable for
me," said Kartik. Priyanka feels her best moment was when
she got an opportunity to talk to Chief of Air Staff, Air
Chief Marshal A Y Tipnis.
Kartik now aspires to
join the Indian Army and Priyanka the Indian Air Force.