Wednesday, January 4, 2012


By Brigadier Chitranjan Sawant,VSM
Ajay Sood was his name. To his friends he was Kaka. To bosom friends or to bum chum, just kake. A man of a few words who had depth in his thoughts. He followed the Ved mantra in toto in this respect,”Ma tvam vado bahu”. The mantra enjoins on the believers not to talk a lot. In other respects he could be classified as a recluse who lived his life unbound by rules made by man. No wonder he remained unmarried all his life. Vivah Sanskar was meant to bind a man and a woman in chains for the entire life; never mind if the chain is a golden one.
Kake was Prometheus Unbound from day one in 1944 till he breathed his last on the last day of the last year,2011.
What a contradiction in terms. The man who was far from uniformity in society to the extent of not touching the institution of marriage with a barge pole, loved to wear the uniform of the military. Military is an institution where regimentation is at its peak. A man who was independent in thought and action was keen on joining the Air Force. He loved to fly but it remained a dream. Dream that did not come true. He kept on pursuing it in another form. Joined the Indian Army as a commissioned officer. It was his sheer ambition that made him a Para Commando.
In the India-Pakistan conflict of 1965, he advanced and advanced. Almost knocked at the doors of Lahore, the epicentre of the undivided Punjab. His place of birth, Shimla was the summer capital of both India and the undivided Punjab. What a thrill; what a kick that beggars description. His ambitions as a uniformed officer were high but the castle in the air came tumbling down when his tenure as an Emergency Commissioned Officer came to a sudden end.
Kake had to bid adieu to the uniformed that he loved to wear. Never mind, he assured himself. There were avenues galore open to him. He had just to venture out and hedid spread his wings far and wide. Mountains were his love. He was born a Pahari and would die a Pahari. He bought land in Palampur in Himachal Pradesh and started building a house there. Tourism and trekking in the high hills and unexplored zones were his new found love. It was here that he met with tremendous success.
The energy of a mountain man was unleashed now. The birds, the bees, the flowers, the leaves, not forgetting thorns of remote regions beckoned him and his tourists who came from distant lands and spoke languages unheard of so far in the romantic regions of the divine Himachal. The project of tourism and trekking in the high Himalayas was a roaring success. Kake had rediscovered himself and found unfathomed joy.
The blessed man took to writing. His prolific knowledge in the undiscovered region attracted publishers of repute who had excelled in the tourist industry. Before he could give a second thought to the new proposal from an eminent publisher in the tourism domain, Kake was sitting in the Editor’s chair. He wielded his pen well. The new magazine was sold like hot cakes. Many new airlines made a bee line for it and the fliers loved to read his articles flying high over the snow clad peaks of the Himalayas.
Death gives no notice. Kake suddenly discovered that he had been nourishing the dreaded disease called cancer. Nevertheless his spirits were high. He kept on doing whatever he loved todo. The besan ka laddoo was his favourite sweet and he had them till his last breath. Kake lived the way he wished to. Like a good commando he battled with cancer till the end came. Kake fought hard, the result was not in his domain.
Yogeshwar shri krishne had counselled: do thy duty; the end result is not for you to see.
Kake was a conformist at the end for a change. May the Commando’s soul rest in peace for ever.
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