When a Casper moves about, it means that a friend in dreams was on a flight but when it came as a reality the children thought that why not be on a ride on him!
For children, that was a fascinating experience in Budhal! Though iron hard the joy ride was very fascinating
‘Before I start this one let me tell you a story, could be a small incident for those who never saw those days l I will put it this way across as a loiterer who wanted to get into a reverie in the uniform I wore to create something new for the people in those days which were not that flamboyant but the same did matter!’.
The best way out in troubled and conflict areas is to play with children because no one does that and that is the thing they love the most!
I had a handy black and white television, could run on batteries in those days but we were in a bit of a surprise when the whole area had been lit up where we were putting up for the night in Budhal.. We decided to settle there for the night. At that time the technology available with the men from signals in a company was minimal. They got the situation going with whatever they had though it was a modest collection. They made sure that the black and white television screen was showing something. There were screen mosquitoes there but my man Shyam Bahadur got it going. The song was of the blind singer and he was on Piano with his greatest hit, ‘part time lovers’ the noise definitely was different in the Pr Panjals.
But my company officer, a youngster, a great footballer with thighs as tree trunks from Naushera Company, Thimmaya Battalion Indian Military Academy, wanted to watch a football match. The problem was that European Champions League football Championships started too late. And they did that night with Real Madrid against Barcelona ( It was the final between two Spanish giants). In those days, Romario, the Brazilian striker, Louis Enrique who is coaching Spain now, Ramos, Pep Guardiola the Manchester City Boss were all playing. That night it was not only us watching only but also a crowd of sixty odd kids! I knew that they were adventurous and always wanted to flutter but they were too small to understand the whole thing as to what was happening around? Which was simply hell freezing over! It was a late night finish and kids were awake. They loved the snacks which our boys had to serve and then they left in the dark. Our boys dropped them since the times were not cordial’. But not the case now!
Yah! I was talking about Casper! Now this giant of a vehicle spells fear into the minds of the terrorists but for the friends it is a ghost on wheels, (Casper the Friendly Ghost is the protagonist of the famous Studios theatrical animated cartoon series of the same name. He is a pleasant, personable and translucent ghost, but often criticized by his three wicked uncles, the Ghostly Trio) There were many who used to call it wicked. But it was not. If idiots who are trigger happy fire then everyone needs protection and that too a special one. Maybe someone was there or not was a different matter of fact but these men arrived to settle the equation, obviously the result had to be different. I have an anecdote to tell here also.
‘It was the year 2000 and that day I started late from Batote. I have an ancestral home there and it is supposedly a summer resort for the whole family. The years were troublesome but journalists do take chances. I did that day. Till Qazigund it was a nice dribble but we took a detour via Wanpoh towards Kulgham. I wanted to spend a night in Nehama but after evening I was suddenly stopped with a massive giant standing in the middle of the road. My driver stopped. The check was on but other than scribble pads and pens there was nothing much. Last question was, ‘where I was going’. The answer from my side was ‘home’. I had no idea where to reach but somehow by knocking many doors I did come to know where I had to land. The food part was fine but not a soul was awake till a kid came to me and said in a parrot-like but loveable lingo ‘unclr fif you see the casper?’ The child was of my sister (Muslim though but loves me a sister) The kid of that time is married and she has two daughters but thy are more modernized and they do tell me, ‘uncle you fooled our and mom that day’. Times change but Casper remains an all time favorite of kids. Not a giant of a vehicle but as a loveable vehicle where soldiers take a ride into danger zones but children with Indian flags love a ride of lifetime!
This incident happened in Budhal!
It was a lovely picture with the kids sitting on the giant as it was asleep. Had to be the scenario since the tricolor was in their hands. Two Naga soldiers stood still though at heart they must be singing melodies such as ‘Bachhe Man Ke Sacche’ (a song from Do kaliyan Biswajeet Mala Sinha starrer with Neetu Singh playing the twin role of kid girls). Forget the grimness said the kids as they sat on the loveable yet dangerous at times Casper (dangerous only for those who are a danger but for children still a friendly ghost.
But I still wonder what could have been this grandiose casper ride. I have the reasons:
The soldiers love kids. They may at times be irritating but their own are no less.
If it’s a duty here to put children on the right track but the art of living with children their better halves teach.
Children love the shimmies, babbling and talking. Even if the language is not understood the emotions are.
These children from remotes are as great as the Casper in waiting. A ghost who always love
The picture I got was still but I’m sure there would have been a joy ride also with songs such as ‘E Malik Tere Bande Hum from the V Shanta Ram Classic Do Ankhen Barah Hath’. Come on 60 RR you have done so well why not a game of soccer where the ball bounces with joy. A player could be any in this beautiful game? Budhal is a great playfield of joy. 60 RR added the much needed gizmo to it!