Tuesday, August 19, 2008
This is Kantharaj, a soldier whom I was tutoring in English for a month.Kantharaj is studying to pass some exams hoping to make it to officer grade or to quit the army after a few years and take up a civilian job.He wants to be ready then with the right credentials.
I learnt quite a bit from him about Nagaland, the North East, Kashmir and Siachen where he hopes to be posted next. So far, I haven't interacted personally with any soldier and this has been very interesting.
He didn't seem to have any qualms about killing which was the first thing that came to my mind. Working conditions, the people he interacted with, the places he visited and getting ahead were what were on his mind.
But what really struck me was his acceptance of everything- people and their customs and their habits and their outlook. While he was talking about people in the North east eating practically everything that moved including cats and dogs- I did feel a bit queasy. But he took it in his stride and said the army trains them to survive in the forest on almost anything.
Kantharaj did teach me to be a bit more open and less judgmental.