Along Came Sisya

Sisya, meaning student is a kannada word and here, the sisya is Aakash. Aakash a 11th grade guy from Pune was such a boy that, everyday he runs for about 20km, goes to school just for the sake of attending practicals and studies theories by himself in home. He has dream of getting into NDA- National Defence Academy and is actually preparing for it. He hasn’t watched much movies, except few recent hits and few all time hits. He has no girl friends and was never in love nor had crush on any girl.

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I met him during our trekking expedition in Goa organised by YHAI, earlier this year. Mayur, Sachin, Vinodh and I reached the base camp  pretty early because of which we were able to get a tent. Later came a 40yo or something fellow from Pune followed by another Bangalorean. After some rest in the tent, we went out for exploring nearby places and returned. Then all four of us had chat with Pune fellow and got to know there will be another guy coming to our tent.

Sometime later when we entered our tent after a round of wandering the camp, we came by a guy who looked in his last teen, fair and had his hair spiked and being without any sign of moustache or beard. He was sitting in left corner of the tent and was arranging his things from his backpack. We introduced ourselves and in reply got to know his name.

Since inside the tent it was stuffy during noon, for the most of the time we  remained outside. And whenever we are about to leave the tent for another round of roaming within the camp, he asked, “Are you all going out?”

Actually we had plan of going out in the evening so at that time we said no. This happened again and in reply we said, “We will let you know if we ever go.” Moreover, whenever we started a conversation with him, his first line was, “sorry, pardon me.” That line made me to think, ” Does my english suck?” But this happened with all four of us and got know it may be because of our accent.

Finally, when we left for the Miramar beach for the first time on first day, he came with us. There we stayed for a while, after seeing few dead jelly fishes and feeling jellyness of those fish. From there we went to the market which was on the other side of our camp. During that journey, we came to know that he is a runner. So when it was about half a km to our camp, Aakash and I decided to run, as he was longing for a run  and he already missed the practise of running on that particular day. With all the energy I had, I ran quickly and he followed me running casually. When he came to me, he asked for another run, for which my exhausted body said Nooooo. By this time he became our friend and I started to teach him kannada so he became my student aka sisya. But on the first day sisya wasn’t with us all that time and spent most of the time in reading a book.

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In the next morning, during breakfast, we came to know that he went for running, in the ground next to our camp, before we all were awake . On the same day, after 3-4 km of acclimatization walk along the beach, we went to have rest at bank of river Mandovi which was adjacent to our camp. Except Sachin who remained back in the tent, we had little personal chit chat. For sisya, as said earlier wasn’t in a love and neither had a crush nor attraction to any girl. But he is boy and a boy must have some or other type of feeling to a girl. Asking on the same topic and doubting his boy thing, we finally came to know that he too liked a girl. That was just a like by the way. But, to get to know about his feeling for that girl, Mayur, Vinodh and I bribed him. Bribed with stories of our attractions and crushes! From there onwards he stayed all the time with us, even though he didn’t knew kannada and there were other hindi speaking people. He became so close with us on second day itself that he showed one of his hidden talents just for Mayur and me. It is the dance.

On our third day of the expedition , we were damn exhausted in our 15km beach walk. But compared to us, he was kinda less exhausted and was enjoying with water and waves. Also he was longing for a swim in those beautiful beaches. And his wish got accepted after a km. Even after swim, our journey was kind of boring and exhausted.  There we started to talk about the birds. Foreign birds in the Indian beach. Since sisya had no knowledge about the birds, we taught him about liking the birds based on the rating, which included the type of bird, it’s feathers and figure and other things. He learnt so quickly that he started to show us some birds, saying , ” look at 2′o clock”, ” look 10′o clock” and so on. After some time he became more concerned about these birds than us.

Sisya being with us all the time, made others wondered  if he was from our place and actually our friend even before this expedition? This wonder kept us together till the last day, at all times. If we were in the last walking slowly, he would stick with us matching our pace and if were ahead of everyone he was with us there too. Not a single time, he had food without us during our entire journey.

During fourth day which is again another beach walk, we were damn lazy to do it once again. So we bunked the walk and left to the next camp in a bus. When it is about a km or two, we reached the camp by walk after a swim. And sisya was with us all these moments. And in the camp on same day, when we were lazy enough to attend the camp fire in the night, he remained with us in the tent, being lazy in a cozy nook.

On the fifth day, when we started our journey through train , we all sat in one compartment along with two more Bangaloreans from our group, who were pretty amazed by now, because of sisya being with us all the time and almost at all the places except when we went to finish our daily karya.

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Sixth day was toughest yet beautiful trek in our whole journey. When we reached the Caranzol camp, we took bath in nearby river. And for the first time he was with us during a bath, and involved in catching the fishes using our towels.

At certain times we were unhappy with our sisya. Because whenever we offered him snacks or juices, he denied it most of the time. And when he accepted it , he tried to pay for it, for which we ruthlessly denied.

Since our expedition was in the western ghats which is home to the different kinds of animals, birds and reptiles, he was longing to see a snake in his whole journey, although he saw one during one of our beach walk and during the demo about handling the situation whenever we encounter a snake. Because of this craziness, on the seventh day of our expedition, at Nandran camp, he went alone in search of snake. We didn’t go as we were taking rest. Poking bushes and holes in the ground with a stick, he went into the forest. After an hour he returned and went directly to the tent. When we went to the tent, we saw him in pain, due to the injury he had in one of his leg. Then when asked about it, he said- as he was poking in a hole, a snake suddenly came out and in fear when he stepped back, he missed the balance and fell down because of which he injured himself . From there he returned to the tent hopping slowly. After examining from a group medical students who were part of our journey, they said nothing to worry about anything as it is only a cramp and suggested to use a spray and not to make any sudden moments or apply sudden loads. Because of his craziness he paid a little prize.

On the eighth day, for the first time he was ahead of us all and reached the destination pretty early. We didn’t ask about it, but we were worried about his cramp in the leg as there wasn’t any hurry to reach that early. When we reached there, he was with his book as usual, even though there was other people from our group.

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Our sisya was so good at following us. In the ninth and last day, after checkout from the camp arounf 10 am, he had a seat in a bus booked at 7 pm from Goa to Pune. He said he will be going to the bus stand now itself and started to bid farewell. But, we asked him to come with us near our room booked in a Hostel on the other side of Goa and in reply he nodded and came with us. He stayed with us till 3 pm and left. When he boarded the bus, he called us and informed about it and when he reached his home safely, he sent a message.

Two days later, he sent a friend request in Facebook. And few days later he messaged saying ” Nin th*ka k*ya” meaning ” F*ck your a**”. He did so, because ‘Hi’ in kannada means ‘Nin th*ka k*ya’ as we taught him, but not the one it is supposed to be in original.  And in a bracket he also messaged ‘Hi’. What made me proud of being master to sisya is, during the chat on that day, he asked me suggestions about asking out a girl!

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Marine Dog – Lucca

Originally posted on pacificparatrooper:

Two Heroes!

Two Heroes!

Marine dog, Lucca, was given a wonderful tribute in the Parade Sunday magazine.  After more than 400 missions in Afghanistan, no one had been hurt by an IED when they were with her.  She was the only one that the Green Berets felt comfortable hugging after a tough day.

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Mamma Lucca, as she is nicknamed, was injured herself.  Handler Col. Juan “Rod” Rodriguez quickly applied a tourniquet and she was air-lifted to one veterinary team after another in all-out attempts to save her life.  They succeeded, but Lucca lost her right left leg in the action.  You can see her honorary Purple Heart on her harness.  Today she lives with her original trainer, Gunnery Sgt. Chris Willingham and his family.  She continues to serve at VA hospitals and in schools.

Could someone please explain to me WHY this Hero’s Purple Heart is considered HONORARY??

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Farewell Salutes - 

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