HERE I am in the number one EME centre, Secunderabad to do the running commentary on the ninth reunion of the Corps. No less a person than the director general EME and the senior Colonel Commandant Lieutenant General Ajay Kumar Singh Chandele, AVSM called me long distance from Secunderabad and told me to pack my bags to fly there from Noida-Delhi to do the running commentaries on the major events of the reunion.
The time was at a premium. He called me on January 2 and wanted me to board the first convenient aircraft on January 6. An old family friend from his father's days who happened to be my boss as Commandant of the Centre at Pachmarhi when I was the executive man to organise the colour presentation of the Army Educational Corps in February 1971, I didn’t have the heart to say no to him. An additional bait thrown in was a free air travel to and fro for my wife, Sudha too, besides that of mine. Too tempting to resist. I was in Secunderabad Deccan before one could say Jack Robinson.
The right royal treatment given to me and my wife from the word go, at the instance of General Ajay Chandele, was unbelievable. His wife, Promilla was equally caring and loving, if not more. I knew my wife and I were being pampered and that there was no way out but to add some more flab around the waist. There was no way out of it and we just allowed ourselves to be spoilt as guests. Writing a short piece on this is just one way of expressing my gratitude to the Chandeles
Reunion all the way
The retired officers, junior commissioned officers and jawans came from all over the world. No nook or corner of India, that is Bharat, was left out. Old officers like General Sundaram were generous in their praise of the Senior Colonel Commandant and his team of officers and men. The events like the Ceremonial Parade, the Mega Carnival in the polo ground, the Bara Khana, the wreath laying at the Obelisk, a memorial to the immortal soldier, and finally a congregation at the Guruvayoor temple in the Military College of Electronic & Mechanical Engineering (MCEME0 went off with clockwork precision.
Everyone knew what he or she was supposed to do and did just that. The ceremonial parade was reviewed by General Chandele and his address at the parade ground was indeed an inspiring one. He recited a stanza of a Hindi poem and conveyed to men and the commander his appreciation of the superb drill, excellent turnout and impressive drill of all ranks.
The four foreign officers, two from Sri Lanks and two from the Great Britain could not resist the temptation of showering praises on the officers and men who had toiled to take the Corps to where it is at the moment.
Brigadier Bibhuti Bhushan, his officers, JCOs and jawans burnt the midnight oil to make the reunion a grand success. The toiled day and night, rehearsing for the ceremonial parade, assembling stuff and putting in place at the polo grounds for the Maha Mela, the mega carnival can attract the attention of the common citizen down South, specially the Andhra pradesh.
Sarva dharm sabha
It is a novel idea of General Chandele to bring all sections of the Corps of electronics and mechanical engineers together emotionally. The common complaint is: religion divides. The Senior Colonel Commandant has sown the seed of the grand idea of singing bhajans together where the theme is the focal tenets of major religions of the country, nay the world. General Chandele's idea was put into practice by Lieutenant Geneneral Inder Jit Singh, Commandant of the MCEME ably assisted by his deputy Major General Subramaniam. The ladies, be it Mrs Promilla Chandele, Mrs IJ Singh or Mrs Subramanium were never away from the scene of action. They suggested, they acted and they achieved results.
Lieutenant Colonel Budhuri led the choir of men and women who sang from their hearts and moved mountains to bring in emotional integration. On the day of the final performance, none could be happier than General Ajay Chandele in seeing that his novel idea was taking firm roots and that the audience was more than appreciative. The need of the hour is to have it staged at other important centers so that a larger number of men and women become its votaries.
The senior officers from Sri Lanka and the United Kingdom who belong to the EME of their respective countries, felt emotionally bonded to our EME in India. It was not wining and dining that mattered but it was the togetherness and the emotional integration with India that they will cherish for a long time to come. Mrs Chandrika had a pleasant surprise when the EME band struck the birthday number at the evening reunion show and the officers sang for her. It was an emotional experience that she would not like to forget.
All said and done, the ninth reunion of the Corps of EME was a grand show. There were more officers this time, more men this time than ever before. It adds an additional feather to the much feathered cap of General Ajay Chandele and his team of loyal and devoted officers and men.