Essentials of Effective Speaking


Nobody is a born speaker – it is a skill that can be learnt.

“All great speakers were bad speakers first” – Emerson

  1. Listening: The First Step to Speaking

To be effective speaker you need to understand how people listen. If you don’t you could be broadcasting on the wrong frequency and you wouldn’t realize it. You may speak well but it is not sticking.

How do people listen? The human mind processes words at a rate of approximately 500 minutes but we speak at about 150 words a minute, so the difference between the two is ‘350’. When listeners switch off the chances are they are on Route 350.

  1. Preparation and Planning

Fail to prepare; prepare to fail.

Setting an Objective: Before you start you need to know where you are going. Ask why am I speaking? What do I want to achieve?

  • To inform/ teach/ train
  • To stimulate/ motivate/ inspire
  • To persuade/ convince/ sell
  • To explore/ debate/ negotiate
  • To amuse/ entertain

Research your Audience: Why are they here? What do they expect? What do they want or need?

How many will be present? What is their position/ occupation/ title? What is their background/ education/ culture/ race? What is their sex/ male/ female? What is their age?

Who? Where? When? How? Duration? Other speakers?

How to Prepare?

  • Why are you speaking? Identify and write out your objectives?
  • Who is going to listen? Find out about audience
  • Draw an Idea map. Don’t be judgmental, be creative
  • Select ideas; choose a few key points to achieve your objective
  1. Building an Impressive Body

Selecting a structure: Problem/ Solution – common structure used in business presentations

Topical structure: also known as qualitative structure, you list your point in order of significance with most important in the beginning.

Spatial structure: you can begin with the particular and move to the general or alternatively examine the big picture first and then show how it applies to the audience

Theory/ practice: you outline the theory and then show how it works in practice

  1. Develop Key Ideas

What should your opening words say? You must grab their attention and suspend their questioning? Your opening words must be imaginative, stimulating and above all attention gaining. As simple as A B C D; Attention capturing, Benefits what they will gain from listening, Credentials what is your credentials for speaking, Direction and destination – tell them your structure.

End on a High note: Summarize – use phrases like ‘in conclusion’, ‘to sum up’, or ‘finally’ to indicate that you are about to finish. ‘Having heard what I’ve said, I think you will agree…’. Ask a question ‘the question is not whether we can afford to increase the budget but whether we can afford not to?’  The decision is with you, what do you think?

End with an Anecdote: it must emphasize the main theme; ‘Women are in a stronger position than ever before – even my young nephew has recognized this. He came home recently and told his father that he was second in class. First place was held by a girl. “Surely you’re not going to be beaten by a mere girl,” asked his father. “Well you see,” said my nephew, “girls are not as mere as they used to be.”

Minions Despicable

  1. Delivery Method and Systems

Speeches are like babies – easy to conceive, hard to deliver. Reading: you lose eye contact of the audience. Memorizing: avoid because all your energy will be directed inwards instead of outwards to your audience, will lack enthusiasm and vitality.

Ideas map as safety net: use confidence cards with 4” x 6” index cards with single words to help you. Cards are less distracting than paper, besides paper shake in case you are nervous.

  1. Body Language

Enthusiasm, vitality and sincerity. Smile: it tells the audience I am happy to be here and I am glad you are here too. How to make an entrance: I am happy expression.

Why your body language is important: it reflects I am in control, relaxed.

Eye communication: looking at them demonstrates that you are interested in them. Use their eyes to express disinterest. Eye contact denotes authority. We express our emotions through our eyes. Look at the audience.

Why is it difficult to look at the audience? You do not want the audience to see your nervousness; therefore you avoid eye contact.

If you don’t pay attention to your audience they will not pay attention to you.

7. Humour and Wit

Once you get people laughing they are listening and you can tell them almost anything.

Humour at the beginning relaxes the audience and also eases the tension for you. Smiling and laughter unites an audience and creates an atmosphere in which they will listen together.  The safest target for your humour is yourself. Show them your weakness and admit your failings.

And you want to succeed …

m 4c1d7a637bd26d67e4b17b2c532c333bA recent survey of the YOUth showed that each one of them wanted to be successful; and yet the survey also found that by the age of 65 only 5% of them would be successful! Isn’t it a shame? Did you wonder why is this disparity? Is it in the genes? Family heirloom? Education? None of the above – NOTA.

The opposite of courage, in our present society is NOT cowardice, but conformity. Everyone seems to be doing, what others are doing. The parents, seem to be telling their children, XII – Engineering (preferably IIT), get a job and life will be good. Really? This equation fails to ask the one MOST important question, does the child want to do engineering? Is he suited for engineering?

The KEY to success is setting yourself a GOAL!!! People who have goals know where they are going. It helps you see where you want to go – a route chart, to YOUr destination. YOU choose that. The right question therefore to ask is, Have I set myself any goal? Well, the equation is pretty simple; No goal – no destination – no guidance.

So the question you’d ask me is: Why do people with goals succeed? Remember, We become what we think about. Through the ages, seers, sage, philosophers, savants have all propounded various routes to salvation, Its only on one theme they all had complete and unanimous agreement: If you want to succeed – set yourself a goal. “A man’s life is what his thoughts make of it” – Marcus Aurelius Antoninus, Roman Emperor. or “A man is what he thinks about all day long” – Ralph Waldo Emerson. Fact is, a man can alter his life, by altering his thoughts.

If you want to be rich, you’ll be rich. If you want to be learned, you’ll be learned. If you want to be good, you’ll be good. Only you must and really wish these things and exclusively want them. It should not be cluttered or wished along with some other minor wishes. Even the Bible (Mark Ch 9, v 23) says; “Jesus said unto him, If you can believe, all things are possible to him that believes”. Belief is something which we lack. If you think in negative terms, you’ll get negative results. If you think in positive terms, you’ll get positive results. This is a Law of nature, just like the other laws of physics. To put it in two words: Believe and Succeed.

The Bard had to say this in Measure for Measure, “Our doubts are traitors and make us lose the good we oft might win by fearing to attempt”.

“People are always blaming their circumstances for what they are. I don’t believe in circumstances for what they are. I don’t believe in circumstances. The people who get on in this world are the people who get up and look for circumstances they want, and if they can’t find them, make” – George Bernard Shaw.

Brain Homer

It all boils down to; we become what we think about. If you think about nothing, you’ll become nothing. So, how does it work?

Let me paint a situation. Suppose you have a good fertile land and as a farmer you have a choice to plant what you choose. Understand, the land doesn’t care. It is upto the farmer to make a choice. The land will return what you plant. The farmer has a choice: plant corn seeds, or poppy (poison). With water and due care the land will produce in abundance. But remember the land will return what you sow. As you sow, so shall you reap!

The human mind is much more fertile and more powerful. It doesn’t care what you plant. Success or Failure. A concrete worthwhile goal or confusion/nothing.

Decide what you want. Plan your goal. Plant a seed of success. Work towards the goal. It only will, but no way it cannot. Lead a life of success  and like the laws of nature see yourself succeed.



What saved my life? It can save your’s too!

Adm Insp 05.10 (17)

The above photograph is telling of what ensures the men in uniform, under life threatening situations, perform day after day in extreme treacherous conditions, facing bullets, undergoing tremendous hardships of terrain and work conditions and survive!

You’ll acquiesce that it is not one factor that leads to success and necessarily a combination of factors that lead to the success of a team. Individual achievements aside, it is the team that has to perform. So what makes us tick? What are the factors that lead to success? And most importantly, can any of these help me survive in the world outside the uniform?

Let me begin with the one most glaring fact of the photograph above. You see a ‘buddy pair’ operating in unison looking after each other. The system of buddy pairs is an age old system prevalent in the Army and has been responsible for saving many a lives and ensuring success.

Wikipedia describes it as, “The buddy system is a procedure in which two people, the “buddies”, operate together as a single unit so that they are able to monitor and help each other. As per Merriam-Webster, the first known use of the phrase “buddy system” goes as far back as 1942. Webster goes on to define the buddy system as “an arrangement in which two individuals are paired (as for mutual safety in a hazardous situation).” The buddy system is basically working together in pairs in a large group or alone. Both the individuals have to do the job. The job could be to ensure that the work is finished safely or the skill/learning is transferred effectively from one individual to the other.

How does it work in field? How does it deliver result under such conditions? What are the factors which ensure success? Can I adopt it here to protect myself?

The buddies cover each other’s back. They look at their area of responsibility, the first buddy looks from 9’0 to 12’0 clock direction (ninety degrees) and the other buddy looks after from 12’0 clock to 3’0 clock direction. Thus the pair cannot be surprised by any lurking danger/ enemy. Thus the “whole is greater than the sum of its parts“. The buddies feed off each other’s strength, they know each other intimately (they are paired checking out their compatibility/ village/ affinity), and operate together. They revel in each other’s success and cover for each other’s shortcomings, if any. They train together and work in unison like a well oiled machine. Well, you get the idea!!!

I always recommend adoption of the buddy system in your day to day life too! It is the best tool to ensure Women Safety and fight Child Sexual Abuse. Move around, operate and work in pairs. Now, take your mind back to all the incidents of say, child abuse in the schools. The predator would find a secluded place (toilet/ gymnasium/ parking lot) and molest the innocent victim. If only the teacher/ parent/ guardian followed the age old practice of a buddy system. Take your mind to the school at 11 a.m when all the classes are on and all the teachers are in the classrooms. Megha wants to visit the toilet. Alone she is a potential victim. Now, when Megha has to visit the toilet, the teacher must send her buddy Neha along. The two are formidable. The predator is deterred. Should he still think of executing his nefarious plans, Neha can scream, alternatively, Neha can run and seek help. And the possibilities are manifolds. The drastic drop in such activities in schools where I’ve propounded the buddy system has shown very positive results. This could be applied for the car pool, the sports field and you think of any situation, it always works!!

As Megha grows up, this could also be implemented in the work place, party scene – or any other situation. One could have different sets of partners in crime but the buddy system always works.

Now you know, what saved my life. After 25 years in the uniform, I can confidently say and credit my survival to my buddy. This blog is to eulogize my buddy, but for him the days in the uniform would surely would’ve have been numbered.



The recent incidents of atrocities against Women has further strengthened my resolve to take this fight into enemy territory. Let us all, consciously, do something, initiate steps, and positively support the Battle to make our planet a safer place to live for our women folk. She is someone’s mother, wife, sister, daughter and therefore, it’s our bounden duty to take care of them.

I was defending the frontiers of our country for nearly 25 years! Now, in this new avataar as a trainer, I urge you all to come together to fight this scourge and make this country a lovable place for them. A land where women are worshiped.

The uniform has taught me: “Offence is the best form of Defence” and how do we translate this to take care of myself. Addressing issues like sexual assault, date rape, violent relationships, sexual harassment of women at workplace (including the Vishaka Guidelines), acid attacks and what is the role of men! This is capped by Situation Control measures.

I’m conducting another session on ‘Women Safety’ tomorrow wherein I bring my lessons from the uniform, my UAC (unarmed combat) training to use. I impart basic techniques to come out as winner from situations, which you shouldn’t have been in the first place. How do you control the situation? How do you retain initiative? The SITCON (situation control) measures will empower you to take control.  How do I engage a bunch of goons? How do I tackle the road side romeo? The potential purse snatcher? Or the perpetrators of heinous crimes.

ICCR, Ho Chi Minh Sarani, Kolkata – 700 071.

Saturday: 3.30 – 6.30 p.m.

A Day in the life of a Soldier

Combat times ..

Chinar Tree

Capt Vikramjit motioned frantically “Lt Atre ko bulao”. He was lying flat on his belly. He crawled into the small clearing in the thicket of trees, and peered through the binoculars.
Two bearded men constantly looked out of the second floor window of a wood-and-stone bungalow, as if waiting for something. They were armed with modern assault rifles and hand grenades. One of them turned and beckoned somebody from the back. Together, the three men heaved the sack out the window. It hit the ground with a sickening thud.
“Shit” Vik muttered through the clenched teeth. Lt Atre tapped him on the shoulder. Immediately, he began adjusting the younger man’s bullet-proof vest.

“We have spotted six civilians inside till now, three men and three teenagers. Till now, I’ve counted four terrorists, but there could be more …” Vik trailed, as he fished out a spare pistol and attached it to the holder fastened to Atre’s belt.
Finally, Vik stood before Atre – both men looked into each other’s eye.

“One we bomb the house and achieve 100% fatality. Two we go in and indulge them in combat; we get a chance to rescue the civilians. What do you think?”. He asked his junior officer and buddy since Academy days.
Atre turned to the six men watching the exchange between the two officers. “Bhai log, kya bolte ho? Saab, aap batao?” He asked his Subedar (JCO), a burly gentleman with half an ear blown away.

“Jayenge saab”, the Subedar replied without missing a beat. Vik stared at each man in the dark-green huddle they made, under the massive Chinar tree. Calmly, he briefed his men about the plan of action and positioning, and checked each man’s bullet proof, helmet and ammunition.

The men closed their eyes and remembered their Gods. The men took their initial positions as Vik had ordered. He jerked his arm at them, and the men disappeared into the forest to circle the bungalow. Vik remained standing at the spot where the eight me had been a minute ago. He had decided to lead, attacking the north wing of the building where he had spotted the maximum activity. He looked up at the sky, for it had begun to snow.

They say when a person is faced with a life-and-death situation, all dormant senses of the body are set in motion, strengthening periphery vision, body reflexes and slowing time. Vik felt the sweat collecting between his shoulder blades. His heart rate had slowed. He could feel every single frozen breath entering his nostrils, leading to his nostrils, leading to his lungs and the ensuing blood that rushed through his heart. He swung his weapon to the front, and it dangled over his chest. He clutched a pistol in his hand. He frowned at the clear garden patch ahead of him. and prepared to run across the longest six point five meters patch that he had ever run.

He runs along with his buddy, in a zig zag pattern and the flash of a muzzle firing at him catches him as he bounds against the wall of the building. Distracting the terrorists enough for the party under Atre to enter from the rear.  Vik peers from the window to see Atre flagging him in. He jumps inside and together they start clearing one room at a time.
Heavy gun fight ensues. It lasts for nearly an hour .. and then a lull and quiet. The four terrorists lay sprawled on the floor, a minor injury to one of the civilians and a gun shot wound to Vik.

Army Soldiers86

Another day in the posts in J&K …

Was Vik doing ‘just a job’ .. the anxiety of walking into a room full of Board of Directors is the same as walking into a clear patch of grass exposing yourself to a spray of bullets. If you were asked to be Vik even once in your lifetime, how much would you like to be paid? Our apathy and lack of emotion/ understanding is shameful. The culture of comparing valour, compassion and sacrifice to a few thousand bucks is ridiculous. So involved in our lives, that nothing affects us. Imagine if every young man starts thinking like that .. and then you have the Mr. Bhagats questioning their valour? Ridiculous right?

This is a true story of Capt Vikramjit Singh and Lt Atre.




In my 25 years in the Army, it was always drilled into us ‘Offence is the Best form of Defence’. Now, when the army takes up defensive position, it is in fact a firm base for launching an offensive. This offensive mindset is a prerequisite for any operations.

This is the mindset that all the potential victims must always possess. This can be imbibed with regular reiteration. The offensive mindset will save your life and save others’ lives too. If the sexual predator has targeted you, it is unlikely that he will leave you for your ‘good behaviour’. These people invariably are the easiest to bully. They avoid fights as it draws attention. They avoid any altercation. They avoid any kind of ‘time-wasting’. They are looking to take you to another location.

Knowing how he is thinking, gives you ample opportunities to be offensive.

Be direct, explosive and surprise him. Don’t just give a smack. Penetrate! Blast through your target. HARD. FAST. REPEATEDLY. Wield your weapons with the savage intent of a prehistoric human: SMASH the face with your elbow. Crack the ears. Use your hips to drive gut-busting knee strikes. Kick back like a MULE. Grind with your knuckles. Grab fist fulls of hair and slam down! Hammer the nose, the testicles. Bite. Stomp. Gouge. Whip your fingers at the eyes. Take charge! You get the idea. Its YOU vs the predator … YOU gotta survive!

Remember, sharp objects is to pierce and blunt objects to smash. It would be advisable to know which parts to pierce and which are good places to smash!!! I’m sure you’ll figure that out.

Remember, its you or him!!! Go for it atta girl.

Be Aware . Be Alert . Be Safe .


The Untold Story of Humane-ness


A group of soldiers led by a young Major were on tier way to the post in a High Altitude mountainous terrain where they were to be deployed for the next three months.

The batch who would be relieved waited anxiously. It was a cold winter morning and intermittent snowfall made the treacherous climb more difficult. If someone could only offer a cup of piping hot tea, the Major thought, knowing it was a futile wish. They continued for another hour before they came across a dilapidated structure, which looked like a tea shop but locked. It was getting late.

“No tea boys, bad luck” said the Major to his team. But he suggested all take some rest there as they had been walking for three hours.

“Sir, this is a tea shop and we can make tea. We will have to break the lock”, suggested one of the soldiers. The officer was in a dilemma to the unethical suggestion but the thought of a steaming cup of tea for the tired soldiers made him to give them permission.

They were in luck, the place had everything needed to make tea and also a packet of biscuits. The soldiers had tea and biscuits and were ready for the remaining journey. The Major thought, they had broken open lock and had tea and biscuits without the permission of the owner. They’re not a band of thieves but disciplined soldiers. Instinctively, he took out a Rs 1,000/ note from his wallet, placed it on the counter, pressed under the sugar container, so that the owner can see. The officer felt relieved of his guilt. He ordered to shut the door and proceed.

Three months passed, and they continued to do gallantly in their work and were lucky not to lose anyone from the group in the intense terrorist infested area. It was time to be replaced by the next team.

Soon, they were on their way back and stopped at the same tea shop which was open and the owner was present in the shop. The owner, an old man with meager resources was very happy to greet fifteen customers. All of them had tea and biscuits. They talked to the old man about his life and experience specially selling tea at such a remote place. The old man had stories galore, replete with faith in God.

“Oh, Baba, if God is there, why should He keep you in such poverty?” commented one of the soldiers.

“Do not say like that, Sahib! God is actually there. I got proof. Three months ago, I was going through very tough times. My only son was beaten up by terrorists who wanted some information from him which he did not have. I had closed my shop to take my son to the hospital. Some medicines were to be bought and I had no money. No one would give me any money for fear of the terrorists. There was no hope, Sahib!”.

“And that day I prayed to God for help. And Sahib, God walked into my shop that day. For when I returned to my shop, I found the lock broken, I felt I was finished. I lost whatever little I had. But then I saw that God had left Rs 1,000/ under the sugar pot. I can’t tell you Sahib what that money was worth that day.”

“God exists, Sahib. He does”. The faith in the old man’s eyes were unflinching. Fifteen pairs of eyes met the eyes of the Major and read the order in his eyes, very clear and unambiguous, “Keep Quiet”. The Major got up and paid the bill. He hugged the old man and said, “Yes Baba, I know God does exist”. The fifteen pair of eyes did not miss to notice the moist eyes of their Officer, a rare sight.

(This is a true story of Kupwara Sector, J&K)



A True Incident: Valour

ops CI

Let me recount this incident. We were posted at P****, a district in J&K; as part of our field tenure. I was a Captain then and we were to relieve a battalion of brave hearts. I was to interact with a young dashing Captain who was to give me the ropes of the new location. Well, this is the story of Captain D (henceforth called CD) – true facts as the judicial fraternity would like to call it and not a figment of any fertile imagination!

The area is mountainous and broken country with large number of rivers and rivulets flowing down from the mountain ranges. These ranges are part of the lower Himalayas and are treacherous. It suffers from extremes of weather conditions and experiences snowfall during the months of winter. The International Border is not demarcated and the armies are deployed across the LC (Line of Control).

Op Kaziranga 016 (2)

So at this post CD was in charge of a Company (approximately 120 men). CD had put in around 5 years of service and had a good understanding of his men  and earned the respect in their eyes. He had led by example and set very high standards for himself and his men. He had always been impeccable in his personal conduct and been an inspiration; no mean task considering that his men represented the martial race.

The post was separated by two mountain ridges. The Southern ridge was occupied by one of our companies. The Battalion headquarters were located around 4 kilometers behind the Southern ridge line. The two ridges were separated by one major nullah, which could be crossed only at certain points and it flooded during the monsoons. The Northern ridge was occupied by the adversaries and on the lower slopes of this Northern Ridge, across the nullah was CDs Company. The Company complex included five locations deployed on the down slopes. Each of these five locations was deployed along a ridge jutting out from the Northern Ridgeline tapering towards the nullah. Thus boxed between the nullah to the South and the adversary on the North, all the posts of this company was dominated by observation and fire by the adversaries. At some places the enemy was at a distance of barely 75 meters. The gap between these positions had been heavily mined since ’71 operations and has been regularly mined since. The kind of domination precluded any day movement by troops and all the movements happened at night. Reinforcement, leave arrivals & departures, letters if any, stocking of the post; each and every tactical or administrative move had to be carried out by night. Full moon nights were a nightmare since the enemy too had night vision binoculars to detect movements at night!

This would give you a fair idea of the position. To overcome this physical domination, CD and his men resorted to every other kind of domination to negate the physical advantage accrued to the enemy. Exchange of fire was a daily affair and each one took it upon oneself to destroy the bunker (defensive positions) of the other. Firing into the loophole of a weapon emplacement was a special incentive as it assured the killing/ injury to the personnel manning the weapon inside; a sure sign of moral domination over the psyche of the enemy. This psychological warfare was an ongoing process.

One of the was a post with ten men located between two adjacent posts. Its location was more of a deterrent to prevent the enemy from resorting to moving behind two posts to resort to inflicting casualties in depth. All these posts were connected by eight feet high communication trenches, developed over the years – under the eyes of the enemy, and all at night. The trenches gave you protection from splinter bursts from air and helped movement at night. It also channelized you lest you stray onto a minefield. Every individual spends some nights at this Post to give him the real deal – of live fire and living under the nose of the adversary. So, you get a fair idea right? Well, you live by the barrel of your gun. And your powder better be dry for you never know when the adversary decides to launch his operations.

One afternoon, during the exchange of fire at one of the posts, a ricochet bullet hit one of the men in the thigh and had to be evacuated. CD was obviously infuriated and wanted to settle scores. He engaged one of the enemy posts for the next ten days and reliable intelligence reports mentioned that our retaliatory fire had killed three enemy soldiers, the third one probably a junior officer who was highly popular with their soldiers.

The enemy decided to settle scores and on the 11th day. It started, as if on cue, 0800 hours all the guns and rifles from each of these posts opened fire on this Post. Such heavy fire completely disrupting their daily routine and negating any kind of movement; these kinds of fire are also a precursor to any offensive actions that enemy undertakes. The idea being to keep the enemy’s head down and under the cover of fire, infiltrate your teams.

CD moved from post to post to motivate his men to maintain vigil, raise their morale and continue their surveillance of enemy actions. Soon morning turned to noon and noon to night. The men continued their posture and got their first back up of ammunition sent up at night. The firing went on non-stop for three consecutive days. CD was at his nerves end to find a solution to stop this continuous barrage. They continued to hold on. And hold they did.

Here I introduce Lance Naik Goonda Singh (GS)!  He had put in some years in the company and in peace time represented the battalion in firing team and was an ace marksman. In a peace location he was an enigma to the Company Commander as he would invariably be a point of discussion for his delinquent behaviour. GS would have been a couple of ranks higher but for his transgressions during his peace locations. He was a soldier better left alone.

But then all those who have donned the uniform know that it is these very soldiers who transform into something larger than life in war like situations. They don a different role and perform acts of outrageous courage and valour. It’s a military quote, “No Combat ready Unit has ever passed an Inspection!”. You could say that of GS. He would never meet your normal laid down standards of a soldier. But then … these were different times, this was a different situation and it required different mindset.

GS was at The Post and the third night CD gets a call from the Junior Commissioned Officer (JCO) in charge of The Post that GS would like to speak to CD. Now, that is an unusual request for a L/Nk to directly speak to the Company Commander. GS tells him “saab, ghar pe sirf kehna usse chhaati pe goli lagi thi” (Sir, when you speak to my folks at home, just tell them that the bullets hit me on my chest). CD screamed at GS, what are you planning to do GS, just wait, I am coming and you better not do anything rash.

CD rushed to the location, a twenty five minute walk at night, and not to mention the fire that continued unabated. Now, CD reaches the post and he encounters the JCO there. The JCO respectfully welcomes CD and leads him to another bunker and there is GS standing and speaks to CD, “Good, sir you came, we just made aloo paratha and we wanted you to taste it”.


“Sir, you think we don’t know that you’ve not eaten for the last three days? Please eat” he said, thrusting a plate with steaming hot parathas. This was the last thing that CD could think of after the phone call.

CD (controlling the tears flooding his vision) sat down to munch the cuisine, matching any five star hotel could dish out. While he was munching, the JCO was eliciting a plan to get the adversaries to stop the menace. GS felt the tensions rising in the bunker and told CD, look sir, you are just a youngster among us, joined recently (five years, hello!!!); but we all go a long way back. All of us are also some way or the other related and the villages we all come from will speak of our courage or lack of it. Our village has a number of decorated soldiers who had participated in the ’71 operations and we don’t want to be seen as a bunch of cowards sitting in our foxhole and doing nothing for our comrades. It is a matter of pride and honour that we would die willingly for the good name of the battalion, the pride of our company and our own selves. So, we are just informing you. With alacrity GS moved out of the bunker and in a trice locked the bunker. CD found himself sitting with the JCO. Yes, something unheard of, but there he was stranded with steaming hot parathas and JCO for company.

GS in the meantime, walks out and moves to another bunker, picks up a light machine gun and under the cover of darkness moves out of the communication trench in the open and exposing himself to enemy fire – effective and accurate under moonlight conditions and at 75 metres!! He stealthily crawls some thirty yards to a side in front of the enemy bunker and takes position besides a small tree, aims and squeezes the trigger. In copybook style taught in the firing ranges during training. He lets go a precise small burst into the enemy loophole that was firing. A painful scream confirms his hit.

He dismantles his gun and crawls another twenty yards and deploys behind a boulder this time. Same routine and similar result confirms his second hit. The other posts of the enemy by now start retaliating and his old position, the tree, draws a huge amount of enemy fire and wrath. GS by now has started crawling to the third location. Moves down along a nullah and places him behind another boulder. He takes a ten minutes break to get his breath back and for the enemy fire to recede. He takes another pot shot at another enemy bunker with same results. Three small bursts and three bunkers silenced. A bunker with an injured soldier among them is a very demoralizing factor. The injured soldier bleeds and cries out all inanity and generally draws the attention of the troops around. Your efforts are hence directed towards attending to the injured soldier and not as much towards the firing enemy.

That night, CD recollects, GS took out four enemy bunkers single handedly and with a composure of a connoisseur. GS had decided for himself that what could happen at the most, he would lose his life, right? Well, he was ready to be a martyr. He would give his life not sitting tight in his foxhole but fighting; fighting as a true soldier was taught, fighting and making each round count, no heroics, and no flashy show of dare devilry but just plain calculated risks. He knew his enemy, he knew his terrain well, he knew his capabilities and he had faith in his comrades. He was confident of his success. GS returned that night at around 1 p.m. and entered the foxhole where CD and the JCO, by now, were sipping tea. With a smile he pronounces, “at least got those B******* to keep shut” and with a single motion touches the feet of the JCO first and CD seeking their blessings.

CD was stunned to silence. Here he was locked up for nearly three hours, not knowing what was happening, a soldier under his command taking things in his own hands, doing things unheard of and now seeking his blessings. All CD could do was get up and hug GS. The enemy stopped firing that night and it did not resort to any firing during their entire duration of their stay at the location.

I was fortunate to shake hands with GS when we relieved them at that company location and I assure you my readers, they don’t make this kind any more. As for CD, he rose to Command this excellent battalion and earn laurels from his men and is a cult figure in their eyes.

WOSAF Tip # 84

Distracted Woman-texting-while-walkingBe Alert . Be Aware . Be Safe .

Police profiled the rape victims after interacting with serial rapists. How do they “select” their victim? 10 tips … Its shared for awareness.

#1 Hairstyle. They are most likely to go after a woman with a ponytail, bun, braid, or other hairstyle that can easily be grabbed. Grab and drag. They are also likely to go after a woman with long hair.

#2 Clothing. They will look for women who’s clothing is easy to remove quickly. Many of them carry scissors around to cut clothing and on overalls the straps can be easily cut.

#3. Distracted Women. They look for women on their cell phone, searching through their purse or doing other activities while walking because they are off guard and can be easily overpowered.

#4 Time & Place. Most likely time is early morning, between 5 and 8:30 a.m. The number one place women are abducted from/attacked at is grocery store parking lots/ office parking lots/garages/ public restrooms.

#5 Modus Operendi. They grab and quickly move her to a second location where they don’t have to worry about getting caught. Only 2% said they carried weapons because rape carries a 3-5 year sentence but rape with a weapon is 15-20 years. If you put up any kind of a fight at all, they get discouraged because it only takes a minute or two for them to realize that going after you isn’t worth it because it will be time-consuming.

#6 Weapons. They avoid any victim carrying an umbrella, walking stick or objects which can be used as a weapon. Their aim is to quickly grab and move. They avoid any fight or resistance. Keys or key chains are not deterrent as they don’t provide the necessary distance. They can be overpowered before it can be effectively used.

The idea is to convince the ‘bad guys’ you are not worth the effort. You try tricks, you’ll be made to pay. I take ‘no-nonsense’. Once this message gets across they avoid such victims.

Be Aware . Be Alert . Be Safe .


CEOs with Battle Experience make Good Leaders


The Armed Forces has given business organization most of the management theories and a recent study co-relates the significance for management styles and firms performances. The CEOs experience in the battle front identifies the leader with certain traits which help organizations grow.

Foremost. These leaders outperform their peers in stressful times. They handle stress and sail through tough times far better than other CEOs. Veterans have learnt to take decisions under extreme conditions, with fog of war under VUCA conditions. These make the veteran take sensible decisions even while the business conditions are in a down swing. 15 of past Presidents of US have served in either the Civil War or WW II. Speaks volumes.

Secondly. They are less likely to be involved in corporate fraud. Integrity is the bulwark under which the armed forces work. This makes a huge difference when it comes to corporate life. These veterans value integrity more than the quarterly results to prove a point or earn stockholders’ benevolence. They would call a spade a spade and stick with their principles rather than commit fraud.

Thirdly. They are more conservative with financial risks. Despite having led a aggressive, risk ridden life in the uniform; when it comes to financial prudence they are conservative with their investments. It is less likely that they’ll commit the organizational funds in risky investments/ ventures. Till the future timelines are clear, they would never invest in haste and repent in leisure.

Fourthly. You get what you see. It is unlikely that they’ll resort to double speak. They are upfront with the + or -/ what you get is what you see. They don’t hesitate to be upfront. Some people see it as lack of tact. They would rather be clear in their dealings and build relationships for lifetime. This is what they have learnt in the uniform. You don’t undercut your buddy. Buddy is your lifeline. You don’t kill the goose that is laying golden eggs, right?

Lastly. They have handled situations. They are blessed with quick decision making. They understand criticalities. They lead by example. They make good role models. And if these are not enough reasons for making them CEOs, then the fact that they were ready to put their life at stake would give you a hint about their attitude towards the organization. Totally dependent, committed and focused these men in uniform achieve their targets/ goals/ mission accomplishment. High time the Indian Organizations look into this untapped talent for their success.