Presenting Harmony's silvers - sparkling lives, success stories, accounts of endurance, courage, grit and passion

Salute to success

Author: admin

Eighteen years after retirement, I returned to the Army when I joined the Army Ordnance Corps centre as a volunteer teacher. I tell my students that discipline is a part of the ethos of the Army and the moment they accept that, everything will fall into place. Till now, they had been pampered at home but the Army would turn them into proud and gallant soldiers.

I also have two batches of junior commissioned officers (JCOs) who are on the verge of retirement. These JCOs are worried about what they will do after they hang up their uniforms. They repeatedly ask me, “Saab, fauj ke baad hamara kya hoga? (Sir, what will we do after the army?) We do not have the qualifications civilians have.”

To queries like this, I always say, “You’re not yet 50; if you sit at home and do nothing you will go downhill very quickly. After having led an active life for over 20 years, if you suddenly do nothing, you will age very quickly and your health will start deteriorating. So it is very important to keep yourself physically and mentally occupied.”

Of course, if you get yourself some qualifications that work in the civil world, it makes the transition from the Army to civil life much easier. Before retiring, I did a course in the management of petroleum and related products. This helped a whole lot because within a month of retiring in 1995, I landed a job as a Reliance Petrol pump manager.

In the past 20-odd years, I have realised that if you are confident and talk calmly, and if you listen before expressing your views, you are likely to be successful. I have been trying to impress this upon the JCOs as well as the freshly minted recruits: proper communication is at the root of all relationships, whether in the Army, at home or in civil life.

—Col K Ananda Pillai, 73, Hyderabad

Photo: Shyamola Khanna
Featured in Harmony — Celebrate Age Magazine
October 2018