Story of Missing I card

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As we complete 32 years of passing out, after reading some illustrious confessions of some of my brothers , here is mine as well: 


I had a very unique experience in IMA. 
Fresh in from NDA, in our second term we were given I Cards with numbers etc printed on them and on which we had to write our names and paste our photos (1990s were analog days in IMA). 
Well it so happened that my blank I Card got flicked from my room. 
After I had searched high and low for it, I rapidly transited from denial, anger and settled into the acceptance stage of grief.

Three years of having endured and run scores of Restrictions/Extra Drills/ Endurance Tests/Singarh hikes in NDA, I was in no mood to run any in IMA.

To avoid 14 Restrictions I chose not to report the loss of my I card.

And to tide over this vexatious crisis, I turned to the Dawood Ibrahim of  our senior course, who was a fellow resident my platoon. 

The conversation went something like:
Me: "Ally sir, I have lost my I card."

Ally: "Arrey don't worry yaar. I will get another one printed for you from the printing press in Dehradun. I know the printing press fellow."

For guys familiar with him, Ally the horseman was a good looker and a real smooth talker for whom no problem was insurmountable. 

But he was also a big goli master.

And he kept giving me goli after goli about my card getting printed in the printing press.

Days went by. 
And I kept living day after day, and week after week in IMA. Without my I card. 

I card checks were endured,  the Drill Square Test happened, I  was given liberty. 
Without the I card. 

Multiple liberties were carried out in Dehradun. Without the I card. 

The cycle of life continued.  
Without the I card. 

Like Andy in The Shawshank Redemption I never lost hope. I kept hoping for Ally's promised I card.

Six months passed. 

We became third termers. 
Ally the goli master passed out and went off to 61 Cav. 
His parting shot:
 "Arrey yaar don't worry. I have told my printing press friend, he is going to deliver the I card to you on Monday". 

But I knew now that this was a dead end now. 

Before the term break, third term appointments were announced. 
I was appointed a Junior Under Officer.

I thought to myself, Ally or no Ally, printing press or no printing press, if I report now, they are going to detab me and then I'm going to run restrictions. 
Not a very pleasant prospect. 

I had my  Road to Damascus moment: I wasn't going to report the loss now. 
The previous term's guerrilla warfare had taught me enough to be confident enough to go on another term without my I card. 

Therefore six more months without the I card.

The problem came on the eve of 09 June 1990, when we were on the cusp of getting stars on our shoulders.

One day before, we were supposed to stand in line in front of our company/ platoon offices and deposit our I cards to our Directing Staff( Instructors).

When my turn came, I smartly marched in  and when my Platoon Commander, Capt Godara put out his hand for my I card., I said sir I don't have one. 

An eternity passed as Captain and Gentleman Cadet stared impassively into each other's eyes. 

Finally, Godara's countenance broke, 
he furrowed his brows and said fuck off you bugger.

The next day I crossed the antim pag and became Second Lieutenant 

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