We were still wet behind our ears so to speak. It was a day in early 1950, perhaps in late February or early March some time. By the pronoun ‘we’ here, I identify the young cadets of the third batch of ISW-AFA (Inter Services Wing of the Armed Forces Academy) at Clement Town Dehradun who had joined the Acdemy during the last week of January.
We had just about finished our ‘Drill Square’ test (which certified that we were considered fit to appear in public in uniform without disgracing ourselves) and were in the process of fitting in into the daily life of the Academy. A restricted holiday declared at short notice made the next weekend into a long one. Some of the young instructors thought that it would be an ideal opportunity to go out for a trek into the lower Himalayas. The snow cap in the Banderpunch range had started melting, but patches of snow were still visible on the northern slopes which lay in shadows for most of the day. These late winter / early spring days in the Doon valley were exquisite; all the dust in the sky washed away by the passing Western Disturbances. Bright sunshine and cool breeze, bright blue skies with streaks of very high cirrostratus clouds heightening the framework of dark blue/green Himalayas to the north and the grey/green Shiwalik to the south; Clement Town in such times was a beautiful place to stay in.
Lieutenant Saldanah, a short fair smart restless young exec officer from the Navy who was a Div Officer with Baker Squadron, was the main instigator of the idea and he soon gathered a bunch of other young officers around him. He picked an isolated peak called Top Tibba as his target for the climb. The idea caught on. Read the rest of this entry