54th PMA Long Course
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Course 33rd Re-Union was held at PMA on  2nd May 2009
 

Down Memories Lane – Reunion at PMA

 

by

Brigadier Tughral Yamin (retd)

54 PMA Long Course

 

There we stood in the GC office, a group of men in our doddering middle age - generals, colonels, majors and a couple of plain GC’s. Grey beards, sagging bellies, bald pates but high in spirits. Outlandish in our ill fitting backpacks (FSMO in military jargon), steel helmets askew and wooden rifles held at high port but grinning from ear to ear. Oblivious of the young drill staff’s curses and entreaties, “54 PMA you ill disciplined lot, get fall in,” we laughed and hugged and posed for photographs, as teenaged or twenty something children clicked away with their mobile phone cameras, saving forever this charade featuring their fathers.

We had gathered in our alma mater to celebrate thirty five years of our joining the army. The Academy staff with the Commandant Major General Raheel Sharif, a course mate and his lady had turned out to receive us in strength. As we arrived from all over Pakistan, PMA wore a festive look. Resplendent in verdant colours of a late spring afternoon it was all decked out to greet us. Tea in the battalion mess was followed by the good humoured theatre arranged in the GC office. In the evening we were entertained to a brilliant tattoo show, where torch carrying soldiers performed a surreal show against the silky black sky, finishing off in flourish by arranging the torches to read LONGLIVE 54 PMA. Starry eyed and nostalgic we moved on to an elaborately laid out dinner in the officers’ mess. For many of us, it was perhaps the first time that we had set foot in the hallowed precincts, a preserve of our instructors and mentors, who had made us what we are today. After dinner we settled down to an evening of songs em ceed by our talented course mate Major Viqar, formerly of the Corps of Signals. As the songs picked up pace, the soiree was interrupted by impromptu dance performances. Some old boys rocked despite weak knees, aching bones and fluttering hearts.  Others still shy or too conservative sat back, caught up on old times or just soaked in the ambience. As night turned into early morning, very few wanted to break the magic and go to their beds arranged in the GC company lines. Despite the late night the young at heart were up and about early the next morning to sample the serene surroundings. Brunch and countless photographs later by none other than the son of the famous Nawab Sahib, who also goes by the same name, we were allowed to wander around and show our children the places, where we had lived and trained to become soldiers. In the afternoon, although the Commandant had thrown his official residence open for those wanted to have tea, we left reluctantly to return to our homes and rejoin the daily hum drum of life.

In the end, I can say with the hindsight of over three decades, the spirit of camaraderie developed in the military academy cannot be replaced by any other form of friendship.   It continues to grow stronger year after year. Thank you, PMA for gelling us into a course. May espirit de corps remain the hallmark of future PMA courses. Pakistan zindabad!

 

           
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