Updated: Sep 7, 2020
‘Hi lazy guys, are we not going for basketball today?’ was my immediate question, when I returned from office in the evening and found both my youngsters glued to an old NBA match on the TV. I can’t blame them for their laziness, as they are struck between the four walls ever since the lock-down was enforced – something they never ever imagined before. Luckily, we have a half basketball court in the apartment complex, and we have been regularly playing 1 Vs 2 every evening. A casual ‘Yes’ as reply, and they continued watching TV. Just to get them ready quick, I set the timer on my watch, left it on the table and shouted ... ‘2 Microseconds, let us see who all make it’ - and ran to my room. We were supposed to change into the full sport gear and report within 2 minutes. Both of them took up the challenge and ran to respective rooms, quickly changed over, worn the shoes, tied the laces and reached back – picked up the watch and announced the time. I made it in 1 minute 46 seconds with my youngsters closely behind by 6 seconds and 12 seconds.
Readers must be wondering what is this 2 microseconds funda! This was the first lesson during our indoctrination at the training academy in Indian Air Force. We, as trainees, often had to fall in columns and report to the seniors – in whatever dress they decide – it could be the blue uniforms, PT kit or the white mess dress. It has to be a proper turn out, whatever was the dress ordered and whatever time it was! At times, when we all standing perfectly in the blue uniforms, they will order – ‘2 Microseconds, Change in to PT kit and report’. Then there will be panic, 50 odd trainees running in all directions – most of them half way through the undressing part by the time they reach the rooms. Sometimes, in the hurry we used to stumble up on something and fall flat en-route – but it did not matter, used to get up without wasting a second and continued the run. It was a kind of ‘Run for Life’. Yes, truly it was - because if you don’t reach within 2 minutes, you might have to repeat it, till you perfect it. Thanks to our orderlies, we had all those dresses laid down nicely in the rooms – no need to search for the right uniform or the right pair of socks in the wardrobe. When we became seniors, we did the same – perfected the juniors the same way! Though, we used to say ‘2 microseconds’ for the actual time of ‘2 minutes’ – I am not sure why and where this phrase came from. May be like many other traditions in the forces – ‘someone started once, and that goes on' - without anyone questioning that! Still the 2 minute continues as 2 Microseconds in the forces. This even goes on after training, on the actual work front too. The commander often yells at the subordinates - ‘I want the report in 2 Microseconds’ – though everyone, including the commander himself knows that it is going to take more than 2 days!
Now, while walking to the basket ball court, I mocked the youngsters that they can’t beat me though they are half my age – quickly comes the reply ‘That is because you have done it over a thousand times!’