Published: 10th March 2020
This Coimbatore student received the Best Cadet Award in NCC from PM Modi. Here's how
Gaffney Jerel E received the NCC's All India Best Cadet award from Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the Republic Day parade held at Cariappa Parade ground recently
Flight Cadet Gaffney Jerel E marched forward, wearing his perfectly pressed NCC (National Cadet Corps) uniform. He was nervous but he wore it quite well. He could recollect the 100 days of rigorous training he had undergone, followed by complete blankness. A moment later, he realised that he was standing in front of someone whom he had only seen on TV before. The Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, has that effect on people.
Receiving the prestigious baton and the gold medal for being adjudged the All India Best Cadet (Senior level) during the Republic Day parade is a moment he will treasure forever, says the 19-year-old. "I was over the moon when I came to know that I was the one who won the award. I could only say that the 100 days of hard work paid off well," says the second-year BSc Electronics student of PSG College of Arts and Science, Coimbatore.
Gaffney reiterates those hundred days of training quite often. So often that it makes you wonder why. "We have ten different camps. Each camp lasts for ten days. In these ten camps, we are trained on firing with rifles, tested for current affairs, march past, and so on. For getting this award, you have to be an all-rounder, and you will be short-listed accordingly. Simple as that," says Gaffney. Just to get an understanding of his routine, we just asked him when his day starts. "I wake up at 3 am. From then, the training goes on till 11 pm with very small water and food breaks," he shrugs. That means he gets to sleep for two hours only!
Though it was a tedious journey, Gaffney was sure that he would sail through it. "There are 17 directorates in India. Each directorate would represent one person, and I represented Tamil Nadu. I knew that my fellow participants would be equally competitive as well. Hence, I tried to pile my strength and work harder," he says. The skills tested include extempore, firing, individual drill, interview, group discussions and written tests.
A hundred days of dedicated training is not that easy, and it might have hit hard on his academics. How did Gaffney manage to cope with that? "My college showed immense support on that front. After every camp, we used to get a break for five days. I used to go back to college then, meet my teachers, discuss the topics covered and also attend the practical classes missed," he smiles. Still, that did not mean a complete break from camps. "I was trained by Lt Colonel Dinesh Nair. He used to check on me every day to know if I was keeping a track on my current affairs. Hence, I always tried to maintain the balance between NCC and my academics," he adds.
Not only did he receive the baton and the medal, but he also received the Best Cadet trophy from Air Chief Marshal Rakesh Kumar Singh Bhadauria and a DG NCC Commendation Card. "The DG NCC commendation card is definitely a feather in my cap. I am yet to receive the DG NCC Commendation badge. The uniqueness of this badge is that it will have the signature of a Lieutenant General. I can carry it as a treasure throughout my life," concludes the youngster who aspires to become a fighter pilot in the near future.