Whither Sparrow?

(On the World Sparrow Day: 20th Mar)

Today in the newspaper (Times of India, Delhi edition, page 2) I read that 20th of Mar each year is being celebrated as World Sparrow Day. I admit, I was not aware.

News item stirred something in my mind that I had written a small poem sometime in 2004/2005 about little sparrow in Nepali while I was in my village to meet my mother.

I began a frantic search for my old Poem file. And with great effort I did manage to find it and also found the piece of paper in which I had jotted it down the poem with pencil. A scanned copy of the same is being place below for those who can read Nepali.

But for wider readership I thought to translate it in English. It’s a modest effort and I wonder if I have been able to do proper justice in doing so. Those who can help in improving it will be welcome and I will really appreciate. Please put it down in the comments.

Shiv Rana


English Translation

Whiter Sparrow?

Small bird, chirping on roof top
I don’t see it now.
Where has it gone?

Sparrow and human lived

and coursed their journey together
That small bird was dependent
for her food and nests on us

In good old times our ladies cleaned 

and threw shrivelled grains of rice and daal
which were food for these birds
They made their nests
in the roofs made of sedge grass

From egg to hatching and then,

baby sparrows were fed,
beak to beak by their parents
squeaking and squawking

An adult sparrow flew away 

from the parents nest
Taught us life cycle

But it vanished today. Whither?

Today we do not live in houses 

made of wood sod and sedges
Today we do not pick on shrivelled
and withered grains

Time is at premium

Therefore there are no sparrows

In changing culture

slowly sparrows have disappeared
And today’s generation is denied to
to watch the life science before them
And read only in books.

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The Valley of Seventies

Col Shiv Om Rana

I enter the valley of seventies.
Beautiful swirling nimbus cloud
grey and silver at the far end
making an artists brush go around.

The valley spread far and wide,
with colourful flowers and clear stream
flowing beside the pathway,
snowy peaks and fresh water lake below.

I walk with creaky knees,
to cross the valley of long years
to reach another valley of
enchanting beauty which few experience.

I sink in the joy of the landscape
with caution and swivet then
dementia, alzheimer and parkinson
stare at me with intent.

But I still will wander uninhibited
through the turns and curve, humming,
Main zindagi ka saath nibhata chala gaya[1]
to seduction awaiting in another valley.

I will negotiate every turn and curve
to find another pulchritude awaiting,
With bewitching charm
of another gorge to be seen.

I look back and smile.
What a wonderful journey it has been.
Friends I made, company they gave.
All had been wow moments.

Walk alone or walk with companion,
walk I must with smile coz,
I have entered the valley of seventy
with hope and contemplation.

[1] Translation : I cruise along giving company to my life (An old Hindi song of Bollywod cinema)

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My Night of Dream


I liked a Nepali poem by Chandi Raj Dahal of Kathmandu, Nepal. I thought to translate it and share it with the world. I hope I have done justice to the translation. (Nepali poem is also given below the translated version) ……………. Shiv Om Rana

My awaken night and
you in deep slumber
left your body in your house and
came to my garden to saunter.

My planted flowers
awaited the arrival of spring,
and spread fragrance around
They also attracted butterflies and bees.

You attired in white gown
like an angel
wearing white anklets and ear rings,
dainty and delicate like angels from the heaven.

Moon smiled at you in appreciation
My garden was delighted and
roses, shirish1 and rhododendrons              (1 – name of a flower)
welcomed you singing “Su-swagatam2”.      (2 – welcome)

To welcome you in my garden
I decorated my wooden table with a rose
And spread two straw mats on a bench
And placed two red wines to say “cheers” to you.

When I looked at you,
you were gazing at me: adrift and lost
Your eyes expressed palpable love
Your hair floating like clouds in the sky.

While extending our love
Breaking the calmness of night
You disappeared when
suddenly I called you. I awoke.

Did I feel embarrassed, thinking of you?

My awaken night and
you in deep slumber
left your body in your house and
came to my garden to saunter.

……translated by Shiv Om Rana from Nepali to English


म ब्युँझेको रात (by Chandi Raj Dahal)

म ब्युँझेको रात
तिमी मस्त निद्रामा
अचेत शरीरलाई घरै छोडी
मेरो बगैंचामा डुल्न आएकी थियौ ।

मैले रोपेका फूलहरुले

बसन्तलाई डाकेका थिए,

बगैंचामा सुगन्ध थपेका थिए ।

पुतली र भमरालाई पनि बोलाएका थिए ।

तिमी परीझैं

सेतो गाउनमा सजिएकी,
सेतै पाउजु र झुम्का लाएकी,
स्वर्गकी अप्सराझैं कोमल, मुलायम बनेकी ।

जुनले तिमीलाई चियाउँदा

मेरो बगैंचा मुस्कुराइरहेको थियो

गुलाफ, शिरिष र गुराँसले तिमीलाई

स्वागतम् सुस्वागतम् भन्दै गाइरहेका थिए ।

तिम्रो स्वागतार्थ मैले

काठको टेबलमा एउटा रातो गुलाफ अड्याएको थिएँ ।

काठकै बेन्चमा खोसेलाका दुइटा चकटी ओछ्याएको थिएँ ।
अनि तिमीलाई ‘चियर्स’ भन्न दुइटा ‘रेड वाइन’ पनि मगाएको थिएँ ।

मैले तिमीलाई हेर्दा
तिमी मतिर हेरी टोलाइरहेकी थियौ
तिम्रा आँखामा अनन्त प्रेम छछल्किरहेको थियो 

तिम्रो कपाल स्वच्छ आकाशमा बादलजस्तै सल्बलाइरहेको थियो ।

रातको सन्नाटालाई चिर्दै
आपसमा भावना साट्दै गर्दा
तिमी त एकाएक विलिन भइछौ ।
अनायसै चिच्याएर तिमीलाई बोलाउँदा, म झसंग ब्युँझेछु ।

आफैंसँग लजाउँछै, तिमीलाई सम्झँदा …

म ब्युँझेको रात

तिमी मस्त निद्रामा
अचेत शरीरलाई घरै छोडी
मेरो बगैंचामा डुल्न आएकी थियौ ।

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You Didn’t Come Yaar

I met a very old friend yesterday in one of the malls here in Delhi. He said, as he would always say when we met, “Come over friend. We live in the same city”. I was fed up of his saying this all the time.

Yesterday I replied to him. Buddy (no name here please) distance from my house to your house is exactly the same as the distance from your house to mine. Tell me how many times have you come?

He fell silent and walked away. His wife and children were some distance away.

Did I reply him correctly? I wonder???

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Welcome 2018

It is officially 2018 now as I write. I hope the New Year brings peace and understanding in the world. Communalism is pushed back to the deepest hell. “Sadbhawana (सदभावना)”, as the army calls it, that is mutual respect to each other grows. There is atmosphere of peace all over the world and it becomes better place to live.


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The Year That Was : 2017

Let me go back in time to recall certain important events (as I saw them and in my opinion) during the year before I say adieu to 2017 and open my arms to welcome the new year 2018. the year was full of events but I will only try and record what I consider important.

1. The year began with the President Trump assuming the office of POTUS and what caught the fancy of the people was call given by President Trump’s “America First” policy. Some may call it isolationist and protectionist. But in my mind the call seems to have caught the fancy of youth in America and may parts of the globe. They think that free immigration in to the country is robbing them of their jobs by the cheap labour offered by these immigrants. I do see some truth in it. BREXIT last year (fall out of Trump presidential campaign) and gain of right parties in various parts of the globe is an indicator towards this. India is not untouched.

2. Doklam stand off with the Chinese in Jun occupied the minds of Indian people. India stood firm ground and it augers well for the future while dealing with the Chinese. It did offer challenges to the foreign policy makers and the military which stood ground and called off the bluff of PLA. It did help to clear the cobweb of decades of decrepit bureaucracy with 1962 psyche. But the initial days did give the shock wave and volatility shook the Indian Stock exchanges.

3. An online campaign, hashtag “Not In My Name” ( #NotInMyName) was started to protest against the mob violence and cow vigilantism after the killing of Junaid while travelling in the train. It became viral in the Facebook and TV channels fell head over heels to capture prime time viewership. But it did bring the focus on the free wheeling mob lynching happening in the country. The Prime Minister was forced to openly criticise such lynching in the name of religion.

4. Another hashtag campaign which took the world by storm was “MeToo” (#MeToo). It started to openly bring in the domain of social media about the magnitude of sexual harassment and assault being faced in every kind of environment. It started when many of women accused the film producer Harvey Weinstein of sexual misconduct and misogynistic behaviour as a male chauvinistic attitude. The hashtag trended in India too. Bollywood film industry came out in open to bring this menace in open.

5. Another aspect which bothered me in 2017 was fake news. Our veteran community was not untouched. Political parties indulged in it freely. In the era of connected communities fake news spreads like wild fire with negative impacts. Hope this is halted by somebody some how.

The year was full of events which touched our lives like GST and North Korean crisis in the international scene. But I consider the above mentioned five events which have shaped our thinking differently.

With that I bid farewell to 2017 and get up to welcome 2018 with my open arms and full of hopes. I am optimist by nature and I wish happy new year to all my readers. May our world become more liveable and communities become more tolerant to each other. Amen!!!

Red roseRed roseRed rosePeacePeacePeaceNoteNoteNoteRed heartRed heartRed heart

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Nepal on Road to stability : As I See It

The latest election results have presented something close to what I had been advocating; that Nepal needs a two party system of democracy. (Please read my old posts, Part 1 & Part 2) The reason I had advocated this was to allow a govt to rule without encumbrance and fear of being toppled by own coalition or the Opposition.

In the present scenario coming together of only two communist parties to form an alliance for the governance of the country, CPN Maoists Centre and the moderate CPN- UML, augers well and it is better than forming an alliance of loose multi parties which have their own axes to grind. CPN – UML party won 80 direct seats and 41 out of Proportional Representation method. And Maoist Centre won 31 seats directly and 17 seats on the basis of Proportional Representation. Both the parties have garnered 63.27% seats in the Federal Parliament that is total of 174 seats out of 275. This land slide victory should insure stability of the govt for next five years. It will make it easier to carry through any resolution that the Cabinet will decide in the future for the betterment and development of the country. I am sure both the parties would have reached some pre-poll understanding and agreed on Common Minimum Programme(CMP) to follow for tenure of the term. Also six provinces, except the No. 2, Madhesh, in their kitty, will offer good opportunities to develop the country without problem.

In addition the present constitutional provision does not allow to bring in “Vote of No Confidence Motion” against the sitting Prime minister/govt for two years and if defeated then an another Vote of No Confidence Motion cannot be brought up for another one year. In my mind this is the second best alternative to single party rule for the smooth term of the Parliament. At least the Prime Minister will not have to guard his back while trying to steer the country to development and prosperity as per the CMP.

Nepal has seen no progress in any front of economic growth because of Maoist mayhem for almost a decade or so from 1996; and political instability. Tourism has suffered the most which is their main revenue earning. No jobs have been created, nor have been any industrialisation and infrastructure development. The youth has been going out of the country looking for employment in any menial jobs which can be seen in their rush in the Tribhuvan Airport in Kathmandu or any recruitment rallies of Indian army or British army. Foreign aids dried up because of political instability.

Stock exchanges of any country are good indicators of economic activities in any country. Nepal stock exchange has shown no growth and remained flat for so many years. No state or foreign investor is confident to put his or her money in a country where a new govt cancels the previous govt’s orders. No venture capital can flow in and thus no new enterprises can be established which would create jobs. Case in point is when the PM Deuba abrogated the 2.5 billion dollor Budhi Gandaki hydro electric project which was signed by the previous PM KP Sharma Oli.

This new political development should open up vast opportunity for the nation. I am sanguine that the country will indeed make better progress in an economic front because the communist alliance has secured majority in six provinces out of the seven which will make it easy to have good coordination for the development projects in those provinces. Madhesh has remained their Achilles heel. This will remain to be seen how Madhesh is handled by the new regime.

The time has come that the Nepalese people have to accept to live with the communist ideology in the country. I can only hope that the tight knit communist alliance is totally ideologically motivated to govern the country for the progress and economic upliftment of downtrodden and pay proper attention to social justice, nationalism and egalitarianism. I emphasise the total commitment to the ideology they have chosen. Earlier there appeared to be blurring of ideological perception which created instability for decades.

Shri KP Sharma Oli is likely to be the next Prime Minister of Nepal. His demonstrated liking for China over India is a well known fact. India should be ready to live with that fact and try to evolve its foreign policy in a manner that should be seen as a friendly to Nepal rather than being seen as a destabiliser and interfering neighbour.

Nepal is hemmed between two powerful nation on the north and south. Both China and India are emerging as powerful nations and trying to increase their areas of influence. China will like to stop India’s democratic and secular spread to its southern border in to Tibet Autonomous Region. (China already has thorn in its flesh as Uighur pro democracy uprising in its north west Xinjiang Autonomous Region) India is wary of Chinese influence in its neighbourhood that is Mynamar, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka. Pakistan is already in its pocket. Recent Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between Maldives and China is a sign of China’s success in its outreach in South Asia. Pakistan is its long time FTA partner. It is also exploring FTA with Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Nepal. Nepal had already requested China for railway line to connect Kathmandu with mainland China which is being considered seriously and also immediate resumption of the old Araniko highway. Nepal recently signed China – Aid, Oil and Gas resources survey project and framework agreement on Promotion on Investment and Economic Cooperation. It must be noted that Nepal voted for One Belt One Road (OBOR) in favour of China.

Communism establishing a strong foothold in Nepal is a sort of political coup for the South Asian region. India must accept that the communists have arrived at the door. Former diplomat, M. K. Bhadrakumar, said These are early days but a communist government in Nepal will profoundly impact the geopolitics of South Asia. It is useful to factor in that Nepal took a neutral stance on the India-China standoff in Doklam. India’s capacity to influence Nepal’s foreign policies under a communist government will be even more limited. Equally, it remains to be seen how Nepal’s ‘defection’ from the Indian orbit might have a domino effect on Bhutan.”

In my opinion:-

  • India needs to reassure Nepal of its neutrality and non-interference in its domestic affairs.

  • It needs to focus on deepening its strategic engagement benefiting both the countries.

  • Try to undertake various infrastructure development like rail, road and hydro power projects in fair terms, very competitively and with total transparency. It must be understood that greater Chinese involvement in Nepal’s political life will be inevitable and therefore compete fairly with the Chinese govt/company to obtain the projects in their favour. Implement the work well to gain the confidence of people.

  • Provide any immediate assistance to Nepal in cases of emergency like it did during the earthquake in 2015. That is the advantage it must maintain which is not available with China.

After the communists ascent in Nepal it will be the best to avoid spread of any India centric propaganda in that country. Nepalese people in general are inclined and friendly with India. India provides huge opportunity to Nepalese for employment, education and medical facilities. The communism is losing its sheen the world over. Let us hope that it will be a matter of time when Nepal will wean away from it. Till that time I can only wish well for the people of Nepal.

My wish list for new Nepal in the next decade will be,

1. To have strong bias for physical infrastructure development like highways, rail links and airports to connect all remote parts of the country, &

2. To go full hog for digitisation of all govt services so that a poor man does not have to travel long distances and stand in a queue for the same. Estonia became independent from erstwhile USSR in 1991 achieved more than 99% digitisation of all its govt services within two decades. Govt to govt assistance can be sought from them to achieve full digitisation in the country. Both political masters and bureaucracy must work relentlessly in this direction.

PS: Indian Prime Minster did well to take initiative by talking to Shri KP Oli yesterday (on 23 Dec 2017.)

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Coincidence : Can it Happen?

Is it really a coincidence or just my belief?

My belief that number (figure) 1 has got something to do with me.

  • I am the eldest son of my parents.

  • I was commissioned in 1st Gorkha Rifles and at that in the First Battalion of the 1st Gorkha Rifles.

  • I was then transferred from the 1st Bn of the 1st Gorkha Rifles to 1st Sikh (4 Mechanized Infantry).

  • I commanded 1st Vikas Bn (Special Frontier Force).

  • I got to live in 1 Chatham Line bungalow (2 acres) in Allahabad for three years as a Lt Col.

Somebody says :-

  • A coincidence is a series of two or more chance events that appear to be casually related but really aren’t. Many forms of superstition and pseudoscience have their origins in the misinterpretation of said event.

  • And some psychoanalyst says that there is no such thing as coincidence. There are no accident in life. Everything happens is the result of a calculated move that leads us to move where we are.

Fingers crossedFingers crossedFingers crossed   Peace

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Army Courses


All officers who join the army have to do many professional courses in their career which continues even if one becomes general officer. It is a myth that there would be no studies required once you join the army.


I was detailed for an RCL course, my first army course in Inf School, Mhow in Oct 1968 when I just had barely four months of service. I was the junior most in the course and all seniors in the course took full advantage of that like making me do all errands for the squad, getting Ground Sheet, laying it down and collecting it etc.

I was called twice in the beginning of the course by the weapon Wing Commander for interview who threatened me to send me back to the unit as I did not have requisite minimum of one year service for the course. (During that time BSW course had not been started and each Specialist Pl weapon course was done separately). However I survived and at the end got BX grading in the course.

This post is not so much to highlight for the course but to mention that, I think, I have the unique distinction to be junior most in the course in one and later in life and service also had the privilege of being the senior most in the course.

And that was when I was transferred from Inf (1/1GR) to Mech Inf (4 Mech Inf (1 Sikh)) in 1981 and joined in Jan 1982. On the first interview itself with the CO, Col Narpat Parihar, told me to be ready to go for a course. I was detailed for A Veh D&M (Instructors) course in ACC&S, Ahmednagar. I had done B Veh D&M course already and that was the pre-requisite for doing this.

As I mentioned above I was the senior most officer in the course and therefore became the course senior. I wonder how many officers would have that chance and privilege of being junior most in a course at some point of time and also being the Course senior in an another one.

Wonderful, indeed.

A photo dug out from my old collection of the Courses in which I was the Course senior is being inserted below.

A Veh D&M Course

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My Love for Computers

This is the story of my love affair with the computers.

It started some time in mid eighties when the machines were just making an inroad in the country. I used to read about them and was fascinated. I wished to own one of them, but was so nonsensically expensive that I could only paper gaze them. The economy was still very shackled with huge import duty and we oldies could only satisfy ourselves with the whatever was offered or available in the market. But my one sided romance continued.

I was posted to Delhi in mid 1993 after the command tenure. Delhi was a big place. It offered many things which we only could dream in small B & C towns. So my search for my love began once again. And ultimately with a local friend, I found a vendor who would assemble a PC which I thought was OK – affordable.

I withdrew money from my DSOP fund to pay for the same. It costed me ₹ 62,000.00 in 1994 for an assembled PC which had a processor called 486 chips with a CVS (Constant Voltage Stabilizer). Those days UPS (Uninterrupted Power Supply) was not available. And the CVS could only stabilize the power current to the PC which if the light went off would shut the computer. Pentium chips were not introduced nor were there any “Windows” or “Microsoft Office” to work on. There was DOS programme which provided place (in monitor) to work on in black and white screen. Windows and Pentium chips were introduced a year later in 1995. MS Office came even later.

Well that was the cost for a love. As they say शौक़ की कोई कीमत नहीं होती! (No price is ever more for one’s predilection). So was it.

At that time (in 1994) internet was provided by only VSNL and it was very – very expensive. At that time there were only 2 or 3 “Internet Cafes” in Connaught Place and they charged more than ₹ 200 for an hour use. There was no gmail. There were no browsers. One had to use the PINE software in DOS for emails.

In 1995 the Govt made internet slightly cheaper for students. Luckily my elder daughter was studying in APS. And I applied on her behalf to get the internet connection from VSNL. That was a herculean task to get one connection with certificates from the school and lots of other paper work. But I did manage to get one.

I had no friends or relatives who were on internet and email. So I used to just send few lines to which ever email id I could found. Just for heck of it. I never got any reply. PINE was the software used for the email, as I have mentioned above.

The effects of Dr Man Mohan Singh’s economic policies, as Finance Minster in Shri Narshimah Rao’s govt, began to show in the market in 1994 -95 onwards. Pentium powered computers became available in the market but still exorbitantly costly. Bill Gate introduced the WINDOWS (no number as Win 10 at that time), which brought some colour to drab black and white screen and introduced browser “Internet Explorer”.

My first email id was created by me in 1998 in “hotmail” which I still maintain. Yahoo and AOL were dominant email clients and search engine in US and Europe. Later Google entered the search engine space with new algorithm and today we know what it has achieved. All other search engines are almost eclipsed by it. Google entered in to email client by the name of “GMAIL” which they announced in 2003-04 and at that time the “gmail” id could only be got by an invitation form people granted that privilege by the Google. I was one of the them who could dish out the email ids to people by giving them invitation to join the gmail revolution. I did that. It is all history today. Today one can have any number of email ids one wants.

My love for computer has not abated. I have switched from desktop PC to laptop many years ago. I now change my machine every four years to kiss the new one.

I must add that I can handle all my computer needs from writing papers in Word, making presentations in Power Point and doing mathematical manipulations in Ecel. I have learned all these by my self-study over a period of time. I was only taught by a boy (my computer Guru) initially for three days for an hour each to start and work with DOS with my first machine.

I have the honour and privilege to have created an investment module while working with AGI (Army Group Insurance) from 1993 to 1997. The AGI had already started to computerize the Directorate and TCS, a software company, was given the contract to establish the LAN (Local Area Nework) in AGI. Let me admit here that I do not know the coding or programming. I have never tried to learn that. But I can design a programme which I had done for the “Investment Module” for the AGI. It could give the future return of an investment by inputting the available data.

I also computerized the Bde in Joshimath 1997 – 98 when I was posted there as Dy Cdr. It was designed in a manner that no draft of any paper or letter needed to be typed and put up for approval. It was all done online. Like G3 would put up something which would be typed in computer, saved and fwd to the BM, whom he would info of the same. The BM would do the needful and fwd it to the Dy Cdr or Cdr, as needed and info on phone for the same. The final approved letter would be done and typed at the BM/G3 level and signed. It was also made future proof by incorporating internet access whenever it would be made available. I must mentioned that at that time Central Command HQ was in the process of getting LAN environment for themselves.

That was the story of my love for computer. I love it and continue to do so. Though these days smart phone has nibbled in to the share and attention from it. But I am sure it cannot wean me away from my first love by a hand held gadget.

Red heartRed heartRed heartRed roseRed roseRed roseRed heartRed heartRed heart

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