War of Words

After meeting a near fatal accident,NDA passout Prathmesh Apte wrote his debut novel ‘Destiny's Missed Call’

Written by Rohan Swamy | Published: July 2, 2012 3:44 am

After meeting a near fatal accident,NDA passout Prathmesh Apte wrote his debut novel ‘Destiny’s Missed Call’

A freak accident in 2008 just three months before he was to be comissioned as an officer in the Indian Army,crashed all his dreams. In the words of NDA (National Defence Academy) passout Prathamesh Apte,the body blow that the accident caused was ‘unfathomable’. “There I was,a 21-year-old,ready to wear the olive greens and serve my country,and the next thing I knew was I was being boarded out owing to a back injury sustained while riding horses. I was clueless as to what would I do in life,” recalls Apte.

However,today,four years later,life outside the armed forces is a second inning for him. “I finally feel that I have purpose now in my life,” he adds. Apte who completed his Bachelors in Law and CS has written a novel,’Destiny’s Missed Call’ that details the life of a cadet in the NDA and also aims to clear misconceptions that are in the mind of the youth regarding the armed forces.

“Once a civilian enters the portals of the academy (NDA),it is a totally different experience for him. The manner in which the cadets are groomed,the leadership qualities that are instilled in them it is all a different feeling. I had a strong urge to pen down the experiences of the NDA. Of course the story is completely fictitious,but it is set in the backdrop of the academy,” says Apte. While he took almost three and a half years to write the book,Apte says that the book was one of the main reasons that helped him during the initial days after his injury.

The story details the life of a boy Varun,who enters the hallowed portals of the academy. It goes on to describe his growing up years,grappling with punishments,the disciplined lifestyle and the huge amount of fun that the cadets have during their times at the NDA. “There is a popular misconception that almost three quarters of the batch are children of soldiers and officers serving in the armed forces or are from the Military schools in the nation but that is not true,” Apte says,adding,”When I was at NDA,there were about four per cent of cadets who were students of serving or ex-army officers. The rest were all first timers like me.”

According to Apte the only reason why the NDA is called the ‘Cradle of Leadership’ is because the cadets from the sixth terms and the fourth terms are responsible for the freshers. Also,even though there is a senior-junior hierarchy between cadets separated by just one term,the camaraderie that it builds up is,in his words,’irreplaceable’. One of his latest assignments now at the NDA is to speak to cadets who have been medically boarded out of the academy. “Both the cadets as well as their parents go into depression when the news is broken to them. I want to tell them that there is still a life they can look forward too.”

On the issue of how he dealt with his personal crisis he says,”Yes I was crushed too but then we really have two options in life medically or emotionally- to give up or fight it out. And I chose the second one,” he says with an optimistic smile.

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