Call me unconventional but I have concluded one thing after a longish career in writing. If the rest of the hotel industry could function with the perfection that Central Industrial Security Force does, I can personally guarantee the world would be a more efficient and hospitable place. By the way they don't lock rooms here! Given their guest house at the Arakkonam regional training center is run with the finesse of a 7- star hotel I am not surprised to find how in-depth and close to perfection training of young recruits here is.
I'm here to learn how training is conducted on security.
Who would have thought the tough looking guys in uniform screening you whom we have no time to even look at, could be so multi skilled, dexterous and even have a heart! This,I discovered during a cultural entertainment show where their diverse skills could put TV talent shows to shame.
Arakkonam is a few hours from Chennai, and the RTC is spread across 650 acres. This is a place where young people are recruited from all over India for training into the CISF force. Once trained, we find these folks at sensitive installations and airports. At Arakkonam we see women commando trainees proudly show their skills from crawling in pipes to climbing trees. When they exhibit their multiple talents in a professional cultural show and I wonder what makes them look so tough when we see them in uniforms, young Nandini gives me the answer. "They look tough but have a lot of compassion. Besides, we are ordinary people ! "
I strike a mental note to remember that when pass by a security person next at the airport. And no Nandini, you guys are far from ordinary!
The worse part is given my nit-picking habit, I finally declare myself a loser. There is nothing I can point to that seem to be missing - except financial resources that look like they are holding up hi-tech procurement and upgradation- an essential for the men who keep us secure. Yes I'm sounding oddly nationalistic. But CISF does that to you. Some things don't need a cure.
We check out an elaborate fire display, port security, thermal power station security and talk of challenges of guarding nuke plants and about aviation security.
At night it's karaoke time and with the sea waves lashing the shore line, the dynamic young and affable IG Anand Mohan along with some of our very untrained voices, sings the night away. Am I in a govt security zone I ask myself? I look around and realize leadership is made of things like this. I feel secure and am sure I'll have uninterrupted sleep tonight. Thank you CSIF DG and the 1.8 lakh people you lead !
Like me, I urge you the reader, to give the CISF staff another thought when you pass him/her by. There is likely a great soul is lurking there.