Hair-Raising memorable dive in pool at Punjab Police Academy

A view of Punjab Police Academy at Phillaur.

Officers training courses at professional institutes are moulded into a strict disciplinary regimen, for keeping trainees engaged in a heavily rigorous exhaustive mental, physical and legal curriculum. Maharaja Ranjit Singh Police academy situated amidst pristine settings on the banks of Sutlej, a tributary of mighty Indus, at township of Phillaur was the advent of my prolific police career.

Phillaur is an ancient sleepy city of pre-Mughal period.Phillaur Police institute was set up by the British in 1892 at a majestic historic fort initially as a hub of revolutionary Indian fingerprinting Bureau. Fort  tracing back its glorious past to the golden reign of Maharaja Ranjit Singh.Once it was a magnificent strategic fort housing a highly trained and motivated elite military force.

Exterior of Maharaja Ranjit Singh Police Academy

In this leading historic institute many select British officers and distinguished members of royalty of erstwhile United Punjab, received police training. At Phillaur Policemen of various ranks were required to undergo tough courses for getting their much aspired promotions.

We were a batch of 10 commissioned officers staying at immaculate well furnished officers mess.Our mess was a stately elegant period building sandwiched between famous old Grand Trunk highway and railroad connecting cantonment of Ambala with Amritsar, frontier town globally famous for Harmandir Sahib popularity called Golden temple.

One fine bright sunny Sunday summer’s afternoon AN Sharma, Captain Monga and myself after a sumptuous lunch followed by a vigorating siesta decided to have a refreshing swim. Captain Monga was an ex-commando of the Indian Army, he used to outrightly boast about mastery of his exceptional titanic Yogic techniques plus heroic combatant skills and proven war exploits. He even claimed to have ‘died’ once and reverted back to life by divine philanthropic graciousness of his revered gods.

We had a cooling swim for sometime, thereafter Capt. Monga volunteered for displaying his mastery of exceptional underwater breath holding skills. Without waiting for a second thought he dived into the pool straightaway settling down in a limp slumbering position without display of any physical movement. AN Sharma and myself waited for about 3-4 minutes, but our companion still lay ‘unperturbed’ in the same standstill position.

Assessing the gravity of the situation, suo moto we decided to act hastily. Both of us holding our breath made our way straight to pool bottom, lifted the ‘lifeless’ body of our colleague out of water and placed it on the poolside.

Captain Monga was unconscious, jointly we tried CPR and other time tested revival techniques including forcefully propelling out water from his bloated lungs and stomach, massaging hands and feet, mouth to mouth resuscitation etc.Half an hour of our dedicated efforts bore cheerful results, our dear friend lay ‘awake’ from an challenging odyssey of his aquatic slumbering hibernation.

Upon questioning him cause of his bearing he nonchalantly replied, “I don’t know or remember anything after diving into the crystal clear water”.

Thank heavens we never could judge whether this revival was the result of our extensive, time tested maneuvers or prowess of his extraterrestrial Yogic powers or a powerful Providential intervention? The same evening we befittingly celebrated this boisterous bearing in the spirituous company of Lord Bacchus at our beautifully built British mess. Having a last laugh at the frail state of human inhabitation, we had a hearty chuckle at the precariousness of our mortal existence, before retiring peacefully for another restful night.

(Author is former Deputy Commissioner of Delhi Police )