Name : The Bugle Calls
Publisher : Tranquebar ,an imprint of Westland Publications Private Limited
Year : 2019
Price : Rs. 599 /-
New Delhi. 10 January 2020. When General George S. Patton Jr. pronounced, “It is a proud privilege to be a soldier – a good soldier … [with] discipline, self-respect, pride in his unit and his country, a high sense of duty and obligation to comrades and to his superiors, and a self confidence born of demonstrated ability, ” he had the armies of the world and their soldiers in mind. And what was true then is gospel even today. And what better than coating this fact by engrossing fiction ! The book in my hand – The Bugle Calls – gets the reader into a flashback of a life lived by a soldier who parted ways with the force midway but left his heart behind.
‘ The Bugle Calls’ is a book of facts narrated in fiction by a veteran Colonel Naresh Rastogi of the Indian Army and his golfing partner Kiran Doshi of the Indian Foreign Sevice .
The book is a heady mix of fact and fiction weaved around a man who dreamt of being a soldier, a die hard romantic and an impresario. With a unending continuity of thought he narrates the story of Naresh the hero who starts as an Army bachelor and the many girls who walked in and out of his nomadic life till he got married to Basanti. The story continues into the pangs of an army man’s married life; long separations from the family , single handed upbringing of children by the wife which is just one of the challenges she faces.
The story continues into Naresh’s leap into the battlefields of Khem Karan and Assal Uttar in Punjab during the 1965 Indo Pakistan War . He paints the canvas of the battle field vividly as he had access to all the situation reports and conversations , being a Signals officer.
The next is a gradual move of the narrative into the 1971 Indo Pakistan War where Naresh who was deployed in eastern sector . His first hand experience is enlivened by the verbal picture of Indian Army marching into East Pakistan, now Bangladesh by demolition of great bastions of Pak army Jessore ,Dacca and Khulna leading finally to the surrender.
For an officer whose Battalion received Theatre Honour in the battle, the story ends with the resignation of a fine officer from Army and his move to Nigeria to what at that time seemed greener pastures after which the shores of his country call him back and he settles to lead a retired life.
The book Bugle Calls is a flashback of this soldier’s life written in simple language thereby making it engrossing and readable . The reader doesn’t need a dictionary on his side table while reading the book. The gripping plot and interesting narrative make it a not to be left to the next sitting.
The attraction of romance, the gripping love stories set amidst an India in its teenage and youth not only make it interesting read but also set a perfect stage to talk about the psychology of a soldier who from the arms of a woman falls into the lap of the battle, where stories of wars , remembrances of the pangs of slippery married lives due to forced separations and eventual joy in being reunited with the family is a eye moistener for the soldiers and their families and eye openers for the civilians.
The best is when on their return from Nigeria Basanti asked him, “What will you do with your life if you had it all over again” and Naresh’s answer, “I will join the army.”