Rachna Bisht Rawat’s ‘Shoot. Dive. Fly’ aims to introduce teenagers to the armed forces and what it is like to have a career in the forces. The book is a collection of twenty-one nail-biting stories of adventure and thrill of a career in uniform. The book also has army personnel talk about what the armed forces have taught them.
Here’s the foreword by Mahendra Singh Dhoni, ex-Indian cricket team captain.
My dear friends,
It gives me great pleasure to write the foreword for Shoot. Dive. Fly. The Indian Army is one of the most respectable and exciting careers our country offers young people and it surprises me that the Army faces a shortage of officers year after year. This is probably because most of us do not know what an amazing variety of jobs it offers. Perhaps this is also because Army officers are not permitted to talk to the media and so we never get to hear about the amazing things they do.
I compliment the Army on giving Rachna Bisht Rawat access to young serving officers to share with us the experiences of the fascinating jobs they do.
This book will help bust the false belief that an Army officer is a man with a gun who lives on the borders of the country, cut off from the rest of civilization, waiting for a war to begin, which might sound like a boring job to a lot of teenagers. They do that, of course, and we are very proud of them for it, but that’s not the whole truth. Army officers do a lot of other things too that most teens want from a career. The Army has engineers, doctors, helicopter pilots, drone fliers, cyber warriors, Olympians, Everest summiteers, skydivers, sailors, marathon runners, shooters—and yes, even cricketers—and a host of other professionals that we often don’t get to hear about. These are men and women who are all trained for combat but they work in their particular fields with all the support of the Indian Army to reach the top. You, too, can choose one of these opportunities and get paid to be trained and excel in your dream job. Not many, if any, industries or institutions give you this freedom. And how do I know all this? Because I happen to be an officer in the Indian Territorial Army too.
I am sure you will enjoy reading the real-life stories of young officers who went beyond the ordinary to reach great heights. This book includes the story of Colonel Ivan J. Crasto, SC, who climbed down a rope from a hovering helicopter to rescue all ten tourists trapped on board a trolley hanging from a snapped wire. It also tells of Colonel Rajesh Unnikrishnan who climbed down forty feet into a dark, gaping borewell to rescue a small child who had fallen in. In these pages, you will meet Colonel Sameer Singh Bisht, SM, whose gun jammed in an encounter with Kashmiri terrorists but he managed to keep his nerve and emerge victorious. You will read of young mountaineer Major Deepika Rathore, who has climbed the mighty Mount Everest twice and of my fellow paratrooper Major Sandesh Kadam, who jumped out of a plane at 8,500 feet to find that both his main and emergency parachutes would not open. How did he land alive and undamaged in spirit to the extent that he is raring to recover completely and go back to his duty, you might ask? To know that, you will need to read this book, and/or join the Army.
I shall sign off by wishing you the best in whatever career you choose. When I am old and sitting in front of the TV watching some of you play cricket for India, or some of you do amazing things that the news channels report, I shall smile and applaud for you—just like you do for me, when I hit a six or take a catch. I shall be proud of all of you. Go on and do your best in life. But do consider wearing the uniform once before you make a final choice. I did!
Jai Hind! Jai Hind ki Sena!
Lieutenant Colonel Mahendra Singh Dhoni