As civilians we dont really know what goes into putting up a strong defence for the country. For a lot of us, army life is vaguely about immaculate uniforms, night-vision devices, and the perks of sports infrastructure.
To help people understand the training practices better, Maj Dinesh Sharma started Delta 105, an army-themed park, named jointly after his company (a group of soldiers and officers) and the pincode for Manesar, where the facility is located.
Where it all started
The idea is to let people do something interesting and fun while learning something as well, says Maj Sharma, who was commissioned into the 6th battalion of the Rajputana Rifles regiment and served for four years in the Uri sector during the Kargil war. He left the army in 2004 at the age of 29 and did an MBA in Human Resources at the Symbiosis Institute of Management Studies, Pune, working with corporations like Wipro and Mercer for about 12 years before starting this venture.
About a year ago, after identifying his calling of sharing the struggles and triumphs of military men and women with civilians, he took agricultural land on lease and revamped it. The idea was to design it in a way that would resemble an army camp, along with the expertise of a Delhi-based designer. The facility opened a couple of months ago.
All thats green
The park is set in village Pada, a 30-minute drive from Gurugram, and is spread over a lush 26 acres, away from a densely populated area, much like most army areas are. We wanted a big space so people dont feel claustrophobic, Maj Sharma says. Hes right. The fresh air reminds you of how rare a commodity it has become. On entry you are greeted by two commandos, both ex-army jawaans, sliding down from a rope, marking the onset of the action movie-like experience. He talks of a recent visit by a group of school children, who on seeing the commandos in action, immediately produced whatever paper they had on them, for autographs.
There are about 10 activities to keep you on the move, all led by an ex-army personnel. We have a war zone which looks like an international border. Here we explain how the enemy enters, how to stop them, what weapons are used. There is a grenade range where they can learn to throw a dummy grenade, and a crawl trench where people learn that the lower you keep yourself, the lower your chances are of getting hit in an attack, he says. Theres also a firing range, an obstacle course, a race course where people have to move with a battle load, an assault course where big groups can learn teamwork, a paintball arena.
We conduct sessions on how to fold a national flag, how to tie a knot. We have map related activities as well, says Maj Sharma, talking about the various facilities available.
The food too takes a leaf out of each regiments speciality. This month, its the Jat regiment, so theres makki ki roti and sarson ka saag. As with any army establishment, chai and nimboo pani flows freely.
What lies ahead
For Republic day, Delta 105 is organising a Military Fun and Food Carnival, where a few of Maj Sharmas army friends will share their life stories. We are trying to arrange food from the four regions of the country. Therell be an army band showcasing military tunes. Well be inviting civil bands to compete with each other as they play patriotic songs.
For those of us who spend most of our time sitting in office chairs, Maj Sharma tells us, The more you sweat in peace, the less you bleed in war. While we will hopefully not have war, it helps to stay fit in peace.
At Village Pada, Manesar; kids, 696, adults, 1,298 inclusive of the use of park facilities, two meals and snacks; for tickets, Delta105.com