The alarm blared by 4 am. I was awake by 3:37. I had brushed my teeth (outside, in the quadrangle, which I later learnt was not acceptable), used the toilet to flush out whatever remnant of the previous 3 days’ ordeal was still left in my system, and had taken my bath. It was like any regular camping experience, and I was no stranger to camps, so I knew to wake early and finish up my shit before the place becomes the muster point for a different kind of clarion call, a not-so-palatable kind. The alarm blare was accompanied, right on time (and they maintained this for all 21 days of camp, right on time, except the night after the carnival. We marshalled for morning parade by 6 am – two hours later instead – that day) by the military men, of various ranks and shades, blowing their many whistles, and I was on my mufti. I looked around; I wasn’t the only one in that room donned so, but odds were that in the entire camp of over two thousand potential youth corpers (yup, they made sure to emphasize the fact that going to camp does not equal becoming a corps member, everyday), that very Thursday, I would be one of at most seventy persons not dressed in the traditional white-on-white.