Sitting lazily in the warm snug quilts I watched the soft snow falling outside and I slowly drifted into peaceful slumber without ant worries at all. I was awakened by a noise and saw our sahayak cleaning the snow-laden pathway.
I sat in my cozy bed thinking about him and his fellow soldiers in the border areas. I shuddered at the thought and a chill went down my spine. Instinctively I pulled up my quilts closer I wondered how these men could endure the brutal and harsh life under the roof of the bunkers without a single frown.
I suppose they smile forever because they were exuberant to return to their families after a strenuous tenure. They smile because they were proud to protect their nation from the cruel bullets of the enemy.
Felicitating each other’s courage and boosting up each others morale keeps them going and forever smiling. Living with a constant fear deep within their hearts of the condition of their families when they are gone they pass each deadly day. Yet they possess a pride in dying a martyr’s death than any lay mans death.
The soldiers up in the pickets come face to face with death with each step they take. The horrifying thought of being without shelter over out heads would never let us sleep. But the soldiers live with constant reality that the bunker roofs over their heads may be blown off any time by the jaws of the biting blizzards they ought to have courageous hearts and powerful minds to face army life.
Distinctive religion, ample and various backgrounds hold no significance among these men. All are brothers to each other without differentiation. Each one belonging to different caste creed and culture holds a single motive to protect his motherland by enduing the bullets in his chest so that nation is not hurt.
Repairing a car tire and sweating, running a few miles or dropping youth child to school early morning at six are not harsh realities of life but guarding your country in complete isolation away from your near and dear ones is. Waiting in anticipation for the postman is the toughest job for them.
A letter from home results in jubilation among the fellow soldiers who rejoice on hearing a good news. Wiping tears or lending a shoulder to cry on is the traits, which each one of them possesses for their brothers. Each time soldier returns from leave he carries loads of eatables for his friends at the pickets. A petty morsel of food or just a home made “chapatti” causes tears to come to the eyes of many.
We grumble at the luxuries of life in our daily routines. The sumptuous and lavish food that we consume is not in their lifestyle. The soldiers relish tinned and nutritious food – a luxury for us is a necessity for them. Visitors with permission of course are always greeted with smiles and warm “samosas” and a hot cup of tea, which is of vital necessity at that height.
Soldiers are simply delighted to see somebody from the civilized world who comes enquire about their health and welfare. Modes of entertainment like a TV, magazines etc have been provided to entertain the troops but a stay there is an experience by itself. Truthfully speaking none of us has the time to give these soldiers a thought.
Many of us think army life to be a lifestyle of enjoyment, parties’ drinks and social life but after experiencing a life on the pickets on can say that yes he has seen the real army.
Sitting behind the weaponry with flingers on the trigger and eyes alert on the enemy many of the soldiers wonder whether they shall live to see their families or not.
The innocent laughter of their children their love and affection of their wives may never be in their destiny again. Each time a soldier leaves home he leaves with a longing in his eyes a prayer in his heart and a gun in his hand. If he survives he takes pride in showing the world the hard earned medals on his chest but victory awaits him after death too for he is honored as martyr who laid down his life for his nation.
Being an army officer’s daughter I take pride in our soldiers and their families who with a heavy heart put a “tilak” on their loved ones – weather alive or a martyr.
An honest confession if only I belonged to the male species, I would have tried to reach where the eagles dare and be on top of the world.