“Are you out of your mind?”, shouted Mr.Dawan Singh, the Lt.general of northern command.”This is ‘Dras’ man. “DRAS”. I thought that you, of all men would know about this place.”said Mr.Singh as a last feeble attempt to persuade Vijay Karna , the only soldier who was like a family to Mr.Singh.
Mr.Singh spoke words from his memory which he had never uttered ,save very few times until now.” Even after twenty nine years ,it seems like yesterday.My friend ,that is your father, Mr.Raj Karna , the commander in chief of 8 th mountain division was holding my right hand within his and saying his last words (which I didn’t know then).
“The beauty of these mountains never failed to awe me, Dawan. Only today I felt complete . I was happy that I would see my son grow to be a fine young man.Yet ‘one doesn’t get all he wishes for’.I don’t know whether I will sustain these wounds.What I shan’t give to see my son at least once ! You ,my only friend must look after my son as your own and teach him to be brave, to love his country more than anything . You shall be his godfather Dawan” said he and ceased living still looking at his army badge.
“And I think I did my best in bringing you up. After your mother’s death I made you become a soldier and have trained you with all I’m worth of. But now I cannot allow you to fight this war beside me. You are a father of a day-old baby man. And I know how you were yearning to see him. Let this one war be fought without your presence, son.”
“You’ve been my godfather and my sole support till now ,uncle but there are things I must stand up for my own. I can’t leave you and all my friends to defend my nation without me. I’ve never seen my father and I’ve feared this should ever happen to me. But there are much worse things than this like allowing others to fight for us or turning our backs in the face of war.
May be God might keep me alive for the sake of seeing my son. If at all I don’t come I’m sure he will be proud of his father whom he never saw instead of the heart -broken coward sitting beside him. And my wife, she knew it would all come to this. She knew it from the day we saw each other and she’s a brave woman who knew where my happiness was.
I’m thankful for all that you did , dad”.
” You called me ‘dad’ ” ,wept Mr.Singh.
“Yes, dad. Was thinking to call you dad for a long time. And don’t you worry. I’m a lot more tough than you think and I’m sure my father would have been proud of me if he ever lived.” and walked away without noticing the thin streak of tears escaping his eyes.
The astonished Mr.Singh silently wished to have a son like this brave soldier and sat thinking about his friend whole night and wondering about the sacrifices of all these great Indian heros and their thick blood.”Jai hind “whispered Mr.Singh to the mist around him and went to prepare for war.
(A tribute to Indian Soldiers and their families).