[Editor's Choice: Short Story of Soldier - Tears of a Soldier]
Raghuveer Singh closed his eyes. He wanted to cast away from his pain. He had never felt so weak yet so strong in all his life; vigour and rage were burning up in him. Pain turned more and more intense with each passing second but his face bore no trace of it as he knew that this suffering won’t last very long. It’s there for a short while.
The aroma of blood passed his nose, earth around in these snow cold mountains is drowned in blood today. Raghuveer struggled to move, to raise his head; but three bullets in him had made once this proud soldier so languid by strength that he let his body on its own. The darkness in his eyes gave waves to his memories. Though in pain but he was smiling, he saw his mother miles away from this hatred, rage and bloodshed standing on the verandaah of their house in small dusty town.
His love his life feathered him across the lane of old blurred memories, he could see them feel them today as he never cared to look back at them before. The frame of memories in front of his closed eyes turned so lively, full of innocence, care, love and affection, as to make him live the life he had stooped. He saw, a kid a small boy of nearly around six years by face falling from a tree in backyard of his house in town, blood from head and tears from eyes spilled out and he began to wail, cry aloud for mama. A beautiful young lady wrapped in dhoti, busy in kitchen washing utensils and creating and destroying her own imagination in mind shivered as his cries passed her ears, she flunked the kadahi from her hands and leaps for her boy with a single breath, she rushed and took the kid in her arms,
“Oh my boy; don’t cry, stop your tears
Don’t cry my son my brave little boy”
She was panicked but this did not deteriorate the comfort, the quilt of relief she was to her child. And now with kid held close to heart in arms she hasted towards the doctors clinic, not even bothering to close the doors of the house.
But here today where he has fallen, bullets value more than blood, where life and death is laid on trigger. The fear of death had never touched his heart, but today lying on dear earth for which he fought he longed for that lap of life, same quilt of affection and love where he could take his last breath.
“Sanju” he flattered his cold lips with pain. Sanju took him over in his arms, Raghuveer’s head on his lap. “Water waaatrrr”
Raguveer and Sanjay were from same town but they hardly knew each other as kids, destined to be friends for life they came closer as both took on army as a carrier and fate held them on same battalion. With ups and downs, roughness and brashness of army they became more like a blood brothers or more than blood brother (some relations are from heart, bigger than blood).
The water soldier Sanjay singh poured down his dear friend’s throat dint quench his thirst. He wanted few words from him. “Sanju Promise me yar; when- when you’ll be back at home, our town” he gasped for air. Words were hard to fall out of him. “when they will ask about me, tell them how much I loved them and what if I dint head back alive, I fought I fought for the land where I grew, played, learned , cried and where I lived. Until I fell I fought” he paused again. Pain dint let him speak.
A lump moulded in soldier Sanjay Singh’s throat, his eyes bore tears. People strongly believe that a soldier never weeps, wrong is this notion, who more than a soldier can know how much more reasons he has to cry, they do weep but when they weep they never let anyone see their pain, their tears are just for themselves, they if weep without letting anyone know they weep.
Seeing fellow friend; dear as his life so close to death, Tears crawled down Sanjay’s eyes, He creased his tears shuffling his rifle to another hand. He knew he can’t act feeble before his dying friend, he has to be strong for his friend and for himself.
“Raghu just hold on bit more, rescue team will soon be here. You have to live”.Raghuveer singh managed to smile; though his eyes had lost that glint, he slowly parted his half dead lips. He smiled consoling his dear friend for his own death. Martyrdom (dying for the nation) is the biggest honor in a soldier’s life. Raghuveer knew this, a soldier may die but his spirit, service and love for the nation will live forever along the nation.
Back now in his beautiful portrait of memories he saw his wife cuddling little life in arms. Seeing his lady love and daughter full of life the smile he had abhorred blew away in dark. His daughter , how happy he was posted at boarder when he got news of her daughter; two months back since then the urge to see her once grew more and more but here goes . The fear of not seeing them ever again pierced his heart. He would never see his daughter, his daughter will never know how her father was, and her father dint cared to see her once! The pain in him was getting unendurable. He gasped for breath but his lungs were blocked, lap of his dear friend turned hard as rock he tussled in pain. Sanjay tighten his hand on Raghuveer’s hand he dint want to lose him, deep down he knew his wish wanting his friend to stay -to stay with him was vain.
“Raghu, Raghu” he yelled, but his voice was now no comfort to soldier Rahuveer Singh. Dying soldier tried to focus too see his mother once again in lane of memories. There she was wrapped in dhoti with many folds, standing on same verandah. Though now old with time, but her wrinkled face still glowed of same love, affection and comfort to him. Her still old eyes were in search , as if to croos the thousand mile just assure her heart that though far away her son is fine.
“MAA” he gasped his last deep breath and along with his memories once the brave soldier passed away. Tears of emotion pooled on all eyes, pain of separation stirred all minds. No one spoke a word; dead silence crept upon the bunker. Life is no wonder hard to survive here but with little love, care, compassion and hope they live it with life. Life and death here is bound with a soft, thin rope. Even a harsh whiff of air can blow all away. But one that death fails to take along is pride of a soldier, the pride to live for nation, pride to die for the nation.
The silence that had doomed the bunker jittered away, with ear bursting sound of blast nearby. All soldiers in the bunker were in action in half a second, motioning their riffles in a new quest. They have no time to mourn (A soldier never weeps).
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