“It’s too cold here, baby. And I wonder how much degrees more will it go down until I reach my destination.” Like always, his voice had an essence of curiosity. Curiosity of a new venture, a new course that his profession has to offer. He has always been a dynamic person and action is something that infuse power in his veins. And being in the Army, was a perfect feed to his pursuit.
He’s a man of values, firmly believing and living his ideologies, that, ‘Competent knowledge is greater than any flaunting medal on your uniform and how well you treat your subordinates is higher than any rank you hold.’ A true soldier, who’s always ready to accept any challenge, is precisely him.
He had maintained a perfect balance between his professional and personal life. Atleast better than anyone I had ever seen doing. Dedication for his service, respect for his parents, love for his brother, Care for his girl and patriotism in his blood. A perfect amalgam of all things rare.
For me, it was his chivalrous persona that drived me towards him. And with time, it was absolutely everything that he was.
Winter is the most tough season for me to deal with, and anything below 18°, is torturous to me. So having pitty for everyone dealing with it was very obvious to happen.
“It’s just a matter of two months, love and you’ll soon come out of this God forsaken – snow bounded area,” I tried to passify myself more than him because his sportiness needed it the least but my protectiveness needed it the most.
Days passed, altitude increased and so did the layers of snow. What else can you expect on a High Altitude and mountaineering training course! The first day of his course, very excitingly, he introduced me to a bit of all that he will be doing the next two months. Now that’s the thing with him, you know, he never clearly states anything, just gives me an overview of the entire process, exactly the way he should keep it professionally. “Baby, See this is my Ski! these are my shoes! look! this is what I’ll wear! This is how we’ll sleep. ” Separated by miles and limited by inferior network, I could feel the ardor intoxicating him for the new experience waiting in store for him.
As the course started becoming tiring and vigorous, the duration of our conversation became less. My mind was convinced and satisfied by the short communication we used to have. As long as he is happy and enjoying what he’s doing, I’m at peace.
“It’s – 21° today, baby. It’s damn chilling here, our room is snow bounded. Oh I badly miss the warmth of a sunny day!”, he texted one fine morning when he was down three-fourth of his course. His body was giving up, but the spirit to finish the course was intact. Since the first week itself, there was a significant drop rate of the members of the course. And as the course was about to reach it’s completion, more than half of the participants voluntarily sought withdrawal. It was that a challenging course to carry through.
“It has never snowed this profusely in a while, this is breaking records now. Why is this happening with us” , he said.
“Just few more days to go, love, and you’ll be over this course. Temperature here has started increasing and I’m loving it. We’ll meet soon. Enough of this colour olive, It’s been so long since I saw a picture of yours in a civil dress.”, I replied.
Little by little, days elapsed. And with each new day, I was happy that he’s successfully sailing through it. And then one fine afternoon, I received his call, baby I made it to the basic course. I did it.!
Hearing that, my happiness had no bounds. His impregnable attitude and hardwork finally payed off.
Passing the basic level means that you make entry to the advance level which not many could make through. I was happy for him. But I also knew, that moving to the next stage means another one month of hardship. Though it will make you a professional in the field, but it will also drain all the energy out of you.
He was all geared up for the advanced stage and was giving a two day rest to his body which they all were given before the advanced course had to begin. Our communication increased and we started sharing our usual day to day events.
The same night, I got a text. “Call me ASAP” I saw the message an hour later and called him. What happened, love? I asked. A scream of cries dumped the silence and I could not figure out what was happening until the screech of “papa! Papa! Papa is..! Papa is no.. No more”, cleared the tragedy that has happened. My world came to an utter unrest. I was unable to react. The person who was the icon of strength for me was himself breaking down. And I was nothing but helpless. The call got disconnected and I was trying to absorb all that I heard but was unable to soak in.
Within the next twenty four hours, across the snow bounded mountains and roads to the plains, the restless son covered hundreds of miles and was standing infront of his father’s burning pyre.
I’m sitting here, all helpless, with the same feeling of restlessness occupying me, unable to soak in the feeling that changed a son’s life. I wanted to see him in a civil dress but not this way. He wanted to move out of that temperature zone but not with this reason. The same screams and screech visits me in my dreams and makes me wonder, “How can reality be this harsh!”.