The day Indian soldiers successfully carried out a surgical operation across the border in POK (Pakistan Occupied Kashmir); I got a call from a very close friend. Unfortunately this was supposedly the last time we would talk.
“Hey Deepak, how are you enjoying the night?”
- Enjoying? No, nothing of that sort.
“Come-on, don’t you know what our soldiers did today? Aren’t you happy?”
- What is done, I guess was necessary as a step that had to be taken by India, but yea I am not specifically happy as such?
“How can you not be happy? Don’t you admire what we have done to Pakistan? Are you an antinational?”
- We lost soldiers and that is certainly sad, especially for their families. Similarly, people across the border have lost lives and the pain is inflicted on their families as well. I am not an antinational. I just know that what has been done is not a solution or even a step ahead for one, so yea, I am not happy as such.
This, was the last sentence I managed to say with a normal tone because what followed, were abuses from my friend and I did fall into the trap and reverted in the same manner. Not to mention, he would love to kill me if given an opportunity, for he thinks that I am an antinational and should be sent to Pakistan. Yes, that’s what my dear friend said.
My night was spent thinking about the conversation. I wanted to know why he was so obtuse about my understanding of something. His words annoyed me to the core, but I wasn’t surprised. Probably because I have spent days thinking why people say what they say and why people do what they do, including me. This night was no different.
We all admire a soldier. He, who is ready to “sacrifice” for something beyond himself. He, who is different from us. He is there to “protect us” and our nation from falling into the hands of oppressors. He plays a role, much larger than we do because he is a soldier, ready to “lay down” his life for the love of his country. Whatever anybody might argue, this is certainly a fact. But then, I think my admiration for a soldier has something more to it, which I came to realize only that day.
Sacrifice | Protect | Lay down – They all have an undercurrent of death.
Just like my friend said, “You won’t be saying what you are saying right now, if you or your family had been killed by terrorists.”
I agree I would have not and I also don’t know what I would be feeling if something like that happened to me. But with that same example, I came to understand one thing. That all such feelings boil down to death.
The ‘sacrifice’ we hail in our soldiers comes from the same feeling – the feeling of death. We know we can’t go on the borders to fight enemies, we know we can’t leave our families, or rather our cozy and comfortable life to go and take a bullet for the country. Why? Make a guess. Of course there are exceptions, but I am not one of them.
‘Military is not my calling.’ ‘I can’t kill anybody.’ ‘It’s not a lucrative career.’ ‘I can’t have family time.’ And many more are the reasons we give for not joining military. I find the undercurrent of death in all of them. Simply because the same people admire military, hail India’s defense, talk of missiles and us being a super power.
This is one example.
Now what about everything else we do in our lives. How many times do we think about the day when we won’t be left with power to walk and jump and would lack ambition? How many times do we think of our death bed and the state of regret for not being able to do what we wanted to do? For how many times we have ignored the idea of death because it’s scary and too suspicious to handle.
So why do we do what we do?
I remember my thoughts in school. It was fun to think that the world was mine. It was fun to live under the protection of my family and crib about not having a thing or two my friends had. There were no worries at all, was there? A small wound would make me cry and my mom would start shouting for my negligence. She won’t let me go anywhere alone. I was scolded every time I crossed the street on my cycle. So much protection, why?
Why was I protected the entire time? What was the necessity for this protection?
Was it because my family was scared of me getting hurt? Or were they scared that they would lose me? I can only guess and my guess is yes. They were scared and they are still scared of loosing me and so am I.
Apart from all other reasons I love my family, I believe that I also love them because one day I won’t have them or they won’t have me. The journey of life we shared would end abruptly and the void of pain will heal in its own time and that pain is painful enough even now. But it is certain to happen because we weren’t asked before being given life and thus we won’t be asked if we want to die.
Such is the scenario of life and death. We are obsessed with both of them, yet one of them is always white and the other is black. One is always shining on us and the other is invisible like an abandoned boy, always around us, but hardly in notice.
This leads to the race we all run. It’s not the race of being rich, richer or richest, it’s not the race of being the most successful, it’s not the race of proving yourself to everybody else, rather it’s to do all of these on time – before I die.
The irony is that it makes me do what I do without me being conscious of it. And thus, I carry my death in all my thoughts, in all my decisions. In my smile and in my sorrow, because apart from change the only thing that’s bound to happen to me or to you, is death.