Written By: Tahir Mehmood
A soldier had died ‘in the line of duty’.
The little boy with the schoolbag on a shoulder was trying to catch the man moving ahead of him. The man was moving with a normal pace; a father that was to lead his son. But the son was too eager to match the pace that was little more for his tiny steps. The father used to carry the schoolbag but not for many days as the son wanted to lower his burden. The father dreamed for the days once his son would relieve him from much worries of life… The father had gone old, and son turned into an exuberant youth. Life was filled with hope; but the hope was to die soon. The day came, and the young soldier’s casket was wrapped in the national flag. He had died ‘in the line of duty’. He fought bravely but death was the final bid for honour. The father was too old to cry aloud, but his worn-out heart was struck too deeply. He wept bitterly; but in sighs with rolling tears of silence. He had dreamed for his son to lead him in life, but his casket was leading the procession to the burial ground. He was proud to have a son like him, the pride will live with him till his remaining days; but the son’s beautiful smile had been lost forever.
He had dreamed for his son to lead him in life, but his casket was leading the procession to the burial ground. He was proud to have a son like him, the pride will live with him till his remaining days; but the son’s beautiful smile had been lost forever. A year ago, she was giggling, chatting, laughing and living with pride. It did not take her long after finishing her studies to marry a soldier. The soldier was a handsome lad; an enthusiast in fun and mischief, but stone-faced ‘in the line of duty’. It was customary for him to present flowers to his bride. The garlands of red and white roses made life a joy never to end. But, fairy-tales always have ‘the end’. The soldier’s grave was laden with flowers; red and white roses. He had died ‘in the line of duty’ and even not bothered to look back for a while; not even for his bride that had become so fond of him. So deceptive are the smiles and tears that bear the burdens of soldiering.
The soldiers are trained to die; they die willingly but their loved-ones become living-dead due to their sudden departure. The soldiers enter into the heart with a bang but leave quietly on unknown journeys never to fall back. The girl now visits the grave daily, and places garland of roses on the grave that the man once had gifted her. Her life has become an empty page of the book, nothing written on it to be read by life anymore. The soldier was her pride; both in life and in death. But the tears were unstoppable forever!
The soldiers would always go the battle zones. Life will go on; and so would the pride and anguish. The soldiers deserve a silent prayer, a rolling tear, and a solemn remembrance by those who live on the beautiful land that was once marred by blood, sweat and tears! The two old women were sitting side-by-side; not far away from a fresh grave. One had just lost the valued jewel of her life. A soldier had died ‘in the line of duty’. The old lady cried, wept, laughed and fainted time and again. Her sequence of anguish was changing every time but not the anguish itself. The son had died in defending the motherland. The soldier had died to keep the honor and glory of the mother and sisters. The pride was overwhelming and so was the gloom! One loves not to depart but to live together forever; but not in the case of soldiers. Their love is intense and so is the pain.
The second lady was weeping too, but trying hard to allay the anguish of her friend through self-assuring whispers. She wanted to utter few words but her talk was empty. Her heart was sinking as her soldier-son was too on the battlefield. It did not take long for the ‘news’ to reach. Her son had died ‘in the line of duty’, too. The two women now drag the wounded souls. The motherland is proud of the sons who sprinkled their blood to save her pride and honor. Pride resides in the bosom of the anguish!
They were all continuously on move while chatting and laughing. The were young comrades-in-arms; the soldiers. They all looked towards the commander’s face which was grim and determined. He nodded his head silently and the soldiers moved with quick steps to cross the ridge line that brought them face-to-face with the enemy. This time they were silent but not stopping at all. Probably they could sense the fate but it was not ‘them’ to shy away from approaching death. Sooner the ‘lead’ was flying all across making many to kiss the ground forever. They fought valiantly amidst death and falling bodies of the comrades-in-arms. They silently looked at each others’ face with fainted smiles, but eyes beaming with pride; of dying for the cause much bigger than the mortal life itself. They died with a pride to live in the memory of their brothers and sisters forever!
The nation remembers the fallen soldiers, but with diminishing pride and anguish each year. The remembrance-days are gradually celebrated with much fanfare but lack soul of the cause, pride and anguish that once defined their pristine sacrifice. The fallen soldiers are a memory that once lived on the face of the earth that today personifies life and peace; all that came not through embellished talk but blood offered silently ‘in the line of duty’.
The soldiers would always go the battle zones. Life will go on; and so would the pride and anguish. The soldiers deserve a silent prayer, a rolling tear, and a solemn remembrance by those who live on the beautiful land that was once marred by blood, sweat and tears!
Thanks to Hilal, ISPR Magazine.