“And you promised you will be here. I understand your job is very important to you, but what about me? What about your family? What about the one breathing inside me? Don’t you have any responsibility towards us?” she yelled. “I am trying Anusha, have already applied for holidays…but it’s not in my hands …”. “That’s what you said last month”, she interrupted before I could complete. Look, I am not forcing you. It’s just that I want you to be here for that one special day, it’s been 9 months and I haven’t seen you. Maa, Papa, everyone misses you. “I”…and before I could pitch in my defense, she hung up the call. What she said was right but partially she needed to understand I was chained and was not making an excuse. I slept that day with a heavy heart and praying to the stars to be in my favour for the next few days. Early in the morning, I received a letter from the headquarters. By the time I opened the letter, I had already prayed to all the gods I knew. And what I read made me jump off my bed. Damn!! I was finally going home after so long.

Making no delay, I packed my bags, said goodbye to my friends, and found my way home. Reached the station before time, luckily the train was only a few minutes late. It was very difficult for me to wait for a single minute then, I wanted to reach home ASAP.

By the way, I didn’t receive any call from Anusha today till then, nor was I expecting any, I wonder if she was still mad at me. Though I called maa before getting on the train to confirm if everything is fine, I didn’t inform her that I was coming back home because I wanted to see the same smile on her face which used to be there on mine on getting surprises.

Being an army person, I rarely explored public transport such as the one I was sitting in of course, due to lack of holidays. So, I wasn’t one of the clever people to bring some entertainment along, like books or such. So, I was not left with many options other than observing my co-passengers to kill the time as sleeping was so not an option, for now at least. Therefore. my eyes wandered through the insides of the train and caught a kid of about 3 years old who was pulling his father’s hand so that he could take him out as the little one was bored of sitting at the same place for long where his father was coaxing out to make him understand that they can’t get off from a running train. A smile automatically spread on my lips imagining being in the same shoes very soon. While my eyes were looking out of the window, sleep made its way.

The next morning, I was standing right in front of my home; the soothing smell of wet soil from the planter hanging outside the house made me feel more homely. Without wasting another second, I knocked once, twice, thrice….in a row without a pause. “Coming, coming…” I heard a husky voice coming which got closer to the door with the passage of time, it was the voice of my father. For a second, I got nervous. Like any other child, I was scared of my father too. He opened the door and was actually shocked for a moment, but his happiness could be seen unmistakably in his eyes and smile the very next moment. My eyes were moist too. I bent down immediately to touch his feet before he could notice it. Soon came my mom and as usual, she embraced me with loads of love and lots of tears. I was able to see the care, the love, complaints she had from me which I couldn’t fulfill as a son, and most importantly the fear of losing me and the relief of having me back home; everything could be seen so clearly in her eyes too. I hugged her as that was the only way I could calm her and moreover, that was something I was craving for so long.

Once she had calmed down, my eyes started searching for the lady whose list of complaints and tons of taunt made me stand here. I went inside searching and found her standing in front of the kitchen, those pair of arched eyebrows looked down followed by her sweeping eyelashes, her long curly messy hair looked perfect on her, oh!! Those sugar candy sweet lips, her elegant personality, all mesmerized me. I couldn’t resist falling for her all over again, but embedding a break on my emotions, I moved towards her, “Don’t you think you have gained a lot of weight??”I said in a teasing voice. “Shut up, you fool”, she replied by hitting me with the spatula in her hand. Ouch!! it hurts I said with a wide smile on my face.” You deserve this” she said as the tear rolled down her cheek. And we finally hugged. I wanted the time to stop so that this beautiful moment never ended.

Had a spectacular day but had to rush to the hospital at midnight as Anusha broke her water. Sitting restlessly on the chair, constantly contemplating towards the red light below which was written ‘OPERATION THEATRE’. 40 minutes had already passed. I was getting uneasy by the minute. A nurse came and handed me a prescript and asked me to get the medicines, by the time I came back I saw the door of the OT was open, I gradually entered the room and saw Maa and Papa holding the child while a nurse was helping Anusha with some medicines. I was on cloud nine, went foremost, kissed my lady’s forehead, and confirmed if she was fine. Till then, like any other typical Indian mom, I heard my mom saying that the baby looks like me while I and Anusha smirked. Now it was my turn to hold the baby. With shivering hands, I held my kid still unknown of the fact whether it’s a junior boy or little princess. Was about to see my universe’s face but suddenly, I felt a shriveling pain on my shoulder as if something had been injected inside and everything around me blacked out. My child was no more in my arms, mom, dad, Anusha, I could find none. And all of a sudden, I found myself lying on the bed; one I had back at the camp on the border. The pain was tearing my soul apart. I could see blood around the left side of my body. I can sense the haphazard going outside, could listen to the sound of bullets being fired in numbers. My mind was jumbled, confused. Suddenly, my phone blinked, it received a message from Anusha which read congratulations !! you are the father of a baby……!

The soldier somehow loses the command over his eyelid which closed and never opened again!!!

Written by: Vineeta

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