Well this just a short story which I have written based on the themes of patriotism and the age old charm of friendship and the bit of sacrifice which every one of us has to make in life. I hope you like this story.
“Do you know what you have to do, Amar?” asked Haider.
“Yes, I do.”
“You have been chosen for this. This is your destiny. Your peers have trusted you. I hope that you would not fail them.”
“I will not fail my task. I know what I have to do and I will carry it out to the ultimate perfection.” replied the 30 year old with an AK-47 hung from his shoulder, a Kalashnikov on his waist and 3 grenades in case the task failed. . .
“Amar today is the most important day of your life. Today you will reach your Higher Self. Forget about your past life it will only bring pain and look forward to the life which you will get. The ultimate reward of your actions. But tell me one thing. . . . are you afraid?”
“I am Amar and I am not a coward. Do you understand? Stop this nonsense and let me carry out what I Am supposed to do.”
Haider now had a devilish smile on his face. His face glowed in the morning sun. He felt happy that this boy had so much in him and yet he didn’t know what he was supposed to do in life until he came along. Azad Kashmir will cease to be a dream. It will be reality. Today I will rewrite the history with the help of this idiot, he thought.
Without saying much they proceeded to the jeep that was waiting for them at the gate of the dilapidated house. Amar was a little hesitant to step in. His heart had stopped him. Questions arose in his mind. Was this destiny really written for him? Is the path he was leading correct? Was he doing justice to his family? Was he doing justice to his Mother Land? But before any more questions could arise Haider had put his arm around Amar’s back and led him to the jeep.
As they passed through the scenic country side of Jammu and Kashmir Amar saw the morning sun rising from the mountains. Removing the darkness spreading light all around, that what’s I am supposed to do. They passed through the fields on outskirts of Gulmarg. Amar felt a familiarity with them. Hey this is the place where I was born. My father used to work here. My mother cooked her meals in these fields where our farmhouse was. I used to roam through these fields with Nilesh all day long. Nilesh… Suddenly Amar was nostalgic. He felt a reminiscence of warm memories of his childhood with his father, mother, sister and Nilesh.
Amar was just a young 10 year old. With a young face and chubby cheeks he was always the most adorable student of his school. Excellent in sports, recitation and academics he was the favourite of his teachers. But he was a coward never standing up to fight with the boy slapped him. He just quietly endured it. But Nilesh was not like that. He was a brat, the naughtiest boy of the whole class. Always playing pranks on teachers and his classmates. Once he set off a hen in the faculty room of his school and then spent the next three days at home complaining of a stomach ache. Next he ate the chocolate cake of the boy sitting right next to him while the Math class was going on and the teacher staring at him. Boldness, he thought. No one dared to challenge him for they knew that the unfortunate one would not be able to come to school for the next 10 days thanks to his legs and hands.
Yet Nilesh and Amar were best of friends. An out of the place match people thought. Nilesh never hit Amar and he protected him from the other brats of the class.
On 5th October, 1985 Nilesh and Amar made carved on the apple tree in their school, Amar and Nilesh the best friends forever. They made a common dream. Each of them wanted to serve the Indian Army as leftanent when they grew up. They boldly declared that no force in the world is strong enough to break their friendship. They would remain friends no matter what happened in the Army. They respected the army men for their uniforms and the boldness they had in them. Boldness is everything in this world, Nilesh and Amar used to say together.
Past Life, he thought. Such a wonderful life it was!
The jeep reached its destination and so had Amar. It was a beautifully constructed house with high walls, a garden where the flowers seemed to playfully mingle with the butterflies, a fountain with a miniature statue of the God Neptune and a small summerhouse near the garden. Amar stepped down and was a little lost gazing at the structure when Haider called from the jeep, “Do your work properly. May God be with you. I would come back to pick you up in an hour.” The jeep hurried away.
It was only Amar and the house. I have to do it. He went closer to the house making note of every structure visible with his keen eye. He had to report about all these things to Haider. He approached the door. He tried to move it. It moved! Strangely the occupants of the house must have been foolish enough to keep the door open at such a time.
He passed through the lobby and went into the drawing room. It was empty. Where are all these people? He thought.
Then suddenly something caught his eye. Something moved behind the sofa. He hurried to the side, drew his gun and was about to pull the trigger of his AK-47 when he heard the sound of a gun being loaded behind him. He turned quickly and looked into the face of its holder. He was speechless. Pokerfaced he was unable to utter a word.
“Whoever you are better know this is your last day on this Earth. Do you have any last wish?” said the well built man. His voice had an element of clarity and boldness. Boldness to speak to an Extremist with cold staring eyes of his. Boldness Amar thought . . . these days could only come from an Indian Army personnel.
“I am repeating again. . .” he said. “Do want any wish of yours to be fulfilled or do you want me to end this right now right here?”
Nilesh! It could not be. He had kept his word. He was in the Indian Army wearing the much respected uniform. He was fighting for his motherland, his India, his Mother.
“Nilesh.”, Amar quipped. For the first time in 5 years his voice shook. It became faint.
Brigadier Nilesh Singh Rathore recognized this old voice at once. During his childhood he had been used to listening to this particular voice every morning when he went to school. It was Amar Akhtar, his best friend of childhood.
“Amar. It couldn’t be you. . . How could you break your promise? Why did you choose this line? You were more mature than me. How could you?”
It took a few moments for Amar to get back to his purpose. He had to do it. He said with the same boldness “Yes, it’s me. Amar Akhtar. I chose this way so that I can take the revenge of the death of my family which you people had killed 5 years ago. Today I fight for a new land where there will be new hope of beginning life again. Today I fight for Azad Kashmir. Azad Kashmir will be a reality soon and India will taste defeat again. . .”
Nilesh did not let Amar complete the sentence for what Amar had said was just too much for him, too much for India. During the days spent in the army he learnt to respect his land. He learned to defend the honour of his India in terms of speech and war. He shouted with fury in his eyes, “Amar STOP IT! You have said enough! Is this the way you reward the land in which you were born? Is this the way you show respect? Have you gone mad? India will be defeated huh? Never, never, never. Just remember one thing as long Brigadier Nilesh Singh Rathore is alive Azad Kashmir will not see the light of the day.”
“That’s the reason why I came. I have my destiny to fulfill. You are just a thorn in the Rose, Nilesh. I have come to eliminate you.”, Amar blurted out.
“Don’t forget it Amar that your family died for India and not for Azad Kashmir. Your family was killed by the Extremists led by Haider on the night you left for Delhi. Indian Army captured the town at dawn break and so the blame was put on the Army. Do you know what the last words of your father? He said, Bhaarat Humko Jaan Se Bhi pyaara hai. Main iss desh ke liye marna chahoonga. When Haider entered the farmhouse your father was hiding behind the door with a sword and the moment Haider entered with a marvelously agile leap he severed Haider’s right wrist. In a fury his men opened fire and those bullets into your family. Your family died for India. India was the only love. I was searching for you ever since and have found you now and in this state.”
Amar was dumbfounded. He could not believe what he had just heard. But still the story was true. He had seen Haider’s severed right wrist. When he asked about it he got the reply that it was the work of the Indian Army. His father severed the wrist. His father was the Indian Army. His father worked for India. His father, his family loved their motherland where they were born. They died in its honour. They are the true martyrs. And Nilesh is doing just that. He is fighting for his motherland. I am the only one who deviated from the path. I am fighting for a country which does not even exist! What a fool I am. I was easily brainwashed. But there’s still time left to mend my ways. I still have time left to fight for India. It is my motherland and nothing is greater than that. I love my India.
“Nilesh, I am sorry. I was lost. Thank you for bringing me to this. My family died for India and I will also do the same. You go away from this place. Haider is coming. It is not safe for you. You escape through the emergency exit. I will do the needful for Haider. YOU GO AWAY NOW!”, said the newly born Amar.
“You will stay here? Never. Let me stay with you. How can I leave my best friend alone? Forgot the Treaty of October 1985, huh?” Nilesh said.
The sound of the humming engine came nearer and nearer. Time was running out. Amar had to act fast. He said to Nilesh with a smile on his face, “Treaties are never broken. I would be reborn. Reborn to be your friend. Reborn in India, our mother.”
This time Nilesh did not stop him. He smiled. This guy was forever passionate over what he did. Nilesh shook the hands for the last time with Amar and then escaped through the door.
I have time to be good again, father. He pulled off a pin from his waist.
Just then Haider entered with five men each heavily armed and with the same cold eyes which he had seen for the last five years. Haider was smiling and as usual expecting some good news. Amar came forward and said with much warmth in his voice, “I have let Brigadier Nilesh Singh Rathore escape.”
The smile vanished from his face. It grew red with anger. His eyes were full of fire. He blurted out “What the hell are you saying? Have you gone mad? Don’t you want to take revenge of your family? What did you let that bloody Indian go?”
Bloody Indian was too much for Amar Akhtar to hear. He shouted at top of his voice, his voice reflected anger “STOP IT! The bloody Indian whom you are calling is my friend. And my family died for India. My father was the Indian Army who severed your wrist. He died fighting for India. I love the country where I was born. I am an Indian and will fight for India not for some cowards like you! Understand?”
“What are you saying? Have you gone totally mad? Don’t understand what I had told you earlier?”, asked Haider.
“Yes, I am mad. Totally mad. I have now understood. Understood that this land does not belong to Muslims or to Hindus or to Christians or to Sikhs. This land belongs to people who call themselves Indian. Despite the cultural barrier, the language barrier we call ourselves Indian. I would die for my country but would not let my country die for me.”
Haider now understood the true meaning. This boy had got his calling. The thing I feared the most. He is too much passionate about it. He will not look back. I will have to kill him before any further damage to our plans. He took out a Kalashnikov and aimed it Amar’s chest. “Amar, I am sorry. But you will have to die”. He was going to pull the trigger when something went off and rest was black. The blast ripped through the house killing everyone who was present there.
See father I love India. I love the Country Where I was Born.