One of the Jawans of the 81-strong battalion that got ambushed and annihilated by Naxalites.
You are on your way to the base-camp after a 3-day search operation. You are mentally and physically tired after being on the alert for possible way-lays. This is the last stage of your journey and the only thing that has occupied your mind is the safety of the base-camp. A feeling of dreamy complacency overcomes you. You are wading through that deep forest with a lost mind. And then it happens. The truck in the forefront of the battalion blows away. 20 feet straight into the air. Fear, panic, apprehension spike through your nerves.
And then starts the incessant round of firings. You don't know where the firing is coming from. You are caught off-guards. Everyone is running helter-skelter. A feeling of desperation creeps in. You think its the best to run away and survive. You start running in the opposite direction of the firing. But, some of your colleagues just got blasted. Pressure bombs. The escape path is rigged. Shit! Lets take cover behind the trees. You run towards a big tree. Another of your colleague blows up. Pressure bombs near every hiding place. What do you do? You cannot run, you cannot hide. Complete desperation and helplessness. Death is in sights. Mahesh, whom you playfully wrestled yesterday falls dead in front of you. Another one, just married, falls. Memories come gushing in. You start counting your seconds and then it happens. You feel the smearing pain. A chill runs down your spine. This is the end. Another one penetrates. You remember your mothers/wives smiling face and everything goes blind.
You open your eyes. You are in the hospital. A minister is looking down upon you. Anger is all you can feel. Still you force a smile. Scarred for life. This smile is now your life.
Seasons of the Palm by Perumal Murugan
1 week ago