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E-Pao! Incident - Saffron - Scene 1

Saffron - Scene 1

Surjit Huidrom *



Scene I:

25TH MARCH, 2000, Morning was bright, with a scintillating sunshine. Col. VikramJit Singh wake up due to the phone bell ringing, never did he knew that his leave would get cancelled before time, and he would be called back again in the screamy weather of kargil.

Col. VikramJit is tall man in his mid 40s, with stout physique, looking ten years younger than his age; his short grey hairs hoar his brave mind. As alert as ever, he picked up the receiver and said, "Good Morning, Col. Here", "Hello col. this is Brigadier Sukhram speaking. I want you to streak back to your base as early as possible. You are in a mission, with Maj. Arjun Rathore, and he will be reporting to you at your base tomorrow, and meet me when you get back here, I need to discuss with you".

Colonel Vikramjit never minds doing anything dreadful, he has won many medals, many awards, but never wore any mask about his bravery, because he believes that service to the mankind is his only motive and pledge that he had taken two decades back. He believes discipline is his only cup of tea, or maybe because, he needs that image to maintain, but also to reflect the pride shadow of the Indian Army.

Indian Army has given him all the solitary that he required for proving his responsibility, which is the reason why he is still a bachelor. He is not a practical man, but believes in the truth of life. As a native of Manipur he always hated the bitter reality of insurgency in the north-eastern states, had given a lot of information and ideas of combat to the Para-military forces and BSF regarding the possibilities of their secret hideouts and tactics of their attacking. He watched like a dog that never barked but knew the best skills of biting.

Rubbing his face, walked to the bathroom, and gets ready to pack up for a new adventure, an adventure that no youngsters of today might think of or never dreamt of. Today's newspaper had nothing special, many news were coax or contained something about the Government or about the tolls of soldiers dieing. He blames none, but does love reading, just for the sake of reading, or just because he likes to read newspapers with a cup of tea in the morning. That's how his day begins.

Folding the newspaper, he gets up from his chair, before enquiring about his ticket, there wasn't any problem hampered though, but he is very particular about time and pace. He got his ticket confirmed through military reservation quota, that was one best facility provided by the Indian Government for traveling.

Wasting no time further he got himself attired in civilian clothes. He attires like a gentleman, well tailored and well ironed, but never believed in branded clothing. His suitcase was already packed as he had arrived yesterday evening itself. But still opens up to see if anything else is missing, wore his boots and set off.

It was mid-noon then, He puts on his ray ban, just then climbing on the military jeep that had arrived for him. Inside he was anxious about joining the battalion soon, but on the other hand he had to leave behind his old mother, as he cannot take her along, who stayed with her sister. His sister got married to a well doing businessman, so he was more susceptible and focused about his activities and his service to the motherland, India.

Sitting next to his driver in the Jeep, with the blazing sun above he remembered about his father. His father was a mere farmer, who struggled his entire life to make his son acquire a good education degree and grew him with all the ingredients of a Gentleman. His father was the happiest man on this earth to see his son join the Corps of Armed Forces as an Officer; but never returned back from a good night sleep then. He never felt alone, as he knew his shadow would always follow him. Colonel was like a prince, a prince who can challenge anything, and anywhere, a cool personality, as cool as a cucumber.

The station was like a big hall, with all the mike-speakers and people mingling around with no objective, other than catching the train. Life over here is a total different atmosphere, which he is never used to. He found his train arriving at platform No. 3. So he got himself comfortable in his first class compartment. After an 8 hours journey he will reach Kargil, where his driver would be waiting for him. He calculated the time, it would be 23:00 hours, when he reaches his battalion base camp.

Relaxing with his legs crossed, he took out his Company magazine, and read about his people there. He loved his sepoys and his co-officers, they were all so innocent and knew nothing about the world outside, their world limited to their regiment and their family, with their Commanding Officers sitting on top of their head every now and then, they believed that this was life.

They have a very simple life-style with the entire best motive to serve the Nation. Do they realize how fierce the situation is, they can lose their lives any moment. On the other had allied nations seems to have achieved several other targets for tying up the relations between the two nations; their diplomatic target was to prosecute militants of the neighboring country and take measures to prevent the militant groups from raising money in public. Both have partially been achieved, because everything is crafted in such a way that both the nations have to dominate in terms of military affairs, which is leading to a never solving situation.

The train hushes the smoke, with a shrill horn, indicating that it is approaching its last destination Kargil. As he stepped out of the train, it was really cold; he removed his hand gloves to put it on. Everything looked so normal, as if nothing can happen here, but the river never knows its direction, the situation can be tense any moment. This is supposed to be the most dangerous place on earth. He never underestimated the situation, as usual remained very alert.

He moved out of the station, walking like a tiger. Seeing the Colonel coming out of the station, the driver, Naik. P.K.Raut knew from far away that his regiment commander has approached. Naik P.K.Raut was a simple maharashtrian man, with a very jolly smile; Colonel had never seen him without that jolly smile ever. All the people in the battalion nicknamed him P.K. Seeing the colonel he ran to help him carry his luggage, and take him to his Base, Saluting his Colonel, he said with a typical maharashtrian tone, "Chalo sahib, gadi leke aya hoo..yahan jyada der rukna thik nahi hai". Colonel said "thik hai..chalo..".

The climate in Kargil, was unavoidably cold, but the place was unexpectedly beautiful. The chilling night mocked him to light a cigar. He slicked his cigar out from his jacket and lit it, with P.K. complaining all useless issues to him, which he did not bother.

The jeep drove away with its tyre marks left behind on the road lit up by snow white.

End of Scene I..

To be continued;

*** This script is just a craft of fiction and creativeness that I have for the Indian Army, does not resemble any person, location or place.
Resemblance to anybody or location would be a co-incident.


Surjit Huidrom writes regularly to e-pao.net
You can email the writer at [email protected]
This article was webcasted on 01st April 2005.


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