Soldier Diaries-1(2)

Please go through the previous post, the first part Soldier Diaries-1(1) before reading this

In life, nothing comes free of cost. There is a price we pay for everything. For food, shelter, water, clothes and even dreams. When i joined the army i knew the price of my dream. I knew that from that point onwards, the journey was mine and mine alone. I knew most of the men consider it a tresspass on their ego, to marry or even fall in love with a girl in combat boots.

So that was that, and my life began. After 8 months of being an army officer i was posted in the border area of Amritsar. One particularly cold morning i spotted a mysterious looking man, with a travelling bag hurrying in a small cramped lane. It was 6:43 AM, i remember checking my watch. Owing the large number of infilterations that had been reported in the past few days , i got suspicious. I followed the man feeling my weapon pressing against my waist through my belt. The man abruptly stopped in front of an old locked door, kept his bag down and turned around. As a reflex i aimed my gun at him and shouted “Hilna mat” (don’t move). He fell backwards in alarm , and his muffler slipped off his face. He was clearly taken aback , scared and amazed all at the same time.

“Bag mein kya hai” (what’s in the bag) i asked. “Books” he said, visibly calming down. The army officer in me saw no reason to believe the man. I asked him to throw the bag towards me and stay where he was, to which he complied without a word. I opened the bag with one hand, my gaze fixated on the man and the hand with the gun perfectly steady and aimed at him. I felt notebooks in my hand. I looked into the bag and found it loaded with books and notebooks, pens pencils and loads of other things, school things. I lowered my gun as i continued checking the contents of the bag. No weapon. Nothing suspicious.

When i looked satisfied, the man rose to his feet and reading the question in my mind said “I am an engineer by prefession, but i do some teaching too”. Saying this he began unlocking the locked door, i clutched my gun more firmly, still not lowering my guard. He opened the door , stepped in and then looked back at me, “Come in, have a look” he said.

I eyed him , looking for any hint of foulplay, but could not spot any. I cautiously stepped in, and as i did so, what i saw amazed me. In that little cramped street , behind the terribly dirty and old door was a room full of colors, shapes, charts and drawings, small models of buildings and roads, blocks and God knows what not.

I looked at him, he smiled and said “Aashiana”

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