Please read the previous 2 posts before reading this one Soldier Diaries 1(1) and Soldier Diaries 1(2)
She did not understand, her gaze told me that. “I run a school for kids here, the ones who can’t afford a regular school. They are talented and willing, but money fails them. So I try to do what I can for them. Half of whatever I earn, I utilize to run this small school.. Ashiana. The kids chose this name”. “Hmm” she replied, looking around the room once again. “How long have you been doing this?” . “1 year and half the world thinks I am crazy. I was offered a job in Bangalore, with a package of 10 Lakh. I refused because I couldn’t bear to leave my students. Now people think I am some kind of a show off trying to prove myself a great man or something”.”Hmm” she said. “I think I will make a move now” she said. “Your students will be here shortly I guess. Have a good day, and sorry about the ambush. I was just doing my job”. “That’s okay. I understand” I said smiling at her. She gave me a brief smile and then turned around and left. 30 seconds later she came back, “Just for the record, what is your name?”. “Vikas Shekhar Mehra” I replied. And then she left.
What happened after that is our own small story, which I feel is not relevant to anyone but us. I, Vikas Shekhar Mehra, am an engineer by profession and a teacher by choice. I have grown up in a family where we had 3 generations in the armed forces, and I was the shameful fourth who chose not to be. I wanted to serve my country , but without a gun, and that by some logic made me less of a man. She says, I am soldier too, because I have a cause to fight for, a dream that I live for. The important thing in our story is that we are both soldiers in our own sense, we both chose a dream we could live and die for, we fell in love, married and chose a life which the society looks down upon as unsettled and abnormal. We didn’t change after getting married, instead we entwined our dreams in a way that made both of us better and stronger. I could lose her in a blink of an eye, but I know that dying for her country would be the only kind of death where she would die without regrets. I don’t have money to splurge but, I know that when I leave this world, I will have made it a little better than the one I was born in, and I would have no regrets. How many hours we spend with each other do not matter as much, what matters is how we spend the few minutes we have. And when we are far apart, we have the satisfaction of knowing that each of us has someone who understands that part of us, which the rest of the world doesn’t .
A soldier is a soldier, with or without a gun.
Vikas Shekhar Mehra and Cpt. Kavya Vikas Mehra signing off.