The beautiful valley of Kashmir had an air of melancholy over it. The temperature was -20 degrees, breathing and movement seemed difficult. The winds howled ferociously but the chills it sent was nowhere close to the sound of bullets and canons followed by eerie silence. The serene snow-capped mountains, the air and the land were crimson with the amount of blood splattered. It seemed like people were playing Holi albeit with blood. The men in their camouflaged uniforms, were however undeterred. Sheer love for their mother land and their dedication kept them going.
Subodh was hungry and tired but resting seemed far-fetched. He kept crawling forward with his battalion.
Suddenly there was a heavy round of firing in their direction. They had been spotted. His men fired back. He was pained to see his comrades’ bodies strewn around like puppets. The smell of blood was nauseating. Victory seemed difficult but they continued with the same vigor. The opponents were closing in. Subodh realized he had to act fast. With a sudden adrenaline rush, he charged ahead with intensified firing. His team followed suit and there was heavy firing from both sides. Subodh felt a sharp pain when a bullet pierced through his waist. He was shot thrice but he kept firing as if possessed. He stopped only after all the members of the other battalion were killed. His legs gave away and he dropped on the ground with a heavy thud.
He was in excruciating pain. He was profusely bleeding and kept falling in and out of consciousness.
“I am expecting!”, squealed Suman, hugging him. There were fleeting images and Suman was back. With trembling hands, she read the letter that stated he was posted in Kashmir. “I’ll be fine don’t worry”, he could see himself assuring her. “It isn’t war time”. Another set of images and he saw himself at the station. “Please take care. Don’t stress. It isn’t good for the baby. Can’t wait to see my baby”.
He saw himself again, this time, with his bags packed, ready to leave for home when the war broke out. “Please don’t. I need you.”, Suman was wailing over the phone. Subodh was torn between his love for her, their yet to be born child and his country. “I promise you, I’ll come. Please be strong. We’ll be together soon.”, he assured.
“Baby wake up. I love you. Look at our daughter”. He could hear Suman, he could feel her caressing his hair. He lifted his arms to hold his little girl.
“Doctor, he is moving!”, shrieked the nurse. He opened his eyes unaware of his surroundings. “Where was Suman? where was his girl? and where was he?”
Later he found out, he had undergone major surgeries and drifted into coma. His survival was a miracle. Suman had gone into labor around the same time and yes, they were blessed with a girl. They named her “Karisha”, she was their miracle baby after all.
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