Friday, 22 May 2015

Train to Tinsukia !

Vinayak Gadgil arrived rather early at Guwahati railway station and he was disappointed to learn that the train to Tinsukia, the farthest town connected by rail in Assam, was running an hour late. There was little he could do. So he picked up the latest novel of John Grisham and sat on a chair in the waiting room. Reaching a place early had been his habit he had acquired since his training days in the Officers’ Training Academy (OTA) at Chennai in south India to avoid those extra duty punishments, which he hated so badly.
          How and why did he join the army when he wasn’t interested in a career in uniform? He had his story. His grandfather, a colonel, had served both in the British and later in the Indian armies, and had fought all three wars with Pakistan. His father, a major, had died on the icy heights of Siachen Glacier foiling the enemy’s attempt to overrun the important post of Bila Fondla on the Soltoro Ranges. He was barely ten years old when he was told that his father had laid down his life fighting for the country in the best traditions of the Dogra Regiment. Those high sounding words of valour and sacrifice had meant little to his juvenile mind. What he understood, though, was that his dotting father would be no more around to play cricket with him and pamper him with ice creams.
          His father’s loss had meant different things to different people, he had learnt later. To his mother it had meant a long and lonely life without the assuring embrace of her loving husband. To his grandfather the loss had been profound more in professional terms. The old man always nourished the dream that his son one day would rise to the rank of a brigadier and command an infantry brigade, his own unfulfilled ambition.

.........(for complete story go to short stories section).............

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