Story By Satish_faction
Since all that I can ever do for thee Is to do nothing, this my prayer must be: That thou mayst never guess nor ever see The all-endured this nothing-done costs me.
- Earl Of Lytton, Edward Robert Bulwer Lytton
The essence of poem resonates with soul of this real life based story, brought to us by the author. The author who prefers to sign as Satish_faction is a soldier of Kashmir and his story his a snippet of his glorious life. His unique style of writing makes readers travel his life journey as the story progresses, that's rare!
We had taken off on a routine training sortie from our base when mid-air got a radio call to divert to a LC post for a casualty evacuation. Reached and on landing, a sight of commotion.. Concern.. Anger... multitude of emotions as the Sikh troops surrounded one of their much younger brothers. They got him in a makeshift stretcher.. That was long enough to not fit in our small Cheetah helicopter. Quickly he was bundled into a ground sheet. Saw the first glance of this boy, hardly in his twenties.. In combat uniform that was in tatters.. A mine blast casualty! He was still talking.. Keeping a brave face amongst many who were mostly saying.. "Oye darri na.. Sab thik ho jaouga.. ". He had suffered the brunt in his abdomen.. Maybe tripped on the mine.. Or tried to shield it's effect as sacrifice.. No one would know.... Had a soiled piece of cloth tied around the waist.. Maybe his own pug(turban). Folded the rear passenger seats and made him lie down on the helicopter floor, the only way he could be adjusted in that condition.
By now the concern had caught us as well. It was a ledge helipad and as an inexperienced pilot on his first casualty evacuation mission.. Immediately after take off I dipped and banked sharply into the valley to gain speed as if to reach the base hospital fastest and invited a terse glance from my senior first pilot. Leveled out immediately, but realized the mistake when saw the blood and guts (literally) flowing out from the ground sheet towards our shoes. This was heart wrenching.. ..didn't feel like moving my feet at all, even when it was required to control the rudders, for fear of stepping on his life blood. What followed next was even heartbreaking....The youngster probably quietly watching this, lying on his sides now.. Maybe read our discomfort.. And despite being in such pain and even facing possible death.. Had the sense of dignity.. To make a feeble attempt to wipe the floor with one end of the cloth tied to his waist. A glance at him doing this.. and i was swelled up inside.. Flying normal was becoming difficult. Requested Sir to handle controls.. And permission to tend to him. In a 'cockpit secret' of a moment he allowed. Unbuckled myself and climbed back to the rear side.. Handed him a passenger headset in order to talk him through, he was holding strong, but definitely loosing out.
"Kya naam bhai.. Tu thik hai? "
"Sepoy Gurvinder Sahabji".. and in the typical fauji Josh " Main thik hoon sahab"
"Kaake ..subah subah pooriyan thodi kam khaya kar....... Sab bahar nikal rahi hain pet phaad ke".... and then he gives a faint smile...
" Lambi patrol thi sahabji, thoda zyada thoos liya tha"......
"Saale phir to tune pitthu mein ande aur kele bhi chupaye honge".... and his smile grew bigger of talking to a brother in arms.....
" Rakhe the saab... Lekin pitthu to wahin reh gya".
Three four sentences into talking to him and he mentions.. "Saab.. Mera na, hamesha se mann tha ek baar helicopter mein ghoomne ka.. Dekhne ka ki upar se kaisa dikhta hai"..... Then I realised why from lying on his back he would have turned to his side..to be able to look outside of the glass cabin.
" Abe to tune pehle batana tha.. Tere Pind ke upar se ghuma laate.. Girl friend hai teri.. Bol to uske ghar ke upar se chalein"..
Wiped the floor with some stock-net. Comforted him; and asked him to keep talking if he wanted.could see him sedate, but trying to see as much outside, also mumbling something that felt like Shabad from the Gurbani. I climbed back to my seat. We reached the Base Hospital few mins later. Handing him over to the medical staff, we returned to base. But I couldn't remove him from my thoughts... His poise.. Grace.. Called up the Base Hospital in the evening to inquire about him... Gurvinder didn't survive. Army life u are exposed to sudden deaths of closest of buddies.. Why was this boy, unknown to me, having so much effect on me.. Was difficult to get over.... Thousands of thoughts troubling me... If in a 40 mins flight i got so attached how would doctors, who treat patients with all their heart and yet loose them must be feeling. How would family members.. To whom he would be a young lively boy.. Bear the news.
But more than any of these thoughts it was something else... Here was a boy who hours before his death was reassuring his buddies "main jaldi thik hon ke aa jawanga"... a boy having splinters pierced all over his body.. Was not crying, not shouting.. Not showing his pain.. Not blaming anyone or anything... Was a picture of serenity.... No guilt, resentment, remorse, pity....no calling out to family or mother..even when remembering God mumbling his prayers..it was not a frantic call to save his life..but almost like thanking him for living a life....Not a single negative emotion which a time like this would have elicited. he was rather talking of his dream.. His wish to see things from air on a helicopter.
The brief encounter with him was like speaking to a pure soul.. The true "Atma" as we say.. He was like pure flowing water.. "Nothing to hide and nothing to show.... Just going with the flow"... By no means he was dying.. He was just "Living" the moments of his life.
In an age when with the slightest of discomfort or loss we are out to blame or fight everything.... The young boy's dignified resolve and calm demeanor in the face of death... Left a lesson for me for life. Also strengthened the faith in god or the supreme consciousness.. A wish that is pure would never go unanswered..... Had he got injured when we were not airborne.. Or couldn't be picked up due to weather or some other reason.. Or for any reason whatsoever if he were not to be onboard our helicopter..maybe his "last wish" Would have remained Unfulfilled... It was as if the gods conspired to grant him this... Maybe that is why he was just a soul traveling with us. . . No death can be celebrated but drew solace that i was a means to his wish.
More our possessions the more we are attached.. It may not be possible to achieve material renunciation in our lives.. But maybe, if we can draw a spiritual contentment.... A faith that we will get what is ours..it will come to us, if only we could wait patiently... nothing but time will get it to us...not before not after.. To die a dignified death.. we would need to have lived peacefully first....No one would know when will be his time. Remembered the last line of a poem taught to us in school "Paradise Lost" By John Milton.. "They also serve who stand and wait"..
Gurvinder would have wanted us to know..... Let's live a happy and contended life.. Every moment of it...