Col.Velmurugan was staring at the mighty Himalayas from the base camp. The steaming tea mug in his hand was turning cold faster. It was six in the evening, the chill breeze from the snow-clad mountains lashed on to his body. Velmurugan was anything but not feeling the cold, he was boiling like a volcano inside. Just a few days earlier, a group of armed terrorists had infiltrated into his camp and had gunned down at least a dozen of his dear pals. His muddled mind was raging with emotions of sorrow of losing the dearest friends and the anger to seek a suitable vengeance haunted him.
Kashmir, by now had become a challenge. India’s western neighbour had resorted to all forms of unfair and ugly means to destabilise the peace and tranquillity of the region. A place that was once called ‘Paradise of Love’ was slowly getting painted in red. Every successive Indian establishment was leaving no stone unturned to bring back normalcy in the valley; but you know, what they say is right ‘You can choose your friends but not your neighbours’.
Col. Velmurugan had not slept the past three nights; he had suffered a personal blow. Apart from his wife Vasandhi, if at all he loved anyone, it was his mates of the regiment. Destiny made him to lay their mortal remains into the coffin and send it to their families. Col. Velmurugan quietly moved in to his office. It is was getting dark faster than usual , it was dark not only outside but also inside Velmurugan’s heart. The breaking news on TV was not at all pleasing. A press conference was called by the NSA (National Security Advisor); the statement of CCB (Cabinet Committee on Security) meeting was read out; which as usual condemned the terror attacks, called for persons involved to be brought to justice, diplomatic means of resolution of crisis etc. Col Velmurugan turned off the TV, he shouted, “What the hell is this? When my country is bleeding, when its best soldiers are butchered, why should one be calm? It is better to tell the whole world we do not have capacity to strike back, that we are incompetent, or ………. that we are impotent…”.Saying so, he banged the tea mug which broke in to pieces. Col. Velmurugan was also broken and shattered.
It was at this time he got a phone call, a video call. He picked his phone, it was Vasandhi, making a video call. Col. Velmurugan recomposed himself, before receiving the call. He had to be careful; Vasandhi was pregnant and the delivery date was fast approaching. So, like any other personnel from the armed forces, the past 9 months, Velmurugan was away from home. It was only the rare phone calls like these that comforted him a little. Sporting a calm face, he received the video call. What he saw on screen sent shivers down his spine. Vasandhi was desperately struggling, she could barely speak. It looked like she had to be hospitalised at once, she looked critical. It seemed like death was staring at her from the windows behind. Vasandhi mustered all her energy and spoke in a fragile voice. “My love, I called you to see you for one last time, I am not sure if I can see through this pain, but as I promised I will leave behind a Kutti Vasandhi to take care of you. Bye, Bye my lov……” saying so Vasandhi fell unconscious. Col. Velmurugan started shouting “Vasandhi, Vasandhi…….”, there was no response and then as it happens always, the call got disconnected.
Velmurugan went mad, he attempted to call back but the call was not getting connected. One had to be very lucky to make a call from that place and today luck was not on his side. Velmurugan wanted to rush out and shout to expel his incapability and anger, as he turned to the door, Subedar Lakshman Singh was standing there. He said, “Sir, Major Vijay Kumar Rathod has asked you to meet him at once in the war room, the matter it seems is very urgent, please hurry up”.
A meeting with Major Rathod meant it was something extremely critical. Col Velmurugan prepared to leave at once, but what about Vasandhi? Col. Velmurugan closed his eyes, images of him taking the Oath – “My Nation’s welfare, safety and security is my top priority….” got flashed. In a flash of a second Velmurugan opened his eyes, he now knew what was needed to be done.
He marched to the war room in his usual gait and panache
To be Continued…..
A FICTIONAL NARRATION INSPIRED BY THE URI SURGICAL STRIKES
Assoc. Prof. Vijay M
It was a bloody sunny day of 1976; the scorching summer sun did not spare any living being. Summer is very tiring in India, summer in Chennai – Oh Less said the better. It was around 12 in the noon, a young, dwarf, black complexioned guy was sweating like a pig. Tension in him ascended, his blood pressure was at its peak, he was living the most important, crucial day of his life.
All the noteworthy legends of Tollywood had assembled in the music composing room. The dwarf man, a new among them, was trembling like hell; this was his first chance to compose music track for a movie.
Gnanathesikan, as he was named, had struggled hard to reach this place. Born in a poor family, he had left his village in pursuit of a great career in music. His dreams came crumbling down as he walked pillar to post on the streets of Chennai, begging for a chance in a movie. The film industry, they say is very cruel. The industry showed its ugly face to Gnanathesikan. With very little money left, he chose to sing in weddings and parties, composing his own tunes and melodies. With an unimaginable amount of struggle, he finally got a chance to compose a sound track for a movie.
It was Gnanathesikan’s D Day. Days of rehearsal, hours of refinement had taken toll on his health. His eyes had heavily swelled, for he had not slept for days. This day was what he was waiting, his prayers had been answered, and the doors of fortune paradise had opened. Emotions of happiness and tension, joy and fear raged in his heart. He had to prove his worth today and NOW. He had trained his orchestra a million times, every note he ensured played appropriately. Sitting in the record room Gnanathesikan looked around, his orchestra team with violins, guitars, tablas and other musical instruments were sitting on one end, all of them had fixed their eyes on him to rise and conduct the music. In the bottom of their hearts, each one of them knew that a music superstar has arrived. Gnanathesikan turned to the other side of the room, the stalwarts of the industry were seated; their eyes filled with dark arrogance and resentment. They were staring at him as if asking, ‘What bloody talent do you possess to impress us?. Gnanthesikan knew he had this ONE chance to answer them not by words, but through his work.
The room fell in to dead silence. The director of the movie rose to announce the recording of the first song of the movie, the score of which is composed by a new music director. The director then summoned the young Gnanathesikan to rise and start the proceedings. All eyes now moved to Gnanathesiakn, no one could gauge his state of mind, not even the creator, it was that muddled.
Gnanathesikan mustered all his courage. He sent quick prayers, gathered all his energy, thanked the director with a namaste, turned to the orchestra team and raised his hands to signal the inception of the song. Each ear prepared to get tuned. As the bows of the violin touched upon the strings and even before a beat of music could unfold; OFF went the power.
Even before the light could enter the life of Gnanathesikan’s life, it had gone off. Even before he could recompose himself, his ears heard these words from the other end of the room – “Aree! What an unlucky guy this music director is; this is his first performance and off goes the power. Does it not signal something inauspicious?”. Few more voices emerged, “Of all under the sun, this man has turned up to record the score for the movie, if his beginning itself is so ugly, having him in the movie would be inviting fiasco with folded hands”. Slowly the negative voices gained momentum. It was dark outside and inside for Gnanathesikan, all his energy started to sink, he was about to collapse but suddenly…
Suddenly, the doors of the studio opened; a Lady in a Blue Sari walked to Gnanathesikan. She, with all love, wiped the tears rolling down from his eyes. With a pat on his back she whispered in to his ears, “You are sent here not to lose but to win; not to run but to fight; not to fall but to rise. You are born to be great. No power under the sun can stop your progress. Shun your weakness and raise, summon all your strength young chap, Congratulations!!!”, saying so she swiftly walked back.
Gnanathesikan regained his composure; he knew his work was best. The electric power had still not resumed. He looked at his orchestra team; his eyes now had a renewed power. It now cast an unknown spell on the orchestra team, he raised his hands signalling them to play the tune.
As the audience behind him prepared to leave the room, they heard the orchestra play the music. This type of music, they had never heard before. The harmony in tune, the rhyming rhythm had by then injected fresh air of new fragrance in the room, for each one of them, this music was magic. As the song neared its completion, the critical audience burst into a never-ending applause. At that very moment, the lights turned on inside the room and the skies turned dark and showers lashed the earth. The atmosphere that looked negative five minutes earlier had now turned heavily positive. All in the music room jumped to hug the new guy, they knew that the success of all movies henceforth rests in this man. A new icon was born – ILAYARAJA was born.
But then, who was that Lady in a Blue Sari? Was she an angel sent by the Almighty? Was she the lady luck? Was she a mortal like us, who just walked in? Well you can call her what ever you want, but for me this Lady in a Blue Sari was the ‘Never give up attitude; the grit; the determination’.
Whenever you fall, whenever you feel dejected, whenever you notice that things around you are turning bad to ugly, whenever you travel in a dark unending tunnel; summon this lady in Blue Sari. She will appear before you, motivate you and then you shall see all your predicaments disappearing. You will a see new light, a new day and success will be yours forever. There will be no turning back.
Assoc. Prof. Vijay M