Dear Diary, Featured Posts, Stories

Not Just a Dog

He is breathing slowly through the air mask. There is a window on the eastern side of the room and the sunlight brightens the bare walled white room even more. Little dust particles float quietly in the air. I pour myself a fourth cup of coffee out of the flask. I look at my phone.

0730 hours. Srinagar. 6’Celcius.

I move my attention to the view outside the window. The room is on the ground floor and a slew of Army Trucks line up in front of the Military Hospital . My heartbeat shoots up and I hold his hand tightly which has a glucose drip attached to it. I turn it around. Even the palm has cuts.

The doctor in charge arrives for the morning round. I move away. A fair stout man, he wears a smile. I try to remember his name from last night but the memories are hazy.

Any progress , Doctor?” I am earnest and he gets it.

He is still unconscious. But his body is responding well. Why don’t you go freshen up lady, there is ample staff here.”

Alright. Thank you. I shake his hand.

 

I walk back to the hotel. I throw myself on the bed . I fall asleep in a split second. I dream of a hand full of cuts and bruises moving on my body. I open my eyes with a start. I take a bath,  order myself a sandwich and head back.

He is sitting up on his bed in anticipation and turns expressionless on seeing me. Somebody must have told him of my arrival, I deduce. I look at his face clearly for the first time in bright light. The two eyes are deeply sunken in the head. I feel a tug .

 

You were the last person I expected to see here.” he speaks slowly.

I keep quiet and place my bag at the side table. I occupy a corner with my chair and a notebook.

  “I heard you arrived last night and seeing the flask and your eyes, I presume you haven’t slept. How caring of you.He turns his head sideways towards me. I notice the tinge of sarcasm in his voice.

The Hindu has sent me here. I am a war journalist remember! ” Yes. I am on work here. I try to convince myself.

And here I thought you had come for your injured ex-fiance. Begin. That way you can leave earlier.

So, first of all the country is thankful that there were no casualties. It is..” I am interrupted.

Who said nobody died!  One of our soldiers was martyred.

I move through my papers. I crosscheck. “But my source is the DGMO . No human casualties.

As I said one of us died. Does he have to be a human for making sacrifices for his country?

 I don’t understand. I think you are still in shock. Maybe we should talk later.

  I am a Fauji lady. I fight where I am told and I win where I fight. I am in peace after yesterday. Not in shock.

Lets rewind the clock then ” I settle down with my notebook.

 

We were receiving inputs about the infiltration for a long time. As soon as we got the go from the top, our unit was assigned the mission.”  I see him drift into the narration.

Ten of us belonging to the Para Special Forces crossed the border around 0200 hours yesterday along with two sniffer dogs – Shera and Kaali. We were tasked to eliminate the infiltration camp beyond the LOC. These camps are nothing but just house the terrorists take on rent from locals to house militants. We were lucky that the area had scarce population. Snow had been falling all night. Everything was white till the horizon . There had been mist formed during the night covering the entire area almost to the ground. You couldn’t see a foot in front of you. We covered the camp from all sides, took our position and started firing. We were not expecting much resistance at that ungodly hour. But soon we were receiving retaliatory firings.

Was there a breach of intelligence?” He doesn’t seem pleased with my interruption but soon chivalry overcomes it.

Seems plausible. They seemed ready. It was hellish. Raining deadly fragments and splinters, wood, and metal down on us. But we fought.  I was assigned to one of the 30-caliber machine guns with Captain Arunabh Kumar. Shera and Kaali were with us. I hope you remember when I was sent on the two month training at Meerut Cantt with the dog squad. The time I surprised you at your office?” He finally gives his classic side smile.

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Jaagruti.org. Picture is for representational purpose only

 

Ofcourse . With three dogs. And then we went on a ride to the lake with them. Boy ! could they swim! You know how much scared I am of dogs but still!

They were fierce but loyal to me. I was training and bonding with them. Even then I didn’t leave you alone with them. Did I? I am not like you.” I focus on my notebook. I cannot look into those eyes full of language.

Can we go back to the incident?

It was almost dawn. We had killed four of them . Suddenly someone yelled. “Look out behind you.” I turned around and I saw a group of men coming out of the mist. Without thinking, I grabbed the 30-calibre, swung it around, and started firing. The men were approximately three feet in front of our positions. We killed about ten men and captured two. Some of the enemy made it to our positions and we had to fight hand-to-hand. Shera and Kaali too dived in but one of them managed to flee. I suffered a bullet shot on my shoulder. Captain Kumar received deep cuts on thighs . Even Kaali had been shot. But we had to trace that fleeing enemy before retreating back. We had less than half an hour. Shera picked up the scent and, hot on his trail, moved with speed and stealth for approximately one kilometer across the mountainous terrain. I followed him.

  He traced the militant in a hideout where he had succumbed to his injuries. The operation was complete. I was wondering about the mist when I felt the tip of an LMG on my neck. There had been one more hiding in the vast snow. He made me throw my 30-calibre.

I didn’t want to die facing my back to the enemy. I couldn’t die before I proved my blood. I whistled Shera.  Shera leaped on him while I swiftly turned back trying to gain control over the LMG. We struggled but being hit with a bullet I was losing my strength in the cold. He eventually threw me away. Shera kept tearing through his pants but the enemy kicked him and shot him at one go. Now he aimed straight at me. I was prepared this time. To face death with courage. With my chest facing the bullets.

He pauses suddenly . The kind of pause when you remember something which you are trying to avoid. Looking for words in their orphanage.

Nobody can love God better than when he is looking death square in the face and talks to God and then sees God come to the rescue.  Shera leaped on the enemy again  but shot again. However this time I had  grabbed my 30 caliber and fired . And I kept on firing till he fell on the ground with fear and pain on his face.

 I dropped my gun. I looked at Shera. A hero had fallen. I removed my fatigues , wrapped it around him and carried him back to our base in my arms. He was two years old. I fell unconscious as soon as I reached here. Even a fauji’s body doesn’t give up till the work is done.

There is a fond smile on his face.

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Model: Duggu ,  Proud Owner: Ishti Sharma

I saw Shera running and playing as a pup at the Dog Squad premises in Meerut, and I fell in love with him. It was instant. I went to my senior and requested that he be given to me. We had been together since. He was three-months old when he was given to me.

 Shera wasn’t responding well to the training and six months down the line, he hadn’t learnt much. I was upset and would break down during lonely nights in the barracks, but then I never pressured him. Instead I said, ‘You take your time. I want to see how long you wait before you start responding,’ and today we both share an inseparable bond. He gave his life for me, for his country. I am proud I trained him.

 You know a person can learn a lot from dogs. Shera taught me to live with joy and enthusiasm every single day. He taught me the true meaning of love which is selflessness and unbridled loyalty. He was a true gentleman and I hope to go to his heaven and not man’s.

I close my notebook and sit across him.

I hold his palm with the glucose drip attached in my hand , bring it close to my lips and kiss it gently.

I look into his deep black eyes and murmur.

  Let us get our first dog together.

 

 

This post was written in collaboration with Second Home.

Second Home provides pet sitting for people travelling out unable to take their pets along. The pets receive the same love and care here as they get at their home. For more information visit their Facebook Page:  https://www.facebook.com/SecondHome007

 

 

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Dear Diary, Letters to the Lover, Stories

At the touch of a lover, everyone becomes a poet

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Source: Internet

 

Dear Soldier,

                           

                               “Kiss me with rain on your eyelashes,

                                    come on, let us sway together,

                             under the trees, and to hell with thunder.” 

 

 

At the touch of a lover, everyone becomes a poet.

 

Its time for my evening walk but turns out it has started to rain heavily . Monsoon has finally arrived in Delhi with all  its pomp and show( read lightning and thunder  ). I wish it stays for some time because maybe it reminds me of you. Continue reading

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Featured Posts, Stories

The End of the Beginning

 

spicysaturday

 

The blog post was selected by BlogAdda as one of the best for Spicy Saturday Picks edition dated February 13 2016. You can have a look at:

http://blog.blogadda.com/2016/02/13/spicy-saturday-picks-february-13-2016-indian-boggers-blogadda

 

He was mysteriously warm. Everything that was his, radiated warmth. His fingers on my bare skin felt like sunrays. My sun had arrived out of the clouds.

“How can anyone be so warm even in this chilly weather?”

“It is easy. I am hot, you see.” Even his smile hugged me.

My heart felt tingly and high in my chest. For a second I felt like a baby in a womb. Nothing mattered. I held him close to me with my eyes closed, my hand in his hair, wondering if anything in my life had ever been this perfect and knowing at the same time that it hadn’t. I was in love, and the feeling was even more wonderful than I ever imagined it could be.

“I love you.” I took a deep breath.“ I am astonished at this intimacy. Who would have imagined, we of all people, to fall in love.”

“I always knew this would happen. This is the place I have dreamt with you. This is where we belong.”  He looped his arm around me and kissed me, his mouth lingering on mine, teeth grazing my lower lip, making me shiver. He tasted of honey. I couldn’t remember how long it lasted but when I let go off him, I missed it already. Continue reading

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Dear Diary, Stories

The Winner takes it all, Really?

The sun rose in a cloudless, shimmering sky, and only those who had risen at dawn like me had been lucky enough to enjoy the cool breeze that had blown for a brief spell on that otherwise hot summer day.

It was the day of my Class 7 results. I was leading by 1 mark till the pre-finals and was pretty sure that I would come First in my class after a wait of seven years. For seven long years I had sincerely held the second position but the top one surprisingly alluded me.

I had always doubted, perhaps the girl who topped knew black magic and she magically interchanged our marks. Maybe that could explain the mysterious smirk she gave me every time we collected results. Or perhaps there was something to be said for Sun Signs. Mine being Capricorn, I had like the goat, always stayed close to grass, and had lived my life at my own pace only being stirred into furious activity when goaded beyond endurance. Hence there I was, happily watering my plants, and talking to them, telling how proud I would feel receiving the first prize at the prize distribution ceremony- “You all should come too”. Little me, little dreams.

Trrng …Trrng. The landline buzzed in my room . I dashed inside skidding like a surfer on tidal waves. I picked it up excitedly and the other side spoke “ You got second my baccha.” Oh ! not again. Though this wasn’t new but it hurt this time. Maybe I was really in my adolescence as the science teacher had told us , starting to feel things . I ran to my hiding place and sobbed for half an hour in the bath tub.

Mom and I went for our walk at night. I asked her “Are you unhappy?” She smiled at me as she always had “ You didn’t lose, you came second. That’s still winning. How could I be unhappy with a second place. There are a lot of your classmates who would love to be in your place. I know it is frustrating at times, but what’s so great is the lesson you take from this, which is, ‘I’ve got to get better.’

And that was it. I pondered over my weaknesses, endured for the whole year and there I was after one year, proudly receiving the first prize. A little bud of rose bloomed in my garden that day after a long wait.

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Dear Diary, Stories

In search of Him

I see him coming from the other end of the courtyard. Say it today! Say it! No I can’t . I run away. Hey! Stop . Where are you going? Voices disappear behind me but I keep running..never looking back…


As I struggle to get me, my bag, my purse onto the bus, I am pushed from behind by two very assertive women. I find a seat and by the time I load on my stuff, there is just enough room for me, and not much for anyone else. And then the bus fills up and I find myself crammed in with two children, an older sister and younger brother, sitting virtually on my lap. We leave on schedule as people settle into their seats. The two pushy women in front of me and their young daughter, who don’t seem to have a seat at all,  opt instead into standing as close as she could to me, shoulder to shoulder. The women keeps smiling and talking to me in a language I don’t understand, the girl keeps trying to get as close as possible and the bus keeps getting hotter under the noonday sun and it is all very interesting for about the first hour. Eventually, I am starting to feel suffocated, and wondering if the last hour of the trip is going to be an endurance test.

I flip through the book he once gave me. Can I see him again? Can I bear it? Do I want to see him? I close my eyes and tilt my head back as grief and longing lance through me. Of course I do. Torturous memories flash through my mind— his gentleness, his humor. I miss him. It’s been two months since our school ended and he being a boarder returned to  his city ,  two months of agony that have felt like an eternity.


The bus stand is bustling with people of all hues and colours . I take out the city map ( GPS is not for Real Explorers).  I have just one lead – he lives somewhere near a cinema hall- Devki Talkies. I feel like James Bond- Ray Bans on eyes which are constantly scrutinizing the streets ,map in one and weapon( in my case a pepper spray) in other hand- only I am on a rickshaw while he travels in swanky cars.

The cinema hall is amidst a market. But finally –  हम तो हम हैं- I locate his house and ring the bell. A lovely lady comes out. Plan A is ready.

“Yes?”

“Hello ma’am . I am from National Sample Survey Organisation. I have a few questions to ask about your family for the National Population Register.” She looks convinced.

” Its too hot.Can I come inside?” I ask with the most innocent face I could make.

“Hmm. My daal would be burning in the kitchen. I ‘ll send my son.” The arrow hit its aim.

He comes into the drawing room .

“What. How.Why?” If I say he looked shocked, it would have been the understatement of the year. I had never heard silence this loud. “You are mad as always”. He says finally gaining the stock of the situation.

” I have to rush before your mother discovers fake officials at home. Meet me at the Kalki Mandir at 4 pm. ”


Constructed in stone, the Kalki temple conformed to the typical style of the North Indian Temple Architecture.Although the access to the temple was through a ceremonial archway that opened at the street level, the temple itself sat atop a twenty foot high plinth. It was interesting to note that instead of steps leading up to the temple, there was a ramp in two easy gradients. Facing the temple in one corner was a canopied kiosk which contained a fine white marble stature of a horse. The connection was clear: when Kalki arrives, he will find his mount ready! That is why the ramps were perhaps there – to facilitate the horse to come down or climb easily.

But the temple itself was closed. In fact  it had been closed ever since it was built. Today, a caretaker priest appointed by the state government kept it clean and tidy by periodically opening it. Otherwise, the Kalki temple bore a deserted look. No devotees. No prayers. No temple bells. Clearly, Kalki’s time had not yet come! But who knows, in the timeless turning of the heavens and the earth, Kalki may not be very far away …

” What are you thinking?It would have been a long journey. Why didn’t you tell me? ”  I turn my head right and there stands Siddharth.  I look into his glowing eyes ,silent , words refusing to come out. I feel the familiar pull—I am drawn, Icarus to his sun. I have been burnt already, and yet here I am again.

A cool breeze hits my face making my curls dance to its tune. I tuck them behind my ear.

“Old habits” he says with a smile . ” Never change” I reply with a smile.

“How are you? You ran away on farewell! You are not even replying to my texts?” he asks, his voice soft.

” I couldn’t say goodbye properly. Just wanted to see you once before beginning my new life at college.” My voice is small, contrite.

“What?You travelled 85 kms for this! You know how dangerous it is , travelling alone? You could have been kidnapped, looted or god forbid what! You are not a child anymore Saumya!”

” I-DID-IT-FOR-YOU. For five freaking years it has been you who has stood by me. We have shared our lunch boxes, bunked classes in name of our fake debate rehearsals , played footsie in library, got locked up in the greenhouse together . We even caught cold eating the roadside kulfi together.”

“So?”  Why do you boys want full-detailed-logical explanations all the time?Some things are understood without saying , idiot.  Go watch some bollywood movies !

“I love you dammit! It isn’t easy letting go “I say  , my voice unexpectedly louder this time .The words keep echoing in the temple premises striking the marble tiles and reflecting back. I notice even the idol of Kalki eyeing ,accusing me of disturbing its sleep . Sorry God , its important.

No reaction from his side. Oh no 😦

He starts walking towards me, his face revealing nothing. He grabs my arm and abruptly pushes me against a pillar. “Then don’t” , he says grabbing my face between his hands, forcing me to look up into his ardent determined eyes.Suddenly the atmosphere between us changes, charging with an electric, exhilarating anticipation. We kiss. 

My inner goddess sways in a gentle victorious samba.  Whitney Houstan plays in the background

You, darling, I love you

Oh, I’ll always, I’ll always love you

Phew, destination reached.

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