Love Story of a Commando Download Thank God! He was alive!

Daftar Isi [Tampil]

The Collision

I met him at an art exhibition. The kind of exhibition that absorbs your entire being into its beautiful, mad colours. At first, you’d think that there is nothing in common between a dull, boring canvas and the spirited, vivacious colours on it. But they are meant for each other and it is together that they create art and culture, and sometimes, even history. Together, they have the power to shake the world and also inspire generations.

Their very irreconcilability creates the opportunity for an extraordinary relationship where the existence of one is solely based on the presence of the other. If only I knew that one day I too would witness a relationship just like a canvas and its colours in my own life.

It started when I met him for the first time. Actually, it was more of a collision than a meeting. We collided into each other like shooting stars, illuminating the dark space around with magical light.

My world was shattered, elucidating the state of my illuminated heart. In the movies, this kind of thing usually happens to the guys. Our handsome hero spots a beautiful girl and things slow down as he falls in love with her. But things don’t always happen the way they do in the movies or in romance novels! Even women can be smitten by love at first sight.

But anyway, that is not the point. The point is, I was mesmerized by his broad shoulders, tall frame, masculine face, hazel eyes and full lips. He was an army officer. At least, that is what I could gather from his uniform. He wore a regal olive-green uniform with six golden stars on his shoulders, like the ones that twinkle in the sky. His boots were glossy, and his olivegreen shirt was tucked neatly into his pants. The dark green beret was resting rather smugly on his head. He definitely stood out in the crowd.

You don’t exactly associate a warrior and art together, do you? And so, it struck me as rather strange to find a warrior in an art gallery. After all, it was not an arms exhibition but an art exhibition.

I was here because of other reasons too. I, along with a few friends, had decided to bunk our horrible physics class which was taught by Mahapatra Sir. In a way, it was a protest against his horrible self-imposed, rustic ideas. He belonged to a village in Orissa and loathed all urban dwellers. He had a theory that it was city folk who were responsible for his childhood miseries, of belonging to a poverty-stricken, drought-prone village, the kind of place shown on TV.

Of course, no-one deserves a fate like that, but tell me, how can it be our fault?

We’re just a bewildered and lost generation who are fighting our own battles while embracing our new-found independence as youth and the responsibilities that come with it. And to top it off, we’re at the age when our parents compare us to some Sharma ji ka beta and glare at us disapprovingly. Our mentors and teachers shake their heads at us. The Heartbreaks are as common as the sun during summer. The mind wanders in the jungles of quizzes, assignments, projects and dreaded examinations, which will eventually decide our future.

College Life

Our dalliance with the colours on those canvases began. It is amazing how each painting has a language of its own. How pink, blue and red evokes passion in your heart and agitates you to the very core, and how brown and black smeared ruthlessly on the canvas can make you sad and disturbed. Art has a language of its own. Perhaps that is the reason why the Neanderthals painted their caves beyond the boundaries of language and created a simple world. How many stories and emotions those little caves might hold, I wonder!

It was magical. Sometimes we would talk about how the painter had done injustice to a particular painting and how it felt incomplete. At other times, we would just stand transfixed before another painting, appreciating every single colour and emotion that it held. Finally, he ended up buying five beautiful contemporary abstract paintings for his Officers’ Mess. Right then, the reality hit me hard that we were still strangers and might never meet again.

But life is pretty mysterious. And sometimes, a chance encounter can change the course of your life without you even realizing it. Such chance encounters, with powers to alter the course of your life and change you as a person, are not very common, but when it happens it is more powerful than a nuclear bomb. Such chance encounters might birth myths and legends for generations to muse over.

Do you believe in such stories? I did not, until I witnessed it myself one day. Miracles do happen.

‘Thank you so much. I really don’t know what I would’ve done without you…err I mean without your help. My Commanding Officer will be very happy,’ he said.

‘Oh, no problem! It was my pleasure! Anyway, time to go now.’ I tried my best to sound bright and chirpy.

‘Hey no! I owe you a cup of coffee. You can’t leave,’ he said.

‘Well, my hostel closes in an hour. I am really sorry, but I have to go.’

‘Oh no! That is not done. Okay, give me your phone number,’ he said.

‘Umm! I am actually very busy and I hardly use my phone.’ Now I was sounding more like myself. You are not supposed to give your phone number to just about anyone so quickly, let alone a stranger. ‘Don’t worry, I am not a stalker. It’s just that I owe you a cup of coffee as a token of my gratitude and also, I will ping you my super hilarious forwarded messages.’

‘Seriously? Could not you come up with something better?’ I smiled. ‘Actually, I have never tried that line before, so you see it’s just a beginner’s skill. Grant me this please,’ he said, and smiled. In the end, he dropped me back to my hostel in his gorgeous black Chevrolet Cruze and said he would ping me soon.

How I wished time would have frozen right there! But life is never meant to be simple. Is it?


My return home made my parents very happy and created a buzz among colony aunties and old lovers for a while, but there was nothing left for me to do there. The air felt dull, TV and Facebook became my new best friends, and my phone pinged all the time from friends I did not even know existed back in college. I craved to start my job.

My mum was on an extensive mission of fulfilling all her motherly duties by stuffing me with ghee and oily food along with the constant worries over my physical weakness (presumed). She sincerely believed that four years of my college life had robbed me of my health and glowing skin and only copious quantities of home-cooked food could save me from my doom. My dad would try to strike forced conversations with me once he returned from his office to make up for all those lost years of communication with his only child. But we ended up watching the news together after a little discussion over current affairs and national politics.

Only to move apart again once Mom would call us to dinner. We would collect our plates and settle ourselves before the TV in the bedroom again, ignoring my mother’s constant rants and curses at my father for teaching me some seriously bad manners. After some sincere efforts, she stopped calling us out, and would serve us food right there in the bedroom. Admittedly, my parents were much cooler than most Indian parents.

They never asked me about my future plans or gave me the standard lecture about getting married which most college graduates receive in India. Also, the perks of being the only child meant I would always be a baby in their eyes. Those idle days of lazing around reminded me of Captain Virat again. I tried very hard to stalk him but he was nowhere to be found. What what kind of person doesn’t exist on Facebook? Only ghosts!

I even received two wedding invitation cards from my batchmates while I was still looking for a suitable boy to date. Some batchmates even got their joining letters and happily WhatsApped about it on our college group. Those of us who were still awaiting their joining dates thoroughly cursed and congratulated them half-heartedly.

Mumbai Meri Jaan

There exists a bitter rivalry between true blue Delhiites and Mumbaikars. A thousand pens and a million voices have sketched myriad images of ‘Dilwali ki Dilli’ and ‘Aamchi Mumbai’ in several shades and the unspoken war to scores over each other are centuries old. Delhi grasps you in its peculiarly unsettling aura, grabs you by the scruff and tries to shove its own dented version of Dilligiri down your throat, screaming ‘my way or the highway’.

Mumbai too approaches you with a mildly unnerving cocktail of aggression, affection and apathy—depending on the time and place—but all that quickly evolves into a generally comforting feeling of belonging.

Both cities have their own pace and tone. People in both these cities think they’re living in one of the world’s greatest cities and express themselves in their own distinct languages. While a true Mumbaikar has his own lingo and no sentence can be complete without endearing words like jhakkas, pandu, vtakle idhar se, etcetera, a true Delhiite cannot talk without abuses, but don’t get them wrong, they’re just emotions. The paranthe of Chandni Chowk and the kebabs of Purani Dilli have the power to bring a Delhiite to tears, and similarly a Mumbaikar feels just as nostalgic about his vada pav and Bombay sandwich.

In spite of being a true blue Delhiite, I found Mumbai liberating and passionate.

The grandeur of Lutyens’ Delhi and campus politics were replaced by Bollywood vibes and multicultural amusements where each individual had the space to chase his dreams, his own way. Mumbai looked magnificent from my airplane window seat, the glittering lights felt welcoming and the huge ocean assured me of a better future.

That was it. I already liked the city.

When I finally walked out of the airport, I was greeted by a cacophony of voices and a mass of humanity stretching as far as the eye could see. All pushing, jostling, elbowing and shoving in an attempt to be the first in the queue or making their way to the taxiwalas, which almost qualified as a superman stunt. The stench of cautious revulsion bordering on misanthropy in the demeanour of those taxiwalas perturbed me but the instant reminder of Rajiv Chowk Metro Station during peak hours pleasantly overwhelmed me with a sense of nostalgia for Delhi.

The Promotion Party

We were set to join our respective departments on Thursday, so we decided to visit the grand five star hotel on Wednesday night. Taj is just not a hotel; it is an iconic structure which defines Mumbai. Every room holds a thread of history. It is a heritage hotel facing the Arabian Sea which has seen all the waves and ships coming and going, it is the pride of Mumbai.

You know, when life offers you a few promises everything in your life feels like it is going on fast forward. Unlike those times, when there is nothing going on in your life, when dull, dreaded and lifeless moments grip the very essence of your being, when you feel like you are living an eternity of miseries. The only fact that sustains the future of this planet is that ‘nothing lasts forever’. Nothing is permanent in this wicked world, not even our troubles.

Life is full of uncertainties, ups and downs, difficulties, obstacles, possibilities and opportunities. The only thing one can do is to embrace the uncertainties and go with the flow. We blinked and Wednesday arrived.

I cannot forget the zeal and enthusiasm that was bubbling up in us. We were ready to celebrate our first work promotions, which felt so special, almost like conquering Mount Everest. We were elated, overjoyed and filled with infectious exuberance. It felt as if everything would remain so forever. If only we would have known ‘forever’ is a relative term and that everything would change very soon.

The Burning Taj

I spun around and saw two heavily armed men storming into the central hall. They were hurling abuses and firing at anyone and everyone who caught their sight. I felt like I would collapse but somehow that inner survival instinct pushed my frozen feet to run and seek shelter. There was chaos, panic and fear in the air. People started running everywhere and frantically calling out for help. I stopped running and crawled under a nearby dining table. I was shivering in shock and praying.

All of a sudden, I remembered my parents and missed them terribly. I was separated from my gang and did not know about their whereabouts. I felt a wave of apprehension and accelerated heartbeat, as a feeling of extreme helplessness surrounded me. Sneaky emotions of hysteria made me realize that I was a speck of nothing in this vastness that only defined my insignificance.

It was a nightmare!

I could see countless bodies now, some dead, some injured, some hiding. It was a miracle that I was alive and that I still had control over my consciousness.

Slowly the gunshots grew faint and I thought that maybe it was over. I had to leave quickly. I crawled out from under the dining table and saw some people coming out of the bar area. It was pure horror and we were all scared to death. Somehow that collective horror and our instincts for survival transformed us into a group of terrified people who started frantically seeking shelter.

After a few steps, we found more guests rushing towards the banquet hall. The fear was tightening its grip on us and snatching our survival instincts of hope and intelligence with each passing second. Time was of prime importance and so, without even giving it a second thought, we all started following that trail which was formed unconsciously.

Suddenly, it seemed that everybody inside the hotel was pouring into that hall and, much to our relief, we found some of the hotel staff already there, comforting the guests. There were young brides, little children wailing in fear, mothers gripping their toddlers, anxious fathers trying to comfort their families and random people who were now all bonded by the fear of the unknown. A few of us were sobbing and a few crying for help.

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