THE VALLEY OF THE MIST
“Oh! When will we enjoy our holidays?” shouted my five year old son, Ishu, while I read a mail from his dad, Captain Veer Singh Rana, BSF who was posted in Jammu and Kashmir due to the rising separatist movements in the region.
The army had refused his leave application again. This was the fifteenth time in the last three years. Veer had last visited us in 2012, when Ishu was two. Since then neither of us has seen his face. We just talk over phone lines that too only once a week. Sometimes, I do wonder whether Ishu remember his father or has he forgotten everything about him?
Whatever the case is, I know one thing for sure- Ishu loves his father and is very proud of him.
Whenever his friends tell him about the places they visited with their families during the holidays, my son, though disheartened says “You all are able to travel to different parts of our country, only because of my dad. He is an official in the Indian Army.”
“Beta, you understand, your dad is really busy-“I said
“Mum I understand, dad is serving the nation.” said Ishu “We’ll not go anywhere for our holidays, that’s all. I have no problem with it. All I need to focus on is my academics. I’ll study hard and become like my dad” saying this, his bright big eyes, which once shined brightly turned red. My ever happy son was crying.’
I had had too much. Today it was this way or the other. I decided to call Veer, although I knew he would be in a drill.
To my surprise Veer received my call in the first try itself. I started
“Veer! Do you have any responsibility for us? I mean why didn’t you- “
The phone had disconnected. I had heard a very loud noise from the other side of the phone. “What could it be?” I wondered as I tried to connect to Veer.
Daamn – his phone was out of the network range. Chanting Rama’s name, I tried to call him for the next half an hour. Suddenly I heard Ishu shouting-
“Mum! Come here fast! Dad’s on TV!”
I knew what had happened. But for some reason could not believe it. With trembling feet I walked towards the living room. A strange feeling of both anxiety and fear swept throughout my body and it became ice cold as if I’d been mountaineering in the hills of Manali. I could not believe my eyes. There was my husband, Ishu’s dad on the TV screen with the headline saying-
‘Kashmir blasts. Captain Rana and 17 others killed”