He told her, "I will be back for Diwali."
Those words couldn’t stop her tears for she knew Diwali is another 8 months from then.
He again broke the silence and said, "Hey you mad fellow, I'll be calling you often and will be writing a letter every now and then."
She un-controllably hugged him and said finally, "Fine. Promise me that at least one call every weekend." He answered, "OK baba, now come on, smile a bit." He hugged her as if they were floating in eternal time.
Then his mother came. She put Tilak on his forehead and said, "I'm proud of you, Son! We'll inform you of your sister's marriage well in advance so that you can apply for leave before hand." He touched her feet and asked for her blessings. Mother affectionately kissed him.
He then left announcing to his sister that he'd be back and arrange the marriage like never before in town. Every one smiled and bid adieu.
As promised he came back, but not for the marriage, nor for Diwali. He came well before that. He came back with draped tri-colour on his body. He came back in a decorated-coffin, with many people guarding him around!
The family sank with shock, but the head of the family stood the grief, came forward and saluted his body first. And said the grief stricken crowd around that his son has achieved what he couldn’t himself!!, a "Veer Maran" which made his family proud.
Then the body was cremated with 21-gun salute.
This is not the story of one family, my dear friends. In fact, its the story of some 600 families across India who lost their loved ones to secure our borders.
Eight years back (in 1998) Pakistan had infiltrated inside our Borders on the high-bound areas of Kargil. Brave Indian soldiers and air force personnel handled those terror spreading maniacs with guts and gallant vision to safeguard our borders all along LOC (Line of control). Close to 600 Indian soldiers/officers lost their lives in the war.
To honor them the Indian Govt. declared a day on Indian calendar in their memory. And today is that day, friends.
Lets all remember those martyrs today who faced the opposition of well-equipped terror mongering neighbours to give us a glimpse of Indian might and the strength of Indian Unity.
Its not only a day of celebration for us, but also a day where we need to pray to God that we don’t get to such a situation again where it is inevitable but to fight our neighbour for our rights.
Let the soul of all the martyrs rest in peace.