Tuesday 2 June 2015

What the world survives on?

After two years of rigorous military training, I was ready to join the force. ‘Ready’ would be an ironical word to describe my situation at that moment because during those two years my interest in the armed forces had actually declined. Had it not been for the undying love of my nation, I would have left it and headed home.

“Ah, Sullivan! I see you’re a man now.” shouted Uncle Edward peeking over the newspaper which he was devouring for breakfast.
“Yeah, kind of.” I smiled.

Uncle Edward was a wise man (or at least it appeared so) because I’d always seen him leaning over books and willing to learn everything the world had to offer. After the death of my parents, Uncle Edward was only person I felt alive with. Uncle Edward and I are not related by blood as they say, but chuck it, it’s all red, isn’t it? For the secrets of love and relations lie deep inside the one who pumps this red, transient fluid.

“I hear you’re going on a mission to Afghanistan. After two long years you’re going into hiding again, for an undefined period this time. I mean, come on man! We don’t have such good neighbors around these days.” Uncle Edward joked.
“A good neighbor, huh? Is that what I’ve depreciated to in these two years?”
“Come on, son. Have you lost your sense of humor?”
“Yeah, maybe. But to tell you the truth, I don’t want to go on the mission either.”
“And why is that?” Edward exclaimed.
“That’s because I’ve seen enough. I mean what is the world up to? Brothers killing each other, innocents being murdered and murderers roaming around like filthy hounds. Do you know Uncle what this world survives on?”
“Money. It survives on money.” I replied with disgust.
“Well, kid, I guess you’ve had your share of disappointments but nature has its own subtle ways of teaching us. You’ll learn it someday.”
“Learn what?”
“What the world survives on.”

A year passed and the tension in Afghanistan intensified. We had confrontations with the terrorist groups almost every day. I saw tens of dead bodies daily, of soldiers, civilians and terrorists.

I saw the funeral procession of a lady one day. A child ran after it.

“Father, father! Where are they taking mommy?” he cried.
“Shh..! My son, your mother is going to meet the angels. She’ll be back soon and will bring you candies.”
“Is that it?”
“Yes, it is. Now get home, go to your sisters.”
“Okay father, I’ll go home and wait for her to come back.”
I almost cried.


After the gun shots I remember waking up in somebody’s lap. I was bleeding heavily but a soft hand held my wound. I don’t exactly remember her face but past my blurry vision I could make out an angelic figure trying hard to save me from death. I had not felt such serenity in my entire life. Had I died in those cozy arms, I would have been the happiest person to have lived on earth. I’d felt my heart for the first time after my parents’ death.

I woke up in the military health facility.

“Hey Mike!” I called out.
“Yes, Sullivan.”
“Who was the girl?”
“What girl?”
“The one who brought me here.”
“The girl didn’t bring you here. She called for an ambulance which brought you here.”
“Yeah, whatever. But do you by any chance know who she was?”
“No, I don’t.”


Contrary to our expectations, the war ended after a couple of years. During those years I used every drop of my sweat to seek that unknown angel but to no avail.

Finally it was the time to return. I came home but could not contain her from my thoughts. I know it is stupid but at times I anticipate that she’ll miraculously appear before me and comfort me in her arms. My heart has been alive ever since.

“Uncle Edward, I’ve learned what the world survives on.”
“Oh, have you? I hope that you’ve learned it aptly. So, what is it?” He turned towards me with expectation.
“Hope it is, sir.”

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