Dear Father, August 1974
It has been more months than I can remember, since I wrote to you last. While I have no words to justify my regret over my inability to inform you, as to whether I am alive or not, I feel a certain sense of relief, that I have brought myself to be able to say the things I will in this letter, here forth.
Much has changed, worth talking about, in the last few weeks but it isn’t worth sharing. It has no ounce of joy in it, or happiness, or capacity of reflection for anyone, I feel. Still, I have decided to write down what I can, in this little time I have managed to save for myself.
Time to reminisce is in scarcer quantities than the food and water we eat. Sometimes I feel, every moment spent in remembering our warmer life back at home, is accounted for, and I am running out of wherewithal. For what is left, I am willing to spend, on all I can mend.
The Sun hasn’t shone in more than ten days and the snow seems to be piling up in little mountains all around us. Contrary to my nature known to you, it may seem I have developed certain melancholy about my chosen path. However, I want you to believe me when I say, I am content here, with what I have and for what is to come. While my chest swells with pride upon what I am doing for our nation, a pain arises in my heart every time I look into this picture of ours; father & son, standing by the lake; my heart shrivels in sadness at the thought of how you had to bear the loss of my mother, alone. But I have held my head high, and stood my ground. I wouldn’t be much of your son, if I didn’t.
I must thank providence for allowing me a chance to write this letter to you. The turmoil that ensues here everyday, leaves little hope in my heart by night and on most such nights, I do not expect I will make it till day break.
But I do. We all do. My ears deafen with the sound of bullets firing from one morn till next, but I seek solace and find it in the beating of my heart, and hear it in the thudding under my ribs, when I am on the line, and my fist is clenched in prayer.
We are walking behind their lines now and the seeming adventure it brings, is accompanied with the knowledge that I am walking hand in hand with the end. Whirring airplanes coast above my head all afternoon, some flying across, and some falling down upon us. For everything else we have done here, I may be able to forgive myself, but not for their children, who wave at our birds of steel and wood, raining down terror upon them.
Seemingly unfair as this arrangement may be, that I leave your hand when I am young and strong, and leave you alone when you are old and withered; it is also a punishment befitting my blinded ambitiousness, which I have so far firmly justified. That is the realization I have come upon. Forgive me dear father, I haven’t been the son I had hoped I would be. Forgive me for not having come home sooner. But I am on my way back now.
With joy, I would like to tell you, my time here is almost over. I have only a little more to do, only a little further to go, and it is with your strength that I walk. Hold my hand through these dark shadows, like you did when I was younger for it is time for me to bid farewell.
A night of familiarity looms ahead and I can hear its call. I see your face in my reflection every time I look into the mirror, and accept my wound and my glory as one. I have abandoned my fears and submitted myself to this only real environment of mine. I have stopped trembling at the thought of us never meeting again.
By the time you read this letter, I will not be here. Don’t come looking for me because I will be with my mother, your son, in her arms, waiting for you.
Siddharth Pathak | 6th June 2013
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