Lament of an infantry officer

I depended more on my eyes than my heart or head while selecting my life partner. As I would have it, eyes prevailed and I tied the knot with a vivacious girl, way back in the 80s. The communication was strong when we were in sight of each other and so I expected regular communication from her, when I was posted to an inaccessible post on a mountain top called 492, on the Line-of-Control in Jammu and Kashmir, immediately after marriage.

In those days, the means of communication were not as advanced as they are now, and we depended on snail mail only. The field telephones could not be relied upon because the JWD cables that were used for our communication network had a range of only 16 km because of security reasons. Perforce, we depended on the only dependable communication, that is, snail mail.

I forced my wife to write to me daily so that I had an epistle from her everyday. The mail bag used to arrive at the field post office or FPO around tennish in the morning everyday. I used to walk 15 km each day from my post to the FPO and made it a point to be there while opening the mail bag, so that I could grab my wife’s letter immediately after it came out of the mail bag.

I realise now that what she wrote to me was perfunctory scribbling of a couple of lines everyday while my daily letters to her were copious. For me, the handling of the responsibility of eight posts under me as a company commander on the LoC was a minor work when compared to concentrating on writing long missives to my wife. The Sikh troops, under me helped in handling the responsibility of dominating the LoC under my jurisdiction, being trigger happy.

In the evenings, when there was no exchange of fire at the LoC, or when there were no intrusions, I used to have a drink sitting next to the fireplace in my bunker. When I got hiccups due to a disrupted breathing passage, I feebly thought it was probably because of telepathy with my wife. However, she had better hiccups, being exposed to the fast living of a cosmopolitan atmosphere in Bangalore. Our marriage continued for nearly two decades like a bullock-cart dragged by bulls with different energy levels.

Later, when I quit the Army to live with my loved ones and when communication was much more advanced for minute to minute contact with mobiles, e-mail, etc we grew thousands of miles apart to an extent that we would never communicate with or see each other. Because, we had exercised the legal option to part with each other forever.

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