FRIENDSHIP – LOST AND FOUND IN WAR ( PART 3)
Trembling with fear, he picked it up. Tears rolled down his eyes and he saw time as an ocean which stole his best friend and washed away the memories. But friendship has its own ways to survive. A group of boys playing on the roads would take Rohitash back to his childhood, the buffaloes near any lake would remind him of the swims that they enjoyed. But now the torn paper of his childhood looked like serving a nasty blow to his hopes of seeing his friend again in this lifetime. And it did. The shape and size was exactly as he remembered. The colour had faded but not from his memory. His head started to spin and he felt dizzy. Did this paper land up there by a remote coincidence or was his friend fighting this battle opposite him. He had to get to the truth before it started hurting him more.
He frantically started searching for the bodies. The torn limbs and body leftovers didn’t seem to smell that bad. The stench was the price of truth passing through which he would unravel the mystery around the treasure of his childhood lost long ago. He had no photo and no other aid using which he could recognize his friend. Among the dead were soldiers of all body types, colour complexion and leftover body parts. On the ground, there was no way he could differentiate his friend from the many who were not. He spent the whole day trying and gave up ultimately. This was a cruel joke played by fate on him and he would never get the answer. Although he had a prominent scar three inches in diameter on his cheek, his friend had no such identification mark. Unless the dead rose and spoke, the truth would lay buried always.
He returned back to his room and fell on his bed. He was left with no energy to go to the reporting room, conduct the briefing and look after the collections of that day. He was in terrible mood when the messenger asked him to report to the headquarters. He didn’t change his uniform and went straight to the information room. The order paper required him to go to another town to interrogate Prisoners of war. All undesirable tasks seem to fall in his lap, maybe that is the after party for a combat hero, he thought. He packed his rucksack and essentials and sat in the vehicle waiting for him. A three hour drive through the rough took him to Saltangarh and he entered the barracks at night 1 pm. He could hear the loud cries of the prisoners some of whom had lost their mental balance and some suffering from post traumatic stress disorder. The stench and the sounds made him recount the horrors of wars again but he had a job to do. He reported and then went straight to his appointed room to rest for the night.
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