Who am I?
I’m being questioned by this loneliness since long; loneliness at midnight on an isolated post, nothing breaking the silence but the intermittent screams of jackals. The only entertainment with me are a few pleasant memories, glimpses of which take me back to a small village where I see my two-year-old daughter who has been searching for her “baba” for the last eighty five days. I bear this alone and keep fighting; to keep this mind alive and this heart beating. A mysterious sensation doesn’t let this courage shatter. I still live for an unknown hope. I stand up, muster all my courage and look into the sun and talk to the sky. Tell them all not to underestimate my will. I’m the custodian of this territory, in its defence lies the survival of us all. I am the son of soil, I am a soldier!
I’m driven by the smiles of my people. These stir life in me when I see a sister raising her hand, making a victory sign to me when she passes by my check post. It elates me when a schoolboy offers chocolate to a sentry standing with the Quick Reaction Force (QRF). I get encouraged when I see a boy saluting me innocently with his left hand and humming broken lines of the national anthem.
I have multiple advents! I’m a guardian, saviour, defender, fighter, struggler and a warrior. My entire journey is exploring, defending, serving and fighting for the national cause. I remain steadfast to protect my nation against any adversity, from natural calamities to full-fledged all-out war. Whether I guard the snow covered mountains or fight the felonious conflicts, patrol the nook and crannies of my borders or rescue people from natural disasters, serve the plains or dominate mountains – from the Himalayas to the deserts far in Africa; I fight for the sovereignty of my country. Serving this country is a part of my faith. Although I do not have any apparent wealth, I am contended with whatever I have. His secret auspiciousness augments my few coins to meet all my needs as He fulfils my wishes before I even know, I’m always compensated by the Omnipotent in tragic times, He stands with me when I fight in the cause of His will. He never leaves his soldiers alone. No one can feel the essence of this strange romanticism except my comrades – my symbiotic “buddies”, who will never leave my body behind.
Lt Usama Nazir
Dark skies, deeper nights
High posts, sleepless nights
Lantern light under K2’s shadow
The smell of oil in snow melted water
Want to call home but the country calls
To thwart the enemy in the frozen gorge
Five beams on the roof, that’s where counting stops
Loneliness, me and my soldiers on the mountain top
These Men of Steel, iron-willed,
Stand firm under the enemy’s cannonade
In this isolation, the Self is my companion
I will return but for now this is my abode,
Tall peaks, snow, my comrades and I
Under the fluttering flag and the open sky!
I’m an ordinary human being with extraordinary passions and emotions instilled in me by a higher being. All I have learnt is to sacrifice; sacrifice my desires for my country. I prefer my nation over my family. Sacrifice my family life for the time I spend in hard areas. I dedicate my fascinating teenage to war zone rotations, one after another. I willingly opt for the life threatening operations to save my streets from bloodshed, often missing family gatherings, weddings, birthdays and funerals. My better-half equally suffers from fears and uncertainties of the life ahead. All that keeps me going is the support of my countrymen because it sheds all my sadness away when I feel my nation is standing beside me.
I’m driven by the smiles of my people. These stir life in me when I see a sister raising her hand, making a victory sign to me when she passes by my check post. It elates me when a schoolboy offers chocolate to a sentry standing with the Quick Reaction Force (QRF). I get encouraged when I see a boy saluting me innocently with his left hand and humming broken lines of the national anthem. It rejuvenates my blood when I witness tribal hospitality with locals throwing flowers on a passing convoy. There is no match to such late night energizers when an RJ dedicates a favourite song to a soldier guarding the highest mountain peak. It sheds my sadness away when I receive a letter full of love and praise from my near and dear ones.
Without a doubt, such expressions of my people strengthen me to fight until this menace ends; fight for those who have faith in us; fight till I sacrifice my blood and bring back peace to my homeland for those who are peace lovers. To fight as a “soldier” is to fight with pride. And I am proud to be a soldier!
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