The places where moments reside

20 years of Kargill : When " Yeh Dil Maange More " was the anthem

The 2 decades when I felt that someone had intruded what was mine – my land and my freedom. 

The time when the unknown places seemed some forgotten pages of an atlas , when the same atlas showed some colour on paper but didnot show the difficult terrain or how much red the same places were going to be in the summer of 99, during the 60 day war. 

The bayonet wielding gutsy men transitioned from "Just a soldier" to “Heroes” 

20 something officers who marched to their deaths. 

Age didnt matter- seniors, juniors all lead- sometimes from the front, many a times creating feats of valour which gets written in military history forever. 

No mountain was ever so steep, no ridge ever so deep- their courage made it look all so small and insignificant. 

When the urge for freedom and the hunger for victory seemed to be all that mattered 

When carrying 2 extra magazines mattered more in the battle gear than 2 rotis. 

Hunger could wait, freedom couldnt. 

When we were instantly relocated from the comforts of our homes to the battlefields at the click of the tv remote. 

The battles raged for hours, when advancing even one step forward took excruciating minutes and retaking every post felt like exploiting chinks in the enemy armor. 

The time when artillery shells hitting targets and bombs hitting mountain peaks felt so satisfying. 

Those 2 decades.. 

Places which resembled ghost towns, having being abandoned in the shelling. 

Yet some civilians stayed behind, even though all they could serve passing convoys of trucks was just a cup of chai or a simple meal. 

When that phone call made from that STD booth or that satellite phone home, was the last one ever.

When these superheroes made us feel mere mortals as they did inhuman acts of bravery- marching into fortified sangars disregarding their own safety, pulling out machine guns with bare hands. 

They all carried on, despite being shot at, their planes crashing. 

Planes finding targets in the white expanse of blinding snow, like a needle in a white haysack. 

When graffiti adorned bombs in plain sight, gifts from raveena to Nawaz. 

When ground handlers didnot care about overtime, it was always "this time". 

527 killed, hundreds injured but all of them accorded welcomes and goodbyes reserved only for gods. 

As coffins passed through towns, time stood still , people lined up to say their goodbyes. 

When the children broke their piggybanks for the men in olive green and sky blue, wrote letters to defence HQ in whatever language they could communicate. 

Even before “ How`s the josh ?” there was “Yeh dil maange more” 

Before the “Strikes at Balakot” there was “ The assault on Tiger Hill” 

When battle cries resonated in the mountains , everyday. 

Those 2 decades, which are special because they taught us what is freedom and what all it takes to maintain it. 

When everyone played his part – the lady pilots in the choppers providing target guidance, the pilot you see on a bombing mission, that radio operator, that gunner, that signalman….even that driver of the army truck carrying ammo or medicines to the front. 

When the super heroes became legends for us. 

When Tololing, Mushkoh, Kagsar, Batalik would be permanently etched in our memory…for the lifetime…even after 20 years. 

Those 2 decades of kargill… 

An archival cover story 10 years after Kargill

Note: All these 20 years we have known the names of only select few soldiers who got their feats highlighted whereas each and every soldier played its part whether they were supplying food, medicines, ammo, loading bombs on the fighters well into their overtime or fighting on the frontlines..In recognition to the collective effort of all, this post does not directly name the select few. It was a collective effort and would always remain so. 

Memories honours and acknowledges the effort of each and every individual taking part in the war from all the 3 forces, well beyond 20 years after kargill…into the lifetime. 

20 years of Kargill : When " Yeh Dil Maange More " was the anthem 20 years of Kargill : When " Yeh Dil Maange More "  was the anthem Reviewed by Shwetabh on 8:27:00 PM Rating: 5

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