She sat on the bed caressing his pressed, crisp uniform, wiping away the non-existent tears. The tears had dried up but the searing, gnawing, ache remained like a permanent cloak, sapping all her energy and zest.
‘Is it already a year? Wasn’t it only yesterday, that the moment the informer had called, he wore his uniform and ran to attend the call of duty, promising to finish his favourite meal later, when he returned successful?’
He never kept to his promise. A definite first!
Only a dreaded call ensued, a casket clad in the Tricolor arrived and a swarm of grieving people descended into her empty home.
‘He embraced death to give us a second chance at life’, they held her and shed copious tears as he was given the ceremonial send off.
The number of visitors reduced to a trickle as the cruel time marched ahead and she was left alone, tending to her permanent sores.
Public memory is ephemeral. If this were to be the harsh reality where everybody had moved on, while only her world had been devastated, why did he take this step? Not one remembered his sacrifice and yet he never shirked his duty. Did he even think about her or the repercussions, in his last minutes at least?
Why didn’t he leave the call of duty to others?
As the dark evening set in, the phone rang.
“Namaste Maam, we are having a service tomorrow in the memory of your brave husband. The very reason, we live…Could you please come?”
She smiled for the first time in the day.
They had remembered. It wasn’t all in vain. It is never too late to remember your martyrs or to salute them.
She cuddled the uniform once again, feeling his warmth envelop all over her. She didn’t feel lonely now!
When you live for others…You live on…For ever