Kshitij was watching a movie. The doorbell rang. He muttered under his breath, paused his game and went out to open the door. There was no one else at home. He saw that postman had brought something for this address. He wondered what was postman doing there. In the world where every conversation was digitized, who would send the letter, that too not by courier but using Indian Post. Chuckling at the idiocy of the person, he tore the envelope. There was a single sheet in the envelope. He opened and read.
Since you are reading this letter, I have left for fight.
Fight? Who is fighting whom? He turned the paper but could not find anything distinctive in the letter, so he continued reading.
Since you are reading this letter, I have left for fight. For eight days we have been hearing the noise of firing from the next post. I think the fight is going fiercely. Seniors have been saying they have already deported the reinforcement . Our ration ended yesterday. I do not know how will we survive this fight. For everyone, it is a usual scramble at border, but it seems more. So I am writing this letter. I have already kept it, in case I am no more you will get to know what were my last words to you.
I know I have not been a good son. My salary was not sufficient for you to live in luxury. But I have tried to be true to country. I have kept my promise to father. I am a proud soldier. Father must be smiling in the heaven seeing his son walking in his footsteps. But I won’t leave you in lurch. I have kept some money with Mr. Verma. You can take that from him. It is not much, but you will be able to live comfortably. Rest you know about FD and my account.
I also want to thank you and tell you I love you. I pray to God, if I ever get to live again I am again born as a soldier and your son. Do tell Aparna that I have always loved her. I do not carry anything against her. Its better that she did not wait for me to come. Just wish her to be happy. Bye Mom. They are calling. Pray for our success.
He was dumbstruck. Postman had delivered this letter to the wrong house. It was for Mrs. Phillips. And it was a letter by Cecil. Cecil was fighting a war. Mrs Phillip was planning to go to market to purchase clothes. She was planning on spending all her pension for Cecil’s birthday next week. She was not aware about any war or fight. He switched on the TV and moved through all the channels for the news but there was no news. Every channel was showing the news of Miss India contest. How could these people ignore the soldiers fighting on the border?
How would he tell Mrs. Phillip. She was like his grandmother. How could he tell her and read this letter to her? But he had to go.
He left the house and went to Mrs. Phillip. She was sewing something. He handed over her letter. “This came for you. I am sorry it was not addressed to anyone, so I read it.”
She took the letter and without reading she kept it near the statue of Jesus she kept. She prayed and turned, “Would you like something to eat, Kshitij?”
“No, Mrs. Phillip. You are not going to read it? It was from Cecil.”
“I know, Kshitij. But this letter is two months old. It arrived very late. My Cecil has already sacrificed himself for his country. He died in that war. “
“Cecil…cecil is no more.” Kshitij was shocked. ” I am sorry Mrs. Phillips. I was not aware-neither of any fight, nor about any death. I should have been aware.” His words were lost in sobs.Mrs. Phillips hugged him and said , “Don’t cry. Cecil was a brave man. He did what was right. He died for his country. Don’t mourn him. Be proud of him. That is what he wanted. This what I am doing. I am donating clothes to the orphanage on his birthday.”
Kshitij looked at Mrs. Phillip, “How can I help, Mrs. Phillip? Please tell me what can I do?”
Mrs Phillip said, “Don’t worry, you will do what is right. This world, this country needs you. Just do something which will make Cecil proud of you. “
Twenty years later in a school assembly a person was addressing the students.
“So you see this is what me made Captain Kshitij Verma. This is what initiated me into military, propelled me when I was disheartened. We have our future politicians, doctors, soldiers among you. Just remember, those soldiers in heaven should be proud of what you do.”