Death of a Soldier

I wrote this in 1996. Forgive me.

He had never fought a war before; at least not at such a high level.

As he walked through the battlefield, he realized the pressures. The pressures to perform, to win.

Most of his colleagues, the men who were in the same battalion had fought wars before, but he was new.

He was barely twenty. He was so scared, so nervous.

All of a sudden, he found himself surrounded by the enemy. Shots were fired right at him, one after another. He dodged a few blows, and defended the rest with his shield.

Just when he felt he could not save himself any more, one of his compatriots came to his rescue and inflicted a few blows on the enemies.

But the salvo on this young man continued. It was becoming more and more difficult to fend off the shots.

Then came the blow he would remember forever; one shot came right at him. He could not defend it well enough.

**

One more young man lost out in the battle field.

At that moment, a million people throughout the world heard a familiar voice from their TV sets say: “Debutant Vikram Rathour is out there, caught in the slips as India lose their first wicket against Pakistan here in Sharjah.”

— Devanshu Mehta (1996)

As an aside, who even remembers Vikram Rathour today? Six tests, seven one days and the away swinging ball always remained his weakness. His debut was in Sharjah, April 1996. He made 2 runs, his “compatriot” Sachin Tendulkar made 118. I remember that match, especially Azhar’s manic slogging in the last over. India made 305, the first ever Indian score over 300.

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