I got married to Monika in the month of December. We were just shifting into our new quarters, that I got my movement orders out of nowhere. The clouds of war were looming on the horizon. India was posturing against China and the army was moving out of the barracks.
I had to move with a heavy heart, as duty was calling and there was no looking back. So there I was, one day next to my newly wedded wife in the comfort of my new home and other instant I was catapulted to the Martian Landscape of the frozen dessert of Ladakh, near the famed Karakoram pass, facing the Chinese on the International border.
It was more than a month already at 18,000 feet, battling the sub zero on a daily basis. No satellite phones reached there in those days and mobiles were yet to be invented. So letters were the only recourse. Nearest STD was at Leh. A chopper would deliver fresh vegetables and mail once in a while subject to weather conditions.
She was desperately waiting for news from me and my home coming.
I had written to her with love and a promise that I would come home soon. I had made my promises and mailed them without knowing whether I could keep them.
Unexpectedly, in the next week, the conditions at the border improved. I got leave and rushed home taking a chopper, a bus and an airplane; all rolled into one big journey. And there I was, at home in front of her. She was extremely surprised !!
The letter had failed to deliver in time. I had made it before the letter could reach her. And I was happy for that !! It was Valentine’s day and I was in her arms.