“Jai Hind Sir,” he said, giving a brisk salute. 

The salute came more out of habit even when he was talking on a wireless radio set.  Lieutenant Ram walked carefully on the snow, enveloped in the white mist as he moved towards the makeshift bunker.

Besides the howling winds in the valley, the other thing which could be heard was the shelling. Just like the snowfall, the shelling was unceasing. Sometimes a deep silence hanged over the valley, only to be broken by the explosives, echoing the mountains with thunderous clangour.

Snow was falling incessantly, covering the entire landscape with white sheet. The *tiranga, which they had placed for the search party as a sign, fluttered recklessly. Except for the comrades from the Gorkha Rifle of the Indian Army, the mountains wore a deserted look. 

Click the above image for more details

Lt.Ram was a young officer in twenties. A lanky fellow, with a face that had adopted stern features, making him look far more mature than his age. Coming from a modest background Lt.Ram wore an affable attitude which helped him to make friends instantaneously. 

 He moved slowly inside the bunker, getting temporary relief from the hostile winds. A fellow comrade offered him some warm water made by melting ice. The only way they kept themselves hydrated and warm in that frost biting cold.

“Rescue team is on the way. I have told them to look for the flag as a sign while searching for us. They can be here any time.” He informed the others with him.

 There was sigh of relief when they heard him.

As the warm water moved through his throat giving little comfort Lt. Ram sat in a corner, making himself cosy. Lt.Ram wanted to serve the nation like his grandfather. The love for *khaki was inbuilt in him since childhood. Each time his parents took his picture, he would pose giving a broad smile and a crisp salute. Hearing tales about the armed force from his grandfather never made him realize that life was not that easy in uniform. His grandfather made even the most difficult and tough situation sound so trivial and easy. Lt.Ram had adopted the same attitude.

Another day was going to end without having any food. There was nothing much they could do sitting inside the bunker. They sat waiting and humming songs in low tone, but with alert eyes and ears. As hunger pangs took over slowly, they stopped humming too, saving their energy for any unseen circumstance. Time moved extremely slowly. And in those monotonous hours, without any realization they went off to sleep as darkness crept inside the bunker.

Lt.Ram opened his eyes. He heard something clamorous. He sat alert. Slowly he moved his head to see what was going on.

 Exulted to see his men from the base, he woke up his comrades and walked out of the bunker.

“Jai Hind Sir.” He said giving a brisk salute.

 

Glossary:

Tiranga: Indian national flag

Khaki: a dull greenish brown color

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Pic courtesy: Asoggetti

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This is an entry for Five00-7, a writing event hosted by ArtoonsInn. Check out the event prompt and guidelines here: https://artoonsinn.com/five00-7/

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