About a month or so ago, we watched the remembrance ceremony of the 65-day war in the Himalayas. We would have anyway because we’re all fans of military ceremonies, but this time there was also the fact that we knew one of the names inscribed on the memorial. My strongest memory of him is of a laughing boy on a terrace telling us about army life, making light of hardship and homesickness. Later that night I searched for the letter written from the border a few months before the fighting broke out. As usual I had taken too long to reply, I was setting up a new life in Muscat, had a lot to do, put it off. And the next note I saw with his name on it was a post-it on my desk from the office manager with the news that Captain Vikram Menon had fallen in Kargil. We were four cousins born in 1973 and then one afternoon, just like that, we were three.
I still have correspondence pending. People I really care about but haven’t mailed, for no clear reason. Missed calls I haven’t returned, others that I haven’t made. Facebook friends I need to actually get in touch with. My friends’ parents just down the road that I want to visit but inexplicably haven’t. Their grandparents. Birthdays I’ve not acknowledged, though I always remember, every year. Meet-ups I’ve ditched or not set up. Simple, casual conversations that I haven’t had with the people I see every day. I draw my tired thoughts around me and huddle within, and all the while, time is passing swiftly by.
I didn’t find the letter, but I haven’t looked everywhere. It will turn up, and when it does, I can finally hand it over to his mother, about nine years later than I meant to.
- ► 2011 (32)
- ► 2010 (32)
- ▼ November (6)
- ► 2008 (83)
- ► 2007 (48)