Roop was deep in his thoughts as he sat in the train, for his home. He kept his head on the wall. He had grown his hair long and a beard that gave him a scruffy look. A young kid, sitting next to him struck a conversation.
Uncle, have you always had such long hair?
After responding Roop returned to his flashback, as the train entered a tunnel whistling loudly.
He was a captain in the Indian Army. He was an excellent leader, sharp. A part of his battalion, along with him, was returning from the army base after 6 months. They were very happy, there were singing and dancing in the bogey. He got down at the last station. He remembered how the whole village came to receive him at the station.
He lived with his elder brother, wife and their children. He was from a very wealthy family, owning acres of lands in the village. Being the only one to be in the military from the whole village, he was the pride of the village. The villagers made it a point to come and receive him at the station every time he made his journey back home. The last time he came home for a vacation he met with an accident in the village, which led to multiple fractures in his hand. He consulted the best doctors available but eventually, his hand turned non-usable. He could not take this shock and from that day on he became like a zombie.
As the train crossed the tunnel, he started reflecting on his present life. He had been to the battalion to surrender his services for the country and was on his way back. He could not come to terms with this cruel decision of destiny. At the station, he was
welcomed by the villagers and his elder brother who drove him home quietly. The whole village was shouting his praises and everyone offered kind words of wisdom, but all in vain.
Roop was broken.
Day by day his mental and physical situation was deteriorating. He became quiet and reserved. He stopped eating and remained forever lost in his world of thoughts. It’s extremely tough to live a civilian life after having spent 15 years in the army. To add to that, he was now classified as a handicap. The clouds of uncertainty loomed over him and feeling of being incapable plagued him.
He would remember the initial months of the training and all the pains he took to pass the exams. He would laugh sometimes and sometimes cry in pain, like a madman. He would remember ordering his troop and he would suddenly shout ATTENTION. He behaved like a madman for many months. His brother tried to explain to him to forget the past and move forward in life, but like a parasite, the past would not let him go.
He was frequently visited by his battalion or members of other battalions, who at some point of time had been under his command. He was the most famous officer in his battalion. He always remembered the evenings which were full of fun and frolic, in the mess bar. He was the prime entertainer in the mess. He had pledged his life for the country, but his present condition made him feel shameful and guilty in front of the oath he had taken.
Frustrated, he decided to end his misery one day by committing suicide. He had an overdose of sleeping pills that night. He would have been dead but incidentally, the pills caused him to suffocate and vomit. The noise woke up the family members and they rushed to his room. It was locked, but the servants broke open the door and immediately took him to a nearby clinic. He was saved somehow, but this made his elder brother very angry. He decided to have a dialog with him, as soon as he was fit again.
After a few days, Roop was called by his elder brother to his room.
What is the matter Roop, why do you want to kill yourself?
I don’t have any other goal left in my life, that’s the reason.
Roop, tell me, when you joined the army, you took an oath to serve the mother land and protect it. You worked with your full dedication to follow your oath. Didn’t you?
So why do you discriminate the mother land on the border and here in this village?
He was confused and asked for an open explanation from his brother.
Roop, mother land is the same, whether on the border or here in the farms. In our country two kinds of people will always be respected, a soldier and a farmer. These are the most dignified positions in the country. You will still retain the same dignity while working in your farms, only the field will change but your pride, dignity, honor and patriotism will still be the same. Mother-land will still smile on you and be proud of you dear.
He was numb. His brother’s words had touched him deeply. He felt for the first time that he had not lost, but had only changed the game. Slowly he started paying his attention to his farms. After some months, he changed his attitude completely and loved his motherland as he would on the border. He became an excellent farmer in a year.
The villagers were proud of him as usual and kept a new name for him and called him Captain Farmer.