The soldier

“Attention, soldier!”
KHADAACK!
“How have you been, soldier?”
“Never been happier, Sir!”
“Great! I’m happy you enjoyed your moments of happiness.”
“Err… Sir… I.”

“Hold on, soldier. This is not what you’re here for.”
“Sir… But… I… errr…”
“Silence! I’m sending you to your toughest test. Your darkest hour. Your meanest battle.”
“No, Sir. Please… I…”
“Shut up, soldier! I’m not finished.”
“I apologise, Sir.”
“Hmm… Look, what were you thinking? This would last forever? Soldiers don’t rest. They keep fighting. Sometimes there are rest-days. Vacations. It’s like an earned holiday for all the people you’ve killed. All the bullets you’ve taken.”
“Sir.”

“And now, get prepared to get back into the war-zone. Understand that this is your purpose. This is your destiny.”
“Sir.”
“Remember. I don’t hate you. Nobody does. I’m actually fond of you. I look upon you as the son I never had. I wouldn’t do something to you if it wasn’t meant to be done.”
“Pleased to know that, Sir.”
“So go out there and show me your mettle. Hopefully, by the time you retire, there might be improvements. You might get a good pension plan or something”
“Sir. Thank you for the reasoning. But, I… I don’t… Uhh… Sir… <SOBBING>”

“Get a grip, soldier! Don’t make me start looking down upon you! I have respect for all that you’ve done. Don’t wash it down with those stupid salty drops across your face!”
“I apologise, Sir.”
“Now. Plug in your head-set and get your fatigues in place. You’re leaving early tomorrow.”
“Sir.”
“Remember. It wouldn’t be any different for you. You’re meant to be in this unending war. A war that has taken many lives and will take many more. I hope not yours.”
“Sir.”
“It’s going to be a long wait until retirement, boy. Gear up. Long walk. Keep walking.”
“Sir.”

“Here. Before you leave, here’s a bottle of some alcohol. Drink up. Keep drinking.”
“Sir.”
“Make me proud, soldier!”
“Sir.”
“Wait…! I wasn’t talking about in the drinking category! Idiot! I meant make me proud at war!”
“Oh! Will do, Sir.”

“All the best, soldier.”
“Hic! Sir!”

Varun Rajagopalan.

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