Love Indian army Army Soldier Military Cost of War war torn woman power husband and wife Married life hope miracle

My Soldier Wife, Who Was Shot Down, Miraculously Survived, I Believe She Survived For Me…

( words)
*For representational purpose only.

“She was bleeding,” the medical attendant said, his voice stuttering amidst gasps. He was trying to be strong. They were made that way. I tried hard to listen, but my mind was blank.

"Hello,” I muttered. This time I was trying to gain back my strength. I was hopeful that she was going to be okay. But my body seemed less confident than my mind, and my heart even less.

“I will call you back... She needs a transfusion," he said before hanging up the phone. I stared at the phone for a while as tears rolled down my eyes. No, I wanted to be strong. I had promised. The more I tried holding my tears back, the more I cried.

Two hours later, I found myself on the floor. I couldn’t say if I had cried myself to sleep, but it seemed like the only possibility. I checked my phone to see if there were any calls. My stomach hurt. My hands still trembled. I needed to know more. I called back. There was no response.

My mind seemed to think of all the horrible possibilities that could have happened to her. ‘I’m strong’: these words seemed less powerful than ever.

I sat by the dining table. The chair opposite me was empty. It had been for all the time she went away for her postings. Only today did it feel really empty. ‘I should go there’, I thought. But where? How? Where was she?

A soldier signs up for anything. Her family signs up for more. “You’re hard as a rock,” she’d say to me. It was true: I had no emotions, or I’ve never felt them so strongly. It was there, deep down somewhere, unknown and forgotten.

All I knew was that she was my strength. She was everything I had. I needed God today. I wanted him more now than ever.

Uncertainty kills. I was going to find out. I was going to call every damn person I knew. I just wanted to know if she was going to be okay. Sometimes that’s all you need to refurbish strength and restore hope. I called every person I thought had access to her whereabouts. All I got was, “We’ll get back to you as soon as we know.”

I could stand this no longer. If this was going to be the last time I saw her, I’d want to make it on time. I called a cab to the airport.

I was going to fly to her headquarters and then to every other corner of the camp base. There was no stopping me today. I had to see her. Once. For a second.

I had almost reached the airport when I got the call. It was the scariest call I had taken in my life. I was dreading every word that would be uttered from the other end that this was going to be 'I'm sorry.’ She could not be gone. Not without saying goodbye first.

“Hello,” I said, “I’m on my way... It will take me four hours,” even before I could hear anything. “Avinash, she’s going to be okay. The surgery went well. She sustained multiple injuries, so her recovery is going to take time. But she will be okay,” she spoke as fast as she could. Knowing Lt. Ganga Desai, I knew she had been waiting to tell me this ever since she reached the hospital.

That was the longest flight I had taken in my life. Every minute of the flight, I was getting restless. Time and distance had become the biggest barriers for the day.

Now that I knew she was going to be okay, I wanted to witness it with my own eyes. This is what hope does to you. You want to know more when you’re afraid.

When I got off the airport, I plunged myself into the cab and pleaded with the driver to drive as fast as he could. I would have hit the accelerator myself if it were up to me. My wait was just going to get longer. I knew that it would take me another ride to set off from the headquarters to her camp base, which was roughly another 180 km. I had stopped looking at the watch. A whole day had passed; my eyes were weary from the crying and the journey. But I could barely keep my eyes closed. I had questions. I was not going to get answers. I just had to ask and pour my heart out. I was carrying heavy baggage that would unload only when I saw her.

As the jeep stopped at the camp base, I got off as fast as I could, the escort still behind me. I heaved a sigh of relief when I saw Lt. Ganga. As she led me through the door to see my wife, my feet trembled.

What if she had a disfigured face? What if her hand was ruptured? What if she could never get back on her feet? What if she never woke up from her sleep?

I could switch places if I could, but I would not see her in pain. I had to force my mind to shut down. And then I saw her.

I was on my knees this time. She was too scared to touch the bandages, tubes, and wires that ran across her body because it might hurt her. My soldier, who was shot down, miraculously survived. No, she survived for me. She knew I wouldn’t make it without her. She had always known that I wasn’t the brave one. I clung to the bed and sobbed like a child. She was breathing. She was alive. My prayers were answered. There was a God after all.

I had covered the distance. I still had to overcome time. I looked at my watch again. Time, which was once my barrier, was going to sustain me again.

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