Tuesday, September 14, 2010

It happened One Night

October 1989.

Had to climb a notoriously dangerous peak on the Siachen Glacier

Was the call off duty.

Hell, I was afraid. (But officers were not allowed to show / reveal / manifest … their fears)

B’cos I didn’t trust the strength in my arms to climb a 400 ft rope, on a vertical climb,

That too a climb on a moonless night, with ambient temperature Minus Forty degrees Celsius

And wind speeds of 80 kmph on the mountain face.

We all knew we had to cross 2 large crevasses at the foot of the climb

There were no ropes tied to other men …each man's life was as precious as the next

You slip...you fall into one or the other crevasse ...you perish

Normally, they never found the bodies

I was so afraid!

Scared shitless !

300 ft high …someone …sneezed …out loud

Someone shouted loud…’shut up!’

The enemy opened fire experimentally….inviting return fire …

so that they could locate us …the targets to shoot at.

The sounds echoed…reverberated in the valley

Then…there was what sounded like ‘a cosmic …cough’

From the peak above …the avalanche set loose!

In a fraction-of-a-second … a whole mountain-face full-of-snow

Picked us up like dust …

I was like ‘This it it …here it comes … Oh shit!’

(Believe me …my life’s favourite moments did NOT flash thru my mind)

My brain had shut down …!

When I came to … after a million years …

I was being pulled out of the snow

I was buried upside down …just upto my neck

My torso … my body was on the surface

I had been carried almost 400 metres …RIGHT ACROSS THE 2 CREVASSES

The sheer speed of the Avalanche was so much.

We found the bodies of 2 of our men in the link patrol after 2 weeks …when the sun melted the top-snow

I never did make it up that peak

Another Doctor had appendicitis on another outpost

I was air-lifted by chopper to relieve him

But …those moments haunted me …for years

I remembered someone saying …

Cowards die a thousand deaths …in anticipation

The brave die but once … ‘cos death never figures in their thoughts

I wrote this piece on death …in the early 90’s, I think


It looms like a shadow

Laughs at you, flirts with you

An eternal coquette


Final, uncompromising

Cold, unfeeling

The ultimate threat, the final refuge

The absolute escape


Starts at birth, Lives everyday

Happens in a moment,

Dreaded, feared, remembered, honoured,

Singular .. Death!

You don’t ask for it, you cant ignore it,

not even experience it

you wont …escape it,

talk or write about … your own


Absolves the sinner,

Martyrs the soldier,

Humbles the mighty,

The Kiss …..Of Death!

Death is …

So progeny … must be.

Opens the gates of Heaven … and Hell

Recruits souls for Satan & God

The Final Judge’s last nod


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