In northern India, summertime is not for everyone. It is very hot here these days. It is not so difficult for the local people, but it is not easy for outside people. The young girl’s classmates were lived in the city, and often they visited her. Perhaps fed up with the city’s life, they used to come to breathe in the open air. Her friends were also not ordinary people. Her mother always said, “The person should make friends and enemies at only their level.” At that time, she did not understand the meaning of why her mother had said such a thing. It was too late when she understood the meaning.
All her classmates were Hindus. One of her classmates’ father was a business tycoon while the other’s father was a prestigious politician. . The girl’s father was also a high level government officer. Nobody knew her father in the town except a few. But everyone knew her uncle. Everyone knew her chachu was a saint and respectful person, even the city judge, used to stand to respect him. So they always felt safe sending their children to her home.
On that day, all her friends visited the girl who used to live away from the main town. After meeting her mother and eating the delicious food, they decided to visit her farmhouse. She was about to climb the bicycle when her cousin decided to go along. She did not want to get embarrassed. Thus, the girl told her cousin, “Can you mind staying at home. They are my classmates, so you have no business ruining my day. So please, don’t waste my beautiful day.”
But as usual, it didn’t ring a bell in her cousin’s ear. He continued riding his bicycle behind her.
A soldier was stationed at some distance. His two eyes behind binocular spotted the girl and her friends and told himself, “Where the hell this parents’ spoiled girl is going with his friends in the afternoon. Can’t expect any good from her? I am agreed with her mother that this girl will never learn anything. “
The soldier felt that something was not right, so he went inside to inform his superior officer, “Sir, maybe you can stop the stormy girl from death.”
The Commander grabbed the binocular from the soldier and saw that the girl was riding her bike, and she was followed by her cousin and some unknown children who were also going on bicycles. The Commander told the soldier, “let them go. One’s ankle would be broken, and they will come back themselves. At least, the atmosphere will calm around us for a while. Let them do what they want to do. Their parents don’t care about them, so why should I care about them? Just keep your eyes on them.” The Commander then went inside the camp.
The wheat crop in the field was ready to cultivate, and it seemed as if a golden blanket had completely covered the earth. The Commander had grown up in a colder place, and he was not built for the hot weather. He hated the heat. Often he used to say, “It would be a shame if I die of heat instead of a bullet of enemies.”
People say that weakness kills humans one day. This weakness remains as a silent weapon inside the human being. When the time comes, it kills the human from inside. This weakness leads a person to death. Surprisingly, the person still becomes blind despite knowing of this weakness. People used to say that the Commander had not only one but two weaknesses. One of his weaknesses was that little brat girl, and his other weakness was the habit of hunting the bad people. He was a hunter who did not hide and wait for his prey, but he used to find his prey.
Always like his habit, the Commander came out of his camp and told the soldier, “Well, I will follow the children. Just be alert. Contact me through the radio if there is any problem. “
The Commander had several local informers through which he came to know that the girl’s cousin could soon get into trouble. In this way, both the Commander’s weakness and his obsession had made him carry his work.
Along with other soldiers, he started walking through the crops. While the rest of the team also followed his footprints. Suddenly the officer heard on the wireless, “Sir, the gypsy car is full of suspicious people going in the same direction as the children.”
It was a three-way race now. On the one hand, children who were unaware of the danger first wanted to reach the farmhouse. The second race included terrorists who considered themselves the contractors of religion. The third race consisted of army soldiers, who were running to do their duty. At that time, only God knew who would be the winner among these three teams.
While the children had chosen a shortcut path riding the bikes through the path leading to the farmhouse, on the other hand, the soldiers were running through the crops. Third-party was also going in the same direction as kids. Three different races were in progress in the same direction, but no one knew who would win this race first.
The Commander was carefully rushing through the crop, but his brain was also busy thinking faster. Who will be the target of those terrorists? The children on the bike belonged to Hindu families living in the city. Will they target the mayor’s niece and nephew, a local politician’s son, or a Hindu businessman’s daughter? Will they target the son of a college professor? They may not harm the children of the mayor because they belong to the same religious group. If they are lost the race, the terrorists may kidnap Hindu children. There would be chaos in the town if the terrorists succeeded in kidnapping the children. Being a military zone, this part of the city was still safe. But how long it will be safe, nobody knew about it.
His mind was busy thinking faster at a much higher speed than he was running.
In this race, the children had made the victory. But it was too early to give credit to the children for winning the race. The children stopped at the farmhouse and started enjoying fresh fruits and vegetables. But the military and militants were still running. Surprisingly, only one of these teams knew that this was the real race of life. The wireless man informed the soldiers again that the suspected vehicle had moved towards the farmhouse, which was not very good news for the soldiers. However, the trained soldiers first approached the children, and the Commander shouted out loud, “Hide yourself in the crop.”
After hiding the children in the crop, the soldiers took their positions. Suddenly the two sides started firing at each other. The girl and her cousin knew that they could reach their backyard through the fields. The children also knew how to reach the main road, but they were unsure whether they would be safe on the road.
The children reached the safe house. But the girl and her cousin returned to the battlefield. They were feared, but they were also worried about the soldiers. People from both sides were injured. The terrorists fled in their vehicle.
At the end of the fight, the girl and her cousin faced the problem twice. They faced soldiers first, then their parents. It was the day her family decided that none of her Hindu friends would come to meet her until everything was under control. Her mother said, “this decision is taken for the protection of your friends. Your friends are safe on the other side of the city, where most of the population belongs to the Hindu people. Nobody wants those bad people to do any harm to your friends. Do you understand what I just said? The decision is taken for you and your friends’ security.
The girl could not understand why her friends from other religions could not come to meet her. Why can’t they play in my farmhouse? We want to play only. We are just children. Why would anyone want to harm my friends? Is my color different from Anu’s color? Anu has short hair, so my hair is also short. Binu has short hair. How will they recognize which of us is Hindu, Sikh, or Christian? Sibal Bhaiya is a Christian.
As usual, the girl had many questions, but nobody had any answers for her. As usual, the girl was ignored by everyone because she was always curious to ask questions. None of them thought how much those unsolved questions had affected her innocent mind. Later, none of her Hindu friends visited the farmhouse. However, whenever there was a curfew, his mother always sent them vegetables, milk, and other household item. Mother used to say, “It is only God knows how they will survive themselves inside the house and what they will eat.”
A few years later, the girl left the country. It was said that terrorism in her city was completely eradicated. Most of her Hindu friends started to visit her mother. They often asked her mother, “when our friend would return.” His mother used to say, “Only God knows about it now.”
Later, the girl heard that Anu, Sanju, Parveen, Thapa, Saibal Bhaiya, and Sunil finally chose their destination and started to live in the different parts of the country. They kept in touch with her mother until she died. But the little girl never made contact with her mother and her friends. Before her mother’s death, the girl met the mother once. But her friends could never meet the girl again.
Now she thinks of that day, there was nobody else to save them except the man of God, a true Muslim, and her Abu. At that time, he was not a jihadi. In that case, he was not a Muslim. He was just a human being and a brave soldier of the country. The difference was that he was outside the valley of Kashmir and none of children were Muslim.