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Eighteen year old men

Ariza | 28 June 2006, 6:09pm

Was reading a book about war today. The author was eighteen years old when he was shipped off to the world war. He describes his experiences in the book. There is a particular scene which stands out. The author and his friend are in the trenches waiting for an attack to come when they start having a conversation.

"I had a great life. I dont know if I would ever see it again."

"You will. Dont worry." the author says.

"It's just that, now that I have seen this destruction the whole thing stands out in contrast. You see I had a great life. I never got to know that then, always had something to crib about and I only got engaged hoping to get laid. And now I might die alone. Now, from here, I am in love."

Talk like that in trenches might sound like a bad idea because it makes everyone emotional and then it becomes difficult to kill. But I dont think so. In the above line you can see the fellow wanted to live, that he wanted to see life. That is a good reason. Hell, it is as good a reason as any to fight a war and kill a man: TO LIVE.

In our country the movies made on war are about nationalism and patriotism. How many times have we had soldiers lecturing about their love for the country while they die. I remember J.P Dutta's LOC. Somehow, I am not convinced. Patriotism is a good enough reason to go to war but it is not the thing that keeps you alive. Ofcourse, a man could turn back and run and then he would be alive. Catch 22's Yossarian would agree. But a man cannot live to be a coward and we are always aware of the cowardice inside us. So between these extremes you end up fighting and in a war, in the trench waiting for the enemy, it is better to know that you have to be alive to go back home.

Ofcourse home is never the same. We, who have gone through eighteen rebelling and drooling after girls can never understand this. A simple near death experience can change us. War is more than that. There must always be the fear of death and change must breed inside this. In this book there is a character who sleeps with his gun in his hand. They keep warning him that one day he'll blow his head off. He says he is liable to do that if he didnt have his gun beside him, that the fear was too goddam much. The gun gives him comfort, keeps him sane.

I wonder how does he come home. What happens to his fear? What happens to that place in his heart where once there was fear.

Ofcourse we can never understand that.

Current Mood: Thoughtful
Current Music: Vijaypath

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