Written by Sneha N Shastri
Every sunrise, I looked across the street waiting for the postman to come with his box of letters, and with each sunset I return from work to find no envelopes lying at my door. This long wait had made me tired, my heart filled with thorns of anxiety with each passing day. Why was she sending no letters?
Ever since she had gone to the North we followed a weekly custom of writing letters to each other. There was not a single letter to which she had not replied. We seemed like theatre music playing in the era of rap music but we loved our ways nevertheless. Her letters always came with a zip cover of sand that I filled into my antique collection of sand clocks and I always sent her a cut-out of the news that I found most interesting from the week’s newsletter. We didn’t think it was weird, just quirky.
It had been 30 days since she had sent a reply. I kept sending her newspaper cut-outs but my sand clocks stood without any sand. One sunny afternoon I saw the “khaki man” coming towards me on his old cycle carrying his box of letters. Yes! Her letter had come! My eyes welled up as I saw the envelope; in it was a zip cover of sand. But something shook my nerves. Covered in sand was her name plate that she always wore proudly on her uniform.
As I read the letter sent by the colonel, I was set aback. My heart seemed to skip a beat. “Major Shikha Bansal has lost her life this morning in a brutal face off at the border which has been going on since a month.”
After 3 days she arrived draped in the tricolor. I bid her adieu, as the rain drenched me wet. While a father had lost his daughter, a nation had lost its gem. There was no music but only the mourning silence in the air. I was ready for an endless wait but I knew her letter would not come again.