This is the story of a soldier who is guarding the frontiers and gathering his thoughts to pen down in his diary. What he writes in the following lines needs to be thoroughly understood. This shows the soldiers too have a heart, feelings, dreams and plans of future. But they sacrifice their everything for the love of the Motherland. This page of a soldier’s diary seems written in one go. The young soldier was sitting on a detached solitary rock, well hidden from his enemy’s eyes. The enemy that was not far away; a neighbour at war. Few nights ago he had reached this location which was to be defended. He had barely survived shelling by the enemy guns, the last night. The soldier had seen guns blazing in movies but feeling these right on the head; was a new experience for him. This taught him a different meaning of life — ‘live-on’. His comrades proved worthy of the spirit to live-on and they all managed to survive and fight. For him, now ‘live-on’ meant surviving another day, not for the pleasures of life, but to continue defending the piece of land he was assigned to defend. In war, each soldier becomes a player that must remain on the ground to help his team win. Then he realised that ‘death’ in war is like a mad dog that wanders aimlessly and bites purposelessly. However, avoiding death in itself is never a purpose for soldiers obeying the mission. The soldierly drive pushed everyone to keep the focus on the front and fight-on. Yet in some moments of solitude, once the roars of guns and hissing of passing bullets stopped for a while, he thought of life back in his city where none would be bothered to really think of the dying soldiers. He then thought of his home and a drained smile appeared on his face. He took out a leaf from his notebook and moved away from his comrades resting for a while, to this solitary rock and started writing to his grandmother. He loved her so much that it became difficult for him to share the true face of the war. Yet the continued scribbles in some sense connected him to his grandmother and to the world he had left behind. He started explaining to her the types of wild flowers he had seen around his location. While writing about flowers, he never mentioned the girl who had met him in another city and had captured his imaginations. There was intense shelling by guns the next day, an soldiers kept fighting for the mission. There were three birds giggling in the nest — the owl, his female partner, and the baby owlet. It was early in the morning, they had eaten leftover food, and their filled stomach caused a long unending conversation. They were brooding over life around the jungle; a piece of land that was full of green trees, but also inhabited by lions, snakes, foxes, jackals and many harmful species. Most of these animal species were surviving on each other, yet that never made them change their diet, or mode of survival. The owl family, once well-fed, usually spent time brooding over celestial issues rather than mundane survival. Of course, life ought to be made beautiful than merely wasted following the ugly realities of survival. They both abhorred the conflict prevailing in the jungle and always longed for eternal peace among all animals. On that stomach-filled beautiful day, they again wanted to shout and raise the questions, and to condemn the animals around for their brutal acts. They wanted to change their nature; to tame them to eat grass, breathe fresh air and live in peace. They believed in the power of their words, far-fetched wishes, and ‘demands’ for a just and peaceful jungle. They almost felt living for this noble cause. Once hungry, the wise-owls however used the sloganeering as a ploy to deceive the simpleton, and the little insects only realised their follies once it was too late to escape the trap. In those moments of hunger, lust and power, the owls just ate the prey and never commented on taming their brutal instincts. On that fateful day, the conversation took too long, absorbed both the partners so much that they could hardly notice the approaching night. The darkness was setting-in and then the two realised that they had been unable to move out of the nest to fetch food for the owlet. The baby was now crying due to overwhelming thirst and hunger. The owlet must survive the next day; both thought determinedly. Their pedigree must continue. They could not sacrifice their kin on any pretext of peace and harmony. They must find insects for the owlet to survive another day. Upon survival, they could always pursue the dream of weaving peace and harmony; in themselves and among others. And, then in the fading light of the dying-sun, they noticed an approaching snake that was not far away from their nest. The innate rule of hunger was compounded by the deadly power of fear. To protect the owlet from the starvation and the deadly prey became a defining question for both the partners. The issue of peace were reduced to the strategies of survival. They left the whole discussion unfinished, and hurriedly conspired against the approaching snake and hunger. They whispered a few words to the owlet, and the baby was seen flexing his wings. He was mustering the power to combat and survive the approaching danger. The two sages had solved the puzzle. One owl flew to fetch the water, the other food, and left the survival job for the owlet. They must survive the darkness to see the next day. The old lady was fumbling, yet firmly holding the hands of a little boy while moving across a hill. The little boy was his grandson and she was to escort him to school in the next town. There lay a thick jungle in between, full of wild and deadly animals to reach the abode of knowledge and serenity. There in the school, the teacher taught in a calm manner: peace should be weaved through strong yarns of rationality, adjusting to each other’s interests than honking on merely good-will or climbing the velvet walls of morality and ethics The boy was walking fast, ignorant of the limits of his ailing grandmother who was finding it hard to climb the hill anymore. Yet she continued the journey as well as telling the boy a story. The little boy was fascinated with the marching soldiers and their stories of valour. The little boy’s father had died a year ago in a road accident when he was coming back from his job in a civil court in the nearby city. His job was to advocate for life yet death had its cruel jaws set on him. Death remains an inescapable part yet life remains a beautiful journey. The grandmother had acquiesced to the wishes of the boy. She decided to allow him to join the soldiers to defend their motherland. She talked a lot enroute, but did not mention the story of the young soldier who wrote beautiful letters from the war zone and had forgotten to return to his family. The mortals make the journey immortal. There in the school, the teacher taught in a calm manner: peace should be weaved through strong yarns of rationality, adjusting to each other’s interests than honking on merely good-will or climbing the velvet walls of morality and ethics. The twin ladder of capabilities and intentions should be used in a manner, that each has to hold the hand of the other, to keep the journey safe till destination. The teacher drew the circle on the wall connecting all the dots. The author is a traveller and prose writer Published in Daily Times, September 19th 2018.