Colonel Sansar Chand never liked thinking about his past. Whenever anyone asked him about his escapades in the military he tried his best to dodge the questions. Remembering his past only gave him a heavy heart. Despite knowing the detrimental effect on him, Colonel began making the dangerous mistake of spending lonesome afternoons thinking and remembering what was over and done with.
The Colonel had been a force to reckon with. He had led his battalion to victory in 1965 during the Sino-Indian war. His stature in the military was evident from the many medals that adorned his uniform. When the Colonel would think of his exploits in the army and bravery in the field, his chest would swell with pride. But the very next moment the once brawny shoulders would fall and the Colonel would get reminded of all the years that went by.
Colonel was lost in his thoughts when a hand softly landed on his knee. He lifted his gaze and found his son seated next to him. The Colonel suddenly felt a knot in his stomach developing.
“I hope they’re treating you well here”, his son broke the silence.
The Colonel remained quite.
“I’m fine”, he said after a few moments.
“They tell me you don’t talk to anyone here,” his son said, “Why don’t you talk to anyone father?”
The Colonel shrugged his shoulders in response. He wasn’t very interested in the conversation. Since morning memories of his wife had been bothering him.
It was the summer of 1950 when the Colonel started courting his wife. He was only twenty-five years old and she was nineteen. The Colonel still remembered the many beautiful afternoons he spent with his wife in the Botanical Garden of Calcutta.
The Colonel could feel his son fidgeting beside him but he paid no attention to him. He was remembering his first visit to the Botanical Garden with his wife. It had only a year since their courtship began but the Colonel was already madly in love with her. It was the day the Colonel first asked her to marry him and to his misfortune got rejected. He never forgot his wife, looking beautiful in a yellow sari, telling him she didn’t love him. It took Colonel another three years and several more visits to the Botanical Garden to win her hand. The Colonel had spent forty colorful years of his life with her.
The Colonel focused his gaze to his son’s apologetic face.
“How are you?” his son asked.
“Fine, “he replied.
He gave his son a small smile.
“I’ve endured worse. If I can live after your mother died then I can live through anything”, the Colonel added.
The Colonel remained silent for a few moments.
You don’t worry about me. Don’t feel bad for not visiting me. I have found a new way of keeping myself busy. You would be surprised with how much I have to remember,” he said.
The Colonel, very slowly, rose from his seat. He gave his son one last look. His son had remorseful look and his wet eyes dropped when they met Colonel’s.
“I didn’t want to remember you like this”, the Colonel said.
With the help of his walking stick Colonel strutted slowly, leaving the pitiful spectacle behind.