Have you ever thought how it would be to meet a friend, philosopher, guide, brother, colleague whom you had lost more than 17 years back.
13 Bn the Jammu & Kashmir Rifles was tasked to capture point 4875 during Kargil war. It was decided that the attack would be launched on 04 July 1999. Before launching the attack Capt Vikram Batra during the customary hug had said to me “galle lagho yaar, na jaane koinse mulaakat akhare hogi” (give a tight hug, you never know which will be the last hug).
Little did I realize the consequence of those words then, as I was entering the danger zone, while Capt Vikram Batra was being given the well deserved break after his successful attack on point 5140.
On 04 July 1999, we launched the attack on point 4875 and I was leading the attack. There have been numerous occasions when I cheated death while the enemy bullets very narrowly missed hitting me. Till the mid-day of 06 July 1999, my company had gained considerable ground by eliminating many enemies. That is when Capt Vikram Batra joined me on point 4875.
By midnight of 06 July 1999, we had captured all the bunkers occupied by the enemy less the last one for which the only way to capture was frontal attack. On 07 July 1999, early in the morning enemy lobbed a grenade into my bunker, which badly damaged both my leg. The enemy was trying to launch counter attack.
That is the time Capt Vikram Batra came rushing to the bunker in which I was injured. He asked me to go down and get my legs treated. Since I had promised my company that I will hoist the tricolor on point 4875, I was reluctant to come down. But seeing the state of my leg and too much of blood loss with my life being in danger, Capt Vikram Batra ordered me to go down. I being his junior had to obey his order.
I was crawling down, unable to walk, both legs being severely injured. Capt Vikram Batra punched his fist to mine and took over the charge of attack on point 4875. Knowing the brave nature of Capt Vikram Batra and the only possible attack to capture point 4875 was frontal and suicidal, it was as if written all over the skies that something historical is about to happen.
On being told Capt Vikram Batra won point 4875 for his team, his paltan the defense forces and for the entire nation by making the supreme sacrifice, I always wished that I could stop the time when our fists met each others, till eternity so that he would be amongst us today and forever.
Friends, bidding adieu to a brother officer who is embarking on an attack, return from where is next to none, is the most difficult circumstances in which an officer would like to be in. I have been in that position, wished to hold the time back or at least give the last hug as he had said “galle lagho yaar, na jaane koinse mulaakat akhare hogi”
This mental block prevented me from going back to the unit, going back to the battalion, visiting Kargil war memorial, meeting the people with whom I had the privilege of fighting the enemy on point 4875 and most importantly I never mustered the courage to meet the parents and twin brother of Capt Vikram Batra for the past 17 years.
As fate would have it, we all gathered at one place for the Golden Jubilee Celebrations. The first time I came across Vishal Batra, twin brother of Capt Vikram Batra, in a flash I was reminded of my last meeting with Capt Vikram Batra when I crawled down point 4875 and he went ahead for the attack. Vishal not only is a look alike of Capt Vikram, but also has the same smile, same charm, same josh and same charisma. Rather I would say two physical entities but same soul.
For me it was nothing short of meeting Capt Vikram Batra again after 17 years. It seems that the thing I always wanted to do with Capt Vikram, the tight hug, the firm handshake, the meeting of fists and some emotional talk and to convey my gratitude was fulfilled.
But for you Vikram I wouldn’t have been here, I wouldn’t have meet my wife, I wouldn’t have had the pleasure of holding my dear daughter Savera in my arms, wouldn’t have lived on the earth for the past 17 years.
Thank you Vikram sir, just to let you know you are being missed and remembered.
“galle lagho yaar, na jaane koinse mulaakat akhare hogi”