A stunned silence followed Ram's outburst...
I apologize on his behalf...he is just a litle frutrated at the moment
since he is holed up in the camp and cannot go outside...You have your
lunch, we will see you in some time.
Mahesh: i knew this was going to happen...after all the guy is the ram Kapoor...
Priya: what do you mean by The Ram Kapoor?
Mahesh: Remember the industrialist Amarnath Kapoor?
Priya: Yaa the one who committed suicide? Wait a minute you mean to say he is related to Ram kapoor?
Mahesh: Yups...He is Captain...Ram Amarnath Kapoor...
Priya: Holy Christ...i vaguely remember the scandal that rocked Mumbai a decade ago i think...
Yaa, it was rumoured that Ram's mother ran off with another man and
that's the reason Amarnath Kapoor hanged himself...No one knows the
whereabouts of the mother...the media had hounded Ram like anything..
Priya sank back in her chair...this was it..the hatred that he had in those eyes...She had to trace her steps carefully now.
Ram Amarnath Kapoor...you are an enigma but i ll break through...
Ram barged into his room and threw his cap on the
bed..Media...how he hated them..His blood boiled at the mere sight of
them. He opened his cupboard and took out a framed photo of his dad. Ho
happy they were..and then the other man arrived on the scene.
..Ajit...he had relentlessly wooed his mom...poisoned her against his
dad. His dad, the good human being he was ...ignored the growing threat
of his manager and immersed himself more in work...so much so that he
could not see his own manager slowly but steadily put the distance
between them..and one fine day it came as a jolt, his mom declared she
was unhappy with AK and wanted to settle with Ajit. She took a lot of
wealth with her and his Dad, his heart broken just ended his life...Just
like that.. But what was more dreadful was the media people, reporters
swarming in ever corner of his house hounding him for a few words. They
did not even let him complete the last rites of his father in
peace..That day..that day he resolved he would want to be away from all
that...He hated such kind of people who made money out of other people's
misery...Ram put the photo back in the cupboard, apart from Adi no one
in the army knew about his background and he intended to keep it that
Aditya slowly pushed the door...He found ram siting on the chair with his hands curled up in a fist...
Aditya: Captain, so much anger is not good for you.
Ram: Go away Adi, i dont want this right now...
Aditya ignored him and made himself comfortable on the bed...
Aditya: Ram, its been 10 years, you have to come out of it. Just get it over with Ram, it will eat you up..
Ram: I hate those people Adi, i hate them from every fiber of my being...
Aditya: I understand Ram, but Priya did not do any thing.
I know but what difference will it make. She is from the same
field...Snuff out a story and then twist it to make it interesting and
keep on playing it as breaking news...and
Aditya looked at Ram...: What why are you looking at me like that?
Because you are taking your hatred too far...The reason was
different..and this is totally different..She is only here for some show
of hers and for your kind infrmation she did not come to look out for
you...the army general suggested your name backed by Col Singh, so yaa
its plain destiny that you are the chosen one...
Aditya walked up to the window...There are a lot of them out there who would give their right arm to be in that show..
See...thats what i am telling you. The entire regiment was good till
this media people came up..and why so because is 15 August...and...
Aditya: How many times do you say thank you to Shantabai?
Ram: Excuse me? Where the hell did Shantabai come from?
Aditya: Answer my question.
Ram: Adi, Shanta bai is my care taker, she looks after the house in my absence.
My question, Mr. Ram Kapoor is how many times do you thank her or let
me rephrase it for your convenience...how many times do you remember
Ram: Adi, stop this nonsense, i only meet her when i am home...and why would thank her, she does her job...
exactly my point captain..you claim that people dont remember you, dnt
care for you, but the bitter truth is that even we dont remember people
in our day to day lives. True that we strive for the country, shed our
blood, life everything but its also true that when we are in the
civilian role we don't care either. Its basic human nature ...same like
Shanta bai we have chosen this career, no body put a gun to your head,
we chose it, we live by it.
Ram looked at Aditya in awe..He had no answer to this..I believe we are getting late for the meeting..Ram stepped out...
Aditya smiled: Captain...he yelled, Ram looked back...She is a sweet girl, dont be harsh on her.
In Col Singh's Room
Col Singh: Captain Kapoor, Capt Batra, Lieutenant Raj and Cap Arora, we
are gathered here for a very special briefing. in the coming months we
are doing a very high level operation involving some high risk
activities. As when the time comes i would be briefing you about the
nature of our operation. This special team would be headed by Captain
Kapoor and since he is not fit to resume as yet we will wait for him to
fully recover. In that meantime, i want everyone else to be fighting
fit. Train harder, its going to be a high level, high risk task.
And of utmost importance is that this talk should remain between the 5 of us only. Is that Clear
All 4 : Yes Sir...
Col Singh: Good..you may leave now. Captain Kapoor please stay back i need to have a few words with you..
The other leave after saluting the col.
Col Singh: Captain, i know it would take a little time for you to heal
completely and i have been monitoring your progress closely with Doctor
Sinha. Since at the moment you are not medically fit to fully resume the
duties i would want you to assist and accompany Ms Sharma at all
Ram: What?? Sir but, what will i do with them? They are no way connected to us and i see no point in being with them.
Col Singh: Well captain Kapoor as you may be well aware that i am not
used to receiving objections from my men on any point, secondly Ms
Sharma wants to have a view of the villagers as well nad wants to do a
documentary on it. As you know the outside area is volatile, it may
erupt into violence at the slightest provocation and i don't want any
civilian to come under harm. The crew has all the necessary permissions
so we in any way cannot restrict them from doing their jobs. The least i
can do is assign my very best men to them to ensure that all goes off
smoothly. Am i clear enough Captain?
Ram: Yes Sir ...Ram said in a very feeble voice
Col: I did not hear it..
Ram loudly: Yes sir
Col: That's better captain..you may leave.
Suddenly Ram looked at an shadow that passed the window. He quickly
darted across and looked at the corridor. The corridor was empty, not a
soul in sight. Strange he thought, he did see someone or maybe it was
just an illusion. He was over reacting, the fact that he had to face the
media was stressing him out. He recalled what Col Singh had told him
and also what Adi had said to him. He took a deep breath and marched off
towards Priya's room.
Ram stood before Priya's room unsure of how to approach. He put his hand to tap on the door but withdrew it immediately..
Come on Ram, you can do it...He encouraged himself and raised his hand
to tap again...the same time Priya opened the door...to find Ram
standing there with one raised hand...
Ram: I had come to say sorry...i was a little out of control at lunch today.
Priya supressed a smile, Is this the army way of saying sorry?
Ram looked confused, Army way?
Priya pointed to his hand which was still raised in the air...
Ram: Ohh sorry, i was just about to knock on the door when you opened it...
Priya: Its alright, no worries..
Ram: I heard you want to interview the villagers as well?
Priya: Yes, you heard it right. No worries, me and the crew would move out there soon.
Ram: Err actually i have to go with you..
Priya: With me?
Ram: Yes..i mean i am supposed to be with you in the village...for for security reasons.
Priya: Will you be in uniform and carrying a gun too?
Ram: Well i am a soldier and have to be in uniform and the gun is a part of it.
Priya frowned...: No i mean the villagers would be intimidated by you and i would not get the required results.
Ram pondered over it for a while. Alright, i ll ask Col Singh about it
and if possible will change into a civilian attire but the vehicle has
to be an army one.
Priya: That's fine by me..
Ram: Just get your things organized we would leave in exactly 1430 hrs.
Priya nodded her head.
Ram took the permission from Col Singh and went back to his room. He
pulled open his bag. It was quite some time since he had worn any thing
civilian, the last time was a comrade's farewell. He selected a white
shirt and blue faded jeans. He hid the gun in his jeans in such a way
that no one would no about it.
Ram took out the jeep and was waiting for Priya. In a few seconds Priya
came there with her crew. Priya looked at Ram, sleeves rolled, a black
goggle atop his eyes, seated next to the driver. She smiled at him.
Mahesh: Whoa !! What do i see, the fairy has swooshed her magic wand...Someone's transformed and how...
Priya: Stop it Mahesh...he looks dashing...
Mahesh: You bet he does...
Priya and Mahesh and another member of the crew got in the backside of
the jeep and they started their journey. Once outside the camp area,
Priya took out her camera and began clicking the pictures. She was
laughing, smiling and cheerful all the time. Ram glance at her through
the left rearview mirror. The reflection made him smile too. Priya
indeed had a beautiful smile and what more it was infectious..Adi was
right, not all media people are the same and most probably Priya did not
even know of his past. That thought relaxed Ram, he turned to Priya..
Ram: have you been in this region before?
Priya: No this is my first time, what about you?
Ram: Its been 4 yrs i have been posted here.
Priya: Beautiful region...
Ram: Yaa it is. Sad that its beauty is trapped in the gunshots and bombardings.
Priya: But the people here seem friendly...
Ram: What choice do they have. They have accepted the situation to the best of their abilities and try to be happy.
They reached the village. All the kids ran up to the vehicle...Priya
obliged by clicking a picture of all of them. Mahesh started organising
his equipment. Ram wandered along, he made sure that he was not
interfering in the work but at the same time he was not too far either.
He had one eye on Priya and one on the whole situation all the time. to
an outsider her would look like a member of the crew itself but only a
seasoned pro would know that he had an army background. Ram sat down on
one of the charpai's and relaxed. Soon a man approached him and Ram gave
him some bundle of notes.
Priya started asking questions to the villagers and were very
forthcoming. Priya has packed off satisfied with her work for that day
when she heard some villagers talking about the temple on the outskirts
of the village and how it fulfills all the wishes.
Priya: Mahesh, lets go to the temple na?
Mahesh: No yaar Priya, i am too exhausted now. Me and Kabir would wait right here, you carry on.
Priya looked at Ram he eyes putting across the questions to him.. Ram
walked up and nodded. He went to the villager and asked for directions.
Ram and Priya started their journey..
Priya: For accompanying me
Ram: Hmnn...its ok
Priya: You have been there before?
Priya: Strange...i love to explore places...
Ram: I dont believe in God, for me he dsnt exist.
Ram: You are not surprised or you wont advise me that God is there?
Priya: Do you want me to?
Ram: No, i mean whenever i tell this to anyone, they are after my life. They tell me about God and how wrong i am.
Priya: I dont feel the need to. I mean you have chosen to be like that
and each one has a right to live their life the way they want.
Ram looked at Priya. He felt relaxed.
A little ahead both Ram and Priya stopped. There the road was divided into two parts. Ram headed off to the left.
Priya: Hey, i think the temple is on the right, not left.
Ram smiled. Trust me on this Madam, i am never wrong with directions.
Priya: Don't you think we should ask someone and double check...
Ram: Trust me...i have never got lost and my gut feeling is always right..
Priya: I have a feeling...
Ram cut her off: Follow me and you shall find out that i am right.
Ram walked off and Priya shrugged her shoulders and followed Ram.
Ram started making signs on trees as they moved along. Priya was right
on his heels. they were walking for about an hour and it began getting
After walking for about an hour
Priya: Captain, i think we need to stop...
Ram: Stop, tired eh? You know what you city girls are so weak, few steps you walked and you need to stop. You know we walk..no not walk we run for miles and miles...and
Ram stopped right there. Ahead of him there was a deep valley in pitch darkness. Ram turned around...
Ram: I think we have missed a turn, lets go back...
Priya: There was no turn
Ram: There was, i am very sure...
Priya: Do you think we have ...
Ram: I have marked the trees so i know which way we came.
Priya: Great and what have you marked them with?
Ram: With this pencil, i had only this.
Priya: Pencil, do you know the size of the tree and in this darkness how are we supposed to find your mark.
Ram: Relax...soldiers never get lost...We will be on the right way in a jiffy. Just follow me.
They continued walking for another half an hour or so.
Near a tree Ram stood still...
Priya came near him, why are you standing here? Did we get anything?
Ram turned around to face Priya: Err...i think we are lost!!!
To be Continued