chandelier, and the fall of the brave.

 

What sort of a war is this, where lambs are sent to fight lions?- Major Gaurav Arya

What sort of a war is this, where lambs are armed with stones and lions with Kalashnikovs?

Article context– Every army man takes pride in his duties, so different from that of a civilian. They are a class above the rest of us, for they are trained to give their lives in our stead. They are steadfast, loyal and above all, brave. Yet they too are human, and I only think of the conflict in their humanity that they must have faced, at being forced to do things they had never signed up for. The Indian Army was meant to protect its citizens, to respect humanity. What the army is forced to do in Kashmir is spread terror. Then, when they say:

I don’t know why they died. The majority were possibly overcome with grief and fury and wanted to avenge your death. That did not happen, for obvious reasons.

About Civilians, it makes me wonder at the twisted reality we have come down to.

I truly believe one shouldn’t romanticize war, or death. Yet, these words hit home, so for a moment let me be a romantic, let me imagine how the soldiers of the Indian Army must feel when they batter down teenage protesters.

 

Adapted from chandelier by sia

Shifting from one foot to another, he checked the safety  of his rifle. He had never shut it since he had stepped into the valley. The boy in the bicycle had a hideous bandage on his left eye, a reminiscent of last night’s orders: Party  girls don’t get hurt 
Can’t feel anything, stop them.

He shakes his head as pity swells inside his mind, he remembers his childhood, how he ran through dusty streets in impunity. The children cowered, peeking through broken slats in windows.  He ground his teeth, he was thinking of them as humans again, when will I learn? I push it down, push it down

He thinks of the nameless man above his head, the orders always come from above, his superiors are his Gods. They’re invisible too.

He thinks of the pellets that left his hand, the thrill of firing and vanquishing an enemy,

I’m the one “for a good time call”

Just as he comes to the good part, the screams- his partner shakes him awake. He checks his army issued time-keeper, its past the Kashmiri bed time.

“We have to raid the newspaper offices”

“Now we are fighting ink too?”

“Number one enemy, very dangerous. Wear bullet proof jackets, the black ink is permanent.”

They rush all night, battling invisible gunmen, handcuffing and kicking those wicked enemies, before they can lift their pens- he bashes a man’s head with the butt of his rifle.

Operation: Muting fundamental rights; is successful.

Phone’s blowin’ up, ringin’ my doorbell

The congratulations keep coming, on a dangerous job well done
I feel the love, feel the love.

Back in his standard issue bunker though, a doubt emerges, his gaze on the map that lies on the far wall. Why was he fighting his own people?

The question is sedition,
1, 2, 3 1, 2, 3 drink

The Kashmiris are either stupid, or very desperate to give up their lives so fruitlessly. Maybe, they are right and he- they shouldn’t hav-
1, 2, 3 1, 2, 3 drink

What the fuck was he thinking? He thinks of home then, of his father his eyes aglow with pride. My son, he would say. He protects us,

a smaller voice mumbles in his hazy mind- protects us

From civilians, little children and a handful of rightfully angry men.
1, 2, 3 1, 2, 3 drink

But this the wrong way to think, this was his duty. The bile was rising in his throat, till he gripped the barrel of his gun,
Throw ’em back, till I lose count

He remembers the time when he dreamt of glory, of saving lives and marching relentlessly into a sunset of bravery. Now he is reduced to noone, far from home he finds his reasons dissolving, he barely remembers what it feels to be human anymore.
I’m gonna swing from the chandelier, from the chandelier

He watches the young boy, clinging to the bike, his head thrown back in laughter as a more matured youth meanders through the air. Envy gnaws inside his soul, why does he get to be happy when he stands here endlessly, waiting for nothing but orders? The envy turns rancid, his resolve hardens as he strokes the barrel of his gun,
I’m gonna live like tomorrow doesn’t exist 

The first punch lands on the boy’s stomach, the second on his high brow and then a third and a fourth and a fifth, blind blind, the frustration spills out and he looks at the man under him, he pretends his soul has flown away,
Like it doesn’t exist

All he feels when he sees the younger brother flee is a sense of detached thrill, the cool breeze ruffles his stiff uniform, forgiving him and he dreams
I’m gonna fly like a bird through the night, feel my tears as they dry
I’m gonna swing from the chandelier, from the chandelier

Late in the night he gnaws at his knuckles, the punches are loud in his memory, the one eyed boy glares balefully from the corner of his dreams. The prayer beads are torn and panic takes hold, what if they found out? He thinks of the punishments he might face, his father’s face

Panic panic, he cradles the gun in his lap
But I’m holding on for dear life, won’t look down won’t open my eyes

Angry at the boy for looking so happy, he wished he could kill every last blasted man in this place,
Keep my glass full until morning light,

His haze coated mind remembers the screams again, now he is on the floor, the lights on him as they ask him if he is brave, he grips his secondary manhood tight- the gun seems slippery in his grip

’cause I’m just holding on for tonight
Help me, I’m holding on for dear life, won’t look down won’t open my eyes
Keep my glass full until morning light, ’cause I’m just holding on for tonight
On for tonight

The morning call finds him cradling his ak47, his uniform crumpled and his head throbbing

Sun is up, I’m a mess

Panic grabs hold of him and shakes him like a dog, what if his superiors find out?
Gotta get out now, gotta run from this

He braces himself, thinking of the disappointment in his father’s eyes
Here comes the shame, here comes the shame

But it doesn’t.

It is revealed to him, noone would ever find out what he did. Even if he did, noone would care.

The fear dissolves, the last grip to his humanity

He adjusts the tricolor on his uniform, walking out smartly.

His soul swings somewhere, from a chandelier, he has no use for it anymore.

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