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A Call Of Wisdom

By Prantik Mitra

It was time for Hamid to leave.

He hugged his Abba and Ammi and his wife Nafisa.

Son Ayub was looking.

He said to each of them that he loved them and that he would be back soon. Perhaps a lie.

He could not tell them where he would be. That was top secret. He only told them that he would keep giving them news of his safety and wellbeing.

He could not tell them that he was on a secret mission to Burma

He walked away as the entire family stood at the door. 10 steps down he turned back, waved at them and turned back again. Resolution and Conviction are written large over his stern face.

Did they see a hint of a tear in his eye? Well, only Hamid knows...

It is his call to duty.

Lytton Das, Ambrish Singh and Bhairav Shekawat patted each other’s back as they set out of their camp.

At 20,000 feet and at a temperature of -55 deg at 5.00 AM their vigil began. They were at the highest battled field of the world – Siachen.

Lytton enquired about Ambrish’s expecting wife and then they moved on. Each to their post.

Everything freezes at this temperature but not their spirit and enthusiasm.

It is their call to duty.

Desmond and Mahesh Rawat took guard behind a tree. Their INSAS rifle loaded.

Naina was in the temporary command centre alongside Sarvanan. Reddy and Doshi were in combat position behind the sand bunkers.

They were ready to die if required. They were trying to take out seven terrorists.

It is their call to duty.

Gurung Thapa, Yangba, Mohanty, Nair and Khandekar were wading through the gushing floodwaters rescuing men and women to safety. Durga Rani was flying a helicopter distributing and airdropping relief materials and food.

It was their call to duty.

Hemant Dogra was at the Thar desert at his post. Focused and vigilant as always. Temperatures soaring to 47 deg C. At the same time, Gurmeet raised his periscope at India’s international sea border. He did not have orders to surface.

It is their call to duty.

Mariam Solomon left for the hospital designated for COVID. She was a nurse. She said goodbye to her family and with her eyes twinkling with determination walked away to her duty. She would be in her PPE Kit for almost 8 to 9 hours at a stretch and during this time she would not be able to have food or go to the washroom. She would work for 15 to 16 hours today and for days to come. When back home she would not go near her family. She would first have to take her clothes off in the hallway, it had become the usual drill, the neighbors were used to it as well. She would use a separate bathroom, use separate utensils, wash her clothes and live a life as isolated as possible.

How long would this go on? Even Mariam does not know.

It is her call to duty.

Dr Pandey was disturbed. He could not leave his station. There were streams of patients. He wanted to save everyone. It was his profession to save lives. He would call all his medical faculties to the fore and focus. He needed more than 24 hours. He had to save lives.

It is his call to duty.

Pramathesh a common man but a good Samaritan was taking time out of his office and running a community kitchen with the help of volunteers and voluntary contributions to feed many who had lost their already lowly jobs during COVID. He wanted to feed every hungry individual. However, while his resources were limited his love to the cause was unlimited. Late in the night he would contact all known sources to donate to the cause and return the next day with renewed vigour. They were feeding almost 500 people every day.

It was a call from deep inside his heart.

At the same time, Ramu was sanitizing streets and colonies from 7 AM. He did not understand much about the Virus but he thought his action would save lives and he wanted to save lives.

It is his call to duty.

Paramita gathered up all the people in her building, sought for contribution and started a meal service for the hungry. She felt happy in being able to provide food to so many.

It is her call to her conscience.

Shreya woke up at 5 am. She looked around her house and found everyone sleeping. She tiptoed out and headed off to her office. For her work from home was not an option. She grabbed her mic and headed off to the virus filled hospitals and started her usual day of interviewing the authorities. She had recently heard that 5 journalists had contracted the virus, but she needed to inform the masses. She was the only bridge of communication between the war on the virus and the people at home.

It was her call to duty to inform and educate.

Everybody told Ghanekar that he is an extremely corrupt institution. Ghanekar was never surprised by this. Indian Policemen lived with this reputation.

That does not prevent Ghanekar to get up at 5 AM and go to his beat and organize social distancing, help in containing and quarantining, explain to residents, try and help migrants, enforce discipline, and warn violators. The news of policemen attacked because of their duty was becoming more so common, yet that didn’t deter him. It is a long day. He does not even get time to sit for a moment.

It would be long days.

Ghanekar feels happy.

It is his call for redemption of the image of the Police Department. He felt moved when people came out on their roofs clapping and clanging on utensils.

Shefali and Roopa – For them, the laboratory had become their home. They want to test more and more. A negative brings joy and they do high fives. A positive drive them to their protocol to inform the authorities and set the process in motion. They don’t want to leave the Lab.

It is their call to duty.

The armed forces today have decided to honour the COVID workers by showering petals from helicopters on hospitals and by lining up navy ships along seacoasts. These ships will light up and flares would be released as a tribute to the superheroes of COVID 19.

One of the greatest institutions of the country rises to honour the COVID Warriors.

Many are asking why this is needed?

Ask the COVID Warrior, they will say they don’t need it but I am sure they deserve it.

They deserve every bit of it.

Who are we to question the armed forces of our country.

Did we ask them why they came to save me during the Chennai floods?

Did we ask them why they carried Maninder’s pregnant wife on their shoulders to the nearest hospital because she had to deliver a baby and the town was under curfew?

Did we ask them why they had to risk their lives at Handwara today to evacuate civilians from terrorists in the process losing five lives?

We cannot ask questions to those whose call to duty demands to give their lives to the Nation if required.

For what?

For our tomorrow they give away their today…

Raise a toast to the Armed Forces and Covid Warriors.

I dare not ask them why because I do not dare to put my life on the line like them…

Jai Hind.

By Prantik Mitra

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