Sometimes, just as sleep is hard to come by after a tiring day; peace can be hard to find at the end of an eventful life. Especially if one’s done and endured so much in a lifetime. At least, HE believed so. One more thing HE religiously believed of was, “When in doubt; consult the Old Monk”. In all likelihood, today seemed like an important consultation.

Old Monk was his oldest pal and the also the most faithful. He was there by his side all though his life – in the good, bad and the ugly times.

GULP… GULP…. GULP… AHHHHH. 

It’s funny how the old monk, can go down the throat and clear the insides of the head. The lights in his bunker seemed a bit dimmer now. The night was cold & he was alone; it didn’t seem a big deal anymore now. He started breathing easy and let his mind slip from the alert mode to remembrance mode. He remembered how HE was 24 years old when he had to make his life’s first big decision. THEY said, “We Want You! We want you to join the finest and bravest men for the noblest task. You will be the protector of your bothers and uphold highest morals. We offer you a life of honour and respect“. HE did not understand much but looked around.

EVERYBODY said, “Your mother will be proud”. Mother said, “You’ll make your motherland proud”. So, that’s how he got enlisted for the camp and earned himself an uniform. The next few months at the camp was exciting. He learned new things, mostly dangerous and explosive things. He trained with other like-minded friends; friends who wore the same uniform and were addressed as comrades. They were all fed three times a day with concentrated doses of self-righteousness and the will-to-act. On the last day at the camp all comrades received a GUN and a shiny piece of metal was pinned to their uniforms.

In the final speech at the camp, THEY said, “The gun will be your truest companion till the end of life and this shiny badge a symbol for righteousness. Outside the walls of this camp, EVERYBODY will look up to you. For you’re fearless, selfless, brave and a little more patriot than rest of the people outside this camp. Remember, EVERYBODY will be looking up to you. You cannot fail them. When in doubt – remember the training. Remember what you were told in the training. The will-to-act is your biggest weapon”.

That speech, and camp was a long time ago. Thousand miles and 15 years later, today in this cold bunker atop the mountain, he couldn’t help recollect that speech and smile. “Funny”, he thought. “THEY specifically said when in doubt, remember the training. They did NOT say ‘think’. THEY meant, ‘spare the thinking for us and just do what you’re trained to do’.

GULP… GULP…. GULP… AHHHHH.

When in extreme pain, it’s really hard to focus. The Old Monk may not be able to cure or suppress pain, but he can sure help take some attention off it. It now was becoming more evident how cold the bunker really was. His breathing was steady now. The mind automatically shifted from remembrance to introspection. It was not very long after the speech that his moment of TEST and his GUN’s day in the field came along.

Battlefield is a very weird and confusing place. Also, one day on the battlefield can teach you more about the world than a lifetime inside the cosy home. In spite of the years of training, sophisticated equipment and hours of strategizing; once that first bullet is fired, battlefield is all about manifestation of chaos theory. So many get killed, even more get injured and entire cities are scarred for decades. All of it in so little time.

That’s the weird part. The first bullet fired brings two changes to the equation battlefield. One, it makes the cause of the war redundant, and secondly, it establishes survival as the sole objective. In the scramble for survival, nothing matters anymore; neither the cause nor the means. Think about it. If you hypothetically place an external observer in to a battlefield, he pretty sure can’t tell the right from the wrong nor can distinguish the bad guys from the good ones. The truth about battlefield is that everything and everybody are equally justified. That makes one think, “If everybody is right in their own way, why kill each other over it?” Now that’s the confusing part. One might think that killing another person is hard. But once you’re in the war-zone, the reality is more like what John Rambo would say, “When you’re pushed, killing is as easy as breathing”. The hard part about killing is having to live with it for the rest of your life. All those faces and voices can stir up quite a nightmare.

GULP… GULP…. GULP. 

Pain had turned excruciating now. He looked around to re-assess the situation & evaluate his options. His bunker on the mountain was ambushed by the enemy. They fought back and managed to scare the enemy off temporarily. All his comrades were dead; he was severely bleeding. Now, there was only one way this could end. It was only a matter of minutes before the enemy will regroup and return to complete their unfinished assignment. He’d be killed if not already passed out from the bleeding. That much was clearly written on the wall. Either way, he had only a few minutes left. A decade of killing flashed before his eyes. There were too many of them, too frequent and too much to digest now. His head was full. He had too much to say and express before all the blood drains out of that head. 
GULP… GULP…. GULP.
That was the last bit of Old Monk from his hip flask. He was now breathing slower than normal. Clearly, too much blood had drained out of his body.
One last thing left”, he reminded himself. He pulled a little journal from his jacket and scribbled the following. 
*********************************************************

NOTES FROM THE MOUNTAINTOP

It took me 15 years of crawling through the depravity of our civilization to get here. This mountaintop lends a certain perspective; one that is hard for men in valley, on both sides of the fence to comprehend. For this is the lesson that one learns at the end of a painful journey and I am writing it down so that no one else has to tread this path.

Fence/Border

Seen from this height & perspective, I cannot see any fence or border. If you believe this world was created by a force or an order higher than this, it’s a good bet that a fence was never intended.

Right & Wrong

Your stance on most disputes depends on which side of the fence do you reside as each side sees the same thing differently. There are equal number believers and unequal number of guns on either side of the fence. So then, the fight righteousness is always a question of who owns more/bigger guns?

Man with a gun

Uniform or otherwise, there is nothing moral about the man with a GUN. He merely symbolizes threat and intimidation. He can never be trusted nor should be.

***************************************************************

He wrote this and put the pencil down to contemplate on the last thought of his life, “If I put this gun in my mouth and pull the trigger, will I actually hear a gunshot or pass out before hearing it”? That seemed like an interesting question. There was only one way to know the answer. He did what was necessary. He did what he was trained to do. He sputtered the walls with stains of his-own dark red. 

Ironically, nothing had changed in the world’s equation. It was one man less, but the number of guns still remained the same. 

 

8 Replies to “Notes from the Mountaintop”

  1. Jay.. reading ur blog after a long time. Undoubtedly a lot a thoughts put up nicely. I liked the places u mentioned about the chaos theory of battlefield and the changes bullet brings.. and of course the final note made me think for a few hrs about the subject!!!!! Keep writing…

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