Tuesday, December 08, 2009

My unknown hero

Its just over a year since the audacious attack by Pakistani terrorists who virtually held Bombay at gunpoint and exposed the inability of our police force & administration to be able to handle such a situation. Bombay is notorious for not letting anything affect its 'life goes on no matter what happens' attitude but the day after probably the longest night in its history, the city stayed indoors glued to the television channels bringing minute by minute updates on the latest news from the ground. A year on, life has returned to normalcy but the print & television media ensured that we havent forgotten. NatGeo aired a very informative documentary that captured several aspects of the attack that were lost in the media frenzy last year. And then I saw a status messge of a friend of mine which said that the media coverage of the attack was elitist and that so much media attention had been focussed on the Taj and hardly anything was mentioned about the attacks on the common man in CST station. And the more I think of it, the more I realise that its true. Add to this the recent allegations of cover ups by the Bombay police and you end up with a bitter taste in your mouth.

A couple of days after the first anniversary of this dastardly attack, my mind was exhausted from work and while sitting back and taking a break my playlist happened to play the song Travellin Soldier by the Dixie Chicks. This happened to be the first time I have listened to the song and the impact on me was akin to running straight into a brick wall. Suddenly everything seemed to stop and I carefully replayed the song while absorbing each word. Is it the simplicity of the story that the song narrates ? Is it the fact that had some things been different it could've been me or anybody like me in the place of the young man in the song ? Is it the haunting tune that resonates in my head long after the song has completed playing ? Is it the knowledge that I am living a comfortable life here while some unknown (to me and you) person is braving the elements while knowing that he would lay down his life for the country and 99.9% of our vast population would never even know about it ?

Download the song. Close your eyes and listen to it. If it doesnt move you there really is something wrong with you.

Two days past eighteen
He was waiting for the bus in his army greens
Sat down in a booth in a cafe there
Gave his order to a girl with a bow in her hair

He's a little shy so she gives him a smile
And he said would you mind sittin' down for a while
And talking to me,
I'm feeling a little low
She said I'm off in an hour and I know where we can go

So they went down and they sat on the pier
He said I bet you got a boyfriend but I don't care
I got no one to send a letter to
Would you mind if I sent one back here to you

I cried
Never gonna hold the hand of another guy
Too young for him they told her
Waitin' for the love of a travelin' soldier
Our love will never end
Waitin' for the soldier to come back again
Never more to be alone when the letter said
A soldier's coming home

So the letters came from an army camp
In California then Vietnam
And he told her of his heart it might be love
And all of the things he was so scared of
He said when it's gettin' kind of rough over here
I think of that day sittin' down at the pier
And I close my eyes and see your pretty smile
Don't worry but I won't be able to write for awhile

I cried
Never gonna hold the hand of another guy
Too young for him they told her
Waitin' for the love of a travelin' soldier
Our love will never end
Waitin' for the soldier to come back again
Never more to be alone when the letter said
A soldier's coming home

One Friday night at a football game
The Lord's Prayer said and the Anthem sang
A man said "Folks would you bow your heads
For a list of local Vietnam dead"
Cryin' all alone under the stands
Was the piccolo player in the marching band
And one name read and nobody really cared
But a pretty little girl with a bow in her hair

I cried
Never gonna hold the hand of another guy
Too young for him they told her
Waitin' for the love of a travelin' soldier
Our love will never end
Waitin' for the soldier to come back again
Never more to be alone when the letter said
A soldier's coming home

1 comment:

Pravin - A long and winding road said...

I don't listen much to English songs nowadays, but it is highly commendable that you devoted an article atleast for our unsung heroes.