The Elysian fields-IV  

Posted by Praveen in ,

Read Parts I, II, III, if you haven't already

Part IV-The end

After 7 months...

Am still looking at that portrait of Jay on the wall. A train of thoughts had taken me 20 years back in time. I realise it was a life in which the unpleasant things weighed a little bit more than the pleasant ones. And the final nail on that was hit today evening when I saw the news on the TV that Sammy had brought in last year. It showed images of the dead bodies of 3 young men covered with a white cloth. I went numb when a photo of the 3rd man was displayed. I was too shocked to scream out. I dont know how long I stood there staring at the screen. I heard the news anchor uttering words like 'educated','terrorist' etc and in between a name called 'Sam' too. Thats when I realised that the word 'service' meant something different to him. I began thinking on where it all went wrong. A little boy who was proud of his father and his country wouldn't get transformed into a cold-blooded criminal overnight. Its not possible to wipe away all that feeling of nationalism in one single moment. I somehow felt that I had failed as a mother and as a citizen of this country.

Having seen many such images in recent times, I was almost sure my son had ended up in a place where he was least expected. Then itself I made the decision to disown him. I didn't want a terrorist's body to be buried in the same land where Jay was laid to rest. I was more angry than sad. If I had one more chance to see Sam, I would've asked him the question, "Why?". At this moment, all my affection for my little Sammy vanished without a trace. I cursed myself for having borne him in my stomach for 9 months and for being his mother for 25 long years. I hanged my head in shame at having played a part in letting down my motherland, for which my beloved Jay had laid down his life. He might be watching from heavens and wondering if he's slipping into illusions even there. Still, even after all this, I would be lying if I said I didn't have even a bit of sadness. Which mother can hate her son with all her heart, whatever be the intensity of the crime he has done?

The next morning, I was startled by the sound of the gate opening. I saw a long line of school kids streaming in, all of them familiar to me from Sam's tuition class. They all had roses in hand. Two of them held a banner which read "We salute you, Sam". I was confused. Why would they hail a terrorist like that or are they just showing their love for their teacher? Thats when I saw the newspaper lying there at my doorstep. The headline read..

"Students storm terrorrist's lair"- '3 art students carried out an attack on a secret camp of terrorists near Anantnag in Kashmir. About 14 terrorists were killed in the attack carried out with grenades and country pistols. In the process, the 3 of them ended up losing their lives. The amateurishness of the attack signifies the fact that this is a sign of common men taking it upon themselves to do a clean up act rather than expect the Government to do something about the growing incidents of terrorism. This incident has struck a chord with lots of youngsters, raising a possibility of more such incidents....."

Before I knew how to react, I saw the kids placing the red rose flowers in front of the tuition room just to the left of our house. I saw tears in some of their eyes and a sense of respect in some others. I cursed myself again for all those thoughts of disowning Sam. How could I, in a fit of confusion and without knowing the facts, brand my Sammy a terrorist? How could I think that of my child who used to say proudly "My father is a soldier. He protects our nation." Why didn't I even give a second thought? As questions started piling up in my mind, a crowd was building up outside our home. As I sat there, I was reminded of that day 20 years back, when we waited for that ambulance. Then, I had little Sammy to fall back on. He was the hope which kept me alive all these years. Now, I have no one to wipe my tears. And I don't have to wipe anyone's tears too. I just have to wipe the dust from two portraits instead of one. They say, 'Every father is a hero to his son'. Jay was more than a hero to his son. When he died, a part of his soul stayed back inside Sam, without leaving earth. Through him, Jay fought on and also kept me company.

I was confused whether my life is a blessing or a curse. A blessing for having a husband and son who sacrificed their lives for the country. A curse for having to live a lonely life after the premature death of my husand and son. But, whatever be the case, I decided then and there to live on rather than to succumb to the lure of a suicide. Jay and Sam will never forgive me if I surrender my life so meekly. I will live on to see more Jays and Sams doing selfless service to their country. I will live on to keep their memories alive. I will live on to tell others "Never quit living". And I'll live on to tell the story of my husband and my son...A father and son who went on to stay alive even in death. As I walk inside, I hear one of those kids asking to his friend "How many enemies did he kill?". Yes, the same question that Sammy asked his Daddy, 20 years back...

PS- So, that was the end of my first story writing endeavour. A big thanks to all those who encouraged me with words of appreciation as well as to those who gave me some constructive criticism. I got the idea of this story after I read the news about a mother in Kerala who said "I don't want his dead body" after her terrorist son was shot dead in Kashmir. I was deeply touched by the courage of that mother who saw the country above her own son. But I didn't want this story to end in such a negative note of a patriotic child turning into a terrorist. So, I built up a fictional story of a father and a son with this plot weaved in between. I dedicate this story to that mother, her courage and her patriotism.


your crusader Praveen

This entry was posted on Sunday, November 16, 2008 at Sunday, November 16, 2008 and is filed under , . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .


This is a beautiful end ....a spirit raiser..reely very very niice..

write more of the kind wud love to read and comment

7:19 AM

Wow! Kudos! For a first timer, good stuff! Once I read the word "terrorist", I was like "Ah! The trodden path...not again!" But I had to read the complete story to find out the twist in the tale!

You have good storytelling skills, plus the ability to put down the exact emotions in words, something not everyone is blessed with (read: me!). Try your hands at other stuff too, next should be something drastically different from this, teenage stories perhaps?

Liked reading this and looking forward to more...:)

9:23 AM

Awed, my young crusader, awed!

That was sheer finesse, in the way u made it work, and left one open mouthed!!! In the way you brought out the positive side, and the way in which you showed that idealism can translate into realism... not just in the act of the young protagonist, but in the shades of the mother too!

Stand up, and take a bow!!


9:39 AM

That wasn't expected! :-D

Great story...hats off man!

10:42 AM

surely the best of the lot... :-)

11:32 AM

that is so lovely praveen..
ia m soo happy tht sammy dint turn out to b terroirst :)

hugs to u , u spun it really well, tht it cought interest :)

n yes one thing, it is biologically impossible to gestate for more than 9 months ;) correct the 10 month thing :D

12:03 PM

that is so lovely praveen..
ia m soo happy tht sammy dint turn out to b terroirst :)

hugs to u , u spun it really well, tht it cought interest :)

n yes one thing, it is biologically impossible to gestate for more than 9 months ;) correct the 10 month thing :D

12:03 PM

that is so lovely praveen i loved the end.. i am so vy happy tht sam dint turn out to b terrorist..

u wrote it vy well, it was worth read :)

n yes, it is biologically impossible to gestate for more than 9 months ;) correct it :D

12:05 PM

that is so lovely praveen i loved the end.. i am so vy happy tht sam dint turn out to b terrorist..

u wrote it vy well, it was worth read :)

n yes, it is biologically impossible to gestate for more than 9 months ;) correct it :D

12:05 PM

Unxpectd!! Gr8 story!! Post more of this ind!!!

12:34 PM

What a story!
Reallllyy goood..

12:46 PM

U have done a wonderful job..plz keep writing...its such an eye-opener

i respect all the unsung heroes of India!


2:58 PM

loved it praveen. seriously. every part screams of quality writing. great work :) hats off to Jay Sam and the Mother.

3:36 PM

thnks..wud surely try to write..

teenage not sure whthr I can do justice to that

thanks a lot...I initially planned to make it a negative ending, with him ending up as a terrorist and his mother disowning him. But then, that would make this story meaningless..



thnks for pointing out the mistake..corrected so weak in biology..hehhe



thnks...JAI HIND!!!!


12:06 AM

Brilliant... I just read the other parts; too good man... You have spun it very well...

Loved these lines in Part3: "We lived a decent life with the pension amount of Jay's service. Though, I sometimes wonder whether we are receiving the price of his life every month."

A great way to start off dude. Keep the pen busy; bravo!


7:23 PM

thanks man..:)
hope to keep it busy

9:59 PM

Hey Praveen...
Sorry for missing the last part .... Had time now only to read it...A wonderful ending Praveen... As few others have said ... I'm happy that Sam has sacrificed his life for the country.. And as u've said that mother from Kerala wud definately feel proud if she reads it... Keepgoing praveen... 1derful...

4:04 AM

long live that mother.. and i love the pictrues you choose for your stories

11:12 AM

got sumthn for u buddy


5:40 PM

absolutely gripping to the last word praveen! read the story at one go...n i juz adore it...absolutely inspiring! :)

7:20 PM

U made me cry.

Great job Aniya...

12:29 PM

thanks man..

thanks to google, choosing pictures is easy:D

got it yaar..thanks a lot:D

thanks a lot..

thnks chechi

2:21 AM

"My father is a soldier. He protects our nation." Right from capturing how a small kid behaves to the last line where a mother swells with had all my the whole story in a single sitting...such a beautifully narrated story...the scenes involving the young sammy are innocence switch and play between emotions with such ease and finesse...capturing the flow of events from the eyes of a mother requires some skill...especially if the writer is a male...but i cant see a single flaw to this wonderfully crafted piece....weave some more of these daa...the flow is really great...if you try adding some stuff which helps the reader to create the surroundings in his mind, you can turn into a fabulous writer...great to have stumbled across your blog....will keep coming back for sure!! cheers!!

6:48 PM

thanks a lot for those really encouraging comments..
and I'll try to keep in mind those sound advices that u gave

12:08 AM

a beautiful story with a great twist towards the end...u could sent that boy to some military academy and made him follow the foot steps of his father...(but i guess u didnt do that bcos that would have made the story normal)

but...i disagree with the actions of Sam...he isint supposed to carrying guns at all in the first place...bcos that makes him no different than the terrorist animals...lets leave all the work of elimination terrorists to the armed forces and co operate with them in a non violent wat...what do u say about that...

11:22 PM

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