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A real story ...A chat between a Solider and

Software Engineer

in Shatabdi Train .........An interesting and a must


Vivek Pradhan was not a happy man. Even the plush comfort

of the

air-conditioned compartment of the Shatabdi express could

not cool

his frayed nerves. He was the Project Manager and still


entitled to air travel. It was not the prestige he sought,

he had tried to

reason with the admin person, it was the savings in time.

As PM, he

had so many things to do!! He opened his case and took out

the laptop, determined to put the time to some good use.

"Are you from the software industry sir," the man beside

him was

staring appreciatively at the laptop. Vivek glanced

briefly and

mumbled in affirmation, handling the laptop now with


care and importance as if it were an expensive car.

"You people have brought so much advancement to the

country, Sir.

Today everything is getting computerized."

"Thanks," smiled Vivek, turning around to give the man a

look. He

always found it difficult to resist appreciation. The man

was young

and stockily built like a sportsman. He looked simple and


out of place in that little lap of luxury like a small

town boy in a

prep school. He probably was a railway sportsman making

the most

of his free traveling pass.

"You people always amaze me," the man continued, "You sit

in an

office and write something on a computer and it does so

many big

things outside."

Vivek smiled deprecatingly. Naiveness demanded reasoning


anger. "It is not as simple as that my friend. It is not

just a question

of writing a few lines. There is a lot of process that

goes behind it."

For a moment, he was tempted to explain the entire


Development Lifecycle but restrained himself to a single


"It is complex, very complex."

"It has to be. No wonder you people are so highly paid!,"


the reply.

This was not turning out as Vivek had thought. A hint of

belligerence crept into his so far affable, persuasive


"Everyone just sees the money. No one sees the amount of

hard work

we have to put in. Indians have such a narrow concept of


work. Just because we sit in an air-conditioned office,

does not mean

our brows do not sweat. You exercise the muscle;

we exercise the mind and believe me that is no less


He could see, he had the man where he wanted, and it was

time to

drive home the point. "Let me give you an example. Take

this train.

The entire railway reservation system is computerized. You

can book

a train ticket between any two stations from any of the

hundreds of

computerized booking centres across the country. Thousands

of tr!

ansactions accessing a single database, at a time

concurrently; data integrity, locking, data security. Do

you understand the complexity in designing and coding

such a system?"

The man was awestuck; quite like a child at a planetarium.

This was

something big and beyond his imagination. "You design and

code such


"I used to," Vivek paused for effect, "but now I am the



"Oh!" sighed the man, as if the storm had passed over, "so

your life

is easy now."

This was like the last straw for Vivek. He retorted, "Oh

come on,

does life ever get easy as you go up the ladder.

Responsibility only

brings more work. Design and coding!

That is the easier part. Now I do not do it, but I am


for it and believe me, that is far more stressfu! My job

is to get

the work done in time and with the highest quality. To

tell you

about the pressures, there is the customer at one end,


changing his requirements, the user at the other, wanting


else, and your boss, always expecting you to have finished



Vivek paused in his diatribe, his belligerence fading with

self-realisation. What he had said, was not merely the

outburst of a

wronged man, it was the truth. And one need not get angry


defending the truth.

"My friend," he concluded triumphantly, "you don't know

what it is

to be in the Line of Fire".

The man sat back in his chair, his eyes closed as if in

realization. When he spoke after sometime, it was with a


certainty that surprised Vivek. "I know sir,..... I know

what it is

to be in the Line of Fire......." He was staring blankly,

as if no

passenger, no train existed, just a vast expanse of time.

"There were 30 of us when we were ordered to capture Point

4875 in

the cover of the night. The enemy was firing from the top.


was no knowing where the next bullet was going to come

from and for

whom. In the morning when we finally hoisted the

tricolour at the

top only 4 of us were alive."

"You are a...?"

"I am Subedar Sushant from the 13 J&K Rifles on duty at

Peak 4875 in

Kargil. They tell me I have completed my term and can opt

for a soft

assignment. But, tell me sir, can one give up duty just

because it

makes life easier. On the dawn of that capture, one of my


lay injured in the snow, open to enemy fire while we were


behind a bunker. It was my job to go and fetch that

soldier to

safety. But my Captain Batra Sahib refused me permission

and went

ahead himself. "He said that the first pledge he had

taken as a

Gentleman Cadet was to put the safety and welfare of the


foremost followed by the safety and welfare of the men he

commanded... ....his own personal safety came last, always

and every

time. "He was killed as he shielded and brought that


soldier into the bunker. Every morning thereafter, as we


guard, I could see him taking all those bullets, which

were actually

meant for me . I know sir....I know, what it is to be in

the Line of


Vivek looked at him in disbelief not sure of how to


Abruptly, he switched off the laptop. It seemed trivial,


insulting to edit a Word document in the presence of a man

for whom

valour and duty was a daily part of life; valour and sense

of duty

which he had so far attributed only to epical heroes.

The train slowed down as it pulled into the station, and


Sushant picked up his bags to alight.

"It was nice meeting you sir."

Vivek fumbled with the handshake.

This hand... had climbed mountains, pressed the trigger,

and hoisted

the tricolour.

Suddenly, as if by impulse, he stood up at attention and

his right

hand went up in an impromptu salute.

It was the least he felt he could do for the country.

PS: The incident he narrated during the capture of Peak

4875 is a

true-life incident during the Kargil war. Capt. Batra

sacrificed his

life while trying to save one of the men he commanded, as


was within sight. For this and various other acts of

bravery, he was

awarded the Param Vir Chakra, the nation's highest

military award.

Live humbly, there are great people around us, let us


Life isn't about how to survive the storm, but how to

dance in the rain!!!

From India, Madras
Yes I do agree to what you say their is a moral hidden in this incident however people who reads this article with their heart can understand the depth of it.Anyways I salute our soldiers who are their in LOC to protect us and the country.
From India, Mumbai
So very inspiring!!! Salute to our brave soldiers who guard us day & night to help us see our tomorrow!! Regards, Neelam
From India, Pune
Yes every one who is leading a happy life must be thankful to those soldiers who spending their whole life to save us. They are the living gods...................................:(
From India, Madras
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