firstname.lastname@example.orgVivek Pradhan wasn't a happy man. Even the plush comfort of the First
air-conditioned compartment of the Shatabdi Express couldn't cool his
nerves. He was the Project Manager and entitled to air travel. It was
the prestige he sought, he had tried to reason with the admin guy, it
the savings in time. A PM had so many things to do!
He opened his case and took out the laptop, determined to put the time
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
with exaggerated 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 detailed look.
always found it difficult to resist appreciation. The man was young and
stocky like a sportsman. He looked simple and strangely out of place in
little lap of luxury like a small town boy in a prep school. He probably
a Railway sportsman making the most of his free traveling pass.
"You people always amaze me," the man continued, "You sit in an office
write something on a computer and it does so many big things outside."
Vivek smiled deprecatingly. Naivety demanded reasoning not anger. "It is
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
tempted to explain the entire Software Development Lifecycle but
himself to a single statement. "It is complex, very complex."
"It has to be. No wonder you people are so highly paid," came the reply.
This was not turning out as Vivek had thought. A hint of belligerence
into his so far affable, persuasive tone.
"Everyone just sees the money. No one sees the amount of hard work we
to put in." "Hard work!" "Indians have such a narrow concept of hard
Just because we sit in an air-conditioned office doesn't mean our brows
don't sweat. You exercise the muscle; we exercise the mind and believe
that is no less taxing."
He had the man where he wanted him and it was time to drive home the
"Let me give you an example. Take this train. The entire railway
system is computerized. You can book a train ticket between any two
from any of the hundreds of computerized booking centers across the
Thousands of transactions accessing a single database at a given time;
concurrency, data integrity, locking, data security. Do you understand
complexity in designing and coding such a system?"
The man was stuck with amazement, like a child at a planetarium. This
something big and beyond his imagination.
"You design and code such things."
"I used to," Vivek paused for effect, "But now I am the project
"Oh!" sighed the man, as if the storm had passed over, "so your life is
It was like being told the fire was better than the frying pan. The man
to be given a feel of the heat.
"Oh come on, does life ever get easy as you go up the ladder.
only brings more work. Design and coding! That is the easier part. Now I
don't do it, but I am responsible for it and believe me, that is far
stressful. My job is to get the work done in time and with the highest
quality. And to tell you about the pressures! There is the customer at
end always changing his requirements, the user wanting something else
your boss always expecting you to have finished it yesterday."
Vivek paused in his diatribe, his belligerence fading with
What he had said was not merely the outburst of a wronged man, it was
truth. And one need not get angry while defending the truth.
"My friend," he concluded triumphantly, "you don't know what it is to be
the line of fire."
The man sat back in his chair, his eyes closed as if in realization.
spoke after sometime, it was with a calm certainty that surprised Vivek.
"I know sir, I know what it is to be in the line of fire," He was
blankly as if no passenger, no train existed, just a vast expanse of
"There were 30 of us when we were ordered to capture Point 4875 in the
of the night. The enemy was firing from the top. There was no knowing
the next bullet was going to come from and for whom. In the morning when
finally hoisted the tricolor at the top only 4 of us were alive."
"You are a..."
"I am Subedar Sushant Singh from the 13 J&K Rifles on duty at Peak 4875
Kargil. They tell me I have completed my term and can opt for a land
assignment. But tell me sir, can one give up duty just because it makes
easier. On the dawn of that capture one of my colleagues lay injured in
snow, open to enemy fire while we were hiding behind a bunker. It was my
to go and fetch that soldier to safety. But my captain refused me
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 nation foremost
followed by the safety and welfare of the men he commanded. His own
safety came last, always and every time. He was killed as he shielded
soldier into the bunker. Every morning now as I stand guard I can see
taking all those bullets, which were actually meant for me. I know sir,
know what it is to be in the line of fire."
Vivek looked at him in disbelief not sure of his reply. Abruptly he
off the laptop. It seemed trivial, even insulting to edit a word
the presence of a man for whom valor and duty was a daily part of life;
valor and sense of duty which he had so far attributed only to epical
The train slowed down as it pulled into the station and Subedar Sushant
Singh picked up his bags to alight.
"It was nice meeting you sir."
Vivek fumbled with the handshake. This was the hand that had climbed
mountains, pressed the trigger and hoisted the tricolor. Suddenly as if
impulse he stood at attention, and his right hand went up in an
It was the least he felt he could do for the country.
PS: The incident he narrates during the capture of Peak 4875 is a
true life incident during the Kargil war. Major Vikram Batra
sacrificed his life while trying to save one of the men he commanded,
as victory was within sight. For this and his
various other acts of bravery he was posthumously awarded the Param Vir
Chakra - the nation's highest military award
From India, Madras
PROFESSIONALS AND BUSINESSES PARTICIPATING IN DISCUSSION
Business Development Executive
scare_crowARTICLE is good anu....gr8 work done....YOU have conveyed a lot through this simple story......hats off to you :) regards scare_crow
From India, Mumbai
Pallavihi ppl, such articles always leave me speechless. there r so many things tat start going on in my head that its difficult to put it into words. Regards, Pallavi
From India, Pune
crkumarLet view this incident detached from emotions ...
Every man defending his country takes a solemn pledge and has the welfare of the people in mind and priority for his own life at the last. The Captain / Commandant has been given lot of training and inputs by the army. In pure utility terms, who is more beneficial for the country alive.
This is just a thought to trigger further thoughts and it no way belittles the sacrifice of the noble soul in defending another noble soul.