She stood near the hallway watching her little boy play with a toy gun in the porch on a bright, sunny morning. She saw his big blue eyes glistening in the sun, exuding warmth–the warmth she needed to light up the dark corridors of her heart. After all, he was the only hope in her otherwise barren life. She stood there lifeless cold like a corpse looking at her son who was clad in an army green jumpsuit, a spitting image of his brave dad. His little fingers moving over the toy gun reminded her of her husband–the man who had showered her with love and dedication all these years. He had wooed her with the panache of an army officer and did not give up until she said yes. They were batch mates at the army training academy, they were friends, lovers and soulmates. He vowed to spend the rest of his life with her as he made a promise to the motherland to serve her till his last breath.
Life was perfect until he was sent to the world’s highest battlefield in Siachen. Hearing this news from her enthusiastic husband sent shivers down her spine. As the day approached for him to leave, she was filled with emotions of both pain and pride. He promised to get back at the earliest and do the thing they loved the most–watching the stars at night. Holding back her tears, she bid him goodbye not knowing this would be their last. Her chest swelled with pride and respect, as she saw in him a brave soldier on a mission. Six months later, on the Republic Day, as she watched the R-Day parade on the television, her phone rang continuously. The piercing cry of the phone did not stop until she picked it. The news froze her, she felt as if the ground beneath her feet just swallowed her alive, she felt life had left her not to return again. Choked with tears, she sat on the couch lifeless, remembering his promise. On the wall adjacent to the couch, hung a photo frame with his favourite lines:
The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep