Abhinav stood outside his temporary shelter and stretched himself. The Karakorum range of the Himalayas lay before him. It glistened in the morning sun and looked so beautiful.
“Exactly like a painting” thought Abhinav.
Abhinav was covered in snow gear. That made movements difficult. It was so heavy and bulky. But it was necessary to survive here.
After all he was in Siachen. Subedar Abhinav Nair was posted here with his regiment for the past few months.
Abhinav sat down in the snow and looked across the mass of snow. The thought of his wife Megha engulfed him. It had been almost a year since he saw her. She was a painter and looked for great sceneries to paint all the time.
“Megha would have loved this scene” thought Abhinav. “But not for long. The cold would not agree with her. She is used to the tropics.”
The thought of tropics brought on the memory of his home in Kerala, where the warm sun and sea was always there to cheer you up. Home was laughter, food and warmth. The heat and humidity did not bother him.
“Admiring the scenery?” asked Ramesh Menon, joining him.
Both of them laughed. They were the only two Malayalam speaking soldiers in their regiment and so they conversed in their mother tongue whenever they were alone.
“No” said Abhinav. “It’s always the same, but in the early morning it does look like a painting.”
“Wait till the afternoon, you will need glasses to avoid getting blind from snow blindness” retorted Ramesh. “Here” and handed Abhinav his hot steaming mug of coffee.
Abhinav took it from Ramesh and drank it up fast. Drink it slowly was not an option. It would freeze too soon!
Both of them now got ready to join their friends in defense of the motherland.
This post is my salute to all our brave soldiers who fight to keep us warm in our homes. They fight in impossible conditions braving bullets, avalanches, blizzards and frostbite.
Siachen conflict is over the disputed Siachen Glacier region in Kashmir. Siachen is the highest battlefield on the planet Earth. The glacier at the height ranging from 5753 metres to 3620 metres and spanning about 70 square kilometres is defended by India. Pakistan’s troops are located 3000 feet below the Indian posts. This is still the place of active combat.
India has established control over all of the 70-kilometre-long Siachen Glacier and all of its tributary glaciers, as well as the three main passes of the Saltoro Ridge, west of the glacier namely Sia La, Bilafond La and Gyong La. Pakistan controls the glacial valleys immediately west of the Saltoro Ridge. According to report from Time magazine, India gained more than 1,000 square miles (3,000 km2) of territory because of its military operations in Siachen. where both countries have fought intermittently since April 13, 1984. Both countries maintain permanent military presence in the region at a height of over 6,000 metres (20,000 ft). More than 2000 people have died in this inhospitable terrain, mostly due to weather extremes and the natural hazards of mountain warfare.