WRITTEN by one who spent a decade-long stint with the Indian army, serving extensively in insurgency-ridden areas of Sri Lanka, Kashmir and the northeast, the story is basically a narrative of the life and times of the myriad characters that were thrown together to exist in insecure, hostile surroundings and plagued by fears of militancy. The author admits that if the tale is violent, “so was the environment where I spent my youth” and coupled with “moving constantly and living out of a rucksack” and that too “in a highly volatile, insurgency environment, living rough and existing on the edge, can be enervating and mentally exhausting.” He is now working with a multinational and leading a peaceful life in Gurgaon.
The book begins by describing the beautiful Lolab Valley of Kashmir, where militancy has ravaged the lives of the people who inhabit it and of the men in uniform who fight for their country.
While the militants are stealthily making their way to the village Gagal, Ash, the soldier on guard fires at them and kills a militant. Sher Khan hears the shot and when the mist clears, he shoots down Ash who is keeping guard at the hilltop for the Indian army.
This is a tale of courage, passion and hatred that an insurgency generates, leaving behind a trail of destruction and devastation in its footsteps.
(Chlorophyll, imprint of Wisdom Tree, 4779/23 Ansari Road, Daryaganj, New Delhi-110002; [email protected])