She grew up in the same home where her baba (father) took his first steps. She would always sit beside her daadi (grandmother) to listen to the amusing tales of her baba‘s childhood. Once, baba saw some kids plucking mangoes from the tree at their backyard. The kids were wearing shabby, torn clothes. Baba knew that if his dad came to know about these kids, he would beat them with his big brown stick. The kids were being noisy. So baba, who was taller than those kids, climbed the mango tree himself and plucked all the mangoes that were hanging on that tree. Those kids were elated and thanked baba. Once, baba was beaten up at school for not doing his homework. His classmates made fun of the teacher who had beaten baba. But baba was considerate enough to know that this teacher was his well-wisher and not an enemy, as was perceived by his classmates. Baba rebuked his friends for disrespecting their teacher. When baba was some 11 years old, daadi was admitted to the hospital for a major surgery. Baba would do all the household chores and even go to the city hospital alone where daadi was admitted and give her freshly plucked mangoes. When baba saw that his parents couldn’t afford to send him to the city college by bus, he decided not to burden them and shifted to the city where he took up meager jobs to pay for his expenses.
Today, that same home is witnessing the biggest horror. The mango tree which is still standing tall and strong is also weeping as the body of baba is brought home. This veranda, where baba would sit and study for hours, this backyard, where baba had played hide and seek with his friends, this swing, which baba himself had tied to the banyan tree for his daughter; they all are screaming out of pain for the loss of this brave son.
She, however, is very proud today. She always knew that her baba wasn’t an ordinary man. Today, baba has proved it. He killed seven bad men at the border just for the sake of billions of sons and daughters like herself. Baba did die. Yes. But he didn’t die an ordinary death. He is immortal in the hearts of those who are sleeping without any worry in their cosy homes, while she, daadi, mama and her brother are crying…along with this home where baba learnt the meaning of love, bravery, compassion and selflessness…