It was cool breeze beneath trees as we strode in the wee hours on our usual morning stroll.
PUNE has beautiful mornings all the year, cool starry,sometimes cloudy but all the time inviting and pleasant.
The rush of morning walkers is a real treat to ones’ eyes .
ABHIMANYU my companion , tall ,but slender and graceful , for over a few years now , carried a small beautiful stick in his hands . Would love to dangle it left right with an air of finality.
Always joyful ,the wrinkles quite visible on his broad face ,taking long strides always talking and listening to stories from me. . He was ex -captain in Indian Army and probably spent more than half of his life protecting the borders of jammu & Kashmir ,Punjab,Assam.
But now conteded living a peaceful life in his home City .
He loved to relate the stories of adventure on the Indian borders.Some of those would be very scary but interesting .
He related to me that once in 1965 he and his two soldiers got strayed on the Karna Karen border sector of Kashmir .
“After finding some suspicious persons on the borders ,we strayed deep into the the LOC line in hope to nab the intruders but instead reached a tiny village. We knocked at the door and the old lady informed us we were in Pak territory . But the lady was kind one and escorted us safely to the outskirts of the village to avoid any untoward incident enroute to our return Journey.We were lucky to be back in our unit.
“PRADEEP” he blurted out “you were to show me your poem you had penned down “
‘I know you are a voracious reader of literature English,American ‘ He continued.
“ Yes sirji ‘ I replied respectfully in awe of his Military command “I am not a poet but yes just a few rhymes on Nature”
I opened my diary and started reading my poem .
Give me one more sunrise
Give me one more sunset
Give some reason to live
Give me reason to love
Give some reason to smile
Give me reason to cry
And some reason to die.
Ho ho ho haa haa haa,
Hey hey hey ;;
Abhumanyu cried in joy “aye it is damn good”
He recited the poem “Give me one more sunrise ,Give me one more sunset”
“Pradeep” ,this is the essence of life,you have put in these lines.”He declared nonchalantly. “You are great and I salute you”.
And from thereupon every morning he recited ‘Give me one more sunrise ,Give me one more sunset.’
He had memorized these lines and every moment he murmured the same.
For a week or so I did not find Abhimanyu on his usual morning walks. I thought he must have gone to Goa for a change to live with his only daughter.
But normally he would inform me of such programmes.
As the days went by I got very nervy on his absence and ventured to find out his whereabouts from a fellow Morning walker of other group.
“Hey Prabhuji “ I hollered “ did you see Abhimanyu,he is nowhere for a week or so” I continued .
He crossed the road and gave me a shocking news unbelivable to my ears. “Abhimanyu expired last Monday suddenly” “you donot know it?”,He asked me surprisingly
. I nearly collapsed and Prabhu held my hand and said “ A great human being, lovable always ,jovial and good to all”. with those words he walked away leaving me alone to gather my wits to bear this loss..
“GIVE ME ONE MORE SUNRISE ,GIVE ME ONE MORE SUNSET” the rhythm of my lines buzzed around my ears as I trudged on and on.