There was a blast and I am sure there was tear gas. There was crossfire and we were trapped inside a single structure on the field. We tried to surrender but they just kept shooting at us. They just did not stop. It seemed as if they were intent on finishing us at that very moment. Many loved ones were hurt. My wife was shot and so were my friends. I was shot too. Looked like this all will only end with our lives but then came a voice – ‘Game Over’ and it all stopped but my mind didn’t. There are times when history, present and future dawns upon us at the same time. That time for me came last Sunday during a paintball outing.
‘Now I know what people in जलियावाला बाग़ must have felt’ – said my wife. For those who are not familiar with the Indian freedom struggle, this was an incident where 100s of innocent people were trapped and shot mercilessly by Brigadier-General Reginald E.H. Dyer in Amritsar, Punjab on 13th April 1919. The funny thing about history is that we need the present to learn from it . Guess this was our present. We needed to feel helpless, trapped and almost dead to appreciate plight of people who went through hell to get us the freedom that we value little.
‘This was traumatic. I am never doing this again’ – said another friend. I agreed but at the same time my thoughts went to all the soldiers who must be going through the same experience to preserve the freedom that we value little. I was not keen on doing this again but I had to spare a thought for the armed forces who willingly walk into these scenarios everyday for people like me.
‘Hey you are not supposed to shoot from close range’ – said a friend whom I shot. She was right, I was not supposed to. It was the war that made me. I lost of bit of me in that battlefield and was ready to break the rules to win. I lost my conscience and was reacting with my animal instincts. The only thing that mattered was winning and survival. This was the point when future dawned upon me. We cannot have a future that is only about winning and survival. We will not have a future if it’s based on just these 2 things !!