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A conversation between a Soldier and Software Engineer in Shatabdhi Train – An interesting and a must read Article!

shatabdi_express14

Vivek Pradhan was not a happy man. Even the plush comfort of the air-conditioned compartment of the Shatabdhi express could not cool his frayed nerves. He was the Project Manager and still not entitled to air travel. It was not the prestige he sought; he had tried to reason with the admin person, it was the savings in time. As PM, he had so many things to do!!

He opened his case and took out the laptop, determined to put the time to some good use.

“Are you from the software industry sir,” the man beside him was staring appreciatively at the laptop. Vivek glanced briefly and mumbled in affirmation, handling the laptop now with exaggerated care and importance as if it were an expensive car.

“You people have brought so much advancement to the country, Sir. Today everything is getting computerized. ”

“Thanks,” smiled Vivek, turning around to give the man a look. He always found it difficult to resist appreciation. The man was young and stockily built like a sportsman. He looked simple and strangely out of place in that little lap of luxury like a small town boy in a prep school. He probably was a railway sportsman making the most of his free traveling pass.

“You people always amaze me,” the man continued, “You sit in an office and write something on a computer and it does so many big things outside.”

Vivek smiled deprecatingly. Naive ness demanded reasoning not anger. “It is not as simple as that my friend. It is not just a question of writing a few lines. There is a lot of process that goes behind it.”

For a moment, he was tempted to explain the entire Software Development Lifecycle but restrained himself to a single statement. “It is complex, very complex.”

“It has to be. No wonder you people are so highly paid,” came the reply.

This was not turning out as Vivek had thought. A hint of belligerence crept into his so far affable, persuasive tone. ”

Everyone just sees the money. No one sees the amount of hard work we have to put in. Indians have such a narrow concept of hard work. Just because we sit in an air-conditioned office, does not mean our brows do not sweat. You exercise the muscle; we exercise the mind and believe me that is no less taxing.”

He could see, he had the man where he wanted, and it was time to drive home the point.

“Let me give you an example. Take this train. The entire railway reservation system is computerized. You can book a train ticket between any two stations from any of the hundreds of computerized booking centers across the country.

Thousands of transactions accessing a single database, at a time concurrently; data integrity, locking, data security. Do you understand the complexity in designing and coding such a system?”

The man was awestruck; quite like a child at a planetarium. This was something big and beyond his imagination.

“You design and code such things.”

“I used to,” Vivek paused for effect, “but now I am the Project Manager.”

“Oh!” sighed the man, as if the storm had passed over,

“So your life is easy now.”

This was like the last straw for Vivek. He retorted, “Oh come on, does life ever get easy as you go up the ladder. Responsibility only brings more work.

Design and coding! That is the easier part. Now I do not do it, but I am responsible for it and believe me, that is far more stressful. My job is to get the work done in time and with the highest quality.

To tell you about the pressures, there is the customer at one end, always changing his requirements, the user at the other, wanting something else, and your boss, always expecting you to have finished it yesterday.”

Vivek paused in his diatribe, his belligerence fading with self-realization. What he had said, was not merely the outburst of a wronged man, it was the truth. And one need not get angry while defending the truth.

“My friend,” he concluded triumphantly, “you don’t know what it is to be in the Line of Fire”

The man sat back in his chair, his eyes closed as if in realization. When he spoke after sometime, it was with a calm certainty that surprised Vivek.

“I know sir…. I know what it is to be in the Line of Fire…….”

He was staring blankly, as if no passenger, no train existed, just a vast expanse of time.

“There were 30 of us when we were ordered to capture Point 4875 in the cover of the night.

The enemy was firing from the top.

There was no knowing where the next bullet was going to come from and for whom.

In the morning when we finally hoisted the tricolour at the top only 4 of us were alive.”

“You are a…?”

“I am Subedar Sushant from the 13 J&K Rifles on duty at Peak 4875 in Kargil. They tell me I have completed my term and can opt for a soft assignment.

But, tell me sir, can one give up duty just because it makes life easier.

On the dawn of that capture, one of my colleagues lay injured in the snow, open to enemy fire while we were hiding behind a bunker.

It was my job to go and fetch that soldier to safety. But my captain sahib refused me permission and went ahead himself.

He said that the first pledge he had taken as a Gentleman Cadet was to put the safety and welfare of the nation foremost followed by the safety and welfare of the men he commanded… ….his own personal safety came last, always and every time.”

“He was killed as he shielded and brought that injured soldier into the bunker. Every morning thereafter, as we stood guard, I could see him taking all those bullets, which were actually meant for me. I know sir….I know, what it is to be in the Line of Fire.”

Vivek looked at him in disbelief not sure of how to respond. Abruptly, he switched off the laptop.

It seemed trivial, even insulting to edit a Word document in the presence of a man for whom valor and duty was a daily part of life; valour and sense of duty which he had so far attributed only to epical heroes.

The train slowed down as it pulled into the station, and Subedar Sushant picked up his bags to alight.

“It was nice meeting you sir.”

Vivek fumbled with the handshake.

This hand… had climbed mountains, pressed the trigger, and hoisted the tricolour. Suddenly, as if by impulse, he stood up at attention and his right hand went up in an impromptu salute.

It was the least he felt he could do for the country.

(A picture was removed from here.)

PS:- The incident he narrated during the capture of Peak 4875 is a true-life incident during the Kargil war. Capt. Batra sacrificed his life while trying to save one of the men he commanded, as victory was within sight. For this and various other acts of bravery, he was awarded the Param Vir Chakra, the nation’s highest military award.

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220 comments on “A conversation between a Soldier and Software Engineer in Shatabdhi Train – An interesting and a must read Article!

  1. Pingback: A conversation between a Soldier and Software Engineer in Shatabdhi Train – An interesting and a must read Article! – The Long & sHORT of it

  2. Amit singh
    September 20, 2016

    Sir, What questions can i expect from my hobbbies singing & cycling?
    Please write some questions..

    • Sonu
      September 21, 2016

      How u started? Why? When? Why u do it? And many more..

  3. Bhaskar mudaliar
    August 23, 2016

    Innumerable instances and countless deeds of valour in the annals of the armed forces that makes us all so proud of these gallant selfless men .Long live the Unknwn Soldier and Salute from each Indian

  4. Pingback: What It Means To Be A Soldier In A Battlefield – A Day In The Life Of Soldier | Sonusmac

  5. S K Sharma
    June 30, 2016

    No match to them ,they are serving the nationboldly

  6. virat pachar
    June 22, 2016

    Salute to every soldier

  7. Punita
    December 11, 2015

    Let’s give what’s due to our forces and THE. MEN 👍

  8. Attur Ramakrishna Sharma
    August 21, 2015

    Of-course Soldier’s contribution is unparallel as risking life is the utmost in sacrifice anybody can do. Without offending, my feeling is that no service by any means is mean. Country is like a beautiful web which needs services of each and everybody. Then only we call it a team. WELL DONE SOLDIER. KEEP ITUP

  9. P L Gupta
    August 10, 2015

    The important crux is that duty is foremost and above other thing. Yes soldiers fighting or defending on borders have it very tough and risky.

  10. MURALI Kompella
    June 23, 2015

    It is like your body parts working in tandem. When hot burning dust is coming into your eyes, your hands automatically come forward and protect the eyes from the dust. Now tell me, who is more important? Hands….because they are in the front fighting the hot dust and in the way they got burnt themselves? Or the eyes without which the mind cannot detect from which side the dust is coming. Without the eyes, the whole body might get burnt possibly.
    Similarly, no one is less, no one is more. One has to give respect to each other for doing their duty correctly.
    Respect each other.

  11. mithilesh kumar
    June 23, 2015

    I must tell all of u without any hesitation..you all can argue because u hv ,under article 19 ,that u r free to speak anythng…so coming to the main point i must say that…DEFENCE IS THE ONLY ORGANISATION WHERE U SEE UR DEATH COMING INFRONT OF UR EYES ..Iinspite of the fact that u know this bullet will end my lyf even then u go ahead..this is d only organisation where people die not for themselves but for others…it does not mean that other organisations donot contribute no not that..but definately other organisation faces death casually or by mistake..they die for their personal ambitious life..DEFENCE..PARAMILITARY OR ALLIED SERVICES ARE UNMATCHED AND DESERVE SALUTE..JAY HIND…
    WRITER: A defence personality preparing for upsc for some ultimate cause.

  12. mithilesh kumar
    June 23, 2015

    I must tell all of u without any hesitation..you all can argue because u hv the under article 19 that u r free to speak anythng…so coming to the main point i must say that…DEFENCE IS THE ONLY ORGANISATION WHERE U SEE UR DEATH COMING INFRONT OF UR EYES ..Iinspite of the fact that u know this bullet will end my lyf even then u go ahead..this is d only organisation where people die not for themselves but for others…it does not mean other organisations donot contribute no not that..but definately ther organisation faces death death casuallu or by mistake..they die for their personal ambitious life..DEFENCE..PARAMILITARY OR ALLIED SERVICES ARE UNMATCHED AND DESERVE SALUTE..JAY HIND…
    WRITER: A defence personality preparing for upsc for some ultimate cause.

  13. thardik
    June 23, 2015

    Reblogged this on Another Common Man and commented:

    A must read conversation. While conversation is with software engineer, I think this goes true with every job & industry.

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This entry was posted on November 22, 2014 by in Army, Defence, Must Read and tagged , , , , , .
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