Good, bad and unexpected of Military life.

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


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 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 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.

  14. Sandeep Prakash
    June 23, 2015


    I did read this post first on your blog and was really impressed. But later on FB I found the true source. I think you should give credit to the original author. Pasting below is the link of another such rather same post, but the credit to the original author is given. If at all you are the original author, then do consider to take them to task.

    BTW the other thing I like in your blog is the thumbs up and thumbs down rating/like plugin. Please be kind enough to tell me the name of the pluggin.


  15. Deepak Pundlik Patil
    June 22, 2015

    Each one have his own perception of looking at things.
    Actually each person who do his duty fairly and pays tax on time contribute to Nation as of his own 100% efforts.
    For Example : People pay tax by which govt can buy Weapon which then be used by soldier by which he can save firstly Nation and then himself & us.
    Soldier protects country & people so people can live safely and do duty and earn money so they can pay tax.
    We all are a part of one nation and are dependent on each other, And if anyone of us do not do their duty well will indirectly affects other’s.

    Well In Case of Above conversation : If Software Engineer do not do his duty well and fair , Many of Defence System will not work properly ,e.g Automatic Air craft , systems which detects incoming threat etc. A Simple mistake made by a software engineer can cost 1000’s of people life in case of nuclear systems.

    On Second part where Software Engineer work of abroad clients : If they do not work for them then a large amount of money we are earning back from them to our country will not come back to our country and then on someday Foreign people will buy out land from us and then their will be no land for soldier to protect we may be under a-lot of worst economic situation.”

    I am also a software engineer BUT Still I SALUTE TO SOLDIER’S as they are the real performing hero’s on field while we have less risk on our duty.

    Please don’t compare anyone, we all are member of one Nation’s Family where each one has his own duty.(Members as Farmer’s , Soldier’s , Scientist, Business man’s & Engineer’s etc are all equal expect Most of Politicians which enjoy every thing for free and do harm to country and people for their personal benefits ).

    • Prashanth
      June 22, 2015

      What a pathetic way of justifying ur abandoning this country, u r a big joke dude!!

  16. Aswin
    June 22, 2015

    Reblogged this on Aswin Muralidharan and commented:

    We forget those who guard us at the border and their sacrifices. Let this post remind you of the bravest people on the Earth. Salute them for their valor and selflessness.

  17. Upendra Sharma
    June 22, 2015

    It should be ranked 4875

  18. Rajiv
    June 22, 2015

    Agree wid Mr. Kukreja….sir…I think they have never been in position to see a soldier’s body coming from the front line…..once they will they will never forget….that’s what I said earlier… There’s nothing anybody can give more than life for our nation…

  19. Ashutosh Thakur
    June 21, 2015

    I think we all are doing our job…some one as an army some as a software engineer some as a labourer some as a teacher some as a banker some as a businessman. We all are essential part of all these systems. The main point is .. we have to do our job with honesty and punctuality. This is the most important things… we all are part of d system. If any one of us don’t work properly the system will nt work .. so salute from a labourer to farmers to army to teacher to sw engineer to businesses man and all… all are equally important. honest do with honesty….jai hind

  20. Tuhin Rawat
    June 21, 2015

    I am not underestimating the amount of devotion, dedication and efforts given by a soldier but we also need to understand that a huge amount of money government spends on their perks and benefits that we normal human being who are out of the system don’t know. I believe a person who works as a labourer in a metro station and dies while working also contributes equally for the country. Everyone working out there with complete honesty is contributing to this country, you can never compare everyone’s situations and trade-offs that a person receives in their life. People die more while constructing this country rather than fighting a war, and every life counts equally.

    • Alok
      June 22, 2015

      Your analogy is extremely out of place. Do you put a soldier who dies defending the country and a lobourer who dies building something, on the same pedestal? Just consider- the laobourer died because somebody made a mistake whereas the soldier died making sure the enemy could not come in and kill many more of our countrymen. How many people will perform an act when they know that they could die performing it. Capt Vikram Batra went out to recue his soldier, knowing that he could die in the process. Please don’t belittle the courage of an exceptional man.

      • aruj
        June 30, 2016

        problem with some guys is they will always demean others to convey their worthiness in the society.

        Ignoring the contribution of labourers shows your biased mentality.

        do u know how many Labourers who r working in high rises are covered under any insurance plan?

        Do they have any pension scheme?

        Do they get free medicare?

        a small illness brings havoc to their family in terms of monetary losses.

        If a soldier dies, he is assured that the govt and the society will take care of his family, is the same true about our unskilled workers?

        and believe me there are very few people, like cpt vikram batra in the army just like there is very few engg like bill gates and zuckerburg.

        and that makes them famous.

        Respect all and you will be respected

        • Sonu
          June 30, 2016

          This was just a conversation between two person from different field.

          What makes you thing that the people from armed forces disrespect the people in other profession.??

    • Prashanth
      June 22, 2015

      A normal day at work, in your opinion is equal to a day facing possible harm, what an idiot and pathetic person u r!!

      • Tuhin Rawat
        June 22, 2015

        my sympathy with u dude, there are lots of like u in this nation and that’s y we stand at a very “Pathetic” position in world rankings in every way

        • Gjgvj
          July 7, 2015

          You r absolutely right tuhin Rawat only 1% of of service man shows such kind of bravery others just sit and eat our tax money including ministers

          • Congrats Mr Rawat… u just got the first vote.. ! Now do u agree with this gj.. dj.. or whatever it is.. ?
            Man in uniform eating tx money….? shit of a thought a person could hv…..

          • Pritak singh
            September 12, 2015

            My fear friend….what do you know about defence n government…plz search it out who is paying more tax than defence personal n government employees…ministers are not included in defence….it should not happen but if it happens u will understand how it feels when u see ur death in front of u….

      • Deepak Pundlik Patil
        August 17, 2015

        Who are you & think or other’s duty pathetic, What good you are doing in your life or just doing pathetic things 🙂

  21. Rajesh Shintre
    June 21, 2015

    Wonderful article..Inspiring.

    It is one of those that can really make your day when you are really feeling down.

    Every day we as software people get anxiety out of blue simply because we are fulfilling somebody’s else’s promise to deliver the product in time. The feeling that somebody is pushing you to deliver is something that touches ourself and pushes us into the area of anxiety.

    If this can be changed it will help I mean to say just like Subedar Sushant if we realise the importance of one’s duty irrespective of what we get in return will help us enjoy our IT life!

    Hats off to these wonderful people who own up task without a single thought!

    Thanks again for the wonderfull article!!

  22. siraj khan
    June 21, 2015

    engineer and the soldier ….they both were right at their place…..

  23. Sriram
    June 21, 2015

    Sincere Salute..

  24. Ananth
    June 21, 2015

    I agree with the broad point of this article. But let me narrate an incident during my visit to Ooty some years back.
    We were returning in a car after spending the morning in Coonoor, back to Ooty for lunch. We were passing through an army area (but public road only), when we were slowed down by a motorcyclist with a pillion rider, both in uniform. Clearly they were inebriated, and unable to move forward or away from the motorway. I along with our cab driver got down and requested them politely to give us way. The next few minutes, I heard such a torrent of bad words from the motorists. In essence, they said it is their place and if they just raised voice hundred of their colleagues will come and gun us down. We really believed this could happen, so apologized for nothing and finally managed to escape. To this day, I don’t know what provoked them to do this, except purely bloated egos and nothing else to do.

    Again I don’t want to make the mistake of saying every army men is a rogue, or that every software engineer is a genius.

    Just wanted to narrate another kind of encounter. Not at all trying to belittle your article, in fact I was moved by it.

  25. Nevaan Nair
    June 21, 2015

    Beautifully narrated by the author – describing the incidence meticulously to bring tears in my eyes. Salute to Capt. Batra and all men and women who guard our nation from infiltrators. The highlight of this article would be – “Every morning thereafter, as we stood guard, I could see him taking all those bullets, which were actually meant for me”

  26. Meeta
    June 21, 2015

    Absolutely I think everyone must go through at least 2years of compulsory military training to understand the importance of protecting our country! And appreciating what it means to be in the line of fire!!

  27. dkd
    June 21, 2015

    A lot to learn about courage and leadership . The captain refused permission to him and went himself instead to put the injured soldier to safety facing the line of fire. Corporate history is replete with examples of leaders who rise to positions on the dead bodies of their own colleagues. So much for values ! Think about it .

  28. Wanderer
    June 21, 2015

    No doubt roles are different but valour to defend the nation comes above all !

  29. Spashtavakta
    June 21, 2015

    Just saluting them and then enjoying the urban luxuries is not enough. The military education must be made compulsory for all, in India. Mobiles, laptops and pub life is creating irresponsible citizens.

    • AK Gupta
      June 21, 2015

      Everyone who does his duty religiously brings glory to the nation. No one is small or big. Your sense of duty makes you important.

  30. amol doke
    June 21, 2015

    Brave soldiers, cause of them we live freely here.. Salute

  31. Tanay Debnath
    June 21, 2015

    War is won with soldiers not technology
    It is human force and ingenuity that outwits the enemy.
    So, a soldier’s job is way above everything else.
    Look at Vietnam War. US lost in spite of being technologically advanced.
    I think military service should be made mandatory just like Israel or South Korea.
    We raise an army of volunteer recruits.

    • Souradeep Mitra
      June 22, 2015

      Exactly! Only this can imbibe decipline & patriotism

    • Mohit Kumar
      July 16, 2015

      This reply is for the first line you wrote. You need both,Technology a lot.

    • aruj
      June 30, 2016

      Technology is more prominently required to win war. japan got defeated bcoz of nuclear attacks. If thats not true, then i\our nation shpuld stop buying advanced weapons and only invest in upgrading our soldiers.

      • Sonu
        June 30, 2016

        You have a point but do you think technology can replace men on ground.

        If at all you think that’s possible. Why doesn’t our nation do it..

        And if they are doing it, then – until then who will be in place and protecting the frontiers.? I say men.

  32. Suman Chhabra
    June 21, 2015

    Very inspiring.

  33. ramamoorthy
    June 21, 2015

    every job has it’s own stress —- including the corrupt and dirty politicians and govt servants


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