Rudra was born on a sleepy morning in the quiet village of Jhang.His birth coincided with the start of the holy month of Ramadan.Sweets were distributed in neighboring houses and fire crackers were burst.His mother Banto Kaur was a famous singer and often sang at village festivals,her popular song Mera Pind always resulted in a standing ovation so it was no surprise when half the village turned up to congratulate her.Naming her son Rudra was not her idea but her husband had insisted.Gurcharan was a soldier in the British Indian Army and was a hulk of a man.Once during war,a fellow company man by the name of Rudra Kumar had saved his life by taking a sniper bullet.That one act of heroism had made Gurcharan a better man and he decided to name his son Rudra after the great soldier.
Rudra grew up to be a handsome young boy and was enlisted into the army by his father when he turned sixteen.He joined the the 16th Rajputana Rifles and began his way into the world.The year was 1946.India would be independent in an year.
Rudra:"Oye Khotya,Don't waste bullets.Atleast kill one without using up the whole magazine."
Avtar smiled sheepishly and answered,"Not everyone can shoot like you ."
"Well then there is no need to come hunting with me,you only distract me and i wish to enjoy my holidays in peace." answered Rudra to his childhood friend.
"Trying to behave like an officer already,well as you please,I am going."
Rudra and Avtar had been friends for nearly sixteen years but something had changed since last year.He had been enlisted in the army.He had never felt so alive before,the morning drill,the voracious hunger after that,a pat on the back by Sahib.Everything was different there.It was not like his village where there was no discipline and no rules.He had taken a liking to the officers in uniform,their presence,their style,everything about them was magical.So enamored was he that everything else seemed to have taken a backstage.All he wanted in life was to be an officer,an officer of the Indian Army.
He would have to clear many hurdles before he became an officer.The war would change everything.
Rudra woke up early next morning,he exercised,had a bath and sat down to eat his favorite food,poori aloo."I am going out,I'll be late."he shouted as he washed his face."Where are you going?" asked Banto."Nowhere special,just want to see the village again."he answered back."Well make sure you take Avtar with you,I don't want you wandering in the village after dark alone.Its not safe anymore."said his mother.
He thought about asking Avtar but then decided against it,he was always chattering and his conversations were dull and boring.He walked to the edge of the lake,hands in his trouser pockets,humming a tune when he suddenly saw a swarm of fireflies near the edge of his village.Squinting a bit,he realized that it was not a swarm of fireflies that had caught his attention but rather what seemed like an angry mob carrying fire-torches.They were shouting slogans too but all that was inaudible.He sprinted back to his house,only to find it locked.Tense and worried he went to Avtar's house,"Oye Avtar,come outside,its urgent!!"
"Coming,coming there is no need to be hostile.When you have time,then you.........."he cut off seeing the white face of his friend.
"Listen this place is no longer safe,I just saw a mob approaching the village and they were carrying torches and shouting something.We need to get out of here,call your parents and your sister.I am going to find my parents and then meet you at the ghats."saying this he ran towards the temple which lay outskirts of the village.Panting like a dog,he reached the temple.Frantically he shouted his mother's name but no luck.Worried sick he turned to go towards his village when he felt a binding pain at the back of his head and everything went black..........................