Sunday, May 26, 2019

100 Rays Of Son - 14

Killing Someone For Wearing A Different Uniform

When I was in high school and was thinking seriously about career, the most lucrative one for me was that of a soldier. What got me in love with soldiers was the stories of bravery and glory I used to read about them so often. I had found a treasure of comic books that narrated the stories of WW heroes. It instilled love of heroism and glory in me.

                    Image result for war stories of world war in comics                           Image result for war heroes stories of world war in comics

I wanted to be in military, which later to my disappointment I found out was not possible because I had club foot and did not physically qualify. It was another story that I would had to win a war first with my mom to become a soldier.
Though I did not get in there, it did not stop me from admiring soldiers. When Rayyan completed his 7th grade and we were discussing his career, I suggested to Rayyan that he can look into career in military, especially Navy or Air Force. He was quite shocked by my suggestion and I was quite shocked that he was so shocked by what I said. Finally I managed to asked, “Why? You don’t want to be in military?” Rayyan very clearly and calmly replied, “No”. I went through a lot of emotions. Was he a coward? Was he unpatriotic person? Did he look forward to easy life with easy job? There were lots of questions rushing through my chaotic brain. He left no hope for me of ever getting him in military at all with his clear cut answer and shocked expression. Finally, I decided not to assume but know the reason for his answer and asked in a dejected tone, “Why? It is such an interesting field of work and you earn a lot of respect as well. Moreover you get to handle so many sophisticated weapons. It is a job with lot of power in it as well”. Rayyan answered in his usual calm way, “I have no interest in military because I do not have that thing in me whatever it is that is essential for us to have to kill someone or something. I do not like or have any fancy for weapons. The only weapon I may ever hold may be the kitchen knife. I cannot kill anyone, even if it is soldier of a different country. You may call him an enemy, but isn’t he doing exactly what his opposite soldier doing, that is defending or fighting for his country? Isn’t he a hero as well? You expect me to kill a person without knowing him, understanding him, or evaluating him whether he deserves to die, just based on the colour of his uniform? I cannot do it, neither have I wanted to do it ever”.  Now this was something new thing for me to hear. I had even written poems in my school days praising soldiers and here my son was saying some weird stuff that was confusing me. I somehow managed to ask, “If all think like you, who will defend our country?” Rayyan answers very convincingly, “If all think like me, there will be no country to defend. Isn’t it something we all imagine and get attached to? Is there really a line that divides people and makes them enemies that they are ready to hate, fight and kill each other? I believe in life and living things around me. I don’t value much anything that doesn’t feel pain or gets hurt. I cannot have love, affection or connection to anything that is an abstract existence created by people. Not all people will be like me Maa, so there will be soldiers who are able to defend their country or fight for it.  The world as one nation will always remain a dream for some people like me, whereas the majority will have boundaries, divisions and ideals to fight for”. When I think deeply about it, I have never seen Rayyan feel attachment or passion for anything that does not has life, but at the same time I see him show sympathy even to cockroaches, mosquitoes, snakes or mice. Weird but cannot say he is wrong. This is where most of my communication with Rayyan ends, in a state of confusion with a new outlook towards the world.
I did not further discuss this career option ever again. I was sure that it was not an option at all for a person like him. But then I seriously started thinking about soldiers as well and slowly my glorification of them dimmed out a little. As I recalled history and all the war crimes, I realized that they were all soldiers who were a part of it. I had just then read about an article “Rape of Nanjing” and I realized that those were soldiers as well. 

I am still thinking over it 15 years later and slowly my beliefs are changing, not completely but they are still in the process of changing. 
Meanwhile Rayyan ended up being in the field of animation and enjoys creating videos and images peacefully. 
Trying to make this child a soldier? What was I thinking?

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