A  real story  ...A chat between  a Solider and  Software Engineer
      in Shatabdi Train .........An interesting  and a must readl!

      Vivek Pradhan was not a happy man. Even the plush comfort of the
      air-conditioned compartment of the Shatabdi 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. Naiveness 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 centres across the country. Thousands of tr!
      ansactions 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 awestuck; quite like a child at a planetarium. This was
      something big and beyond his imagination. "You design and code such

      "I used to," Vivek paused for effect, "but now I am the Project

      "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 stressfu! 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

      Vivek paused in his diatribe, his belligerence fading with
      self-realisation. 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 Batra 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

      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
      valour 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.

      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.

      Live humbly, there are great people around us, let us learn!
      Life isn't about how to survive the storm, but how to dance in the


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