"It's quite cold today, oooo," sighed Dinesh while rubbing his palms together.
"What do you mean its cold today?" argued Hanif, "Its cold everyday!"
"Let me tell you, this is the winter season, you know weeen-terrr," acted Rajiv and everybody bursted out in laughs except Dinesh.
"Hey! I mean its colder than other days, you know, colder than yesterday."
"Hey, hey cool down, temperature boy!" said the most elder person in the team, Manoj.
"They are always picking on me Manoj sir," continued Dinesh in the tone of a weeping-five-year-old.
"We are picking on you?" exclaimed Hanif, while everybody grabbed their cups of tea. He continued, "No way, its just the statements you make. Is your body a temperature measuring device, or remaining all of us dont have senses?"
"Where's the scale, Dinesheit" laughed Rajiv.
"Hey stop it, alright. Its not, alright, its not colder today, it never was, so just change the topic," reasoned Dinesh.
Manoj could see that Dinesh didnt like it and so he said, "Enough you guys, now." Although Manoj was only two-years senior in the team, he was quite elder than all and was much respected. He continued, "By the way Dinesh, how can you say that its not colder today, I think it is."
Everybody bursted out laughing and Dinesh smiled.
Just then Srinivas, the newest member of the team joined them in the "tea break".
"Hey Srini," welcomed Hanif, "wanna cigarette?"
"Anh, No, I don't smoke."
"So Srinivas, where you from?" asked Manoj.
"Ante Manode anamata," smiled Rajiv.
"Hey, hey, hey... no code languages," said Dinesh and dipped in his cup.
"Parledu, vadiki konchem loosele," gestured Rajiv running his forefinger on his temple.
Srinivas gave a faint smile.
"So whats your experience in it my boy?" asked Hanif.
"In what, ah...s..sir".
"Call me Hanif," he puffed his cigarette, "You know in this field."
"Oh, Ah, Its my first time."
"Ooh, you still a virgin," shouted Rajiv, "Dont worry, you will be totally fucked up too."
Very inspiring words for a fresher Rajiv," said Manoj.
"What do you mean?" asked Srinivas.
"He means," said Dinesh, "We are heating our butts since five weeks and still no action."
"I wanna join another team," said Hanif, "I heard people at the back end are doing well."
"Technically, we dont normally see much action there," Manoj argued.
"Yes, atleast we would know what and when something happens and we dont have to waste our time in frequent tea breaks," said Hanif.
"You all are wishing..." Srinivas tried to say something when Rajiv interrupted, "This is not a waste of time, its called de-stressing."
"Yeah, de-stressing, and Dinesh is our de-stressor!" said Hanif and laughed.
"Hey, dont come back on me again."
"What he means, Dinesh, is," reasoned Rajiv while stressing on each word, "If you were not in our team the morale of the team would have been low." Dinesh felt a little pleased when Rajiv continued, “You know, it always makes us forget our worries when we hear how you, during our training, toppled of the six feet wall while trying to peek at a girl, and how you jumped of your seat when a lizard crawled over your lap, which by the way was a piece of rope, and how you tried to crack a …..”
“Hey! Manoj sir, asked them to stop,” argued Dinesh.
“Bottomline….,” said Rajiv, “You keep our spirits alive, maybe unintentionally, but you do.”
“You sure do!” said Manoj.
“Did you hear about the heroic act of Dinesh when he tried to runaway from the training sessions but was caught because he forgot to tie his shoe lace?” said Hanif to Srinivas.
“Havaldar Manoj Singh,” said a voice while entering through the barricade, “Your presence is required at the Subedar’s base…seems it has started.”
“I will be right there Havaldar Ahmed Shah,” said Manoj while answering his salute, “Any more news.”
“Not exactly sure but inside word, infiltration has been confirmed.”
Manoj turned towards the others and said, “Let me check out.” He left the fortification.
“That’s bad news,” said Rajiv.
“Wait a sec,” said a surprised and confused Srinivas, “Weren’t you a little while ago wishing for it.”
“Well, sort of,” replied Rajiv.
“We don’t wish for a war, no soldier does,” added Dinesh, “It’s just that when you hear about it, and know that its inevitable you want it to start and end quickly.”
“Tell me one thing, Srinivas, why did you join army?” asked Hanif.
“And don’t tell me that you want to die for the motherland. Your father pushed you, friends or just the situation. You want to earn, marry and live a life don’t you.”
“Aanh, ,actually..I do want both of them. Earn, marry, live and then die for the motherland.”
“Oh, come on,” said Rajiv, “You cannot do it that way. What you can do is fight, survive, win and earn and marry.”
Dinesh got up from his seat and saw Manoj exiting from the Subedar’s tent and heading towards them. He said, “Well, I think the moment has come for it.”