Dancing in our yard! There was no occasion for fireworks and yet the sky had some awesome display with rockets – my favorite type of fireworks!
During September and October, when several Hindu festivals take place, my father would buy me so many fireworks that would last at least for another month or so to annoy my poor mother. I didn’t care for her anger. Rockets, crackers, telephone, tubri, stars, chocolate bomb, potash ….so many types, so many names! I had fun with my father and fireworks! That’s all I cared! The term, ‘sound pollution’ was not there! I never heard of such a stupid term yet! Hey, shut the hell up…I was a child, OK? I didn’t know anything about cholesterol either! And no, I didn’t read Tolstoy’s ‘War and Peace’ yet! I also didn’t know the meaning of the phrase, “how often!” 

You place the rocket in a Coca-kola bottle and ignite fire at the thread hanging from its body with a big stick to be safe! The rocket starts glittering and then goes up high to embrace the sky…….shuuuuuuuuuuu…drooom …..and you clap and say yeeeessssssssss…. (you can shake your ass as well if you want…….)

I think it was early December, which was not the season for fireworks and yet the sky is flattered with my favorite rockets! Who wouldn’t be happy? A child’s dream….to have fireworks all year long! Shuuuuuuuu….droom…..…shuuuuuuu…droom….
Dancing…dancing…dancing….not for long though…within a minute or so, my stupid father comes and snatches me like an eagle and says, “It’s not fireworks, Pakistan has attacked us! Everybody behind the building….everybody behind the building….war just started!” My father was shouting while running holding tight covering me!  

Say what now? What the hell just happened? What the hell is he talking about? Damn it! My father had to spoil the fun, didn’t he?
I had no clue what was going on. I tell you! My father took me behind our building and put me down and said, “Sit down here. Do not move!” He ran to get the other members in our family.

I sat down quietly. In front of me there was a coconut tree. I stretched my legs to place them at the bottom of the tree and my back was on the wall. It was a little dark. I was scared. In my head, I kept hearing my father’s voice…war just started…war just started! Eventually, other members joined me along with my father and some people from the next door neighbor. I was listening to the awesome sound of my favorite fireworks…..shuuuuu..…droom……...shuuuuuuu…..droom…. 

The shelling eventually stopped. We came back to our rooms scared! That was my first war. And fortunately, that was my last war as well. As of today, I still remember pretty much everything about it. I have hard time to remember what I ate three days ago, but I remember the war clearly. A child’s mind is the biggest storage room you can ever imagine!

People flooded to our small town from East Pakistan, which would soon become Bangladesh. People were everywhere – in our schools, college, and on the side of the roads. Hundreds of thousands of people – we called them refugees! Sadly, they were kind of attraction to the children! Someone took me to show refugees!

Some of our relatives came from East Pakistan to live with us and some went to live with others. They told us stories. Stories of tortures including rapes and killings by the Pakistani soldiers! Of course, I didn’t understand everything then, but enough to be scared!

Pakistan – East and West – India is in the middle – a ‘derivative’ of poor India and an ill-conceived result of India’s freedom, which was handed over by the British to some poor and greedy Indian leaders! Pakistan was born in 1947 when India got freedom. Afghanistan was left alone even though Afghanistan begged to be with India. Some greedy Indian leaders totally ignored Afghanistan.    

Pakistan, a Muslim country, is in trouble now! West Pakistan started exploiting East Pakistan. Now the fight is between Muslim versus Muslim; it’s not between Hindus and Muslims anymore, which was a normal issue during that time. Now the situation is different- Muslims exploiting Muslims - Muslims killing Muslims - Muslims raping Muslims girls; talk about religious bonds! Did people learn from it? That’s another issue in another segment perhaps!

I was a little boy, but I understood that Pakistani soldiers didn’t spare anybody – Hindu or Muslim! They tortured everybody (East Pakistani) came on their way – they raped the women and didn’t spare the young girls either! The religious bond just vanished and people were fleeing to India, their enemy – a ‘Hindu country’ to them per say!

Where were the US and Soviet Union then? They were counting their blessings (read nuclear weapons) for this wonderful opportunity to show their mighty strength! Cold war is about to become a hot war - drum roll please -  the US with Pakistan and the Soviets with India - ah – joy of war – raping the civilization! The US sent its warship to Indian ocean, while Soviets were waiting for India’s permission to send theirs! Ah – what a moment!

Finally, it didn’t happen! Damn it! The US didn’t attack India and the Soviets also didn’t get a chance to show their capacity! We were spared! I survived! We survived! The war was limited to India and Pakistan. But I will never forget those days! The scary time! On top of that, since our family had ties with the US, we were not much liked by some of our neighbors! Talk about interesting life!

The ultimate price in any war is paid by the people and especially the women. I didn’t know it then, but I know now. Later on, I found out more about the torture of Pakistani soldiers. A few of my friends told me about the rapes by the soldiers that took place in front of the victim’s parents!
In any war, rape is a common religious event that is almost never discussed in our civilized society. In modern journalism, you would think that it would be more prominent now than ever before! No no no…modern journalists are well paid not to do or should I say to do the ‘just’ to the war they don’t talk about it? Look at it in another way – consider this as a minor collateral damage!

It was a taboo in Germany to talk about the rapes by the Russian soldiers in 1945. What a wonderful Spring and Summer the Russian soldiers had with the German women! Revenge, brother revenge! Talk about idealism! A war is a war – soldiers are soldiers – communist or capitalist country – no difference! During that time a woman in Berlin would ask another woman, “How often?” The other would answer, “Four times!” or “Five times!” It meant a Russian soldier…. 
Make love, not war! Finally, they stopped the war to make love! See, it works like magic!

Let’s have sex with the women of our enemies. Let’s not go waste of the taxes paid by our citizens to cover the war. Our leaders may not like it either if we don’t show our strength in every aspect of the war!   

Whenever I see a picture of a little boy in any context of a war, I remember those scary days – shelling or bombers flying over my head! Whenever I see picture of a little girl in any context of a war, I try not to think of the worst in her life!

War continues to save our civilization! Dalai Lama lives to spread the peace and occasionally say that war is necessary to keep peace! Dalai Lama, the peace spreader also knows what to say when and why of course!

In the mean time, I announced free tax returns for our soldiers who lost a body part and discounts for all soldiers! Hey, I may not support war, I still support our troops! I support Dalai Lama too!

For those who don't like war, but like literature: If French didn't invade Russia, Tolstoy couldn't write War and Peace. If Tolstoy didn't write War and Peace, I couldn't discuss this with a gorgeous Russian girl! I want war - more wars!

Make love, make wars!
Make wars, make love!
Here is a part of poem for you written by a Russian soldier, Aleksandr Isayevich Solzhenitsyn (It's over fifty pages long poem and has about twelve thousand lines)
The little daughter’s on the mattress,
Dead. How many have been on it
A platoon, a company perhaps?
A girl’s been turned into a woman,
A woman turned into a corpse.
It's all come down to simple phrases:
Do not forget! Do not forgive!
Blood for blood! A tooth for a tooth!

About the Author

Kumar Ghosh

Kumar Ghosh