Sunday, April 23, 2006

The Forsaken and Forgotten Battles

I wait for an opportunity to regain ground from my enemy. I know, like me, the enemy is also completely conscious and aware of the circumstances. At this point in time, we both are in the state of equilibrium - its like a breather where two gladiators size each other up after having gone hammer and tongs at each other with no one gaining any advantage; we wait for the other to blink and make the first mistake, at which we swoop down on the opportunity and push the other further back out of the territory.

We both are lone warriors; sent out to a distant outpost to protect a narrow strip of land that we both claim is ours. At best of times, we tend to share that land equally. At worst of times, small battles break out resulting in pushing and shoving; sometime very very obvious, sometime very very subtle. At most times, for us, the lone soldier on the ground, the watch has to be constant – there is no time to sleep; while the high command goes quiet based on seasonal changes, we have to be extremely vigilant. Any small movement of the enemy is circumspect: the attention that we give each other is unrelenting. This is a war that is fought in stealth and cannot be talked about; the high command will keep the fa├žade of friendliness and will continue to be engaged in talks; while it expects us, the lone outposters to hold on to, at minimum, the fair share of the common ground that both of us claim. We are forsaken castaways…

…but we do our job. As I stare down my opponent in this strip of land, I have a genuine respect for him. I know he does for me too. But we aren’t going to let that come in our ways of this war of attrition. As we stand our ground, I see a slight slackness in my enemy – maybe its fatigue catching up. Maybe its something else, I sense an opportunity, but I don’t show it – I know any sign of excitement in my face would be a warning sign for my enemy – I keep a poker face and wait. At last, he makes a false move – as tiredness washes over him, he slightly shifts himself a step back; I sense the opportunity for the kill, and seize it; I drive in, as he moves a bit further on his own, I use his own momentum to push him off the narrow strip almost out of it. He clings on, but I know its only a matter of time, that I can claim the whole land as mine. I feel a gloating come up within me. I am proud - from where I was to now, this is good. I started on my edge of the land and have in this time, captured the whole strip, I feel elated…

Alas, my elation lasts only for a few moments; as I am being pulled away forcibly from the land that I occupied with great difficulty – I see that providing my enemy an opportunity, to grab his lost ground; As I’m being recalled by my high command, I see with disappointment, at the lost ground…

…As the man in the aisle seat, 21C, gets up to go to the restroom in the plane, his left forearm wistfully looks at the armrest of the seat that it had occupied comfortably for the past 10 minutes and finds that the person in 21B, seat himself comfortably and occupying the armrest to his right…

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