The Last Promise - Chapter 1 - Last Goodbye books and stories free download online pdf in English

The Last Promise - Chapter 1 - Last Goodbye

At 4:30 in the evening in Shimla, on July 3, 1999, the clouds were heavy, and amidst the rain, an inexplicable sadness and pain seemed to hang. It felt as if the clouds themselves were shedding tears. Just then, as if weeping along, the telephone in the Pratap House rang. But with the sense that no one was home at that moment, after three rings, Kulwant Singh descended from upstairs and picked up the phone. The voice from the other end asked, "Is this Lieutenant Pratap Singh's residence?" Kulwant Singh replied, "Yes, I am his mother, Kulwant Singh Chauhan. May I know who's calling?" Then the voice from the other end said, "I am speaking as the Commander-in-Chief. This morning, we had to reclaim a post. We formed a group, and Lieutenant Pratap Singh Chauhan was made its captain. Leading bravely and fighting valiantly, he successfully brought the post back under Indian Army's control. But..." Kulwant Singh interjected, "But what, sir?" Then, with a heavy heart, the Commander-in-Chief continued, "Due to severe injuries and gunfire, our bravest and finest soldier, Lieutenant Pratap Singh Chauhan, has become a martyr. His mortal remains will be sent to your home." Hearing this, the telephone slipped from Kulwant Singh's hands. Clutching her pain and grief, she screamed, "You lied to me! You lied to me!" Falling to the ground, Kulwant Singh wept inconsolably, repeating the same phrase over and over, "You lied to me, you lied to me." She remembered the time when Pratap Singh was leaving for his duty in the Kargil war.

On May 12, 1999, at 1:30 PM, at Pratap House in Shimla, Pratap Singh Chauhan is packing his backpack in his room. Once he's done, he places his bag in the living area outside his room. On one side of the living area, Pratap Singh's father, Jagat Singh, is watching the news on TV, while on the other side, his brother is studying. The news on TV is about the Kargil war, how soldiers' leaves have been canceled and they've been called back. The enemy has captured an Indian post during the winter when Indian soldiers usually vacate such posts due to extreme conditions.

Pratap Singh's father comments that the situation has worsened. Pratap replies that yes, some important posts were captured, causing significant strategic damage, but he doesn't think the enemy will hold them for long. His father, now angry, gets up from his chair and says that he had advised Pratap to pursue an IIT education, but his love for the army won over. His father expresses disappointment that instead of having a good job in America after studying at IIT, Pratap chose to become an officer. Pratap requests his father not to start the argument again.

His father retorts that he won't stay silent, questioning where Pratap's patriotism will lead him. He gets angry, even comparing him to Pratap's late grandfather who died in the war. Pratap's father leaves the house in anger. Pratap's younger brother asks if the war has started and if Pratap will die in it. Pratap assures him that he won't die and explains that even though there might be a couple of hundred enemy soldiers, they can handle them easily. He lightens the mood by saying they can manage even 200-300 enemies since they have two lakh soldiers in their lineage, mixing humor and pride.

Pratap's asks about Kammo, . Pratap brother explains that since Kammo heard about the war in Kargil and that Pratap was being called, she's been locked in her room crying. Pratap , trying to cheer up his brother. He then goes to his mother's room and finds her upset, lost in thought with the bedsheet in her hands. Pratap asks her what's wrong, and she tells him that she's already troubled. Pratap teases her about a lioness and a jackal, referencing her old stories. She's sad and says that she's fearful this time. Pratap consoles her, promising he'll return and jokingly mentioning that he'll even defeat a few wolves and jackals for her.

Kulwant Singh, his mother, expresses her concern about this war. Pratap reassures her, saying he'll definitely return. He holds her hand and assures her that he'll come back. She mentions her uneasiness and tells him that she doesn't feel good about this. Pratap tells her that he'll keep his promise and asks her to allow him to go. She starts to laugh and says she'll serve him food in his absence. Pratap and Kammo both laugh with her. However, as the reality of the situation hits her, she breaks down in tears, repeating the phrase "you lied to me" and grieving that he won't return