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I was afraid to talk about that war. I dealt with the process of getting his body back home, buried him in a cemetery nearby and even thanked the numerous people who attended the funeral. This was all done in a mechanical fashion. We had no kids so the healing and recouping was solitary affair for me. The war was a pointless battle where he had lost his life. But I thought the war was stupid even in the beginning when he received the intimation to prepare for his dispatch. The realisation hadn’t dawned on me simply after his death.

We had discussed his commitment even before we were to be married. He told me I should be prepared for his body to return in a body bag. I laughed it off then but realised the trauma of it only while he was off fighting the enemy. I always assumed it wouldn’t happen with me. Somehow, this last call, we were both uncertain and hesitant. The war by then had lost its meaning even for him. It had been 19 years of reporting cycles and nothing had changed. But he reported to field like the dedicated man he was. Hundreds were dead on both sides. Those in power remained untouched while soldiers fell like flies. But that was every war this country has fought. This war wasn’t special.

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It felt like she was preparing for war. Her body ached to throw in a few punches. But no, she had to stay composed. Her ethics had to command her every move, her every thought. Heart over mind, she confirmed. She wouldn’t fight even if provoked. She wouldn’t growl or snarl. Yet, she felt like she was preparing for war. A war she was far too exhausted to take part in. A war she felt she wasn’t ready for.

‘You are as ready as you will ever be,’ a friendly voice encouraged.

But wars were messy and along with the actual damage the collateral damage bothered her. The actual damage was eventually dealt with at least. But everyone lost sight of the collateral losses. She thought fighting wasn’t in her genes. But nobody revived their dying morals. Nobody even seemed to care that morality had died. People around either fled or stayed on to prepare. She couldn’t flee; there was too much at stake. She couldn’t fight; there was too much to lose. She was torn between her choice or lack of choice.

It felt like war and she was uneasy preparing for it. She could be apathetic, like many others. But then again, she couldn’t. If she didn’t fight actively, she would perhaps be part of the collateral damage.

It, probably, was a war. She didn’t like it, but she had to prepare.