The old man started talking26th January. In the coastal town of Tamil Nadu, the nonagenarian man wore spotlessly white dhoti and shirt and started preparing to go out. The family members were astonished but no one dared to ask him any question. He never interacted much.
The street was comparatively empty. The old man started walking. His mind traveled to a distant past. He reached the pre-independence days of 1942.
The teenager took part in the 'Quit India' movement. But he was not satisfied. He took a decision and left his home at this coastal town and somehow reached Singapore. He volunteered to join the Indian National Army (INA). He got a new 'josh' when he listened to the electrifying voice of Netaji: "Give me blood, I shall give you freedom."
He gave blood. In 1944, he, along with his comrades, crossed Chindwin and took part in the Battle of Imphal and Battle of Kohima. He did not surrender. He did not get captured. He, along with another comrade, broke the British line fighting with his standard rifle.
On 15th August, 1947, he and his comrade were hiding in the forest of Manipur. They didn't know the World War was over. They didn't know that their idol Netaji had disappeared forever. They didn't know India got independence.
In January, 1950, he was found by a contingent of Indian Army. His comrade had died in the forest. He was brought back to civilization. He finally returned to his native place in coastal Tamil Nadu.
His fighting spirit was very much intact. But over the years, he got disenchanted. The generations of seventies, eighties and nineties degenerated. They were running behind materialistic life. He almost stopped interacting with others.
But, on 26th January, he came out. He reached the sea-shore. On the sea-shore, he noticed Indian tri-colour flattering. The palm trees were swinging their heads, as if they were enjoying the scene. Standing on a bench, young children were respectfully waving Indian flags.
The INA veteran saw hope and promise in those young eyes. He stood beside the children and started talking. He started telling them about their Motherland, the great country of India.
[Competition entry for January 2019 Topic-based TOW]