In life, there are some big things—oath, duty, glory, honour and so on. In death, small things become big too—adding a floor to the house, keeping a promise made to a nine-year-old, making a phone call from a faraway place to wake up the children at home every morning.
The killing of 40 CRPF personnel on February 14 in a suicide bombing in Kashmir’s Pulwama district led to much outrage across the country. Hot-headed speeches and calls for revenge rent the air. For those the slain had left behind at their homes and who would never see them return, there came a slew of announcements—monetary compensation, jobs, passes for concessional train tickets. Leaders and officials of every stature flocked to the houses of the bereaved, promising unwavering support and assistance even in future. A month later, the families of the dead find themselves still coping with their loss, and sometimes in disturbing situations.