When Condoms Saved the Day

First Person

When Condoms Saved the Day

Illustration: Akshita Monga

T

hirteen days in Bangladesh remain forever etched in the memory for every one of us who served in the 1971 Bangladesh Liberation War.

Forty-five years have passed since that historic fortnight. Today when I think back, I don’t think so much about victory or the casualties. I don’t dwell on the attacks – the ones we perpetrated and the ones we came under – or the comrades we lost. Those are broad brushstrokes; the actual colour comes from the little things. Today when I think back, I think of being drenched through most of those two weeks in the paddy fields of Bangladesh. I think back to how I would have traded my world for a pair of dry socks and a cigarette! I think back to the jokes we cracked under fire, the bonds we forged in the trenches or the sight of a battalion marching with condoms pulled over their rifles!

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