So, yesterday we came to know that Japan surrendered to America. We heard it on the radio and for a moment or two no one could say anything. And then n everyone seemed to get on with what they were doing. This was completely out of the blue, no one had anticipated this.
I could see the disappointment and sadness in their eyes. Why did Japan surrender? After all that America did, why did they just give up? Why didn't they fight back? So all this death, the multitudes who lost their lives, all the valiant soldiers who died fighting for this country…all this was in vain? All these thoughts kept rushing through my head. But at the same time I was a little relieved, the war was finally over. Although this isn't how I imagined it would end, I would have liked Japan to fight back. There were many others who seemed a little relieved like me, maybe our suffering had finally come to an end.
Hikaru came over, sat down on my bed and smiled! This was the first time he'd smiled ever since he came here. " is the war over, Tony-san? There wont be any more bombs, right? We can finally get on with our lives? I don't care about who won the war, as long as the bombing stop. I don't think we'll survive another bombing." I told him not to worry because the war was coming to an end and things would return to normal.
I was told that I'd be discharged today. Hikaru had already been discharged yesterday. We have now been sent to the camp. It was a little way off and Hikaru had warned me that it wasn't a very nice place and he was right. The place was overcrowded and dirty. You could smell the rice cooking. Plain rice, that is what is given to us twice a day. We couldn't ask for a second helping as there was hardly enough for a hundred people. Hikaru and I found a corner at the back. It wasn't clean but we had to make do with whatever we got. I was still recuperating and the journey had been tiring. I didn't realize when I dozed off. Hikaru woke me up after what seemed like an hour…but wasn't, he told me I had been asleep for over 5 hours. He had woken me up because it was time for supper. No matter how tasteless it was, skipping dinner wasn't an option, because the next meal after supper at 10 was lunch at 11. I looked around me. This camp was supposed to be a symbol of hope, of survival. But no. All I could see around me was pain and despair. Not one person seemed relieved or glad to be here. After dinner was over, we were told to clean our respective spots and at 11, a bell was rung. The bell, Hikaru told me, was to tell us that it was time for us to sleep and they would be turning off the lights. The mothers lulled their children to sleep, some kids refused to stop crying, you could hear people whispering all over. There was also a lot of shushing to be heard. I wasn't sleepy, I'd just woken up an hour ago. Hikaru put his head on my lap and fell asleep almost as soon as he closed his eyes. After a short while everyone seemed to be asleep. Things finally seemed to be falling into place.
No matters how meager, we had found shelter, were given clean clothes and food and medical help when needed. That was more than enough…for now. Its astonishing how a disaster can make you aware of the very essence of life, the value of the daily necessities that we usually take for granted…the importance of the little things that actually matter…the value of life itself, isn't it?