Whenever my father talks about his experience of the war, there's one story that he always tells us about with a warm smile and tired eyes. During the war, he was around ten years old, so his mother refused to let him join the brutality. Instead, they opted to feed the freedom fighters who were stationed near their hometown in Brahmanbaria. Thus began my father's life as the rice boy.
With great pomp and circumstance, he would carry a bowl of rice to the weary soldiers, oftentimes joining them during their meals. He would listen to their stories with rapt attention and even offer to serve as a look-out for enemies while they enjoyed their meals. Almost every day, without fail, he would carry his bowl of rice and innocently partake in being a spy.
After hearing this story countless times, I realised that it had shaped my perception of what had transpired during that time. Whenever I think of the war now, I think of that little boy with the bowl of rice, chatting away with worn-down soldiers as the sounds of gunshots and bombs filled the air around them.