Major Akshay Girish- Son, Hero, Martyr

His Story; My Way

Part Two

Yesterday, for the first time, we celebrated a bitter-sweet birthday. As Neha touched thirty one, Akshay seems to have touched everyone’s heart and consciousness. Together, the tug of the twins brought abundant tears. By the evening, we were once again calm as the ocean spent.  Extended family and friends rallied around and raised a toast to our brave-heart by voicing their emotions.

It is time to take Akshay’s story forward and I hope I can find the strength to keep up this blog.

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After six months at my parents’ home in Bangalore, we (Girish, his mom, me and our twins) moved back to squadron life in Gorakhpur. As a young mother, bringing up twins meant sticking to a hectic, round-the-clock routine that began at 5.30 am with ‘sterilize feeding bottles’. The day was combined with ‘good morning cuddling, oil massages and hot baths, mid-morning nap, playtime, afternoon nap, out-of-home stroll and bed- time cuddles’. Our day ended each night at about 11.30pm, just as it had begun, with ‘sterilize feeding bottles’! We had to have 8 feeding bottles between the two and a huge steel vessel (with lid ) solely for this process.

If I’ve left out the innumerable ‘nappy changes’, ‘messy burps’ and ‘runny nosies’ parts, it isn’t intentional but because …….oh well, never mind!!  Our friends and domestic help became extended family as they pitched in so we could deal with the myriad issues that unexpectedly crop up with baby-raising. On the money front, we did feel the pinch and the first thing we did every month was to stock up on supplies of baby food (milk and cereal tins). All other non-essential shopping was set aside.

Akshay continued to take up a lot of my time with long feeding sessions. While milk went down easily, he wouldn’t open his mouth to solid foods and when cajoled, he wouldn’t chew what was spooned in.  So, once his mouth was stuffed, instead of swallowing, he would bring all the food out in a gooey mess and get me worried. Although he was gaining some weight on his wiry frame, his milestones continued to trail Neha’s by at least a month.

She in contrast, was the dream baby. As she showed clear signs of being self-dependent so early on, I felt a wee bit guilty that she didn’t get the same attention from us as Akshay did. As a young mother, I was also buckling under the pressure of living up-to expectations of being a good mom and realized only years later how close I had got to experiencing post-natal depression. I am grateful to my mother for her long phone calls and help, and to close friends (particularly Pooja) for dropping home to share conversations and chores. There were times when she helped me get an hour or two of ‘me-time’ by taking care of the twins along with her own little Arjun.

As their first birthday drew near, Girish, aunty (my mom-in-law) and I began planning a big party.  We were finally relaxed that the twins were growing up healthy and our home was a delightful place with gurgling babies chasing each other all over the place. Neha took her first steps very early at 9 months plus and was soon happily running all over. Akshay was still crawling but able to stand with support at 11 months. He hadn’t taken a single independent step and I was fretting at the thought of guests comparing the two and asking us questions on their first birthday.

And then a strange thing happened. We received a parcel of clothes for Akshay-Neha’s first birthday. Opening the parcel revealed cute cots-wool romper sets in bright red and blue checks (made and sent by my sister in law Smita). I decided to try them on for size. As soon as we stood Akshay on the floor to check the length of his pants, he let go off the chair he was holding and just walked straight out of the bedroom and into the drawing room, taking 15 quick, confident and continuous steps before he fell to the floor, beaming at his achievement! Aunty and I almost hugged each other with joy. After that feat, Akshay never ever crawled. The twins really enjoyed their first birthday running after, clapping and laughing with the bigger kids, as if they too wanted to participate in the games of musical chairs and passing the parcel.

Maybe our little fellow would never have been content with trying to take baby steps.

The next couple of years that followed were such fun! We grew as parents and our twins went from being toddlers to school-goers. A flood of incidents come to mind and I will try to share some of them with you all.

One Sunday morning, Akshay, all of 2 and half years old, was playing with other kids in the park near our home while I chatted with friends and kept a general lookout. A few minutes later, he had been pushed off the side of the 7 foot high structure by a bigger, maybe impatient child, and we all heard the loud ‘thud’ as Akshay fell flat and hard on his face. Just before we rushed him to the Air Force Clinic, I was shocked at how much blood from my little boy was splattered in the mud he was picked up from. Tiny, bawling Akshay got 5 stitches right across his lower lip and his mouth was swollen like a red tomato.

Being a pretty constant thumb sucker, Akshay couldn’t soothe himself that day. By nightfall, we were quite sure the injury would break the thumb-sucking habit. That because of the pain, he would have no choice but to quit. But early next morning, as I dropped off to a disturbed sleep with Akshay in my arms, , I heard the familiar ‘chus chus chus’ and opened my eyes to see our little fellow happily sucking his thumb, despite swollen, bloody lips.

He wouldn’t quit what he loved doing. Never mind the pain!

Akshay was this innocent and adventurous little boy who loved to socialize and knew no fear. He called out to strangers with a cheery ‘hello aunty, uncle’ and smiled cutely as he waved. None could resist his charms! At the same time he could be very content in his own company, often lost in thought. After every such silent spell would emerge a barrage of questions directed at an adult, starting with ‘kab…, kyon…., kahaan…, kaise…., kaun (when, why, where, how, who)… and so on…., and not in any particular order! Once while I sang ‘Chanda mama door ke…’ to the little ones, trying to lull them to sleep, Akshay piped up with a statement, ‘Chanda mama ke paas janna hai(I want to go near moon uncle)’. When I told him he would need a rocket to go to the moon, pat came the next question; ‘Chanda mama bhi rocket mein baith kar vahan gaya tha kya?!(Did moon uncle also sit a a rocket to get there?!)”

He was very persistent when he wanted to learn something- be it a spelling like ‘y-a-t-c-h’ in LKG (they started school in Bidar), or getting the words of a popular hindi song right. At 3, he loved singing ‘Papa kehte hain…'(‘Papa says….’ was a very popular song in 1988) loud and clear, in his very cute lisp and Girish and I had many bouts of laughter listening to him as he sat on the potty, practicing ‘pappa kehte hain bara naam kaega…beta hamaya aisa kaam kaega….(papa says  our son will bring him name and fame…he will achieve something great…) . His self-confidence was so high that he grabbed the mike during an AF day picnic and sang the song at the top of his voice to a stunned audience!

Never in these three decades did we ever imagine that thinking of our little boy singing this song would drive us to tears.

 

61 thoughts on “Major Akshay Girish- Son, Hero, Martyr

    • Meghna ma’am, naam (aur kaam) tho bahut bada kar gayaa aapka laadla beta! He probably took those lines to heart & achieved something that few of us would even dare to imagine.

      Delighted hearing your experiences with raising your two toddlers…and here I thought one was difficult! The joys (are tribulations) of parents are indeed unparalleled. The seemingly endless feeds, burps, nappy changes, falls, milestone-watches, unending advice – you must have had more than twice the numbers I had!! Thank you for sharing them & allowing us a peek into your lives a little more.

      I know that this writing must be extremely difficult for you but I also hope that this is cathartic. Akshay deserves to be remembered this lovingly and be honored.
      God bless him.

      Lots & lots of love and hugs coming your way!

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      • Thank you Bablubli. Our loss is difficult to bear because it is more painful than anything one can imagine. Having said that, you are right- writing is cathartic. And with so many of you fellow countrymen in solidarity with us, we hope his sacrifice and that of other martyrs will lead to better understanding and respect for unity and determination in overcoming our enemies.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Meghna ma’am, I understand loss in my own little way but as you rightly say, we may not ever be able to fathom the depths of your pain..ever. Please stay strong.

        I also hope that being a part of this journey with you, allows each one of us to introspect, atleast a little on the roles we have to play as citizens, to understand the tumultuous times we Indians live in and try not to add to the macro & micro problems in our society, anything…anything at all!

        It is easy to be cynical of good actions and be self-centered in these times but when I look at the selflessness of Akshay & every one of you from the armed forces, I wonder what it is that makes you all different…do you never feel hopeless or cynical as you give up on your happiness for a larger cause? I don’t know what motivates you but I admire it. And I hope to learn to extend myself & my time towards more social causes… I must make my own little contribution before I pass on. Akshay has done his bit…it is now our turn.

        Thank you for writing…you write beautifully. It is a pleasure to get to know you through your words.

        Love & prayers for all of you.

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      • Your thoughtful post shows introspection and will to make a difference within and around you bablubli. what each of us does will determine the future of our nation and people. Thank you and take care.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. Feeling part of your family Meghna, your words just pull us into your story. But it ends all too soon…just as in real life. Keep the words coming

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  2. Mam…again salutations to Maj Akshay n the entire family….he has stood by the words of the song…” Papa kehte hai bada naam karega, beta hamara aisa kaam karega”……Naina is gonna b vry proud daughter…. Prayers n blessings to the family

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  3. Meghna reading your heart warming blog is like meeting you n listening to you in person. Feeling so so proud of you my friend!!! Huge salute to a bravest mom of a bravest soldier Major Akshay Girish.

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  4. “pappa kehte hain bara naam kaega…beta hamaya aisa kaam kaega” . He lived up to his favourite song, didn’t he!! And how!!
    Salutes unlimited

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  5. Loved this piece..aunty made me feel a part of you…Even I too have a son who is a three year old..we all are your strength.. Akshay is your strength… I have indellible faith that this book is going to be a master-piece… with lots of love and waiting eagerly for the next Elixir to live a better life..yours faithfully
    Shivangi

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  6. Thankyou for sharing this beautiful memories, this is the only way to keep our lost loved ones close to our heart. Remembering and recalling old good memories. We are proud of our martyrs….

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  7. Simply mesmerised by the tapestry of your words through this emotional tribute to your son. Salute to your spirit and to the exceptional courage of Maj Akshay. Waiting to read more…

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  8. Good morning Mam…..ur blog was the 1st thing I read today morning….Maj Akshay stood up to every word of the song he sang at 3 “Papa kehte hai bada naam karega beta hamara aisa kaam karega”….his act of valour has made him immortal for our n coming generations….Naina is gonna be a very proud daughter…

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  9. :))) So beautifully written and so meaningful when we look back with you through your stories ! On a lighter note ma’am, how did you manage to stay so fit despite two kids ? 🙂 or maybe that was the secret , going after TWO kids 😀 orrrrrrrrrr was it the defence life that influences the ladies too ? or are you just eternally beautiful, inside out !

    We look forward to more
    Regards

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  10. Such a beautiful amalgamation of thoughts that I feel as if I am a part of ur family may not b physically but always in thoughts n prayers …
    May god give u n all d family members strength to overcome this irreparable loss …
    For ur courage u deserve a big hug mam…u r a source of inspiration for many ….keep this spirit alive always …god bless n very eagerly waiting for ur write up . On ur son n our braveheart…as soldiers never die …..

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  11. I am remembering our days as young parents at Wellington when my son Sashank learnt to walk for the first time. Only thing, I had just put him down to lock our front door and he took off and stepped right off the top step of the stone staircase of Circle Quarters and rolled right down! Rushed him to the MH, I remember, heart in my mouth.

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  12. Hi ma’am. Myself Maj Nikhil Raj Jainvi. Me and Akshay were together in IMA. We did our YO’s together. He was a brilliant and disciplined. Excellent brought up, well balanced human. I was totally mesmerised reading your blog not only because of knowing Akshay personally but also I can correlate to your problems of raising twins. I too have twins. A girl and a boy. 3 yrs now. So true the struggle and joy of raising twins. I understand any words of mine are totally weak and fruitless to help you overcome the overwhelming loss you have suffered, still I pray to Almighty to bring the peace and normalcy back in life.

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  13. I am surprised at the details you remember. My twins are nine . I am already forgetting .
    God bless you

    I wish you had a video of Girish singing that song

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  14. Meghana, literally living through your blog, so well expressed. We have seen such childhood nuances from our kids too but papa Kehte hai, brought a tear in my eye, your lad lived to his promise! God bless you all, looking forward to your story

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  15. As I read the blog I could picture Akshay with this cute smile and curious look. This eyes would narrow when he smiled – the smile was so wide! And once he had a question, nothing would distract him till he got an answer that satisfied him! I see a lot of him in Naina – right from the thumb-sucking to the way she laughs to the way she says a confident “NO”. I was trying hard not to lose patience with bringing up one child and you did it so easily – or at least it seemed – with two. Oh and how we loved his lisp! And Pooja thought that was how it was pronounced – lail gadi! And the song reminds me how he was a Hindi movie buff and thought most of the movies were really good!

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  16. Ma’am my salute to you and deepest condolences for your loss… u have immense strength, I can’t imagine your grief… I am also a mother of twin boys and the photo of twin stroller makes me think of my sons … they are 18 months old and every word you wrote ,I can relate to it .. the growing up years … I am so sorry for your loss… may his soul rest in peace and god give you n your family the strength to deal with this tough time…. you will be in my prayers ma’am … god bless

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  17. Meghna,although I had met Akshay only once or twice during Pooja ‘s wedding….apart from that interaction ,I didn’t know him much. But your writings are making me know about him so much…… I am very sure of one thing about this handsome , dashing army officer, that is his love and devotion towards his motherland.. he didn’t give a second thought while laying down his most precious life…. I know him now very well…He was a darling to the family and friends but God made him his darling too….keep writing…keep posting…love you..

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  18. It’s real heart warming as well as heart wrenching to read the lovely lines by you ma’am. Akshay lived up to the highest traditions of our glorious army and you I dare say surpass even that by your absolute grit n determination. With mothers like you bringing up sons like Akshay, I am sure this land is safe forever. I salute our martyr Akshay and I salute you ma’am. Truly blessed to know you n your life through this blog. Please keep up the writing. You are exceptionally talented at it.

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  19. Each word is from heart of a loving and caring mom. We will always remember Akshay with love and feel proud to have known him. Feel connected. Looking forward for the next blog

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  20. Very nice read…The lesson in raising babies comes just in time as I am expecting my first in Feb….However, the longing in your words is evident….The only thought that comes to ,my mind about your family is Pride. How proud you and everyone at home would be…..We all die, however, martyrdom is the most noble of all deaths….Pride should be natural

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  21. Hi Meghana, so well written….I know it must be hard on you, but believe me this is the best tribute you are paying to your brave son!
    As you said, When you are bringing up children every stage becomes so important at that point of time…. turning over, crawling , standing up, taking a few steps, and when you look back you wonder why did you even worry so much for such small things??:) Thank you once again for sharing your memories of Akshay.

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  22. Pingback: Major Akshay Girish- Son, Hero, Martyr | Dawn Tobin Makeup Artist

    • Our lives are forever changed Senthil. In ways we cannot fully comprehend nor explain. Thank you for reaching out with kind words. Best wishes and take care.

      Like

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