Connected by Loss: Can we Live Better?

Akshay’s Thoughts and More…..a Mothers Musings

100 days without Akshay in the physical realm. Feels like….. I don’t know what…….unable to find the ‘right’ words to express emotions that overwhelm me when I think about our loss…..  despair and emptiness…. heartache and torment……

Driving into the city and alone in a cab, I try to focus at what I can see through the window- so much construction destroying the city, a little kid holding on to his dad on a scooter, pedestrians looking for a break in traffic flow to cross the road and traffic snarls at every junction. Despite attempts, I didn’t really succeed at distracting myself for long. Akshay’s thoughts just push themselves in…interspersed with his ever so bright images.

Did he know….?

Did he send us that single whatsapp message to prepare us for the worst …?

Did he see our responses of ‘love you’ ….?

Did he feel terrible pain for long….?

Did he have time for thoughts….?

Did he want to reach out to us but couldn’t…?

Did he know how many people he helped save…?

What were his last thoughts…?

There are many more such questions in our minds and hearts although we don’t voice them too often. As his mother, my most painful one is

Did I somehow fail to protect my child……?’

Once again, the meltdown happens…..Terribly embarrassed at glances from passers-by at traffic signals and the cab driver in the rear view mirror, I struggle to wipe my messy tears….scrubbing my face with my dupatta. Then, to stop crying and compose myself, I focus on recollecting responses to Akshay’s Story, My Way.

Harsh Vishwanathan said Thank you for beautifully writing and conveying this story. This is important because the media does not convey these stories with such fineness and depth. It really stirs up emotions as it inspires as we read along. These are our true heroes and their story must be passed on to future generations to inspire them. It’s a coincidence that I’m reading this on Shivaratri – a night when cosmic energy is given to earth bountifully. I hope and pray that Lord Sadashiva will bless you with patience and good memories…. to remember that after all Maj Akshay has just left the body and maybe he is already reborn somewhere. May the Lord bless and infuse into Maj Akshay’s memory the power to transform our nation in general and our youth in particular, by directing their creative energies and efforts into a truly meaningful life.

Sudeep Hegde recollected his association with Akshay through Neha and wrote: His martyrdom has moved me deeply. As a teenager, I sometimes used to fancy myself as a soldier or a fighter pilot, specially after watching movies with such roles. Then I would see Akshay already on that path – and so clear and focused about it. I often came away feeling a bit awed, and wishing I had the same clarity and commitment. A few years later I met him at a small reunion of Kumaranites, while he had come home on leave from his assignment in a north-eastern conflict zone. I asked him if he ever felt scared facing militants. With a cool smile and a finality to it, he said “they (the militants) should be scared”. That line and his expression have stayed with me and I’ve played it in my mind many times over the years, especially whenever I hear news about our soldiers fighting.

Akshay’s convictions, actions and his smile came from the deepest part of his being, his soul. That’s why I can only picture his soul still smiling, having lived a life true to his heart and with no fear, till the very end. That is a quality we can all look to emulate. Aunty, thank you for sharing Akshay’s story your way – I think we all needed it, including those who’ve never met him, because we have all felt an inexplicable connection. It is as if Akshay was already a part of us, and we only fully realized it after he left our mortal world. In the same way we feel connected to you and the family, and your blog has brought a semblance of closure and peace for us as we share in your grief.

Lokesh Sharma wrote about Akshay being blessed at Harmandir Sahib in Amritsar (he had no intention of visiting the Golden Temple and yet, it seems like he was there just before reaching Nagrota). Quoting Deh Shiva bar Mohe -a 17th-century hymn (shabad) written by Guru Gobind Singh, the tenth Sikh Guru, in the Dasam Granth, he translated it for us as:

The physical body (deh) is analogous to mythological superpowers such as those possessed by Siva in folk tales, therefore I should not fear when committing myself to good deeds. That I shall not fear when I go into combat. And with determination I will be victorious. That I may teach myself this creed alone, to speak only of Thy (almighty lord Waheguru) praises. And when the last days of my life come, I may die in the might of the lord.

Anant Singh wrote: Aunty, had been desperately waiting for this last one. Thank you so much for letting us know the facts. I have no ways to express my grief as this incident had taken away a wonderful human being who always had a smile and did good for all. Nevertheless a great friend. We miss you Akshay! And from somewhere up above, he is always looking at us. The real stars always shine up in the sky.

Kpm Das said: Something told me the last piece would read like this. Deeply stirring and emotional- Akshay, Kunal and Chittranjan represent the finest of this Army and also reflect the great family traditions which birth to such immortals. In the midst of great sorrow, slivers of hope and optimism from the narratives of your visit to the North East and in those bonds will grow the immortals of tomorrow………………..

Sarita Deshpande said: It was a difficult reading – both because I was re-living his life and that I had to wipe away the tears so that I could continue. I firmly believe that Akshay came into our lives to teach us something and with his work complete he has gone somewhere where he is needed – more than we need him here. Its time for us to do our bit. Learn from his life. It is said that time heals – but does that mean we forget? No. Akshay, you will always be around us and integral part of all the happenings here, giving us strength, helpful tips, PJs and ‘I told you so’ and the ability to look at life positively. Love you Akshay!

Ankita said: For over 24 hours now, have been constantly thinking, about how your family found the specs after two long months and it is difficult to digest that the universe really has its way of speaking to us! It is magical. I hope you continue to hear him call you, you decipher all the dreams, recognizes the places he scribbles on your hands and you wake up and plan to go. May there be endless conversations and depth over distance! The post is over too soon, just like the journey. But just like he wanted, the story was told and received with so much pride !! Thank you for sharing with us the story reminding all of us to live better! In his sacrifice, he gifted all of us a chance. A chance to live all the dreams that he bravely traded to guard ours!

So many more reached out to us. You stood with our family – by your presence, words, letters, pictures……and we have derived a lot of comfort and strength from you all.

We know our lives have been changed forever and we will miss Akshay eternally. Yet, even in his going, he has connected us as only he could! This ‘connect’ has strengthened old ties and forged new bonds for each of us. Suma, like a younger sister (or older daughter?), you made it a point to come all the way from USA for Akshay’s prayer meet.  Leaving your young son with his dad…and we are not even related! Praveen and Dpk, we barely knew you and now you are part of our extended family. And Sindhu- we live in different countries and have never ever met- yet, we chat like kindred souls every other day!

Many more ties and relationships make me wonder at what are life’s ways…or God’s ways…and how do we find our own way from here on?

For someone who is a believer in the almighty but a fence sitter on abstract ideas like ‘souls’, ‘miracles’ ‘rebirth’ and so on, I have to admit that Akshay’s presence continues to be ‘felt’. Sangeeta, in the initial weeks after Akshay, often spoke of feeling his energy, as if holding her and supporting her. More recently, her dream theme has Akshay back after the ‘incident’, explaining what he went through to others. Girish and Neha have also had dreams of long conversations with Akshay – in a car, on a journey. My father says he spends a lot of time talking with Akshay. In my dreams I see him smiling and chatting – the central figure in groups of people.

One very ‘real’ dream brought him into our bedroom at about 4.45 am. He walked in wearing a blue-grey night-suit (Girish had bought him one long ago), sat on my bed while I sat propped against a pillow, legs folded at knees. Giving my folded knees a hug, Akshay smiled at me. I woke up and switched on the light…almost expecting to see Akshay. It was of course just a dream. Took me a  while to get back to sleep. Strangely though, after a long time, slept  most peacefully – until Neha woke me up well past eight o clock.

In all the dreams we have had and spoken about so far, Akshay has been his lively, cheerful, smiling self. Knowing he was shot and battered by a grenade …. and seeing him in that state…… isn’t it strange that none of us is dreaming about him suffering? Thinking of the pain he must have borne-YES. But dreaming of him being in pain- NO. Not sure if there is a way to correctly interpret dreams but Akshay’s positive energy seems active.

I didn’t really know what I could write about after completing Akshay’s story. Yet, here I am. Scanning my laptop to look for Akshay’s articles- one forwarded by his friend and colleague Amit. I remember Akshay had penned parts of his own story about 6 years ago and shown me what he wrote. And I know Akshay will be happy to know you are reading excerpts from his ‘Regimental Dreams’.

Somebody asked, “What are the dreams you get while asleep”. A straight forward reply was “Dreams are not those you get while you’re asleep….dreams are those that don’t let you sleep.”

Such were my dreams since a young boy of maybe 6-7 years. Dreaming of the mountains of Kashmir, learning from and staying on the frontiers, witnessing action… and high morale….always………

To me, Fauj never came across as a job…….……………………..it was always a calling.

Before joining the Academy, facing apprehensive uncles and aunts had become a habit. Explaining what I felt and getting them to understand seemed an uphill task. Thankfully, my parents, sister and grandparents understood my dreams (my kind of dreams).

Dealing with fever and hospitalization (Jaundice) while writing my NDA exam made my path towards the portals of “Cradle of military Leadership” even more exciting! Three years of ‘ragda’, sleeping in class and endless nights…. Then one more tough and exciting year at IMA…. Finally……after four years of being an infantry optee……I chose Engineers. (I still don’t exactly know why)…

A brief stint at Roorkee where we got our first whiff of freedom and then my first posting to my unit- 51 Engineers, at Nagaland, was beyond what I had asked for. I was finally at a place I deemed MINE………

My first Holi in the unit (which I can never forget) and those Chais (numerous numbers everyday) in the Langar(soldiers’ dining space) which tasted as sweet as love itself……everything is so vivid in my memory.

After Chakbama, Limakong, Moltuk and several such places, it was finally time for Chandigarh. Packing with the unit and the joy of travelling on the military special train…. Buying my first car (Swift – it really is) and driving through the empty roads in an endless moonlit night of Chandigarh….

All my dreams were coming true, slowly and surely….even more so as the unit moved to Niyari (Kupwara), all that I had visualized lay in front of me. The majestic mountains, chirping birds, snow gleaming white, transparent streams, the pleasure of living on a post (Bhatija) in 20 RR, climbing unsurpassed heights (Eagle OP, Camel), the opportunity to live like a Tiger (as a Lt)….it was all happening.       

Then all of a sudden, I witnessed death from close quarters while moving in our CO’s QRT at Tangdhar….on first thought….was it an IED blast? Crying villagers engulfed by a pool of blood. We wasted no time, rescued the civilians climbing down treacherous slopes, finding the strength to lift and move people away from sure death. Not many made it to the hospital which was two hours away…some passed away in our arms. Still, the feeling of saving lives was unmatched. Relatives coming up to us…. with no words to thank for having done our duty…. images will always be etched in my memory.

The opportunity of seeing the josh, vigour and courage in men to work endless days and nights, in hostile terrain, in rain and snow, with no food or tea to keep warm, and finish a job as committed, for absolutely no incentive, instills the faith that there is still a world out there where self-respect matters most.

With all this and more that I will be experiencing, it all boils down to my Regiment that has given me so much more than money, material or a   9 to 5 job can….

It’s given me the dreams I always saw, the one’s that didn’t let me sleep. And I’m glad I followed them…..

By Capt Akshay Girish

My thoughts turn to more questions on Akshay.

How did Akshay stay steadfast on his childhood dreams….?

In a complex, confused world, from where did he derive his focus…?

How did he grow up to be so calm, so clear in his expression, so cheerful and helpful …?

How did he achieve so much and give so much…?

Did he know he could live his dreams…?

Once again, I seek your thoughts, ideas, maybe actions…How can we take from such real life stories and live better?

I look forward to your responses. Every idea is of value to me so please do post your thoughts.

Love and take care. Stay blessed.

54 thoughts on “Connected by Loss: Can we Live Better?

  1. After every post of yours,i see this comment box and want to leave a message. Words fail me. I go back to reading the post all over again. Poignant.

    Keep writing.

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  2. Hi aunty,
    It’s so true, I feel that you taking up this challenge of writing Akshay ‘s story has changed so many lives. At least it has changed mine. All that I would say would not be enough for all that has been offered by Akshay and each one of you. I can only say that I am indebted for life. I hope the geographical boundaries won’t hinder us from getting to know each other more. Sending my love to all of you including Akshay – as you all rightly feel- he is still around watching how wonderful his family is. Love, Sindhu

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  3. A loss is a loss. Only the near n dear ones can feel it. No matter how many words of comfort we write the irreparable loss has happened. I can deeply understand what the mother would be going through as the only selfless relationship in this world is between a mother and son. Capt Girish Kumar Amar Rahe. Jai Hind.

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  4. My lovely Aunty…. Akshay provided his name” AKSHAY” i m so much proud of him n feeling great that he knows me.
    While reading your all blogs i never stop my tears to come out bcoz i know this is my love to him not tears. Aunty you are a great mother who create him in such a way of greatness.
    Love u nmiss u Akshay inthis visible world
    Bigggg salute to the great soul n great personality. Seen in my life. Recollecting all the memories with you. Your ever smiling face, way of talking in the respective manner, your dedication and perfection ……………n many many more memories with you.
    Aunty, Sangeeta, Neha n my darling Naina i m always with all of you n feeling the pain as u r feeling. …HAPPY WOMAN’S DAY to all of you.
    Big huge n salute
    Jai hind jai AKSHAY!!!!!

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    • Happy womas day to you too Pratima, everyday. Yes, Akshay is eternal, indestructible and immortal and we are blessed he was ours for 30 years. Now he is everyone’s. Love to you. God bless your family

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  5. Aunty your recollections of Akshay’s thoughts and beliefs give us (people in uniform) the strength to carry on specially during the current state in the country where anger and disbelief indoubtedly creep in. There are times when most of us invariably wonder why do we keep losing our loved ones for an ungrateful nation. Akshay’s life and sacrifice and the positive thoughts by everyone following his story give us hope and reinforce the vows that we took while commissioning. He is always there with us guiding and encouraging us. Regards. Priyanka.

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    • Priyanka, you are a nations hero in uniform and role model for women – dont ever forget that.Keep faith and keep going ahead. Akshay would love to see his friends smiling and giving their best. Hope to mee you soon. Love and take care. God bless you and your family

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  6. Dear Aunty
    Maj Akshay’s life is so inspirational that the world needs to know about it. Why don’t you pen down your thoughts in a book – not in a biography format but in a self help book kind of format. You can quote incidences from his life that can be inspirational for the younger minds. Off hand I can think of many stories that can be quoted starting from his struggle at birth and overcoming it, his unwavering focus in life, his compassion for all beings around him (including Bingo whom he could not send in a flight), his zest for life (quoting the way his friends remember him), his clarity on priorities and much more. If he can become a medium to help other young children and touch upon their lives, then he surely becomes immortal.
    Wishing more power to your pen aunty.
    Lots of love to all in the family
    Ruchi

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    • Excellent suggestions Ruchi- lets see if I am able to follow suit with penning my thoughts. Right now not so sure nbut will certainly try. Lots of love to you too. God bless you all

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  7. Aunty I am one among the thousands of silent readers. Each and every time I go through your blog I am tears, each and every time I remember the good times we had together, I am broken. Your memories gives us a new strength and energy to move on with our work more dedicatedly. Thank you so much aunty.
    PRANAM

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    • Thank you for reaching out Saikat- so glad to know you and Akshay had good times together. Smile thinking about them! Keep faith and keep going as always. He will be happy to see his friends do well. Love and take care. God bless you

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  8. Dear Mam,
    Akshay showed us his dreams and lived the life he imagined . As kids we used to read stories about Freedom fighters , they gave their life for our motherland. These young soldiers are no less , Its their Martyrdom remind us that Freedom doesn’t come for free. The stories of Brave-hearts like Akshay should be included in the curriculum, which will help young minds inculcate sense of Responsibility.

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    • So true Mahima. But alas, we have no way of influencing school curriculum. Yes, Akshay lived his dreams and stayed smiling at all times. Miss him so much. Love to you. Take care and God bless

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    • Thank you Parshotam- encouragement helps. You have a nice, unusual name and Akshay would have been intrigued by your profession. Take care. God bless you

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  9. Namastey Meghna Ma’am,

    Thank you for connecting with us….We can only understand your pain… However you all have to bear this huge loss…but trust me it is difficult for us also…For entire nation, for courageous army, for 51 Engineers, for his paltan… And all…
    May Lord shiva gives you all great strength to recover from this loss…
    Recently Heard about Stone pelting on security forces in Valley while medics are evacuating Maj. Satish or when 42 RR is carrying out operation against top terrorist… Believe me heart get fills with anger and frustration …but all frustration goes out when we read / hear about bravery of Hav. Dada, Maj. Akshay, Maj. Satish, Maj. Amit Deswal and countless other brave Warriors…
    Ma’am
    Your story of him, from a docile neonate to Brave Martyr, has connected many of us with you…
    He will remain forever with you all and keep inspiring all of us always…
    And never feel alone we all are with you always…
    Once again Salute to Maj. Akshay and you.
    Kind Regards.
    Jai Hind

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    • Yes Amit, Akshay has joined the list of heroes and will forever be with all of us. Even I, despite being his mother, feel amazed at how he went from being a fragile newborn to a brave soldier- fighting to his last breath. Miss him terribly and so so proud of him for what he stood for- righteous, compassionate, courageous, understanding and ever smiling. Know you all will stay connected. Jai Hind. God bless you all

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  10. Meghna, Akshay was a delicate baby but a fighter and survivor. At a very young age he had personally experienced so much including loss of lives so I guess he valued life a lot. He packed his short time here so present and future generations could learn n imbibe and emulate him. He will be the shining beacon leading from up front. His sensitivity brings him back to you to help you overcome your grief and get on with life. Heroes like him don’t come along often so wipe the tears, slap on one of his cheerful smiles and think of him with pride. Your writing needs to reach out to a larger audience to motivate youngsters. You are an amazing family and I’m so happy and honoured to know you. Take care my dear friend. Your slender shoulders have a huge burden to carry

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    • You said it Geetanjali- Akshay’s kind are limited edition. Miss him terribly and yes, shouldering as best as I can. Thanks for always being there. Love and hugs

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  11. Dear aunty,aap plz rona nahi,my nani says that good people go to GOD & become a shining star in the sky.Maj.Akshay is a “DHRUV TARA” shining brightly in the sky & watching his family from up above,aur aap sabko woh rote hue nahi dekhna chahte hai.And for the answers to the questions as how he stood steadfast for his dream & grew up to be so calm,brave & focused I think he got it from your nurture & blessings.Your writings are very eagerly awaited,plz share your thoughts with us.tkcr.love & God bless.We citizens are very grateful to our soilders owe a lot to them.

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    • Lisa, kabhi kabhi rona bhi chahiya- uske baad thoda sukoon milta hai. Yes, Akshay is a shining star and always will be- our hero and martyr. Thank you for your sweet words, gratitude and concern. Love and God bless. Take care

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  12. Extract from a blog which i was reading today ” To pick up yourself up when things fall apart and stay strong – move on- keeping their memory alive and never back down. Live their spirit in your life. That is what I’ve learnt from all these women and family members of the Fallen Heroes. The Martyrs. They don’t give up on life because they have no one to blame. They move ahead, stronger, doing their sons-husbands-brothers-friends proud.

    Jai Hind.

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    • Thank you Mahima- we too are trying to pick ourselves up and move on- and we will because we cant let Akshay down. He is a shining beacon for us now and so are all our martyrs and those who do the right thing regardless of the consequences. Love and take care. Jai Hind

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  13. HI Meghana,
    When I read your last post I was numb and full of emotions. Reading the part where Pradish found Akshay’s spectacles was incredible!! Sudeep and I talked about this for a long time that day. I mean this is divine! How else can you explain this miracle!! He is connecting to you in so many ways!!! So many questions come in to my mind..what is life? why are we here? is their life after death? All of us have to go, but why some die early and some late?
    In your latest post, reading excerpts of Akshay’s “Regimental Dream” is so inspirational. Like mother like son…so well penned! His focus, unwavering passion , clarity of thoughts are truly amazing. You don’t find these qualities in many youngsters. I think if you can compile all these in a book form and make a biography it may inspire many youngsters!
    Please keep posting. Will always be eagerly waiting to read them.
    Loads of love to you all

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  14. So glad to know more about our heroes than crisp and understated citations say. We need to put faces to our martyrs and know them for the driven, dedicated and unique individuals they were, not just faceless statistics and news flashes of fleeting importance. It is up to those of us who know such people to share their inspiring stories.

    For once, the nation really needs to know, and even though I never met Akshay or you, I feel glad knowing as much as I could about him through your blog.

    I also love your honest, crisp and easy to follow writing. I have no doubt that if you decided to write a book one day, it would make for an amazing read.

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    • Thank you Kunal, for your thoughts – you are right. Our soldiers are not just fauji’s fighting at our borders- they are unique, inspiring individuals yes, but they are also from amongst us with families, dreams, relationships and spirit. I hope that came through. Will I ever write a book…? No idea. But thank you. God bless.

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  15. Dear mam
    May God gives you strength and courage to bear this immense loss. I can deeply
    understand your feelings and emotions. I just want to narrate one incident which I have come across . As I was evaluating the answer sheets a child has mentioned Maj Akshay Girishs sacrifice . The value based question asked was to write about the great leaders. The 11 year child has not taken any example given in the prescribed text book rather she took example of Akshay and mentioned his sacrifice for the nation… Mam you have expressed the feelings of all parents who sacrificed their children for the nation… With love and regards….

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    • Dear Shaila, So glad the little one has an independent mind. Please convey our gratitude to the child and thank you so much for sharing this with us. If possible, please do come and visit us at our home sometime. Love and take care. God bless you, your family and your students.

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  16. Dear aunty , I have never met akshay but many I know stood like a wall in difficult times like him . Without drawing any comparison or even attempting to reconstruct his thoughts that day I can tell you with my similar experience that all your faculties freeze for a few moments which feels like a long time before you actually react . Fear ,resolve and anxiety fight for space . At first fear takes over for the first few seconds suppressed by an overpowering resolve to settle the threat our senses experience , anxiety remains constant always .
    Did he know ? Well I would say “no “, because then he would have chosen a different course of action ….
    Was he trying to prepare you all ? Not exactly , the text conversation gave him immense moral support and largely reduced his anxiety , Iam sure he read the message from you and felt assured from your love and prayers. Apart from this all that kept him motivated at that point was HOPE .
    Come to think of it – if we could replay that day , would we not do it differently …so would he .
    Akshay saved many lives that day and in return gave himself up to destiny , in loosing him, the country paid a heavy price, for those left behind it means a lifetime of payment in very unfair instalments . My question is , for how long are we going to write these cheques of sacrifice and cover the incapabilities of national leadership, or may I call it sheer reluctance of the political class .
    Aunty , you see akshay still around because he is still around. You can be with him whenever you think of him .
    Life doesn’t always work out the way you want it to.
    None of us are permanent in this world .
    Akshay is standing at the other end ; he has beaten all of us in this one too ……

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    • Dear Manas, thank you for trying to answer some of my troubled questions. While we will never know what exactly Akshay felt or thought, the fact that what he and co-soldiers did saved many lives, his paltan’s and our nation’s izzat matters to us. Yes, political leadership needs to do a lot if we have to stop losing the best amongst our citizens. everything has changed for us in that moment of loss and while we have to accept that, would not like to see any more wonderful young people becoming martyrs. You take care. Love and God bless your family.

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  17. Have been following all the posts written by you. The fact that it must have been cathartic to put all this together is an understatement. We can only imagine the pain and grief that you go through each and every day. With your words you have brought Akshay to life, immortalised through his actions and deeds which I am sure are the envy of one and all. Do make an effort to publish a book, which will certainly find a wider audience.
    God bless and take care

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    • Our lives have changed forever Anil….yet, we must go on and we will. Thank you for reading about our incredible Akshay….. and reaching out to us with your thoughts. Take care. God bless you all.

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  18. “The opportunity of seeing the josh, vigour and courage in men to work endless days and nights, in hostile terrain, in rain and snow, with no food or tea to keep warm, and finish a job as committed, for absolutely no incentive, instils the faith that there is still a world out there where self-respect matters most.”
    – The most needed message to the people of this era where we are mostly driven by materials and have lost the values in life. This loss has changed the world for worse. Running behind money, material and power, people have forgotten their purpose in life. It has brought in jealousy, selfishness, greed and untruth which in turn leads to small fights at home to wars between countries. Heroes like Maj. Akshay and so many others in their chosen field driven by true passion has made the difference not only in their life but continue to make the difference in all our lives too. And your writing is instrumental in making the difference. You found the ideal track to continue Akshay’s Story, My Way. “Connected by Loss: Can we Live Better? Akshay’s Thoughts and More…..a Mothers Musings” speaks a million. Aunty, reading your posts over and over and thinking about it again and again about all of it, I just find you continue to keep doing what your son said just before he left his home on the 29th of Nov 2016, “…and just before he left home, smilingly, he told Sangy ‘You must write about this one day’.” It is incredible na, we all take it for granted the casual talks we have with our family, but all of a sudden when unforeseen and unexpected incidents happen, we start connecting the dots. Maybe that’s the way life is taking us to something great although the path to it seems extremely difficult. Reflecting on your articles so far has always given me the courage to face challenges in life, no matter how hard it is, whether I survive at the end or not, but make genuine efforts towards it. I keep admiring you as mother who inculcated all this to your children and they embraced it, valued and lived up to it. When I read it over and over and over, I only think of Naina. When she grows up, how many times is she going to read it? This will be the greatest asset that she will ever possess.

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    • Very true Amritha- we start connecting the dots when only something that really affects us happens. However, it is those dots that also help us to accept what we cannot control. Life’s ways are unknown and what can happen to others can happen to us too- that is what we are learning. Our lives will never be the same again and yet, in our sorrow, Akshay has given us pride and strength. Cope we must for Naina and ourselves. Your words that these posts will be Naina’s greatest treasure is so comforting- hope she will get to know her amazing father better through what people have say about him and through his own writing. Love to you. God bless your family.

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  19. Dear Meghna Aunty…. The first line of the blog reminded me of the ‘DLTGH’ (days left to go home) every nda cadet writes at the beginning of their letters…how painful these 100days would have been for you all, we all can’t even fathom but as a soldier’s family understand ….Akshay is with you all every single moment now.. . Watching you all.. Holding you all.. Giving his positive energies to fight with this unbearable pain. The same questions had come to my mind so many times but I didn’t muster the courage to ask aloud but this time couldn’t refrain myself from asking Sangeeta what Akshay said to her before leaving and could she hug him at least. My entire outlook towards life has changed after this unfaithful day..I have started living every moment coz God only knows what will happen next….few questions remain unanswered still…. Y God was so cruel.. Y Akshay or for that matter any other noble soul like him when there r so many baddies in this world. He had never harmed anyone…. Then y…. Nagrota will never ever be the same for us…. Akshay’s n Sangeeta’s absence will always be felt at every occasions…. Holi… Diwali or any unit gathering…. At recent holi celebrations in the station… We missed them terribly…as they say life has to go on n so it will but all celebrations will be with a guilt of doing so without these sweethearts n our cute naina…. Proud we all are of him but most of the times I wish he had got his posting or had not come to Nagrota … And then it’s all about “what if”…. I know the entire outlook towards life must have changed for you all… But Aunty please don’t doubt yourself as a mother for not having been able to protect him…. In fact it’s because of you and your writings that Akshay has come closer to all of us and we know him more…. Before I end would like to share what Kartik told me after meeting you…. “if I ever had a mom… I wish she was like Akshay’s mom…. I can imagine how beautiful the mom-son relationship would have been”…… Akshay must be feeling proud too(like you all are of him) that he belonged to you and uncle and how beautifully you are taking care of Sangeeta and naina n vice versa…. His infectious smile n cheerful face z what comes to me whenever I think of him n not his painstuck one… That was his aura n m sure naina will carry forward this legacy of him. Take care Aunty. Lots of respect to each one of you. You all are always in my prayers. Love n regards.

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    • Dear Anubha, thank you for sharing your thoughts and yes, there are no answers to the ‘whys’. Life’s like that and as you have siad, anything can happen at any time and we need to live it richly, kindly and passionately as Akshay did. Glad you are doing so despite missing Akshay, sanh=gy and naina in your celebrations. My heart goes out to Kartik- didnt know he had to grow up without a mother. Please tell him his mother, wherever she is, must be so happy and proud to have had him. Touched by what he said- it is true Akshay and I shared a wonderful and doting mom-beta relationship. Miss him more than ever. You are beside each other and that is what matters most. And if ever any of you needs to reach out, please feel free- I am always happy with more kids around. Lots of love and take care. God bless you all. Come home when in Blore.

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  20. Dear Meghna Aunty…. The first line of the blog reminded me of the ‘DLTGH’ (days left to go home) every nda cadet writes at the beginning of their letters…how painful these 100days would have been for you all, we all can’t even fathom but as a soldier’s family understand ….Akshay is with you all every single moment now.. . Watching you all.. Holding you all.. Giving his positive energies to fight with this unbearable pain. The same questions had come to my mind so many times but I didn’t muster the courage to ask aloud but this time couldn’t refrain myself from asking Sangeeta what Akshay said to her before leaving and could she hug him at least. My entire outlook towards life has changed after this unfaithful day..I have started living every moment coz God only knows what will happen next….few questions remain unanswered still…. Y God was so cruel.. Y Akshay or for that matter any other noble soul like him when there r so many baddies in this world. He had never harmed anyone…. Then y…. Nagrota will never ever be the same for us…. Akshay’s n Sangeeta’s absence will always be felt at every occasions…. Holi… Diwali or any unit gathering…. At recent holi celebrations in the station… We missed them terribly…as they say life has to go on n so it will but all celebrations will be with a guilt of doing so without these sweethearts n our cute naina…. Proud we all are of him but most of the times I wish he had got his posting or had not come to Nagrota … And then it’s all about “what if”…. I know the entire outlook towards life must have changed for you all… But Aunty please don’t doubt yourself as a mother for not having been able to protect him…. In fact it’s because of you and your writings that Akshay has come closer to all of us and we know him more…. Before I end would like to share what Kartik told me after meeting you…. “if I ever had a mom… I wish she was like Akshay’s mom…. I can imagine how beautiful the mom-son relationship would have been”…… Akshay must be feeling proud too(like you all are of him) that he belonged to you and uncle and how beautifully you are taking care of Sangeeta and naina n vice versa…. His infectious smile n cheerful face z what comes to me whenever I think of him n not his painstuck one… That was his aura n m sure naina will carry forward this legacy of him. Take care Aunty. Lots of respect to each one of you. You all are always in my prayers. Love n regards.

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  21. Reading this post at the end of a long day, and getting to understand the wide circle of friends and acquaintances who have had the good fortune of seeing Akshay influencing their lives. So much nobility and goodness in such a short lifetime seem to be a reflection of God’s attention to His special creation………

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    • Akshay was absolutely special Kpm Das- not saying it just because he was ours. A very noble, passionate and positive soul who lived and died for all of us. As you have said, a reflection of the Almighty ensuring attention on his special creation….thank you so much for reading and reaching out. Take care.

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  22. Dearest Aunty….The way a loving mother is counting every single day reminded me of the ‘DLTGH’ (days left to go home) every nda cadet writes at the beginning of their letters…I am sure Akshay would have written the same in his letters to you…how painful this would have been for you all, we all can’t even fathom but as a soldier’s family understand ….Akshay is with you all every single moment now.. . Watching you all, Holding you all, Giving his positive energies to fight with this unbearable pain. These very questions had come to my mind too many times but I couldn’t muster the courage to ask aloud though this time couldn’t refrain myself from asking Sangeeta what Akshay said to her before leaving and you are fulfilling his wish of writing about all this. Aunty… My entire outlook towards life has changed after this unfaithful day..I have started living every moment coz God only knows what will happen next….few questions remain unanswered still…. Why God was so harsh… Why Akshay or for that matter any other noble soul like him when there r so many baddies in this world. He was there to help anyone who needed it, had never harmed anyone…. Then y…. Nagrota will never ever be the same for us…. Akshay’s n Sangeeta’s absence will always be felt at every occasion…. Be it Holi…Diwali or any unit gathering……as they say life has to go on n so it will but all celebrations will be with a guilt of doing so without these sweethearts n our cute naina….Proud we all are of him but most of the times I wish he had got his posting or had not come to Nagrota … And then it’s all about “what if”…. I know the entire outlook towards life must have changed for you all… But Aunty please don’t doubt yourself as a mother for not having been able to protect him…. In fact it’s because of you and your writings that Akshay has come closer to all of us and we know him more….Before I end would like to share what Kartik told me after meeting you…. “if I ever had a mom… I wish she was like Aunty…. I can imagine how beautiful the mom-son relationship would have been”……Akshay must be feeling proud too(like you all are of him) that he belonged to you and uncle and how beautifully you are taking care of Sangeeta and naina n vice versa…. His infectious smile n cheerful face z what comes to me whenever I think of him n not his painstuck one…That was his aura n m sure naina will carry forward this legacy of him. Take care Aunty. Lots of love to each one of you. You all are always in my prayers. Love n regards.

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  23. Dearest Aunty….The way a loving mother is counting every single day reminded me of the ‘DLTGH’ (days left to go home) every nda cadet writes at the beginning of their letters…I am sure Akshay would have written the same in his letters to you…how painful this would have been for you all, we all can’t even fathom but as a soldier’s family understand ….Akshay is with you all every single moment now.. . Watching you all, Holding you all, Giving his positive energies to fight with this unbearable pain. These very questions had come to my mind too many times but I couldn’t muster the courage to ask aloud though this time couldn’t refrain myself from asking Sangeeta what Akshay said to her before leaving and you are fulfilling his wish of writing about all this. Aunty… My entire outlook towards life has changed after this unfaithful day..I have started living every moment coz God only knows what will happen next….few questions remain unanswered still…. Why God was so harsh… Why Akshay or for that matter any other noble soul like him when there r so many baddies in this world. He was there to help anyone who needed it, had never harmed anyone…. Then y…. Nagrota will never ever be the same for us…. Akshay’s n Sangeeta’s absence will always be felt at every occasion…. Be it Holi…Diwali or any unit gathering……as they say life has to go on n so it will but all celebrations will be with a guilt of doing so without these sweethearts n our cute naina….Proud we all are of him but most of the times I wish he had got his posting or had not come to Nagrota … And then it’s all about “what if”…. I know the entire outlook towards life must have changed for you all… But Aunty please don’t doubt yourself as a mother for not having been able to protect him…. In fact it’s because of you and your writings that Akshay has come closer to all of us and we know him more….Before I end would like to share what Kartik told me after meeting you…. “if I ever had a mom… I wish she was like Aunty…. I can imagine how beautiful the mom-son relationship would have been”……Akshay must be feeling proud too(like you all are of him) that he belonged to you and uncle and how beautifully you are taking care of Sangeeta and naina n vice versa…. His infectious smile n cheerful face z what comes to me whenever I think of him n not his painstuck one…That was his aura n m sure naina will carry forward this legacy of him. Take care Aunty. Lots of love to each one of you. You all are always in my prayers. Love n regards.

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    • Girish and I were definitely blessed to have had Akshay as our child Anubha. If only it could have been for longer…..guess the almighty has his ways of ensuring we learn life’s lessons of dealing with joy, sorrow, pleasure and pain….Love and hugs to you. Thank you for your prayers. God bless

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      • Sorry Aunty…. Due to some technical fault my comments were not going. N now I see it everywhere…. Twice here n on Fb post too….sorry for that. Though Akshay I have known his wonderful family. Will always be grateful to him. Loads of love Aunty. Will surely come to meet you all whenever in blr next.

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  24. Dear Megna aunty
    The first question of yours ” did I fail to protect my child”.?I have also faced this same question and finally I reached the answer no. No mother leaves any space and ways in which she can protect her child. God’s ways and plans sometimes are not clear to us…Or our senses are not developed to that level to interpret and understand the Devine ways and plans.
    Akshay would have felt a mix of feelings during that unfaithful day. Pride of being part of an operation, anxiety, worry about troops, worry about safety of little Naina and innocent sangitha..And above all his HOPE and Goodwill would have guided his actions..
    I wonder about the security of the army cantonments now a days. Nagrota was chosen for this attack and the same way almost all cants are so unsafe. It brings in tremendous stress in me thinking about families of the troops and officers.
    Aunty, certain times, life doesn’t give us any choice other than being strong.now this is needed the most because Naina needs you. Sangitha needs your strength to pull on and look after Naina in the best possible way.
    Maj Akshay, am sure would love to see his mother as happy and cheerful as it was always.i know how difficult it is … Because I myself have personally suffered the loss of my one angel.
    If writing is therapeutic for you, I suggest you write a book so that our young generation can meet the versatile and great personalities like your son…

    Take care aunty

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    • Dear Lekha, Your post gave me a lot of comfort. I have also introspected deeply and completely accept what you say- a loving parent leaves no stone unturned to protect her child and God’s ways cannot be challenged by us mortals.You have suffered the loss of your angel and together, we share a bond of deep loss- that too connects us in a way we may not clearly understand now. Can only hope and pray that you have been able to cope with acceptance of whatever life has decided as our destiny.

      On the other topic- security of cantonments- yes, there were lapses and they are being accounted for. However, we must remember that totally preventing such attacks within our borders by trained, motivated and suicidal enemy (who have local support) is no easy task. Many possible informers are present among civilians who enter residential and mess premises as milkmen, washermen, labour etc etc and a determined enemy will capitalise on any information they can get. Without big budget spends on technology to sense every intrusion across extensive cantonment spreads, relying on manpower alone will not suffice. The point I am making is this: We lost Akshay and other brave soldiers. yet, the terrorist attack failed to cause the kind of damage they had come prepared to cause. National mourning could have resulted but for the quick response and valiant fight our soldiers put up to thwart the terrorists plans- had they not been neutralised as quickly as they were, they would have killed many families and unarmed men and damaged important assets.

      We are all together in this and Sangeeta, Naina, Girish, Neha, and myself are directly the hardest hit. Akshay was the best thing that ever happened to us so in a way, despite our sorrow, we are also grateful for the time he was ours on earth. I dont know if this makes much sense!

      Will I write a book? I do not know at this point. Time will tell. Lots of love and hugs to you. Your angel will be well taken care of up there- maybe Akshay is part of the same group…? Take care.. God bless you and your family.

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  25. Ma’am charan vandanna.
    Maj Akshay has shown us the cause., direction We have a lot of pending work to do. It’s body that dies, not the soul, not the spirit, not the idea,not the direction, that’s been shown to us . You have a powerful blessed mind with great creativity of moulding thoughts and words in to phrases . Wonderful charismatic skills of narrating the facts.
    It’s your weapon. plz try to change this world in a direction Maj Akshay has shown us.
    Tears are the bleeding of emotional wounds,let them come, one day they will stop and will give you strength for the cause. Not every Martyr mother can express their pain,but You can, so plz do it and do it for them, for everyone, for this country,for us . For this society who treats Independence Day,Republic day as a holiday and just writes Jai Hind. Got to tell what Hind and its Jai means. To this silent community that treats religion first not the nation first. To make them realise without country there is no religion. Love for mother India is above all the religion and cast. Stand for it, die for it .
    Have to guide everyone to Join forces and stand with pride . Silence is not helping . Have to shake this country with your writing .
    You are a teacher a mother .
    Plz write and keep writing.
    Charan sparsh

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    • You have too much expectation from me Lokesh but I will try to follow some of your advice. For I too believe that Akshay and his ilk have shown us a direction- one that can lead to victory of good over evil. Let us see what we can all together accomplish. Or else we will at least have the satisfaction of having tried. Thank you for reading and for your response. God bless.

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  26. All that i want to say is please continue writing. Share your heart and thoughts. I have never met your family, but as another fauji wife I relate a lot to your posts. Let this story live on….

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