CONNECTED BY AKSHAY: THE TIGHT ROPE WALK

Akshay constantly in our thoughts notwithstanding, days approaching the end of every month are particularly difficult to cope with. Ten months since Akshay, people across our beautiful country are all set to celebrate Maha Navami and Vijay Dashami. Both days represent the victory of good over evil. Growing up with my mother’s stories, it is ‘Goddess Power’ right through Navratri when we pray to Saraswati for knowledge, Lakshmi for prosperity and Durga for strength. On the ninth day, it is believed that Durga slayed the wicked demon Mahishasura. The tenth day of Dusshera is celebrated as Vijayadashmi. This was the day Prince Ram killed the invincible Daitya King Ravana.  In fact it is also believed that the war between Ram and Ravana’s armies went on for these 10 days and Ravana’s army was finally defeated by Ram’s on Vijaydashami (the tenth day of victory).

A different, spiritual interpretation of victory over evil also urges us to ‘go inwards,’ into our own minds and hearts, to try and slay our ‘inner demons’. Introspection to be able to reign in anger, hate, jealousy, greed and so on, while holding on to the power of positivity and teaching ourselves to be kinder, more loving, more generous and courageous.

How tough a call this is, I am sure we all know. And yet, somewhere deep within, we also know this is the right way forward. Since losing Akshay- our brave, loving, bright and beautiful child, we have been confronted with one challenge after another. The latest is Girish’s shocking ‘silent’ heart attack followed by angioplasty last month. The doctors were stumped that he felt no symptoms and yet, had a myocardial infraction(MI) that damaged part of his heart’s left ventricle. With no history of hypertension or diabetes and being an extremely fit person, this came out of the blue. I cannot help but feel, that grief and pain over Akshay’s loss has taken its toll, on a stoic father. Girish’s health scare came soon after my mother fell and broke her right wrist and Girish’s mother was hospitalised with a mild stroke.  Thankfully, all three are recovering, each at their own pace. Something that makes me thank God for small mercies.

Through this most difficult year in our lives, an unseen power has kept us afloat. Something has definitely been giving us not only courage, but also resilience. No matter how late or how little we sleep, we wake up each new day with a little more confidence that we will not be broken by life’s events. Maybe it is hope eternal, maybe blind faith, or maybe Akshay’s invisible support tells us the days ahead will be better?

There is also reaffirmation of tremendous goodness around us. So many people, who in different ways are reaching out to share our emotional burdens, strengthen our shoulders with timely physical help, and just being there to listen, when we feel low and alone. Can’t thank our wonderful circle of well-wishers enough. We are also meeting and connecting with people who, complete strangers until recently, have become extended family in a short span of time. Groups and organisations have reached out to honour those who gave their all in the service of the motherland. Knowing what other families have braved, long before us, seeing their smiles, having their support…. I cannot find words to describe how much all this has meant to us.

Despite the empathy and support, in being honest about the emotions I feel within myself, not everything is good. The grief, pain, some anger….low moods bordering on depression…..I see them all in myself and also around me. Images of Akshay fighting…..falling…. alone…. dying….., for trying to uphold all that is good in this world……they come back to haunt a thinking mind, again and again and again.  Breaking down when I have my own space…..somehow feeling better after a good long cry…regaining the strength to tackle each new day…..all this still continues to happen. Sometimes I feel like reaching out to a  ‘grief counselor’ but the dark clouds of heart ache can miraculously shift in a way that the world starts to look quite bright for a while.

Makes me think that moving forward on the path of life is akin to walking the tightrope over a deep abyss. One needs to consciously look ahead, draw stability and strength from within and at the same time, learn from the experiences of others who successfully managed the balancing act. Falling into the abyss will help none. But walking the tight rope to stay on the right path will have a positive cascading effect on many.

Through a very busy period, I made time to read a very interesting book. ‘Rudravan’ by gifted author Rahul Rajan. It is such a compelling read on the intriguing power play in the constant fight between good and evil. Through tracing the entire lifetime of Ravan, Rahul takes us far beyond just the famous Ramayana war that pitches Ram against Ravan.

The character of Vibhishan is particularly well etched in the book. For someone like me who grew up hearing the proverb ‘Ghar ka bhedi Lanka dhaye’  (the insider who knew the secrets brought down Lanka’), an uncomplimentary reference to Vibhishan who helped the ‘enemy camp’ of Ram, this book gave a very different and clear perspective on why Vibhishan did what he did. How he had always upheld ‘dharma’ right since his childhood and did not waver from the right path at any time throughout his life. Not even for the sake of supporting a brother he loved dearly. A brother who was all powerful, and who by his ‘tapas’ was granted boons of invincibility from the great Gods Brahma and Shiva. Ravan however became egoistic when he knew he was invincible and imprisoned most of the Devas who challenged him. Contrary to popular belief, Ravan chose the wrong path to ensure he became immortal. Even before abducting and confining Sita, he had set out for Vedavati, who immolated herself because she was unwilling to be his. At his height of glory and power, there was no reason to believe Ravan could be killed by anyone. Not by God nor Demon. Least of all by a ‘Manav’ (man) called Ram. Vibhishan had the courage to disagree with and confront his more powerful brother but when Ravan refused to listen, he switched sides. Hence, he did the right thing.

This tribute in the Indian Military Academy Journal this year is so well written in remembering and honouring Akshay’s life and sacrifice. The heart stops on reading it.

Akshay too did the right thing, irrespective of the consequences.  Women, children and unarmed men were hostages to ‘bad uncles’, as Naina calls them. She talks a lot these days and when she overhears our conversations, she asks questions. She draws her own conclusions too.My papa fought with bad people because they came with guns. My papa was very brave. But why did bad people hurt my papa? Why did he go so far away? I miss him so much. I wish he comes back’….. These are the questions and thoughts every little child in Naina’s place must be asking. Why did their papa have to go away into the sky and become a star…..?

I can’t help but draw parallels to the stories we grew up on and what is continuing to happen today. Do we, as individuals and families, have the courage to choose the right path? No matter what the consequences?

How often do we as parents blame others when our kids walk the wrong path? Look at what is happening around us – from petty crimes to murders and terrorism. And more often than not, families cry foul when their child is held responsible for a crime he confesses to! In the Kashmir valley, when venom is spread to turn people against their own, because they chose unity in diversity over Jehad and Sharia, isn’t it the height of evil? Army officer Ummer Fayyaz was abducted and killed by his own while on leave, attending his sister’s wedding. BSF soldier Rameez Ahmed Parrey was on leave in his home, when terrorists entered and shot him dead this week. A few months ago, DSP Mohammed Ayub was stripped and stoned to death for doing his duty – frisking ‘worshipers’ to ensure weapons did not enter the Jamia Masjid in Srinagar. Feroz Ahmed Dar and 5 other policemen were killed by terrorists while safeguarding a Bank Van carrying people’s money. They were all doing their duty. The list goes on and on. No longer can these heinous and most depraved acts of violence aimed at our countrymen, at their own brethren, be accepted or justified. This is definitely not the right path.

20170929_160106What Akshay stood for speaks through his poetry. As his mother, I so often wonder…. how did he think and feel so deeply……with such clarity and acceptance……at such a young age? Did he really have that half smile we all saw on the day he left us? The dreams, though numerous, haven’t been traumatizing. More than once, I have dreams of him fighting that fateful day, with focused energy, calm courage and amazing confidence. But last week, it was a different dream. He was up early, in his blue-grey night-suit, and as I walked towards the kitchen to make tea, he looked up from reading the newspaper and said, ‘Interesting. When the path is right, winning or losing is no longer important. Not having regrets is important.’

I am still trying to understand if this is somehow a message for me decipher. I am also filled with love and wonder at how perfectly Akshay fits this description from the Gita: Qualities and duties of a warrior: bravery, radiance, resoluteness, expertise, generosity, determination not to desert the battlefield.

May each of us be able to walk our tight rope the best we possibly can. May we have the courage to not waver from the right path. May we never fall into the abyss of despondency. May we always have the patience and faith to believe in the victory of good over evil.

On behalf of our family, I take this opportunity to wish you and your families a very happy Dusshera and Deepavali. May the festival of lights light up your lives with joy and peace.

Love and God bless,

Meghna Girish.

 

P.S. Here are some rare gems from the Gita that I feel like sharing with you.

It is one’s duty to fight a righteous war.

Do your work with the welfare of others always in mind. It was by this work that Janaka attained perfection. Others too have followed this path.

There is nothing in the three worlds, for me to gain Arjuna, nor is there anything I do not have. I continue to act but I am not driven by need of my own.

When a person responds to the joys and sorrows of others as if they were his own, he has attained the highest state of spiritual union.

Creation is only the projection into form that which already exists.

Never was there a time when I did not exist, nor you, nor all these kings; Nor in future shall any of us cease to be.

P.P.S. All you mythology/ fantasy buffs, do read ‘Rudravan’. I was lucky to be gifted an autographed copy by the author himself. Thank you Rahul Rajan.

63 thoughts on “CONNECTED BY AKSHAY: THE TIGHT ROPE WALK

    • Wish for Girish uncle’s speedy recovery. Aunty we r all there with u during ur hard times. Yes Aunty I have been praying to God to give me kids so that they can serve this nation. I am committed to make both my nephews a part of Indian army. We will have to be ready to send our kids to safeguarding this nation and b ready to loose them. If we can’t do this, what face I will to mothers like u…….it’s a tradition that we mothers will have to keep following.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Respected family
        Akshay was a brave heart and we all are there to support in the tight rope walk . I do understand the feelings that the family must be going thru but Looking Forward is the one of the best option . We promise that it is not only about Girish rather all of us who are there in different names but will continue the tradition of Upholding truth , sacrifice and honour of our country at the best.
        I am also sure the star which Naina describes is not alone there , rather lot many Girish are there too in different names . Let it be sky or earth Girish will remain in different names bcoz we will follow theChetwode Credo
        The Honour welfare and safety of our country comes first always and every time
        Regards one of dearest coursemate of Girish

        Like

      • Dear Anil, thank you reading and responding to my post. I am very confident his brothers here will continue the tradition of upholding truth , effort, sacrifice and honour of our country. Yes, he is in very good company there. The best. Wish the worst did not live so long down here. God bless all you brave bright and committed young people- our country needs you to keep her safe and well. Take care. Love and best wishes always.

        Like

    • Thank you Bhavya. I will write when I have something new for sure. Akshay makes sure I cant rest without that! Love and hugs to you too. Stay blessed.

      Like

  1. Very touching aunty. Every blog of urs absoutely touches my heart. Breaks my heart to know how much you all are going through. I am glad despite all this u find the courage to write and take life as it comes at u so positively. Please take care and i look forward to more such blogs connecting more with you all! Lots of love, mitalee

    Like

  2. Meghna, it’s really a touching and thought provoking write up. The excerpts of the Gita shared by you, need to be read and re read by us, as to stand as a constant reminder of who we are, our existence and our role in this drama of life. I did not know about Wg Cdr Girish and your mom’s health. I hope all three of them are doing better now. Our prayers with you all . Love nd hugs to Naina, Sangeeta, Neha.
    Gayatri

    Like

    • All three are doing better Gayatri- touch wood. Thank you for your love and prayers. Sending you the same. Take care. God bless you, Rajesh and kids

      Like

  3. Every word touches the heart and the thoughts are so inspiring Aunty ! I salute your courage and take insipiration from every read .
    Wishing uncle and both grandmas speedy recovery. Regards

    Like

  4. Meghna. ..your posts always touch the heart. ..I keep meaning to write to you but am not sure how I can convey in words what I want to say…you and suchutai and sangeeta and sarit are such amazing people. …your kids are really blessed to have you all as their moms and you are blessed to have such kids. God bless

    Like

  5. Every time I read your very well expressed feelings and emotions for dear Akshay as well as for the country men, I get goosebumps and my eyes are moist, Meghana… When we raise our children, we can never even imagine in wildest of dreams of losing them…. I know how much pain you feel after Akshay left for his heavenly abode…. Bravest of him and same for you dear…. Keep writing…. Think of all lovely moments you spent together…. Take care…

    Like

    • Some things no one can ever be prepared for Meera. Yet they do happen. To people like us. Thank you for your concern and support. God bless you and your family. Love and take care

      Like

  6. Ma’am charan vandanna
    It’s heartbreaking and painful to live after the loss of beloved son. To collect gather and inspire oneself and again finding the spirit to live. It is a challenge .
    We can’t control what has happened, we can’t control what’s happening outside. But can try to control, what is happening inside our mind and heart, can try not to let outside world to affect our inside .Life is hard to live and it’s full of pain after a huge loss. Only thing that brings console is finding meaning. I feel so much pain and cry so many times, I think about you all, every day when I sit in front of our small temple in the house .Then, I found solace reading Shri Guru Gobind Singh ji words . I found this,rather felt it strongly after Maj Akshay visited gurudwara in Amritsar before making his last journey.
    After Guru Gobind Singh Ji lost his four sons in the battle . His people asked him . Now what will you tell their mother:
    Guru Gobind Singh ji said, “O God, it is You who sent him and he has died fighting for his faith. The trust You have given me has been restored back to You.”
    One more inspiring shabd by Great Gobind Singh Ji :
    Soora so pahchaniye Jo lare deen ke Haith . Purja purja kar mare kabhu Na charre khait .
    (Only He is Brave who fights for the cause of poor, He may be cut in to pieces may be killed , should not leave the battle field.)
    That’s what Maj Akshay did .
    Let us celebrate the sacrifice of our loved ones for mother India . What mother can give more than to mother land . Happy Vijya Dashmi
    Jai Hind . Koti koti pranam

    Like

    • You are right Lokesh. We have to draw meaning and yet it is difficult to do so. We hope to visit Golden Temple – the last place of worship before Akshay maybe the supreme sacrifice. Maybe we will draw some strength from there as well. Take care. God bless you all.

      Like

  7. Pranam aunty,
    I was waiting for your blog and thanks so much for writing again. With so much pain going on, there is still hope, love, positivity, courage and opitimism in each blog. Praying for uncle’s speedy recovery. Hope both grandmoms are doing good.
    The lines of Maj Akshay’s poem touches heart…”He fought for what is right, He fought with all his might”. In this selfish greedy world, always wonder how selfless sacrifice Maj Akshay and other martyrs did without thinking twice about themselves. The nation owes to you and the family of all the martys. We celebrate our festivals peacefully because of their sacrifice.
    Dusshera celebrates Good over evil, hope this dusshera eliminates all those “bad people” as Naina said and we do not lose any more brave soldiers.
    I would definitely read Rudravan.

    Happy Dusshera to you and the family. May Ma Durga shower all her blessings!

    Like

    • Akshay’s poetry never ceases to amaze me Baishaki. Thank you for your response and your prayers for Girish. Yes, the mothers are doing better. You and your family enjoy the festive season. Love and God bless you all.

      Like

  8. A speedy recovery to all. Hope sangeeta and Naina are doing well. Take care. Have the greatest of respect for your family and how you all have dealt with such a great loss.

    Like

  9. So well written. One can understand the pain of parents when they lose a child. May God grant you all the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss.

    Like

  10. As always Meghna every word of yours is so deep and profound….Akshay was the angel who came to touch your lives and do what he was sent to do…the pain you feel is unimaginable and once again I salute you for being this brave and sharing such wonderful thoughts with all of us and inspiring us. Hugs…do take care. Regards and love to Girish too.

    Like

  11. Subho bijoya aunty,your write is so much thought provoking & yet so touching.Don’t know how through your write ups in the last ten months u have made me so close to you.U are always in my prayers & thoughts.Pray for a speedy recovery of Girish uncle ,naniji & dadiji.lots of love,strength & good wishes for everyone of this brave & awsome family.Just wish that our prayers give you strength & solace to smile through the pain.Actually feels very good to see your smiling, calm pictures.A warm hug to u.Tkcr.

    Like

  12. Hope and despair.. happiness and grief..
    Positivity and melancholy … are all cyclic in nature… the biggest challenge is to maintain equilibrium and tell yourself ‘This shall also pass’.. dark clouds make way for sunny days and your sunshine Naina makes even the cloudy days look bright. Maj Akshay is definitely guiding you and showing you the way.. he is with all of you in all the faces that life will throw up. Love you aunty for your courage, selflessness and your clear heart that is so open to letting us strangers in your personal space. Thank you for all your thoughts on Rudravan.. means a lot to us and a big hug for taking out the time to read it so intently

    Like

    • Love your response Ruchi. Please tell Rahul the book helped me at this very difficult time- in terms of understanding why things unfold the way they sometimes do. Look forward to that Bangalore visit by you both. And your pictures rock! Lots of love and take care. God bless

      Like

  13. Namastey Meghna Ma’am,
    Wish you and your entire family… A very happy and healthy Ram Navmi and Vijayadashmi…
    It really bad to hear health issues in the family…. Trust goddess she will make everything alright by Deepawali…
    Tell Girish Sir I wanted to play volleyball with him so get well soon….
    Tell Naina his father is all around and is on duty with God…
    And all…
    Never stop fighting… Victory is always possible for the person who refuses to stop fighting…though this fight is against evil, terrorism, corruption, negativity, bad health … Etc etc..
    So never put your guns down…you are mother of a savior… A brave heart…
    If you are feeling low please visit us here in Mumbai… It would be pleasure for us to have you…
    Please take care…and Enjoy life…
    Best regards

    Like

    • I love your response Amit. Told Girish he has to get well enough to play Volleyball with you! Yes, Akshay has done more than most do in terms of duty on earth. I hope he is chilling and smiling in God-land. Love and take care. God bless your family

      Like

  14. Hi Aunty… I always want to write more & more , but all the time I m short of words infront of your pain.

    Just give my love to little Naina & respect to you all!!!

    With eyes, Ritu…

    Like

    • Hi Aunty… I always want to write more & more , but all the time I m short of words infront of your pain.

      Just give my love to little Naina & respect to you all!!!

      With wet eyes, Ritu…

      Like

  15. Hi Aunty,
    I am very pleased to see your next article. Very apt title, “Tight rope walk” for the content victory of good over evil. It is always “that moving forward on the path of life is akin to walking the tightrope over a deep abyss” for all those who genuinely fight for good over the evil. Very proud of Maj. Akshay and all others who have in the past and who continue to fight for good amidst all the odds. As it goes without saying, your article will always be inspiring to some and gives the needed courage and comfort to those who are fighting for good to continue their struggle. Thinking of all those good souls as I read this article. I am very happy to read about Nainu’s innocent talks and her contemplations of the world happenings. It is hard to accept the fact she misses her father, but I am sure Naina will grow to greater heights and be an inspiration to many. Wishing her that she continues to stay blessed. We all grow only when things are difficult, not when it is easy. Praying for you and everyone in the family to be blessed with good health and continued strength at all times. Always in my thoughts.. Love you all…
    (I am unable to write much…. I am short of words… This is truly an introspective article. I mean it, aunty… But will share with you as time goes by..)
    -Amritha

    Like

    • Dear Amritha, makes me so happy to read your response. Yes, Nainu shows great potential at this young age and only time will tell what she is destined for. At the moment, I feel she is Sangeeta’s strength and our reason to smile and hope. Glad the post is inspiring and comforting. Lots of love and God bless.

      Like

  16. Dear Mam,
    No words to describe how I feel, except the wet eyes to share your grief.
    My sincere prayers for speedy recovery of Girish Sir and the mothers and good health of everyone in your family.
    Praying God to give you all the strength to cope with, to stay positive and bring you peace and happiness.
    My heartfelt regards and love to Naina, Sageetha and Neha.
    My pranams and respect to you!

    Warm wishes and regards,
    Gowri

    Like

  17. Dear aunty,
    Your words and life continue to inspire and help the rest of us find strength whenever we feel down. I am humbled that Rudravan helped you in some way. As a writer, if I can achieve something as meaningful as that, I would consider myself blessed. Your own writing has fleshed out Akshay’s life so vividly for us, that it so easy to believe that I knew him. I wish I had, for selfless heroes are a rare lot. And your son was every bit as iconic as the characters I choose to write about. I hope to meet you someday, and hope that I get that chance soon.
    Lots of love and regards
    Rahul

    Like

    • Dear Rahul, I am so happy you have read my blog and responded to it. Rudravan came to me at a time when I was fighting confusion over Akshay’s loss- grief, some anger and pain over a child’s loss are very hard to deal with, despite being a mature woman. It is an awesome book by itself but it also helped me look at the larger picture. The cyclic nature of life, events in our lives and how little control one has over the universe. Somehow, the nicest characters fit Akshay’s many qualities- he lived doing good and left fighting evil. All the time keeping himself happy and cheerful, puting in his best with no selfish motives, ensuring he was there for everyone who needed a hand or shoulder, and picking up the gun to fight fiercely and protect others. I do hope you will visit us sometime and feel Akshay’s vibes in our home. Lots of love to you and your lovely family. God bless. Take care.

      Like

  18. Dear Aunty
    I have been reading your posts and Sangeeta mam’s post for a while. Sometimes I feel so connected with you people that tears scrolled unknowingly. Loosing someone so dear is a huge loss. Akshay Sir was a brave officer and we all have so respect for him. Being from Jammu, we know very well how difficult it is for our soldiers to fight such sudden attacks. Many brave hearts have sacrificed their lives saving us here. I have always prayed for your family and will continue to do so.
    Love to your family especially to little Naina.

    Like

    • Thank you for reading and reaching out to us Priya. Jammu has an old connection with my family since childhood and now Nagrota has become Akshay’s karma bhoomi. Sad but we are very proud of his life , courage and dedication to duty. Appreciate your prayers for us and love to Naina. Love and take care. God bless your family.

      Like

  19. Ma’am I have been reading your posts from last year…It’s really painful to overcome such situation ..I m also wife of soldier…God should give strength to your family to overcome such a loss…

    Like

  20. Dear Meghna aunty,
    I have been following your posts for quite sometime. I cannot begin to fathom the intensity of your grief but the way you are coping up with your loss and finding solace in writing is wonderful. I am a writer myself and an Airforce officer’s wife so your posts hit home even more. Aunty, all I want to say is that I really hope from the farthest corners of my heart that may you continue to walk the tight rope and find an equilibrium that helps you steer through the journey called life. Love how you articulate your thoughts into words. Hugs to you and the family.
    Regards,
    Meha.

    Like

    • Thank you for reading and reaching out Meha. Appreciate your comforting words. Que Sera Sera….what will be….Love and hugs to you. God bless your family.

      Like

    • I finally managed to write today – thank you for reminding me. Yes, Girish is doing ok and so are all of us. Hope you will read and respond to the blog soon! Lots of love and God bless.

      Like

  21. Meghana Mam…My friend has shared one video of Maj Akshay and Naina on facebook ,I have seen that video and trust it touch my heart deeply . A just 3 years old girl has sacrificed her happiness to protect us . I salute her. I am reading your write ups regularly and it always brought tears in my eyes..I read all your posts from last few months and its very touching. You have put your stories so lively that reader can imagine /feel all the moments . Though we are not know each other personally I feel I know your family from many years .I can understand ur pain & sadness after ur big loss but request you to please keep writing .It gives us motivation . I wish you all great health .
    Kudos to your family !!!! I can only send you lots of love, gratitude n salute from my side.

    Like

    • So sweet of you Aishwarya. Truly touched by your reaching out to me after reading the blog posts. Hope you will also read the latest- ‘Moments That Matter’ and give your comments. Stay motivated child. Sending you love and a hug. God bless you and your family.

      Like

    • Thank you so much Anisha. I have posted a new one today- hope you will make time to read and respond to it. Love to you and God bless your family.

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s