CONNECTED BY AKSHAY: MOMENTS THAT MATTER

Eleven months since Akshay, we woke up to Naina’s birthday with a strangely distressing occurrence. The family WhatsApp said ‘Akshay left’. It shook us to realise that the same message was on all other groups that Akshay had been part of. While trying to underplay the emotions each of us felt, telling ourselves and each other that an account inactive for so long was probably automatically deleted this way, the timing really upset me. Why on Naina’s fourth birthday? When he was part of our WhatsApp groups almost 11 months, couldn’t this have happened after Naina’s birthday?! All the while we have been saying ‘Akshay is always with us….. he is around us….’ and now……suddenly this….? And did it have to happen on the morning of Naina’s first birthday without Akshay? A reminder that he isn’t ever going to be there and we are all really and truly on our own from now on? That Naina, his precious little one, is also going to have to have to accept that her papa has gone forever?

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My heart broke all over again, and this time it was mostly for Naina. That this little one has lost a papa who was her biggest fan…..who would have always been her best friend….. her most cheerful playmate…… her always doting dad….. her confidant no matter what secrets she wanted to share…..her biggest supporter and also her role model for all that was good in this world. While she continues to miss Akshay and often asks about what really happened to make him go so far away, she is still too young to imagine what she has truly lost. We had Akshay at the centre of our world for over thirty years and Naina lost him at just three. No matter how much we all rally around, no one can be what Akshay would have been for his little one. I know because our nephew Satwik was exactly the same age as Naina when he and Dhruv lost their wonderful mom Smita. We were there for the boys – a strong, loving and supportive family and yet, could we claim to have managed to filled Smita’s shoes?!

The jumbled train of thoughts after ‘Akshay left’ had to be pushed into a corner of the mind as it was time to make Naina’s birthday as special as we possibly could under the circumstances. In a year of ‘no celebrations’, the month of October this year saw Girish’s birthday and Neha-Pradish’s wedding anniversary go past with just good wishes. We however decided that Naina had to be celebrated. Last year Akshay and Sangeeta had a little party for her in Nagrota and the year before that, the family celebrated in Bangalore. Miraculously, a little video clip of that precious birthday has survived. Satwik- God bless him, had shot it on his old mobile phone and retained that phone after it had crashed. He managed to retrieve Akshay’s pictures and videos and for us, every little bit of Akshay is now our greatest treasure. We will have to keep all the pictures, clips, news reports and printed tributes safe for Naina to have when she is older. A little treasure chest instead of her papa in flesh and blood.

 

Naina was most excited this birthday weekend. She had been counting ‘days left for my birthday’ for over two weeks and woke up her cheerful best to a little ‘cake surprise’ at 7 in the morning, before Sangeeta left for school. Then the gifts, all wrapped in her favourite ‘shiny red wrappers’ were opened and her shining eyes, smiles and happy laughter started to dispel the gloom in my heart. We fit in all that we could for her birthday- the traditional oil bath, the temple visit, lots of new clothes, birthday party decorations and finally, the special ‘chocolate cake with stars, hearts, numbers and a mermaid’ that she had been dreaming of. Gifts poured in from outstation as well – loving and caring friends made sure Naina got much more than previous years. Surrounded by close family and her little friends, she was a happy little bundle of excited energy, and to see her enjoying herself on her birthday, made our day special as well. Sangeeta played doting mother and aunt to the kids and finally, an exhausted and very happy Naina was bundled into bed.

Yet, by the end of the day, post party, the meltdown happened again. Akshay had left. This 29th October – it has been eleven months. Time flies even in such terrible grief and soon it will be a year since Akshay. My father who says he speaks to Akshay every day said ‘Laadla chala gaya beta’. This time, I just couldn’t get myself to write and communicate with all of you as thoughts and emotions were too much in conflict.

For the second straight night, sleep was elusive and thoughts went back and forth until they sort of aligned to a theme of ‘lost and found’. Thrice in the distant past, we had come close to losing Akshay. The first when he was born a tiny and weak ‘high-risk infant’ and did not gain a single gram in 40 days. Next at age four and half when he was hospitalised with a severe anaphylactic reaction that caused his little body to swell to double its size with breathing difficulties. And third, when seven-year-old Akshay was lost for a while at Jhansi railway station, during a complex ‘waiting room to train and platform change’ situation. Somehow, since each tense situation ended well, we never got to dwell on what might have been if things had got worse. Akshay showed us he was a fighter even when he was little and fear wasn’t really a part of our lives.

Sometimes, we journeyed without Girish, on trains and buses and it was Akshay, who even at age three, always sat on a separate seat so Neha could sit beside me.  At the end of our first family vacation to Goa, we got to Goa airport only to be told the flight was full and only three among us five could board. Girish had to get back to work and quickly decided to leave Akshay and me behind while he took Neha and Satwik back home to Bangalore. While I was not happy with how the vacation was ending, Akshay at fourteen was absolutely thrilled to get one more day in Goa! Mother and son went back to the resort we had checked out of and Akshay being Akshay made the most of a sticky situation! His ‘Jab phas hi gayein hain toh karo masti’ philosophy was contagious. So we enjoyed another day of swimming and good food. Back at the airport the next day, Akshay spotted the then ‘Rangeela’ girl Urmila Matondkar getting out of a taxi and in a jiffy, my little boy had sped across to her, and despite a crowd of fans, he returned with her autograph, grinning ear to ear saying ‘she is much prettier than in the movies and gave me a special cute smile ma’. All his cousins agreed only Akshay could have done what he did!

A year later, we went to Auli and decided to trek up to ‘Hemkund Saheb‘- a revered pilgrimage for the Sikh community, and for us, an adventure mountain trek stretching 14 steep kilometers. The first leg of 9 km took us up from Govind Ghat to Ghanghariya where we had two rooms booked for a night stay. The rooms were apart and barely had we put our bags in when the quiet mountain stillness was broken by loud shouting and screaming- sounds of a dangerous fight that shattered the calm. The caretaker came running and terrified to tell us to lock ourselves in and not open the door no matter what. In a split second, we had divided ourselves into Girish-Neha in one room and Akshay-me in the other. Before I could take on the mother role, my son had bolted our door from inside, tested the locks to check how strong the door was and went around the room looking for other objects of self-defense. As firing began outside and sounds of people running and screaming became louder, Akshay had pulled down the lone curtain rod and stood guard at the door signalling me to keep quiet and stay behind. My little boy, from being my ‘protected one’, had instinctively taken on the role of ‘protector.’ We spent the night separated as a family, without food or water and speaking in whispers. ‘Don’t worry about Neha ma’, Akshay had said then. ‘Dad is there with her and I am with you’. Early the next morning, we were told the police had to shoot to break up a terrible fight between locals and outsiders. Six people had been killed and many injured. All of us tourists and pilgrims were sent back down the mountain under police escort.

Why all these thoughts have come back now, I have no idea. Maybe they never really went away. If all these thoughts have remained fresh for over 30 years, how can ‘Akshay leave’? Just as 29th November 2017 will forever be with us, so will Akshay. He lives with us because he has given us moments that really matter. It isn’t just our thoughts he dominates. All of you who have known or now know Akshay also think of him, talk about him, laugh at those moments of fun, share anecdotes and serious discussions, or take inspiration from how he lived ‘King-size’.

And strangely, I see Akshay in so many of you. Many of course because you are his brothers and his friends. Sometimes, I even see Akshay in strangers. It happened on a weekend trip to Vishakhapatnam last month when Girish and I took up the offer of a Naval course-mates invite. Our wonderful hosts arranged for us to get into a Submarine and the moment I saw the young Commanding Officer of the Submarine, he became Akshay in my mind. Although he must have been older than Akshay, as he showed us around, smart, smiling and committed to his work, I felt so motherly towards a son I had never met before. Signboards and posters at the controls caught my eye. One said ‘Cowards never Start, The Weak Do Not Finish, Warriors never Quit.’ Another said, ‘On My Alert Guard Depend the Lives of a Hundred Men’. Akshay would have been in complete agreement with both.

What motivates the Submariners to volunteer for a life in the ocean’s depths ? Duty missions sometimes stretching up-to 45 days underwater to protect us, while they live in such cramped spaces, eat canned food and do not even have the luxury of a bath until their mission is complete? It is the same emotion that motivates every soldier who braves extreme conditions, fighting to keep the flag of our country flying high. An emotion that is obviously missing in people who debate the right to ‘not have to stand’ when the National Anthem is playing. Maybe 57 Seconds is too long to stand up for our country? Debating on freedom and democracy is of course without any time limits. In fact, it can be unending. The cost of that freedom to debate endlessly is also paid for by citizens like Akshay. Because they chose ‘to do or die.’ Others may think ‘to insult and live’ is alright. To each their own. I know this sounds harsh but know no other way to express how it feels when courage and sacrifice are not valued.

Naina however has absolutely no confusion in what really matters to her. While she loves music and singing, her eyes are at their brightest when A R Rahman’s ‘Ma Tujhe Salaam’ plays on the car radio. Anytime of the day we pass through a gate with security guards, her tiny hand automatically goes up to form a ‘Salute’ and their smiles at our little one makes us smile too.  Given half a chance, she waits to shout ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’ at the end of ‘Jana Gana Mana’, wherever and whenever it plays. Oh yes, Akshay didn’t leave! He lives through Naina.

A bundle of energy like her papa, Naina’s latest are ‘pretend games’. She played one with Girish and me the day before yesterday in the car. In her game, she was Captain of a Pirate Ship while we were her crew, and every-time the ship had a problem (‘Oh no! the ship is stuck; Oh no! We ran out of water; Oh no! We ran out of food!’), she ‘called for help‘. The people she called were Neha, Sangeeta, Pradish and Dhruv. It surprised me that in her little mind, she didn’t once call her papa who she says she misses ‘so much’. And when she plays the old game of ‘I sent a letter to my mother…. on the way I lost it’, Naina always starts with ‘I sent a letter to my papa’ instead. Tiny little things, but her clarity of thought and connections amaze me. As Sangeeta and I chat, we realise how much we need to learn from Naina on how to live life joyfully, despite irreparable loss.

As I come to the end of today’s post, I feel a lot better than I have over the past week since the ‘Akshay left’ incident. Many before Akshay have also left their kids, parents, spouse and siblings, who must have felt just as we do. Among them are wonderful families we have met- of Charulatha Acharya, Beena Thomas, Salma Shafeeq, Dev Raj and Asha Gupta, Shakuntala Bhandarkar, Surabhi Dhruv Yadav, Akanksha Rathaur, and many others I have not named here. All of them seem like part of our extended family. Last week 78-year-old Mrs Padma called me up from Delhi after she got my number from Vikas Manhas of DESH. An Air Force Officers widow who lost her loving husband when she was eight months pregnant, she continues to be a working professional while the daughter she raised is an IAS officer. Her voice sounded so cheerful when she comforted me, wished Naina a happy birthday and said don’t worry, all will be well. Such positivity is inspiring.

If life is not measured in the number of breaths we take but in the moments that take our breath away, Akshay lived much longer than most others ever do. He taught us how to reach out confidently for what one wants, to fight fearlessly for a cause and to treasure what matters most.

We now look forward to seeing Sangeeta much happier and Naina all grown up. We are so blessed to have Neha, Pradish and Dhruv around and so many loved ones, including our parents, close by. Akshay will forever be part of all our lives. We are grateful to the Almighty and proud beyond words that our family had Akshay this lifetime.  While many ‘Akshays’ have been around and will always continue to be around, sometime, somewhere, our Akshay will also be back to continue to teach love, commitment and courage to many more people like us. God willing, we will do our bit to take forward Akshay’s inspiring legacy in a way that he would want us to. With zest for life and love for others. Always taking a stand to uphold the dignity of our protectors and our country.

I know that the rest of this month is not really going to be easy, but with all of you rooting for us, we will get through the 29th of November too. And then, things can only get better. Although you may not know it, each of you have made this very difficult journey a little easier for us. May we all be there for each other, and for those who may need someone, at most difficult times in their lives. May each of us have moments that truly matter and may they give joy year after year.

With gratitude, love and regards, all I can say is God bless you all. Thank you for reading and reaching out to us.

Meghna Girish.

 

 

 

 

 

51 thoughts on “CONNECTED BY AKSHAY: MOMENTS THAT MATTER

  1. Dear Aunty,
    Love the way you put your thoughts together. The extent of conflict in your mind and heart is unfathomable and yet you find logic to remain happy and tide over depressing thoughts is truly inspiring.
    Yes you are right when you say that life if measured in terms of moments that took our breath away, then Maj Always really lived it large. It is true! A meaningful life is a better life than just existing.
    Little Angel Naina does not know how much she means to everyone in the family. With the happy spirit she has inherited from her dad, she will happily shoulder the responsibility of keeping everyone happy, especially her mother, when she grows up. God Bless her. She is connected with her papa even now and her papa lives through her.
    Lots of love.
    Ruchi

    P.S – i was wondering that there would be a reason for your brief disappearance from social media. But did not enquire for the fear of being too intrusive. May God give you all more strength ..especially this month

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes Ruchi, Naina has inherited the happy spirit from her papa! No matter how angry and tearful she gets over little things sometimes, she bounces back with smiles and hugs the next minute! I do hope she will always have Akshay holding her hand somehow. Thank you so much for your thoughts, concern and love. Need all the strength Akshay had. Lots of love to you. God bless.

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  2. As always, beautifully penned Meghna. Truly i wait for ur write ups on Akahay. It brings tears but theres so much joy in knowing him n the happiness hes spread around.
    In Nainas birthday video, Akshay is holding her hand all thru, but the one that literally brought a smile though is little Naina clapping with her so…tiny hands .
    It will be a year in another few days but he’s there smiling in all ur write ups.
    Tc dear, tight hugs.

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  3. Dear Meghna Aunty,

    I’ve been away from facebook for quite sometime, looged in today and saw this heart touching and extremely relatable post. Belive me when I say just like papa, Maj Akshay has gone nowhere, he is here with us, with you. He always will be! People might call me crazy for saying so, but i’ve felt my fathers presence every single time i’m in trouble or in need of him. We are all one big family, always will be❤️

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    • Dearest Aakanksha, you made my day. Coming from you, it means so much to know your father has always been with you. Gives me so much joy and peace that this is possible for Naina as well. May Akshay always be there in whatever way whenever she needs him. Lots of love to you, Shoryaveer and mom. Take care.

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  4. I really love you all is all I can say just now … 29th November has been weighing on my mind too lately and I have been praying to baba that you are able to weather the date bravely … Akshay may have left… But he continues to watch over his darling family … Please accept my heartfelt love meghna ji and pass it on to all in the family … I’m crying as I write this .

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  5. Dear aunty, again such a heart touching post. I can’t explain the rush of emotions within me when I read the very second line of your post “Akshay left”. It was like a stabbing pain and tears rushed to my eyes. If a person who has never known Akshay personally could feel this way, I can’t imagine what you as a family felt and are going through. Thanks for your posts that have helped me to be connected with you all, specially Akshay. Its a real priviledge to know Akshay through you. Its Akshay and his Matyrdom that brought me to LIKE the group DESH on FB which has brought me so much more closure to the ground reality of the cost we pay every day as a nation for our security and freedom. Which my nation and the fellow citizens don’t even realise or value.I hope some day we do and I am able to in some way influence it. I don’t know how though.

    Its really encouraging to know how lively Naina baby is. I have talked to her on couple of occassions when Sangeeta and Naina were at Col Ravindran uncle’s place a few months back. She is such a sweetie pie and so sharp in her observations. She truly has taken so much after her HERO papa who lived LIFE KING SIZE….Yes, no one can replace or make up for what she lost on 29th Nov, 2016. She may not even truly realise the magnitude of her loss in her life time, but her papa will always be there to guide her thorugh the memories you all share with her….And these posts are an important legacy you are leaving for her… Aunty you should someday publish this as a book on our HERO to let his memories live beyond time and inspire many generations to come….

    May the ALMIGHTY give you all additional strength to move through this most difficult time of the year.TIME is so cruelly fast….You all have come this far and will continue to March on. But you all as a family are an epitome of strength and grace. I still remember seeing you, uncle, Sangeeta and Neha on the day of Akshay’s funeral at your residence… What grace and calm on your faces… My million slautes to your son and each one of you for your sacrifice…

    May God bless you all and specially Naina baby all through her life.

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    • Dear Malar, your understanding and support help us stay strong. Humbly thank you for reading and responding to my outpourings. Naina needs all the blessings she can get so please keep her, Sangeeta, Neha and Pradish in your prayers. Lots of love to you and God bless your family.

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  6. Dear Ma’am,
    As always, my eyes wet and head bows down with respect to you and the entire family. No matter what emotion, the way you articulate your thoughts is truly inspiring!
    Little Naina is truly God sent to bring you all happiness and joy. My heartiest wishes for happiness to shine on all of you in the coming days.
    Warm regards,
    Gowri

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  7. Dear Aunty,
    You have beautifully peened down your thoughts, emotions and experiences. You’re right that moments shared with our loved ones will remain with us always. I read your post and the next to follow on the News feed was the writer, Paulo Coelho’s post which read, “I’ve learned that good-byes will always hurt, pictures will never replace having been there, and words can never substitute action.” Akshay will always be the guardian angel to everyone in the family.
    Nice to read about how the little angel amongst you Nainu brings a lot of comfort and strength to you all through her innocence. May she be blessed with all the strength and good health in the days to come. Sending you all lots of love and strength in the days leading up to the 29th of November. We are miles apart but will remain together in sharing our joy and sorrows, supporting each other through thick and thins and join our hands in giving the part that we can offer to make the world a better place to live. Love and love always
    Amritha

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    • We are connecetd Amritha- no matter what the physical distance between us is. In the same way, Akshay is also connected to us and although we miss him so much, feel he will continue to be part of our lives. Did you know Paulo Coehlo is among my all time favorites?! Love and God bless you and Shyam. Take care.

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  8. Dear Meghna, a beautifully written memoire. Losing a loved one is always hard. The hurt and loss doesn’t actually fade away with time. We just learn to live in-spite of the hurt. Blessed are those who can accept the reality. I wish you and your family find the strength and purpose.

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  9. A very happy birthday to little doll nainu,her papa is surely smiling to see his little doll grow up.Aunty i always heard that great mums give birth to legends,after seeing u I have started believing in this,all your writeups are so poignant ,they touch the cords of our lives & a brave family shows us a way to a better life.29th nov is very true to remain in your lives for ever but we all pray to god as your extended family to give u immense courage to sail through.Naina’s birthday video was a special favorite of my daughter and she said that see mummy the baby’s dress & sangeeta auntie’s dress is all matching,she was just so happy to see the video.As i reach in my last trimester,with 9th jan my due date nearing i will need your blessings in this crucial time.love &respect to a awsome fauzi family.

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    • Lisa, so sweet of your little one- kids do notice things we adults dont! Glad you read my post and hope you are keeping good health and cheer ? All my thoughts and prayers will be with you in January and I know Alshay will also be sending you strength and smiles from somewhere. He has somehow connected us and I hope we will one day meet so I get to see you with both kids. Love and God bless you dear Lisa. Keep smiling.

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  10. It’s beautiful aunty and so true
    Akshay really is with us ..what a life well lived ..He is our legend
    Your words are blessings for all …warm and filled with love …pain of loss yet inspiring like a tonic..I know for us it’s easy to say but I too his life is far better than many a lives lived long
    Naina will always have him in our hearts as we do
    He has rejuvenated our souls..
    Love always

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    • You are right Shivangi- people not here in the physical realm live closer to us than we can understand. I am so glad Akshay is loved by all of you too. You keep smiling and take care. Love and god bless.

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  11. Hello Aunty!!!

    Pleasd extend my wishes to little brave Naina!!! May she live a long happy life with you all.

    Me aap logo ko kabhi janti bhi nhi thi par jab Akshay ki news TV channels par suni thi. Since that time.. i follow you. I always feel good whenever I see your post. You are so brave. May god give you more stregnth.

    Whenever i fee bad in my life due to of any reason, I do remind of you all… or mujhe bahut himmat milti hai.

    Ritu Vatsa
    New Delhi.

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    • Dear Ritu, I am so glad that you get strength from us- Akshay’s courage has inspired all of us and we are connected through him. So happy to hear from you. Take care. Koi problem aisa nahin joh aap solve nahin kar sakte. Himmat rakho hamesah. Love to you. God bless your family.

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  12. I think I have watched that birthday video 20 times already.
    Naina’s expressions in that video of wonder and happiness of “something special” going on are really adorable.
    I am really happy to see your smiling faces in the photos that you’ve shared of her recent birthday. You’re being happy for her because she comes from pure happiness and simple joys.
    Akshay has not left – Naina just had to turn 4 for Akshay to continue living through her.

    Siddharth

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  13. Namastey Meghna Ma’am,
    First of all a very Happy belated birthday wishes to Dear Naina…
    God bless her always… I wish I could send my greetings to a Patriot baby girl on or before her Birthday…
    Like father like daughter… Both were teaching true lessons of Petrotism to all country men’s…in their own ways…on respecting Tricolor and uniform other saved countless lives..
    Yes Major Akshay lived it king size…& finished it like a true Warrior… As the November started we know it may not be easy for you all to pass…memories may again open the wounds… But as you mention ” Cowards never Start, The Weak Do Not Finish, Warriors never Quit”…. You all should not quit… He is with Naina and watching you all, always…we all fauji’s and their families are with you and all families of Martyr’s…
    Please let us know if we be of any service
    Jai Hind Ma’am
    Best Regards

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    • Dear Amit, you have said it all so well. Yes, Akshay was a true warrior in every aspect of life and a very kind and cheerful one too. Never hurting or harming anyone in his path while being focused and determined. Thank you for your wishes and greetings to Naina. Please do take care and live well. Lots of good wishes and God bless to you and all other families. Jai Hind.

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  14. Dear Meghan Aunty ,

    I haven’t met any of you or know you personally but I came across your post through fb and the minute I read your post I felt connected. Every time I login to fb I look forward to read your post..

    A very happy birthday to darling Naina. May you get everything best and shine like a star just like your Papa Maj.Akshay.

    It’s truly heart touching post , it made me cry yet I’m reading it again and again . It’s an inispiring post for many of us who has lost their loved ones. I lost my love 2 months before our wedding and it was not an easy journey. It’s been 7 years since I lost him but when ever I need him , he is there for me . I feel his presence , I could hear him whisper “ I’m there for you “and that feeling is what holding me to this day. I’m sure Major Akshay will be there for all of u whenever u need him especially for his doll Naina. Please stay strong, our thoughts and prayers are always with you Aunty ji.
    Sending you all lots of hugs and love from Tokyo.

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    • We do seem connected and your response brings both sadness and comfort Ashita. Your loss is huge and yet your love has stayed with you all these years. That is so special. Yes, Akshay will also be with us in spirit forver. May your love also guide you to great happiness in the coming years. Lots of love and God bless. If you come to Bangalore, do drop in to strengthen this bonding.

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      • Dear Meghna Aunty ,

        I’m born and raised in bengaluru and I would love to meet u when I visit bengaluru.

        I did take time and read every single post about Maj. Akshay last Saturday. I felt incredibly blessed to have known little about all of you in this life and also felt sad at the same time for loss of our hero Maj. Akshay.You all have been in my thoughts from past 4 days.

        I’m extremely sorry the long post Aunty, Don’t know why but I wanted to share this with you . After the tragic incident of loosing the love of my life , everyone around me wanted me to forget it as a bad dream and marry again but my heart said no, everyone reassured that time heals everything , but no “ time doesn’t heal anything “. The very thought of imagining someone else in the place of him was devastating. I was firm in my decision of not marrying and didn’t want to lead this life without him anymore , but one day my dad walked up to me and said “ I know u lost the love of ur life but u are the love of our life and we don’t want to lose you nor see you suffering , why don’t u consider marrying again ? Why don’t u think god might have chosen someone best for you ? Life is all about hoping for the best , why don’t you hope for the best ? “ . Though I wasn’t convinced by what my dad said , I didn’t want to be he reason for their suffering and agreed to marry . Again , I did not want to hide my past and cheat , I shared the tragic incident that happened in my life and my husband was kind enough to accept me after all these , he did all that he could to get me out of this and make me smile . But after all these I am still not able to forget him , he is always in my thoughts . When I listen to few songs and cook few dishes tears roll down my eyes , the very thought that he isn’t anymore kills me but I can’t say it out. Sometimes I feel “ Did I make mistake by marrying again ?? Am I cheating my husband by thinking about my past love ? Am I being a good wife to him ?? “ I only have questions running in my mind but no answers. I’m always lost in thoughts. I only hope to find answers to all these one day. How wonderful it would be if we all get one day to listen to their voice and to hear “ I love you “ one more time and give a hug. God is cruel at times .

        Hatts off to all of you for the courage and strength you have showed in the past 11 months. I wish I had faced my situation with the same courage like u all did .

        Warm hugs to all of you Aunty.

        With love ,
        Preethi.

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  15. Mrs. Meghna,
    I think you must publish a memoir with all the blog posts, so that more people can be acquainted with Akshay and his wonderful journey.
    My prayers and wishes to you and Family.

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    • I take your suggestion with humility Pradnya. Maybe when in a better frame of mind, I will consider it seriously. Right now, its one day at a time in trying to cope! Thank you for your thoughts and prayers. God bless you and your family. Love to you.

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  16. Dear Aunty,
    I love the way you put down your emotions and at the same time I have a lump in my throat every post of yours that I read. You should know that there’s a lot of positivity in your writing and truly inspires one to look at the brighter side of life. Please keep this blog alive! May god give you all strength and happiness. Much much love to little Naina :*

    Best,
    Shradha

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    • So sweet of you to read and reach out Shradha. Thank you for your love to Naina and prayers for us. Sending you love and God bless your family.

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  17. I’ve not met anyone of you, but ever since I read your blog, I’ve felt such a deep connection with you all. I wonder how you find the strength to share these intensely personal memories, so generously with us, I can’t fathom. The love with which you write these posts shines through. It’s impossible for any sane person to go through this without tearing up.
    Akshay is a hero, and we, his country, no matter where we live, are eternally indebted to him and our brave soldiers. When I see his pictures, all smiles and hapy with his lovely family, I am overwhelmed with love and guilt. My soldier brother laid down his life, all in the service of our people. You are all heroes, tai. Everyone from little Naina to your parents are heroes. The way you have conducted yourselves with grace and courage, it’s a lesson in selflessness to people (like me).
    As you trudge through this especially difficult month, I wish you find peace and experience Akshay’s loving presence around you.

    With lot of love,
    Kavs

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    • Dear Kavs, So thoughtful of you to express these thoughts- they give us so much support in our grief over losing Akshay and efforts to cope. That we are proud of him beyond imagination takes us forward. My raja beta Akshay has connected all of us and it must be for a reason? Thank you for your wishes for us to find peace and yes, we do experience Akshay’s loving presence all around. Love and God bless you.

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  18. Dear Aunty,
    I have been following all your posts and messages. It helps us to know and value what our hero’s like Akshay and other brave sons have done and do each day for us.

    I have got a chance maybe just twice to meet Akshay once in cme when Akshay Sangeeta and Bingo visited our house. It’s often said that dogs reflect the nature of their owner and Bingo did too. He was so well behaved and I should say “sophisticated” that he came in nicely and sat on a sofa he found comfortable. The second time I got to meet them again was on an evening walk in cme where Akshay was carefully taking pregnant Sangeeta and Bingo for a walk. There after I was briefly in touch with Sangeeta. If i look back i noticed the best quality that radiated about Akshay and that everyone mentions is how he lived life to the fullest making most of every moment. The one quality that inspired me then and I noticed through all the facebook posts and your articles was how well he had expressed his feelings, making people around him feel loved and letting them know how special they were to him.

    We often regret not expressing how much we loved someone he however didn’t seem to miss any moment to tell everyone around him how much they mean to him.

    When I saw the news on TV of losing our hero the first thing that came to my mind was the picture he posted just a day before of the lovely haircut Sangeeta had. He had expressed love for you all in everyway possible! Akshay lives by what he has taught us all.

    Loved how in the birthday video little naina is clapping after cutting the cake.
    Aunty your courage and words inspire us in ways I am unable to express. Naina is the sweetest little princess of her papa.

    Loads of love and wishes to you Sangeeta and Naina.
    Micky

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    • Dear Micky, your words describing Akshay on the few times you have met made those images come alive in my mind and heart. Thank you- everyone who knew him sees him from their angle and as his mother, it is music to my ears to hear more about my son. I was low today and you have unknowingly cheered me up by narrating these impressions of Akshay. Yes, he was very expressive and not at all hesitant or shy about demonstrating his love and affection. It is an amazing quality and he made everyone feel so good about themselves. That Akshay lives by what he stood for…. that we have seen and learnt from him…. is a tribute like no other.

      If you happen to come to Bangalore, please do visit a hero’s home. Sangeeta, Naina, Neha and Pradish are doing well by the grace of God.

      Lots of love and good wishes to you and your family. Take care and God bless you all.

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      • Dear Aunty,
        Yes, i am looking forward to visiting you all. It will be an honour to meet you and I have it in my to do list.
        There is so much we learn from you to help us be better as mother and also as a person.
        Love and regards,
        Micky

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  19. On this day and many more days in last one year , we have thought repeatedly…only if those precious lives were saved ,only if this ….only if that….but in no ways will past change .
    It’s a great sacrifice beyond doubt, but for those who are left behind with memories , pain is a truth .This Loss is still painful . Yes I am very proud and I am very hurt too.
    “Resume normalcy, let’s be back to normal”……that was asked and expected in station after attack , but normal was lost and how hard we may try, it just can’t be normal , not for us who were there and listened to those sounds of sacrifice and terror the whole day . Actually we don’t want it to be normal , we want to miss those heroes for rest of our memory , lets embrace the Pain , even if its endless like our gratitude for our heroes who sacrificed themselves.

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    • Of course we dont want to …and we cant be back to ‘normal’. There is too much at stake here. Precious lives, duty, valour and sacrifice. Memories can nevr be brushed aside and you are absoulutely right. Embracing pain while living life cheerfully – like they did…is the greatest tribute and the only way forward for our heroes. God bless you. Take care.

      Liked by 1 person

  20. Amid this sorrow, days, months, years are no measure of time for Girish, yourself and Sangeeta as we reckon ;Akshay has left behind a saga of peerless commitment to the Chetwodian ethos and each of your narrated anecdotes here, of his life fully lived, connects to the personality that he was. There seems to have been a larger purpose and God’s will to place him in service on that fateful day, to the nation. We keep praying for blessings to the family and to Naina as she grows into a mould of her father and discovers her own life’s purpose

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    • Its incredible how I have used words almost the same as yours in a new post today! Its about a larger purpose and how Akshay must have found his. Strange are Gods ways and we bow before his will. Thank you for being connected and supporting us.

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