CONNECTED BY AKSHAY: STARS THAT SHINE BRIGHTEST

Almost 15 months since Akshay. Down with a fever and throat infection last three days, I sit up in bed as I write, warm water and hot tea beside me. The medicines are helping and its been nice having Girish, Sangeeta, Neha and Pradish around for company and care, and of course Naina’s cheery presence, as she whizzes by on her ‘scooter’, asking me ‘are you feeling better avva?’ Naina has just given me a ‘Golden Trophy’ for an imaginary ‘win’ and I suspect she isn’t liking me in bed, resting! Even as Sangeeta is bringing me hot water and breakfast in bed, my own thoughts go back to Akshay. Is it co-incidence that I, someone who periodically fell ill and had major respiratory and back issues over many years in the past, remained physically fit for 15 months at a stretch? While Girish had a heart attack and other illnesses and the kids went through their own minor health issues, I was the one who was able to shoulder the responsibility of running a full home, with added energy to take care of a little kid’s needs as well. Where did the strength and good health come from? Many questions, no answers.

We passed by Akshay’s Karma Bhoomi on our way to Udhampur (J&K) and this time, did not take the exit into Nagrota. Picked up from Jammu Railway Station by Vikas on a cold morning after an eventful journey from Bangalore, we got to ride all the way up the hilly road in Captain Tushar Mahajan’s beloved white Alto. ‘With all its problems, only Tushar’s father and I can drive this old car now,’ Vikas is saying and we nod, in complete sync with the sentiment of holding on to what Tushar had loved and cherished. I could picture young Tushar driving his prized possession, his first car, a handsome young man, definitely the ‘local hero’ for a whole generation of youngsters, when he successfully completed the toughest possible training to earn the famed ‘Red Beret’ of the Para Commando.

Myriad thoughts like the twists and turns of the Tawi river that runs alongside the road jumbled in my mind. Listening to Vikas’s stories from real life, asking my own questions….. even while filled with a sadness at the thought of being so near and yet so far, I tried to focus on this visit to Udhampur, close to the Martyrdom day of the ‘Pampore’ heroes. Soon we were at ‘Tushar Nivas’ the abode of the ‘Baadshah of Udhampur’, enveloped in the warmth of Tushar’s mother’s hug.

Her lovely face had a smile while the eyes had something else. An understanding of pain and the attempt to comfort without exchanging words. That is what I think Asha and I share……it is felt between us. In less than a year, we met for the second time, after being connected through Tushar and Akshay. With Tushar’s magnificent aura around us, we were soon joined by Tushar’s father, Dev Raj Gupta Ji and young friends Syngdha, Anita, Lakshmi and little Lavanya, for a ‘pot-luck’ breakfast accompanied by chatter and cheer.

I ask Dev Raj ji if there are others in the family in the Armed Forces and he shakes his head saying ‘no.’ Then adds, ‘Tushar ko bachpan se hi Army ka bada shouk tha. Ye usike undar se aaya hoga. Teen saal ka tha aur kahta tha mein Army officer banoonga (Tushar wanted to join the army since childhood. This passion must have come from within him. He was hardly three when he would say I will become an Army officer).’ He was a very active and naughty child with a big circle of friends who were crazy about cricket, and many glass panes in the streets around their home have been broken by Tushar’s ‘fours and sixes’!

The younger of two brothers, fondly called ‘Chotu’, sweet faced Tushar was a student of ‘Little Flower Convent’ in Udhampur up to Class 8 and later of ‘Happy Model Higher Secondary School’ up to Class 12. He joined the National Defence Academy (NDA) in the year 2006 (batch 116) at the young age of sixteen and half and thereafter went to IMA in the year 2009 (Batch 126). Young Tushar’s father, according to close friends, had wanted him to become an engineer like his elder brother, but Tushar remained steadfast and followed his childhood goal. ‘He always wanted to join the army and filled all the forms by himself. He idolized Shaheed Bhagat Singh and had this passion to serve the country,’ Dev Raj ji said. Straight after IMA, Lt. Tushar volunteered for and was selected to join the famed Parachute Regiment in the elite 9 Para SF. Tushar loved the adventurous life and took great pride in being a Commando from the prestigious Special Forces Unit, known for its daredevil operations.

The Pampore Attack and Standoff : 20-22nd February 2016:

This particular terrorist attack in Pampore, a town famous for its Saffron, and situated on the eastern side of river Jehlum on Srinagar-Jammu National Highway, took place two years ago.  It started at about 3.45 pm on a Saturday, when militants attacked a Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) convoy and in the initial encounter, two paramilitary men, Driver-Constable Rana and Havaldar Bola Ram, and a civilian Abdul Gani Mir, were killed, and nine CRPF personnel were injured. Praveen Kumar, an injured constable receiving treatment in hospital, said, ‘We were coming back from vacation, I saw two ‘pheran’ clad boys on the highway, as soon as our bus reached near them, they fired on us. A bullet hit our Havaldar injuring him seriously, driver too was hit. We retaliated, but after that we don’t know what happened’.

The Lashker-e-Taiba (LeT) terrorists seemed to be on a ‘fidayeen(suicide)’ mission, as after carrying out the attack, they did not flee. Instead, they entered a huge Government run Entrepreneurship Development Institute (EDI) building nearby. At that time, at least 120 people, mostly students, few faculty members and other staff were trapped inside the campus. Safety of civilians being the first priority of the Indian Army, the Special Forces were called in even as a cautious encounter with the militants holed up inside began with the use of small arms. A cordon was set all around the building to make sure the terrorists could not escape at any time, even as the gunfight continued till late night.

I would like you all to see the pictures below to try and understand how complicated the situation was. The huge multi-storied EDI building had dozens of rooms and the terrorists could have hidden anywhere. Civilians were in danger of being killed if the counter attack had been aggressive. It is that understanding that will take us forward in saluting the valour and sacrifice of the three-young brave-hearts who gave their all to succeed in thwarting the maniacal mission of the LeT terrorists to cause maximum damage. It is a well-known fact that these terrorists are not only brainwashed, trained for cruelty and armed with the deadliest weapons, but are also on mind altering drugs to keep them awake and not care about killing and dying.

The efforts to evacuate trapped locals began under the leadership of Captain Pawan Kumar, 10 Parachute Regiment. Born on Army Day on January 15, 1993, this 23-year-old was destined to be a part of these operations when he had refused to go on leave after a previous injury in an encounter in Pulwama.

Speaking about Capt Pawan Kumar, Lt Gen Satish Dua GOC Chinar Corps said, “He had voluntarily taken upon himself to lead his men into this most difficult phase of the operation.” That he led his team to deliberately clear the building in which the terrorists had been holed up and evacuated civilians to safer places, is testimony to his leadership and maturity. After cautiously evacuating civilians from the premises, Capt Pawan Kumar, in the wee hours of Sunday morning, led his men from the front as he entered the building and drew a fatal volley of fire, to which the daring commando and his team quickly retaliated. He later succumbed to his grievous injuries but not before fixing the location of these terrorists thereby facilitating the progress of further operations. In the exemplary display of raw courage, leadership par excellence and esprit-de-corps, he has become a part of military folklore.

It was after Capt Pawan Kumar’s martyrdom that young Capt Tushar Mahajan, 9 Para SF took on the responsibility of continuing their complicated mission. If they were absolutely sure that there were no more civilians trapped inside the building, maybe they could have waited till the terrorists had tired or run out of ammunition. Unfortunately, that question did not have a clear answer. Tushar went in once again leading his mean from the front.

I have said this before and say it again. The high officer casualties in the Indian Army is because our officers live and die by the motto of ‘Service Before Self’ and the IMA Credo of ‘The safety, honour and welfare of your country come first, always and every time. The honour, welfare and comfort of the men you command come next. Your own ease, comfort and safety come last, always and every time.’

A sad commentary on how anti-terrorist operations in the valley are so difficult for our men in uniform is borne out by the way local youth are politically instigated and paid by separatists to add fuel to the fires. While the EDI building had been cordoned off from all directions, witnesses said youth resorted to heavy stone pelting on the security forces in Pampore. Scores of boys blocked the highway at different places in Pampore town after the news of encounter spread in the area. Reports said that youth pelted stones at security forces at Frestabal, Drungbal and Kadlabal. The youth blocked the roads with logs of wood and burnt tyres on roads. Police swung into action and fired several teargas shells. “Two youth received minor injuries due to tear gas shelling. They were discharged after first aid,” a doctor at SDH Pampore said.

Youths from adjoining areas tried to march towards the site of encounter and help the militants in making an escape route. An injured person confessed that he marched towards the encounter site along with his friends and several villagers. “With an aim to save the militants, we were trying to move towards the encounter site but police fired pellets, teargas shells. They also fired in the air and prevented us from approaching the encounter site…My other friend also sustained pellet injuries in his face,’’ he said, while showing pellet marks on his body. As per reports, a day after the encounter, mosques in several localities played songs and recordings praising the terrorists.

The Pampore encounter finally ended after 48 hours when all three LeT terrorists were gunned down by our Special Forces. Our motherland had lost three more valiant sons in Capt Pawan Kumar, Capt Tushar Mahajan and Lance Naik Om Prakash.

Home They Brought  Our Warriors Dead….

Tushar’s father Dev Raj ji recollects, ‘I had no knowledge that Tushar was part of the ongoing operation in Pampore, but when I came to know about the martyrdom of Captain Pawan Kumar I was sad for the whole day. How many more of the most wonderful children will attain martyrdom? Tushar has made the entire nation, especially his hometown proud. Though I have lost my son I am proud that he laid down his life for the nation, an honour which only a few can get,’ his father added. As 26-year-old Tushar’s mortal remains reached the headquarters of army’s Northern Command at Udhampur, his mother Asha ji broke down and almost fainted while hugging her son’s coffin.

“We are sad that we have lost a brave son of the soil but the martyrdom of Tushar, whom I know since childhood, has set a benchmark in nationalism for others to follow. This is the distinction which makes him stand apart from others,” Parveen Kumar, a local resident said. Tushar’s roommate & ‘Buddy’ in the Academy, Kshitij Mishra wrote in his tribute; ‘A very simple guy, to whom you could go asking for help any time and you won’t return disappointed. An excellent cross-country runner, firer, sportsman and in academics too he was a genius. An all-rounder in the true sense! Tushar Mahajan was a man who wore his heart on his sleeve. I have been lucky enough to have known him, to have lived with him for a year, and to have been his brother from another mother. If the phrase “Nerves of steel and a heart of gold” could epitomize a person, there could be no man more suitable than Tushar.’

On hearing about his son’s death, Capt Pawan Kumar’s father Rajbir Singh’s first reaction was, “I had one child, I gave him to the Army, to the Nation. No father can be prouder.”

The young bravehearts’s death and his father’s comments were in stark contrast to the developments in his home state Haryana, which was burning due to agitation by the Jat community demanding reservation, and JNU in Delhi boiling with debates of anti-nationalism. For Captain Pawan Kumar, a Jat and a Jawaharlal Nehru University degree holder, all that mattered was love for the country and not calls of “azadi” on the campus or reservation demand by his community members in Haryana.

Capt Abhimanyu, who was seen wiping his tears while paying tributes to his friend Capt Pawan, said that his sacrifice had taught a lesson to the youth of the state that if one has to lay down his life, it should be for the sake of one’s country.

Lance Naik Om Prakash, 32, was also injured during this gunbattle and succumbed to his injuries later. He had been earlier awarded with the “Asadharan Suraksha Seva Praman Patra” by the prime minister on August 15, 2013 for gallantry in counter-terrorist operations.

His younger brother Sanjay was informed at 2 pm on Sunday that Lance Naik Om Prakash had been gunned down by a group of terrorists holed up in a government building. The news left Sanjay crestfallen, but he was seized by an even greater problem – breaking the news to his brother’s wife, Krishna Devi (32), and daughters Muskan (7) and Simran (3).

Even as Chikhal – the martyred soldier’s village in Himachal – mourned his loss, Devi remained unaware of the tragedy because she was visiting a relative in Solan. “I am going there to bring bhabhi and the others home. Please don’t talk to her about this,” Sanjay said, adding that the family has only been told that Om Prakash is injured. “He was brave. I miss him but also feel proud that he laid down his life for the country,” he said, adding that Om Prakash’s death has hit their father Nek Ram and mother Dropti Devi hard. ‘In Om Prakash’s death, an elderly couple has lost their son, a woman has lost her husband, and two little girls have lost their father,’ said Ram Lal, a Government teacher in the village.

While the Nation honoured the two young officers with the Shaurya Chakra (Posthumous), the facebook posts by Tushar and Pawan speak more about their courage, commitment to duty and maturity than all that I have written in this post.

‘Kisiko reservation chahiye to kisiki ko azadi bhai, humein kutch nahin chahiye bhai, bas apni razai (Some want reservation, others want Independence but I do not want anything, except my blanket) – This was the last Facebook post by martyred Capt Pawan Kumar.

His brother officer, Capt Tushar Mahajan, referring to loud displays of Patriotism, had posted this telling statement on 26th January 2016; ‘So jayegi kal lipatkar Tirange ke saath almarih mein….Desh Bhakti hai Sahib, tareekon par jaagti hai (It will go to sleep tomorrow, along with the Tricolour in the almirah….. Patriotism it is Sir, awakens only on certain dates).

Rising Security Concerns

At this point, my thoughts wander. ‘No attacks in built up areas can take place without some local support’, is what we were told when we went to Nagrota. We were also told that the demography of this previously safe region was changing, as the Government has been encouraging settlers in forest lands. In the past week, the Army Chief has been vociferously criticized by politicians of the hue of Azam Khan and Owasi for his concerns over national security because of illegal immigration into Assam and close by regions. Why is it that those who ensure the freedom of speech and movement for the rest of us countrymen have no right to their own freedom of speech? Protected politicians are free to divide and rule and soldiers must continue to keep shut, even though they are the ones who fight for and die protecting our freedom? Is the Irony lost on the rest of our citizens? I sincerely hope not.

The TV is on as I come close to finish writing. Beautiful, talented Sridevi has left for her heavenly abode and all of Bollywood is talking about their great loss and how she has left too soon. While sharing their sentiments, please do spare a thought for the fact that the ages of our own bravehearts was less than half of Sridevi’s. Naina looks at the TV and with a look of grave concern on her tiny face says, ‘Avva, that aunty’s beta has gone dead.’ I gently correct her impression saying, ‘only that aunty has gone sweetie. Her two betis are fine’. Naina smiles. I feel the urge to weep. May her kids forever stay blessed. RIP Sridevi. That you will have great company up there is something to cheer about?

Even as I come to the end of this tribute to the Pampore Saviors, my thoughts run along to the similarities they share with Akshay. The passion to serve our motherland since a very young age, their lively, helpful, loving and attractive personalities which belied that single minded focus to follow their calling. And finally, when faced with a situation that demanded indomitable courage to save others, each of the young soldiers displayed leadership as they fought fiercely and succeeded. They did so sacrificing their own lives, so that many people they did not even know, could return safely to their own homes. I hope this attempt to pay tribute to brave-hearts I myself have not met, somehow brings them closer to all of you.

As always, I look forward to your comments, feedback and suggestions, even as we move ahead, connected through Akshay.

Love and God bless you all.

Meghna Girish

References:

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-news-india/pampore-encounter-amid-sounds-of-gunfire-anti-india-slogans-songs-praising-militants/

http://www.firstpost.com/india/kuchh-nahi-chahiye-bas-apni-razai-pampore-martyr-capt-pawan-kumars-life-was-shaped-by-jnu-and-jind-2636678.html

http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/capt-pawan-kumar-a-jat-jnu-degree-holder-and-a-soldier/article8264404.ece

50 thoughts on “CONNECTED BY AKSHAY: STARS THAT SHINE BRIGHTEST

  1. Indeed the brightest stars Aunty ! As always a great read brings forward and reminds all of the ultimate sacrifice of these heroes. Sridevi’s untimely Death has filled the facebook pages with reminders to live life & life is unpredictable, our heroes have been dying untimely death leaving behind families & a country which passes by the news of fallen heroes on the border (almost every third day now) if at all it appears on TV amidst the political chaos.
    I Hope your write ups reach as many people and inspire the youth to regard and understand the cost of their freedom!
    Regards !

    Liked by 1 person

      • Aunty, reading your thoughts is a blessing . Over the past 15 months there is so much I’ve learnt from you. You are inspiring so many of us and I’m sure our Hero Akshay is smiling to see u connected to all of us.
        Love and regards

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  2. I still have this…. 😐 🇮🇳 A Man full of Positive vibes, and heart of gold. Wonder if he would have been alive today, how good it would have been to learn so much from him. Just 26…RIP Officer. You are the reason , people enjoy the liberty and freedom.

    Still remember the words of Captain Pawan’s father..It reminds me again that family of a soldier too fights a battle…Till he is on border, and also once he attains Martyrdom. They fight a battle who nobody can understand except those who are going through this..

    Your writing speaks my heart out. With so many things not going good,reading about Major Akshay gives a great sense of satisfaction.

    I hope you are fine and will get well soon. My best regards. Love to Naina ❤️. Hope Girish Sir is doing well and so Sangeeta Mam. Jai Hind 🇮🇳

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    • You are very right Atul, the family has a longer battle after such huge loss that is against the order of nature. That is also the reason for deep sense of pride and strength that Tushar and Pawan’s fathers expressed. Thank you for reading. I will be well soon and yes, Girish and Sangeeta are doing well. Take care. God bless

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  3. Well penned thoughts n feelings.. I read each one of your articles in this series . Major Akshay Girish will remain in our memories and his supreme sacrifice is an inspiration and guiding light for youth like me . You all r truly a very big inspiration for all of us…I salute you for what you did for your family,please kept writing Aunty.

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  4. Beautifully penned Meghna. Salutes to all our bravehearts, brave parents, siblings, spouses n kids too.
    Get well soon dear.
    Looking forward to more write ups.

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  5. Hi Meghna,very well penned..my thoughts &prayers are always with our bravehearts &their families. .been reading all your blogs..it always strikes the right chord..please keep writing…get well soon..God bless your family..

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  6. Hello Meghna Ma’am
    Filled with proud after reading, stories of our National Hero’s…from the best pen.
    Get well soon mother..
    There are numerous of saga of Brave Officer’s and Men’s, which indicates the kind of Josh they have, their love for country, and exemplary leadership during CI… These stories have glorified name of their family, village, town and even cities from where they hail.
    I have a request.. Next time when you meet families of Martyr’s… Please convey our wishes to them.. And tell them Entire nation is debtor of their shahadat..
    For this trip- Thanks to Vikas.
    Please do take care of yourself, be strong always – because you inspires many.
    Jai Hind to Girish Sir & you
    Greetings to Lil Naina
    And
    Regards to Capt. Tushar and Pavan’s family
    God bless
    Amit Pandey

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  7. Thank you aunty for bringing us the stories of these brave martyrs- those who now constitute Maj Akshay’s kiln. While reading about these stories, as always there are goosebumps. Cannot imagine the maturity and leadership these men display at such tender ages. Hats off to them!
    As always, your posts take me off to a different tangent also where I feel that we civilians read, respond and move on with our lives. Should we feel guilty about not being able to do anything for the nation or for those who lost their children? Should we reach out to them and express our gratitude or would that be construed as sympathy? .. I guess time will untie these strands of confusion and when my own children grow up, they will definitely feel and respect for the men in the uniform. Whether or not they choose to don the olive greens, is entirely their choice.
    Lots of love to all of you
    Many salutes and pranam to the martyrs.
    Love
    Ruchi

    Liked by 1 person

    • You have answered the questions in your mind Ruchi….very rightly so. Respect and gratitude from the heart will go a long way in shaping collective thought and response for our true nationalists. Let us rise above cynical thought and understand that love for country and commitment to duty can lead to unimaginable bravery and selfless sacrifice. That pushing back the natural instinct of self preservation and moving ahead to take upon themselves risk of death for strangers, is something most mortals will rarely, if ever, do. These are wonderful, humane, real heroes and if society, country and the world must remain sane, they need to be saluted. Love to you too. God bless

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  8. Dear Ma’am,
    Beautifully articulated and penned down. I was eagerly waiting to read more from you; and was truly glad to have read it today.
    As always, each of the incidents narrated by you, give me goosebumps of a different kind. Such an easy life for us for such a priceless sacrifice by all our great shining stars and their precious family. Ms Ruchi has voiced the same feelings as mine. Each time I think of you ma’am, one question always nags me – how can I contribute?
    My saltutes and pranams to the brave heroes of our motherland and their families. Jai Hind!

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    • Yes Gowri, Ruchi has expressed similar thoughts and while I do not know most answers, have tried to respond which you can read too. Am sure the thought process is what will lead each of us to find ways to support and stand with our real heroes. Young parents raising kids with respect for such right thinking souls will be good for the country’s future I think. We have too many paper tigers being idolized and where is that heading? Thank you for your thoughts. Sending love. Jai Hind.

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  9. Dear Aunty ,
    Ur writing speaks my heart out. You have given the full details of the encounter . Which we don’t know & heard from media too. Pls keep writing Aunty . My salute to all the Brave hearts family . 🙏🏻🙏🏻

    I hope you are fine and will get well soon. My best regards. Love to Naina . Hope Uncle is doing well and so Sangeeta Mam. Jai Hind .

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  10. Dear aunty thanks for writing again and bringing the stories of these three bravehearts in more details than covered by any media. Your writings are such inspiration and its nice to see you, uncle and Sangeeta connect with other Martyrs families and strengthen each other in the struggle and pain you all have to go through for Life. I will forever be grateful to Major Akshay, you all and every other Martyr and their families for the freedom you have provided me and my family to enjoy…

    Everytime I read about the attitude of the localities in the Kashmir Valley towards the Armed Forces I really feel so so angry. Often feel all support from Army and all other defence services to the valley should be completely stopped and the politicians left to handle the situations themselves.

    Recently I was watching Palavi Joshi’s old(1995) DD Serial Aarohan on the induction of women into India Navy on the youtube. There in one of the episodes Pallavi Joshi is attending the SSB interview and is asked a question on “Human rights Violation by the Armed Forces” – I simply loved the clear emphatic answer she gave… It made me wonder that 20+ years back we had such clear and relevant ideas and message sent across on media. Today after all these years, instead being developed we only seem to be deteriorating as a society. In the name of freedom of expression, don’t know what all crap is being said and propogated cia social media.Where do all these politicians and the so called journalists get their idea of human rights from…So low they stoop.. And what are the soap operas on all the channels showcasing today. Where is the message on women empowerment lost in the Saas-Bahu kahanis… Really feel so so sad…

    I showed this serial to my 8year old who thoroughly enjoyed all the 13 episodes and her latest ambition in Life among others is to become a Naval Officer in the Indian Navy… 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • I am really happy to see how well you have delved into the topic Malar- cannot imagine how this azadi issue is forever kept alive by multitude of groups that directly or indirectly benefit by attacking the human rights of the one group that is there in the first place because all other have failed in bringing peace. Our soldiers. I too feel now that the state needs to now go under Governors rule until the mess can be sorted out to some extent. Must also try and watch the DD serial Arohan to listen to the answer you have referred to. I am sure your little one will make you very proud one day. Love and God bless

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  11. Dear aunty,
    Pleased to see your writing and hope your health is getting better. It is heartbreaking to see, hear, listen, read and feel the loss of people who devote their life for higher purpose in this world because of the ruthless, imprudent, inert and violent act of some or should I say many (???). Everyday the crime rate keeps increasing and so does the irresponsibleness of people in authority who are supposed to be exercising it in the right way and at the right time. All these questions keep running in my mind all the time. Why are the innocents harmed while the others make merry at the expense of these innocent’s pain???
    My respect and gratitude to all these great heroes who have given their best under most challenging situations and it is these articles/ real life stories of real heroes brings the needed comfort and motivation to those humble people who are struggling to live up to the good morals in life amidst the other hungry wolves who just want to satisfy their appetite.
    Take care aunty, love and hugs to you.
    -Amritha

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    • You are so right Amritha. We all need to focus on the goodness and greatness of those few people in all walks of life and particularly our soldiers who protect all our citizens. Too many packs of wolves will only end up making meat of our Nations childrens future. Thank you for your respects and salutes to our heroes. I am slowly getting better. Love, hugs and God bless.

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  12. Dearest Meghna….thank you ever so much for sharing all this with all of us….we think we know it all but reading your blog I realised that there is so much more to know. The pain and sorrow that you share with other martyrs’ parents must be some sort of catharsis for you I guess….because no one else can feel what you all feel…..and knowing you, you must be a great support to the other grieving parents!!
    I hope you are feeling better now and out of bed and playing around with Nainu! Do take care! Love you…hugs!!!

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  13. We are blessed to be guarded by these brave hearts who lost their lives to keep us alive. They were the epitome of bravery. But unfortunately few of us take the passion to hold these sacrifices over our selfishness. the army gives its every moment to us but does not get minimum respect in return.
    Hopefully tomorrow will bring the light which outshines the supreme sacrifices of army.
    Pranam aunty ji and uncle ji.
    Love to Naina, Sangeeta, Neha and Pradish.
    Major Akshay Girish amar rahe.
    Jai hind.

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    • Thank you for your comforting words and salutes to our heroes Doyel. Will convey your love to all. Take care. Love and God bless you

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  14. It took me three days to read this one aunty….wanted to hear every syllable crystal and clear….as if a drop of water.
    Often I am left to wonder where do these souls ,these brave souls come from?
    What gives them such unparalleled courage to remain upright and fight the fight? Then comes the inevitable question
    WHY?& FOR WHOM?…Do I deserve their courage ? Stay alive when they don’t?…
    Does an obstruce ..a tainted politician…a criminal who wishes the country to stay devided…A business man ..an arms dealer who sees the…this adverse state of affairs in Jammu and Kashmir as a profitable opportunity that should never seize…a common man who is willing to butcher another on a single instigation by a certain community…a JAT..a SIKH..aHINDU..a CHRISTAIN..A MUSLIM….& THE list continues..how flabbergasted I felt as a patriot that even Men in uniform..are a part of it…this mundane state of things…
    THEN WHAT IS IT? WHY?FOR WHOM?
    Then comes the answer …this was their purpose…How fortunate are these brave who have lived their lives worthwhile and migrated to a totally different form of existence…an immortal one indeed.
    We need to be aware of every moment that we breathe in and breathe out… every single one because we owe it to THEM…
    What could be a common man’s tribute to such great souls …live a life worthwhile..
    You know aunty
    Every time I indulge in a futile discussion or debate on the meek problems I face I am reminded..fondly of our Akshay,smiling and saying..Let it be…
    I am better because of Him…and no doubt I miss Him ..but I am proud of Him…a weight I will keep on my shoulder forever as a star …..
    Love you dear Aunty, You are phenomenal..He was great because of you… stay strong and in the midst of wet eyes never forget to stand tall …stand brave… waiting for your next write up
    Love to nainu…Sangee…uncle…Neha
    Sripradish…
    Yours devotedly
    Shivangi

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Shivangi, I too needed to read and absorb your thoughts, and as always, you have so sensitively articulated all the emotions that are important for sanity and purpose in life. Yes, each of these heroes found and pursued a higher purpose – to bring back goodness in humans and on earth. We share that pride of Akshay’s life lived fully, perfectly and selflessly. To carry that weight on our shoulders and pain in the heart with great pride is what we are doing, and we are better people because of him. Love you too. Sending you hugs, smiles and strength forever. God bless all of you.

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  15. Namaste ma’am! Firstly, a salute to major sir and you all. The country is indebted to you. My blessings to dearest Naina. I discovered your blog last night and read all your posts in one sitting. That’s not a tough thing to do when an incredibly inspiring story has been penned down so beautifully. From the first post itself, I weeped like a baby. I never knew him personally but after reading your blog, I felt like I had lost a dear family member. His poetry touched my soul and his patriotism will continue to inspire me until my last breath. I was in class 11th when the Nagrota attack happened. I remember waking up on that fateful day and watching the terrorists hold our country hostage, once again. Later that day, the names of the martyrs were revealed. I’m ashamed to say that my sole reaction was a condolence message with a ‘RIP’ on Twitter. I wish I had searched for this blog harder and conveyed my emotions directly with you all earlier. But time will not diminish major Sir’s sacrifice and hence I bow down to him and you all.

    I am a defense aspirant myself. I can’t join NDA (since I’m a girl) so I will have to finish my graduation first. I plan to join air force as a fighter pilot and be wrapped in a tricolor if my country requires me to do so. Story of your brave son has deepened my resolve. Once again, salute to major sa’ab! Jai Hind!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Anuja, I am so glad you are inspired by Akshay and his kin to serve our motherland. May you stay focused and reach your goal is what I will wish for you. God bless you. If you do visit Bengaluru, please do make it to Akshay’s home. We are all connected through him and I believe there must be a purpose why he has brought us together. Sending you love. Take care.

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  16. Inspiration for life . They all are Karam yogis.Special people born for a cause,selected for a cause. Ma’am is trying to transcribe the message for us from their life . Hope we will follow and this world can learn something and can try to live in a peace while great souls RIP. Thanks a lot ma’am for writing, lots of love, regards and charan sparsh.

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    • Thank you Lokesh. Karma Yogis they are. And I hope, inspired by them, our youth will strive to protect and strengthen our nation. Jai Hind.

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  17. Just read it so many times aunty,don’t have any words to express my feelings.just a silent prayer for the brave fauzi families & salute to their undaunting spirit.Happy women’s day to my powerful ladies of these brave officers.my daughter’s birthday is on 8th march so this day is all the more special to me.love & good wishes to all these wonderful families whom i cannot meet but feel very strongly for you all everyday.tkcr & God bless u.

    Liked by 1 person

    • My dear Lisa, so happy to hear from you. You have always read and responded to my posts despite being busy with the little one. Happy Women’s Day to you too and am sure your daughter will grow up as wonderful as her mother. Thank you for your love and good wishes to families of heroes. Sending you love and God bless your family. Stay smiling always.

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  18. This article makes me proud of my country’s army. It’s the valor of these brave jawans that I feel secure.
    My prayers and thoughts with the families of the brave soldiers.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Namaste Maa,

    I regularly follow your posts ma, especially nights before going to bed. I don’t why Whenever I read a new post, my mind starts thinking entire night about our brave hearts.

    I’m unable to explain what I used to feel ma, but something which aches my heart, everyday we are losing such great people, who are sacrificing their life, family everything at a small age. You know ma, I used to read your each post lot many times. But Everytime I read unimaginable feeling which I love, although I used to cry while reading.

    Ma, you know whenever I read about these great people, my mind always goes to think of their parents, wife, children. I used to imagine to meet, but don’t what to say to those parents who lost their loving child whom they felt their life, to wife whose most important person is no more, and kids….. No words I have, although it’s an imagination, I’m not dare enough to meet their families. I want to say, treat me as your family…. But ‘ll it console them.

    What I can do is nothing, except praying God to save our Army personnel, takecare of all the Army families. And also wish God, at least in dream, to touch the feet of our great Soldiers.

    I wish god to give atleast one chance to meet you maa… in this life to bow before you and Girish uncle. Sangeetha gariki and little Naina ki a tight hug.

    Love you ma…

    Yours Prathima

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    • The fact that you feel deeply for our soldiers and for the families of those heroes who gave their all for our motherland and people itself is a tribute Prathima. Thank you. Do visit our home- Akshay’s home, if you come to Bengaluru. God bless you and your family.

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  20. Hello Aunty,
    Hope you are doing better now.
    I have been wanting to read your Blogs and today is when I got a chance to do so. So well articulated about the love our Martyrs had for the Armed Forces and their priorities when it came to saving the Nation..
    Please keep writing aunty.. it is such a motivation to read your blogs and the way you introduce your son to us. I have known Maj Akshay only through FB as Sangeeta’s Best half.. but the way you have penned down about your “raja”, it feels we know him for ages now.. every word of yours shine when you mention about Akshay..
    Please take care
    Love and hugs to you all and a special one to Lil Naina

    Liked by 1 person

    • Love, hugs and God bless to you Priya. My raja was perfect in every way and we were blessed to have him in our lives. I hope he is fine wherever he is- spreading smiles and cheer. Thank you for reading and reaching out.

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  21. What better than listening to a martyr’s mother!Well penned down blog about our heroes,aunty.There was nostalgia after reading your blog and guilt also that what we as a nation payback our heroes for their sacrifices.I wear a helmet daily,even if I go to buy grocery,aunty.Such small gestures by every individual I feel will be a tribute for the sacrifices our heroes have made in the line of duty and contribute for the India we want!Love and blessings to all the families of our martyrs!

    Liked by 1 person

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