CONNECTED BY AKSHAY: SUNNY DAYS AND STRANGE MIX OF EMOTIONS

The past few weeks have been a see-saw of happenings and emotions.  Yet, here I am again, one year, three months and  twenty four days since Akshay, sharing my thoughts with all of you, even as I try to do my best to bring to you more stories of our brave and selfless heroes.

As the wintry months yielded to the warm month of March, a short break took us to Amritsar. We had been waiting to make this trip since so long. To visit the Golden Temple, because it was the last famous place of worship Akshay had been to, before destiny placed on him the huge responsibility of protecting unarmed families and defending our motherland. Many of us believe that we are drawn to shrines ‘jab bulava aata hai (when God calls us there)’ and that is what happened with Akshay-Sangeeta-Naina in September 2016, while driving to Nagrota via Amritsar, to meet friends. This time, Girish and I went to Amritsar with Prabha, Jamuna and Ankit on the invitation of Aasma’s parents and I knew our ‘bulava(calling)’ had come from Harmandir Saheb.

All through the two-day trip, my heart and mind overflowed with thoughts of Akshay. Knowing how happy he would have been at this ‘South meets North’ bonding, and his brother’s choice of Aasma as his life partner, made me also very happy. We had such a good time meeting (and eating!) with the soon-to-be extended family. While Aasma’s smiling mother effortlessly played the perfect hostess, her dad arranged for us to visit Golden Temple and Wagah border. I know Akshay would have loved being there, chatting non-stop with Pawan ji and being big brother to Ankit and the girls. And anyone who has been to Wagah and witnessed the retreat ceremony will agree that the experience unites all Indians with that rush of love and pride for our Nation.

In the Golden temple, Akshay’s smiling presence seemed everywhere. Despite trying my best to stay composed, the meltdown happened as Girish and I sat in the holy precincts of the revered Gurudwara. The tears that could not be stopped were also a release of much pent-up grief and I hope I did not embarrass anyone at such a happy time when celebrations are in the air.

Back in Bangalore, witnessing the energy of patriotic youth celebrating the 41st birthday of Taj Mumbai savior Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan filled my heart with hope and faith. Hope that real heroes who gave their all for India will not be forgotten. In pouring rain, in the open, with no electricity (so no mike), hundreds of bright eyed young people sat silently, in rapt attention, listening to inspiring young leaders like Chakravarthy Mithun and Capt Naveen Nagappa. Every time they were deeply touched, they saluted valour and sacrifice with ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai and Sandeep Bhaiya Amar Rahe.’

Another hero shares his birth month with Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan. Capt. Amit Bharadwaj, fondly called ‘Annu’ by his family, was born on 4th March, 1972.  At first glimpse of the bright face of their grandson, the grandparents and the extended family rejoiced at little Amit Bharadwaj’s birth. While mother Smt Sushila Sharma, and RBI officer father, Shri O.P. Sharma were understandably thrilled, 3-year-old Sunita, their first born, fell in love with her baby brother! It was a bond made in heaven which has stood the test of time and tragedy.

Sunita talks of how Amit aimed high since a very early age. Aged around 4, he said he wanted to become someone great – ‘like a pilot or a leader whose pictures were seen in the newspaper’. Once, in a temple, he asked his mother why everyone was bowing their head and was told everyone bows down to God. Since that day, he decided he would become ‘God’ when he ‘grew up’! Little did his mother know then that countless people have since bowed before his legendary valour and sacrifice.

Amit’s sister Sunita remembers him as her little brother who was not only very good at sports but also very intelligent, excelling at his studies in St. Xavier’s Boys school. What set him apart from most others was how he instinctively went out of his way to demonstrate care, kindness and support for others. From giving up his umbrella to the rickshaw-wala who ferried them from school to draping his warm jacket on a child who did not have one, from spending his pocket money to buy food for someone poor to rushing strangers to hospital for timely medical help after an accident/ an epileptic attack, nothing seemed to deter this selfless soul. Sunita recalls how Amit once brought an injured stranger home and administered first aid himself. When his parents tried telling him that it wasn’t safe to bring home people they did not know, he countered his father by asking ‘If I had an accident and lay injured, wouldn’t you want someone to do the same for me?

On graduating from Rajasthan University, Amit, by now well known in his neighbourhood for being a blend of kindness and courage with dreams of unity and peace, decided he wanted to serve the nation by becoming an IAS or an Army Officer. He cleared the written CDS exam the first time but not the tough SSB interview. Undeterred, he made it in his second attempt with a medical rider- he had to have corrective sinus surgery. Determined not to let anything stop his donning the Olive Greens, Amit underwent the surgery. Conscious of the fact that he had a large mole on his back, he told the doctor to remove that as well, ‘without any anesthesia,’ justifying his choice with ‘as a soldier, in case I am ever tortured by the enemy, I should be able to bear the pain’. This remarkably focused young man was selected into the Army in the year 1997 and joined the 4 Jat Regiment as Lt. Bharadwaj. From June 1998, his regiment moved to Kaksar area of Kargil.

Destiny connected two young bravehearts, Lt. Amit Bharadwaj and Lt. Saurabh Kalia like never before. Saurabh, the son of Dr N K Kalia, a senior scientist at the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research and Vijay Kalia in Palampur, Himachal Pradesh was born on June 29, 1976 and after his graduation, this academically brilliant young man was selected for the Indian Army. Commissioned on December 12, 1998, Saurabh joined his  and Amit’s Regiment, 4 Jat in January 1999. His first speech in his Regiment had just two lines. “Today I am proud that I have joined 4 Jat & one day 4 Jat will be proud that Saurabh Kalia joined this Regiment.” These were indeed prophetic words.

In the Kaskar area of Kargil, Amit was very happy that someone younger had joined his Regiment and he was now the older ‘subaltern’. Saurabh became Amit’s ‘baccha’ or ‘youngster’ in the Regiment as Lt. Amit took him under his wings, mentored him, became his friend and also taught him all that he had learnt as a soldier-leader.

Murders Before the Kargil War

The Kargil war may have officially started on May 26, 1999, when the Indian Army & Air Force jointly launched ‘Operation Vijay’ to throw out the Pakistanis who had surreptitiously intruded into and occupied icy, unmanned peaks on the Indian side of the LOC in Kargil sector of J&K. However, crossing the LOC into Indian territory by Pakistani rangers and terrorists dressed in civilian clothes had begun months before war was declared. The cowardly intrusion to steal part of our territory was first detected on May 3, when two local shepherds named Tashi Namgyal & Tresing Morup reported seeing strangers on a ridgeline in the Batalik sector.

The 4 Jat Regiment was one of the two units asked to verify these reports. Lt Saurabh Kalia led a 5-man patrol comprising sepoys Arjun Ram, Bhanwar Lal Bagaria, Bhikha Ram Moola Ram and Naresh Singh who braved heavy snow to get to Bajrang post in Kargil sector. But as they neared their objective around 3.30 pm on May 15, they were suddenly fired upon by the Pakistani intruders who had occupied the Bajrang Post in large numbers. Lt Saurabh and his small team fought back, even as they reported the incident back to battalion headquarters, seeking urgent reinforcements. Out-numbered  by an unexpected enemy that was armed to the teeth, the patrol soon ran out of ammunition. Hours later, long before the reinforcements could arrive, Lt Saurabh and his 4 men were surrounded and captured.

Getting to the Pinnacle of Courage and Sacrifice

To find and rescue ‘baccha’ Lt. Saurabh and his team, Capt. Amit led a search party of about 35 soldiers and reached the Bajrang post. Hit by a fierce volley of enemy fire, he quickly realized that the enemy numbers at the high post were much greater than they had anticipated. Four of his men had already been hit from the enemy position of strength that gave them a clear view. Amit knew they did not stand a fighting chance. Taking a quick decision to save his soldiers, he ordered his men to retreat, report the situation to the base camp and get help. It is when faced with ‘do or die’ circumstances like these that the true mettle of an Indian Officer shines. A beacon of courage and sacrifice, Capt. Amit Bharadwaj rose to the situation to protect his soldiers and defend his country ‘at the peril of his life’. I hope all you readers will try and visualize the situation to understand what happened next.

When Amit ordered his men to retreat, he decided to stay back alone, to keep the enemy occupied, while also giving his men ‘cover fire’ so that they would get back to camp safely. Capt. Amit’s buddy Havaldar Rajvir Singh, a father of two, refused to leave his officer alone. Knowing this was a mission impossible to return alive from, Amit pleaded with Rajvir saying ‘you have a family- wife and children who need you. I am not even married. Please go back’. When Rajvir did not budge, Amit tried ‘you cannot disobey your officer’s orders.’ But Hav. Rajvir reportedly stood his ground saying ‘you can punish me for disobedience after we get back Sir. I will not leave you alone at this time’.

That is how Capt. Amit and Hav. Rajvir became a two-man fighting army to defend and save their brothers. Not only did they help save 29 soldiers of their Regiment who retreated, reports say they also killed about 10 Pakistani infiltrators. Hugely outnumbered by the enemy, both brave-hearts were hit by a number of bullets while fighting to their last breath. As per the norm, because their bodies could not be retrieved, the families were told their loved ones were ‘missing in action.’ Imagine their 56 day wait, emotions oscillating between hope and despair, prayers and tears…and try and comprehend the strength needed to cope with such a situation.

Families of the Warriors

Meanwhile, Lt Saurabh Kalia and his men were held in Pakistani captivity for over twenty-two days and subjected to demonic torture. The mutilated bodies of all five bravehearts were returned to India on June 9th. Postmortems were conducted by a panel of doctors from Safdarjung Hospital in New Delhi. The death certificates of our soldiers revealed what will never be forgotten by any caring citizen. Young Saurabh had his eye-balls gouged out, ear drums were punctured with hot rods, nose, upper & lower lips were smashed; the index finger was cut (as this finger is used to fire a rifle); forearm & right shoulder was broken. The other soldiers had been similarly tortured. Cigarette burns were visible all over their bodies; their private parts were chopped; back of the head was smashed by a rifle-butt so badly that the skull was visible. These six brave soldiers went through this living hell for 22 long days before being finally shot dead by their Pakistani captors. After violating all international human right laws, Pakistan blatantly denied the torture of the six soldiers and rejected India’s demand to punish the guilty.

For the past nineteen years, Saurabh Kalia’s father has been fighting for justice for his son. He and many of us feel that our soldiers torture and murder in captivity should be declared as a war crime by the UN. He talks about the time he had met the Indian Army Chief after the Kargil war. “The army chief visited us and he told us, Capt. Saurabh Kalia’s sacrifice had woken up a sleeping nation” says the father, pride and pain visible in his eyes. Are we finally awake or will it take many more sacrifices to unite us to take a stand that supports the rights of our soldier-protectors?

Meanwhile, Capt. Amit Bharadwaj and 5 other soldiers lay where they had been martyred until Bajrang post was recaptured on July 13, 1999. Their bodies were finally retrieved 56 days after they had shed blood on 17th May 1999. When their mortal remains could be recovered, it became obvious that Amit Bharadwaj had a heroic death, his weapon held in his hands despite his body ridden with bullets. A few years earlier, on a visit to India Gate, Amit had pointed to names of martyrs and told his friend, “One fine day, you will read my name here.”

For those of you who think I am strong after losing Akshay, I bring to you the story of Amit Bharadwaj’s sister Sunita. A young mother of two when Amit was reported missing, Sunita was the first one to receive a phone call that shattered hopes of her brother’s safe return.  On 5th June 1999, the caller, who did not give his name, told Sunita he had seen Amit’s body from afar. Knowing that her parents awaited his return since the Army letter only stated he was ‘missing’, she did not want to say anything that broke their hearts and spirits, unless the bad news was officially confirmed. So, this brave sister kept her own grief locked up for five long weeks, doing all she could to support her parents as they hoped and prayed for Amit’s return. He arrived finally, draped in the Tricolour.

Sunita knew then that she had to stay and care for her shattered parents. Disregarding social norms, she moved back to her parental home with two little daughters and her supportive husband and has stayed there, shouldering her dual responsibilities ever since. A year later, she gave birth to a son. For Sunita and her parents, the birth of the little one signaled Amit’s return to the family. Strangely, the baby even sported the very same birthmark Amit had, and after a fall as a baby, has a scar over the same eyebrow as Amit’s! A tiny miracle, Sunita’s son did help usher in light into their dark world. Today, Amit’s ties with his Regiment remain stronger than ever through Sunita, who is every soldier’s sister in the unit since 1999, when she first sent Rakhi’s meant for Amit to his brothers in 4 Jat. And Twenty years after Amit’s supreme sacrifice, officers and soldiers from the Regiment continue to visit the family, opting to stay in ‘Amit’s home’ rather than in any Mess or Guest house. Such are the ties of unending loyalty and respect.

Speaking with Sunita, I realise that for her, the memories of her little brother are so bright that she remembers every little detail as if they happened just yesterday. How when he came on leave, Amit would go straight from the railway station to her house to first pick up his nieces Vydehi and Jhaanvi.  He would pull out the chocolates as they shrieked in delight and take them along everywhere he went, spending all available time with parents and the extended family of uncles, aunts and cousins he loved so much. He wrote very well- in Hindi and English, and the family has preserved precious excerpts from his diary, some written shortly before his martyrdom. Sunita’s little girls are all grown up now but ask them and they will express how much they miss their ‘mama(uncle)’ because he was taken away too soon and they really did not get to spend enough time with their hero.

Adrija tells me that even today, Saurabh Kalia’s younger brother Vaibhav expresses his own loss to his father saying, ‘Papa, you have another child in me but I have forever lost my one and only brother.’ I am suddenly overcome with grief thinking of how huge Neha’s loss is. For the rest of her life, she has lost a sibling she grew up with, a million memories to deal with for the 30 years they spent together. All those of you, who like me have a sibling, will understand, that it is one thing to grow up an only child and a completely different thing to have to deal with losing a sibling you love.

Will Vaibhav, the first one to ‘identify the body,’ ever be able to forgive leave alone forget, what was done to his brother Saurabh for 22 days before he was killed? Or that families of our soldiers who bore the torture and died for our motherland still await justice? Sadly, public memory and gratitude is much more short-lived. What else can explain the fact that while elections, financial scams and human rights of stone pelters dominate debates and discussions, rarely if ever do newspapers and television channels talk about the sacrifices of our soldiers, who always have and always will, give their all to defend our ‘vibrant democracy(?!).’

To each of you who have reached out, saying you find strength and inspiration reading what I write, I have to confess that I myself have been through the most terrible lows and have even contemplated the unthinkable, to escape grief and despair. Having interacted with incredible people like parents of martyrs Maj. Sandeep Unnikrishnan and Capt. Tushar Mahajan who are doing so much for others after losing their most precious, courageous wives of bravehearts like Col Jojan Thomas, Major Shafeeq Ghori, Maj Padmapani Acharya, and beautiful, ‘sorted’ children like Sufiya, Saif, Meghana, Philly and Aparajita among many others, I am today stronger and more positive about the future. I think of what Hav. Rajvir Singh’s children may have had to cope with back home in their village in Haryana and hope they have also grown up and settled down well by now. In the years to come, kids like Umang, Naina, Rehaan will also grow up as brave, humane and responsible citizens. An asset to our Nation.

As I come to the end of this post, as always, I look closely at Akshay’s picture….. maybe for some sign of approval…? I see those bright eyes glistening, the faint smile a tad deeper….and feel he knows what I am doing. Bringing you stories of our unsung heroes. I hope Amit Bharadwaj, Saurabh Kalia and Rajvir Singh will also approve of this post. I also hope that just in case some of you as young people are going through trying times, whatever the reasons may be, you will also draw on courage and perseverance to never give up on life and your dreams of a happy tomorrow.

As always, I reiterate what I have been saying all along. I am guided by my brightest star and am learning as I go along this path of staying connected with all of you, through Akshay. Please do tell me how you feel about this post.

Today, is Martyrs Day. We were not born when three young freedom fighters Shaheed Bhagat Singh, Shivaram Rajguru and Sukdev Thapar chose martyrdom over bowing their heads to the East India Company. They were hanged on 23rd March 1931. The irony is that few today realise the huge role they played in igniting the fire that led to our freedom from British rule. I know you join me in paying tributes to all our heroes since.

To each one of you on this journey with us, I can only say ‘take care’. Stay blessed and stay smiling. Love and best wishes always.

Meghna.

Photo Credits: I am very grateful to the families of our bravehearts, particularly Sunita Dhonkaria and member of Desh, Adrija Sen for these precious pictures. Some have also been sourced from the internet.

References:

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/15-years-on-Kargil-martyrs-sister-maintains-Rakhi-ties-with-his-unit/articleshow/40069857.cms

https://www.indiatimes.com/culture/who-we-are/the-life-and-times-of-capt-saurabh-kalia-revealed-in-a-conversation-with-his-family-258786.html

 

43 thoughts on “CONNECTED BY AKSHAY: SUNNY DAYS AND STRANGE MIX OF EMOTIONS

  1. Dear Meghna Aunty! After Reading this wonderful line about ur tripe to amritsar and about our real hero.. I m speechless, I don’t know how to say what i m feeling. Since the day when i start reading ur blog i always feel bless and i m thankful for this to you.. Keep writing aunty and please do motivate all of us…Lots of love to Princess Naina…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Anshu, am so glad Akshay and my writing motivates you. Thank you for reading and responding. Naina is showing signs of being active, cheerful and strong willed! Will give her your love. Take care. Hugs. God bless

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  2. Mam, this got me in tears, with every story of our brave soldiers you mentioned I found myself in that scene with them, these are our real heros and we the citizens of India will always be indebted to the Supreme sacrifice of these heroes and their families and we are with you always.

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  3. Dearest Meghna…yet again I’m in awe and left speechless…I will not comment anymore because there is nothing I can say…All i can say is that, just keep writing. You have no idea how wonderful it is to read your blogs, there is so much we learn. Love and hugs!!! ❤

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  4. Hi Aunty!

    Was waiting for your post! Thanks for writing, very very informative – thanks so much for bringing us so much information which we wouldn’t have known about.

    Much, much love to your family & you!

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  5. Dear Aunty,
    A big salute to all the families of martyrs on this day.
    A sixth sense told me that you will write the next part of your blog today and here it is. Feel blessed and overwhelmed at this unsaid unknown connection.
    The bravery of all the young men mentioned in your post is truly extraordinary. My heart goes out to Capt Saurabh Kalias family. The trauma that they would have gone through is unfathomable and yet they exhibit the ‘never say die’ spirit. Justice delayed is justice denied and shame on the Government of India who just does not prioritise its martyrs. On one side there are men who give their all to the nation and on the other side are the bureaucrats who couldn’t care less about the nation.
    It must have been therapeutic for you to be at Harminder Sahib. I am sure you got some solace there and sometimes when your emotions are at their peak, the outburst happens. We all suffer through this and I hope that you are feeling better now.
    Aunty, you are the source of strength and inspiration for many of us. Be strong. I am sure you know you can reach out to us whenever you feel like.
    Lots of love
    Ruchi

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    • The unspoken connections are felt Ruchi- more strongly with time. I have been seeing other signs that make me feel Akshay’s cheerful presence and for that I am very grateful. Somehow, wherever he is, the vibes I get tell me he is ok- not sad or upset. Hope this is true. Each time I think of Saurabh Kalia and his men, cannot but be very very sad and angry at justice being denied to them. Yes, am grateful for the peace at Harmandir Sahib. Sending you lots of love too. God bless

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  6. Meghna ji ….. I have read just the first few lines yet and I’m feeling so sad at having missed the opportunity to meet you all …. How could you forget that I live here …. I would have come anywhere you wanted just to hug you n Girish ji once …. I’m heartbroken really .. More later after I read the whole blog

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    • I am truly sorry Nidhi. My fault. The trip was sudden but I should have remembered and reached out. Thought of you on the return flight! Come to Bangalore and let me make up for this …?

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  7. Heart wrenching! Truly inspiring ma’am! My heartfelt salute and pranams to all the heroes and their families! Thank you for sharing the stories of these priceless jewels of our Nation! Gratitude among the general public is indeed short-lived. But blogs like yours keep waking us up from our slumber. Hopefully some day we will start contributing too…
    Jai Hind!

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    • Am so glad you feel we should all contribute Gowri. Once the thought is strong, action will follow. Thank you for reading and pranams to our heroes. God bless you and your family

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  8. “I am today stronger and more positive about the future.’’
    Ma’am your words
    They give courage and relief , you are a inspiration to this Nation India .
    You have learned to make a painkiller from your pain ma’am . Pharmacist ho na ma’am . Haha
    Yes true, that’s what our Moral army is they inspire us and motivate us .
    Not to give up.
    Shat Shat Naman
    Lokesh

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  9. Dear Meghna Aunty ,

    Truly inspiring and heartwrenching story . Tears are flowing down and I’m unable to express my feelings through words at this moment . Hats off to the brave hearts and salute to the family for being very strong after such immense loss. I keep all of you in my prayers and I wish I could meet each one of you and give a big hug and salute for sacrifices made.

    Aunty , please keep writing more about these brave soldiers and I will keep all these posts and share it with my son at some point of time. If my son wishes to wear olive greens and serve our nation , that will be the tribute for all these brave men who fought for our nation.

    Jai hind.

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    • Dear Preethi, I am so touched by your comments. All I can say is stay blessed. And I am sure as a such a caring and patriotic mother, you will support your child in whatever dreams he has. Take care. God bless your son always.

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  10. My heart goes out for Neha. Major Akshay gives a sister bonding to her through Sangeeta. On positive note, cheers and long live to Neha- Sangeeta bonding. Credits to Major Akshay for connecting these two wonderful women. Respect and gratitude to Captain Saurabh Kalia, Captain Amit Bharadwaj, Hav. Rajvir Singh and their families. Keep writing aunty whenever possible .You have an amazing skill. God bless you all. Best wishes to Naina, Rehaan, Umang and other braveheart’s kids of our nation for their bright future.

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    • Thank you dear Soundarya for your concern for Neha and Sangeeta and thoughtful comments. Salutes and tributes to heroes like Saurabh Kalia, Hav. Rajvir Singh and Amit Bharadwaj are particularly important if we expect our country to be protected and defended in the future as well. Sending you love. God bless your family

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  11. Dear aunty,
    Pleased to read your next article. Reading this article it brings in some sort of an untold pain to know what each and every soldier had gone through and so does their family to accept and come to terms of such violent handlings of their loved ones. Thank you for writing about the unsung heroes to a larger crowd. This is one good way to reach out and inspire many. All I could say is that with every writing of yours my respect and gratitude to these real heroes keeps increasing. There is a lot to learn from them. You have an amazing talent to bring these inspirations to many people out there, aunty. Keeping in my prayers all the brave hearts and their families. Love and hugs to you all.

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    • Thank you Amritha. I am glad some of you regularly encourage me to bring our heroes closer to to co-citizens like you. Thank you for reading and responding with constructive comments and tributes to bravehearts. Akshay i think is smiling somewehere. Love and God bless

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      • I am sure Akshay is smiling from somewhere above and taking pride of his family (his mom (the main writer), his dad, his wife, and his brothers and sisters) and friends are taking forward his last conversation with Sangeeta saying, “You should be writing about this one day”. Keep writing aunty to inspire many and in this way we all feel connected with Akshay and other bravehearts along with family and friends.
        Love to you aunty.

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  12. Hi Meghana Aunty,

    I have read all your blog posts as my friends from Manipal institute shared them and told me about them. Thank you for sharing your grief, your stories and your wisdom. I bow my head to Major Akshay’s sacrifice and to your entire family. As I read this blog today I held my 3.5 year old son tightly and there is so much pain in my heart at the thought of a mother losing her child. “ Maa tujhe salaam”. I have never forgotten about major Saurabh Kalia and he indeed woke up a sense of duty and sacrifice in an otherwise sleeping nation. I wish there was more I could do to celebrate the brave sons of India and I cannot put in words how grateful I am to families like you who gave their brave sons to motherland. It’s only because of them that we lived and grew up peacefully in India. Sangeetha, Naina and your entire family is always in my prayers. Jai Hind.

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    • So so touched by your response Monica. Not forgetting Saurabh Kalia is very important for all Indians and I am happy you have voiced it so clearly. Do give your little one a hug from meghna nani too. May he always be safe and blessed. Love and take care.

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  13. Dear Meghna Aunty, Reading this wonderful line about ur tripe to amritsar and about our real hero.. I m speechless, I don’t know how to say what i m feeling. Since the day when i start reading ur blog i always feel bless and i m thankful for this to you.. Keep writing aunty and please do motivate all of us…
    Lots of love to sangeeta & Naina .

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    • Thank you for reading and posting your comments Chitra. Each of these responses make me feel that our real heroes are respected and saluted by our people. Love to you too. God bless.

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  14. Hello Aunty ,

    Your comment about how huge Neha’s loss really affected me. I am a batchmate of hers from MIT. When I saw the news about Akshau it always mentioned that he is survived by his wife, parents and daughter.For some reason, no one mentions the sibling. That really affected me. Hope she is coping as best as she can.

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    • You are so right and this perception driven style of reporting is so sad. Thank you for your concern for Neha. As Akshay’s sister, she is coping bravely and since she does not verbally express much, I feel she bottles up her grief thinking of our loss. Luckily she has Pradish and a loving family. You take care. God bless you and your family

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  15. Mam i was moved by the supreme sacrifice made by capt sourabh kalia and capt amit bhardwaj;they are still with us in the form of our good deeds;they were not normal humans;they were gods chosen ones;saints.

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  16. Dear Mam,
    I have forever wondered what supreme brave hearts can send their loved ones for protecting us, as we sit and sleep beside our babies , feeling so safe and secured. I have always read your blogs mam, and reading how it is not a career of convenience but that of passion and true love for one’s nation makes my heart swell with pride. I pass by the Cantonment area of Delhi on my way to work and each day in my heart of heart thank families like yours for the brave soldiers of the country. Respect to you and family mam!

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    • Dear Lipi, You have raised an important point. In my personal opinion, I do feel that while for some it may be a career that is not their first choice, for the bravest and most patriotic, it is true love, determination and effort that makes them wear the Uniform to protect us all. Thank you for your respect for our soldiers. God bless your families, particularly your little ones.

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  17. Dear aunty everytime i read your blog it’s like reading a letter from a mother to her daughter telling her about the truth,the highs & lows of life.it seems you personally touch our lives so deeply that we feel connected to you.After reading the first thing that i want to do is give u a warm hug,tell u that ur just too brave a mum,tell sangeeta that her precious pictures with Maj.Akshay keeps flasing in our thoughts every now and then,tell neha that her loss is enormous have no words to comfort her,tell Girish uncle that his spirit is undaunted and for little Nainu,Rehan,Umang that we’re waiting to see them grow up may God fulfill all their dreams.Hope that some justice is meted out to Dr.kalia & his family though no words are enough to pacify them.To all our brave ones we are indebted to u all value your sacrifice a lot.lastly wishing Ankit & Asma a very blissfullife ahead.Tkcr Will wait for your next blog.

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    • Dear Lisa, you always read and respond with such specific context to each blog post and I am so touched by your clarity of thought and your concern for all of us -families of heroes and martyrs. Thank you very much for the good wishes to the children – Ankit and Aasma. Love to you and the kids. God bless your family.

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  18. Respected Ma’am, I just came across one of your write-ups and then couldn’t refrain myself from reading your entire blog. The pain you all are going through is clearly evident through your writings but one thing is for sure…… Just like you feel proud to have a son like Major Akshay, he also would be feeling proud from up there to have a mother like you, who is striving through this pain but is still trying to bring forth and preserve the story of his life and his supreme sacrifice (and also of our other heroes) for us unworthy civilians. I always wonder what mettle are our soldiers made of which drives them to sacrifice their lives just in an instant for the sake of people who they don’t even know. Salute…. Respect….
    Bows…. Prayers…. all seem so miniscule to honour their valour and fill their families’ void. Thank you ma’am.

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    • Dear Prerna, I am touched and grateful for your comments. Yes, our soldiers have always put service before self, at the peril of their life. Something many who put themselves and their families first may consider ‘foolish’. If only majority of people were able to define greatness as well as you have, we would be a country that truly celebrates ‘unity in diversity’. God bless you and your family.

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  19. Everytime I read your writings and am filled with mixed emotions both quite contradictory yet exist together in parallel spaces within me…. When I read about our immortal soldiers.. their grit spectacular spirit..their untimely demise yet their more than alive achievements there are only questions and tears… why ‘s and their answers….Our country is what it is for great men like Capt.Saurabh Kalia,Capt.Amit Bharadwaj and Hav.Rajbir…chose to fight..to take that road not travelled by many even to the ‘peril of my life’s…as the oath goes.
    Even though I feel immense grief and great feelings of anguish somewhere deep under I understand why?
    What can we as ordinary citizens of this country blessed with such great men do…
    I feel by only standing on the path of truth and choosing the rightful option can we pay back…
    No matter what our profession is.. whether doctors or lawyers, government servants or private owners..if we all choose to fight corruption,to stand with truth,live each day as if it was the last and continue to strive not only for our selfish needs but for the bigger cause…in all fields
    Then I feel to a certain degree are we paying back for their unparalleled courage and sacrifice…
    I can’t take Akshay out of my mind because I choose not to Aunty.
    He is my inspiration…my star I carry on my shoulder.
    Please keep writing…
    Did take time to respond but wanted to do justice
    Yours affectionately
    Shivangi
    P.S
    Please give my love to Sangee,Neha,uncle and a bear hug to Nainu….

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Shivangi, as always you have written from the heart after reading and thinking about what lives of our heroes mean to us. I know Akshay is forever with you and am proud to have you in our lives. Something I read today I want to share here- ‘Highway to hell and stairway to heaven tells you the state of the traffic headed each way.’ We know where are heroes are and where we want to be going right?! Stay inspired and as sweet as you are. Love and God bless.

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