Time stands still…and will do so …for ever…

I have been writing in anger and passion a lot about the army, the fight and the attacks, and had been running away from writing this last piece, as I knew this will take a lot of emotional energy…as I here will talk about a permanent scar which these sacrifices leave in the hearts of the family who send their son to fight the war.

Let me begin by sharing my encounter with some people with zero national character…those who are shame to our country

It was in year 1999 just before Kargil, I was having discussion with friends on bravery of our Army men and how they should be honored as they are willing to sacrifice their lives for the nation. And a friend shot back with an insensitive reply saying “well they join army knowing that they will die, they choose to die, so why worry?”

I still boil with anger when I think of that day, as this comment came when I was citing a heroic story of my cousin brother who had died just few months back in 34 hours encounter with terrorists in the valley…

and i get a reply “army men know they will die…and they choose to?”I wish I can go back in time and slap that person and tell him, that these men die to save civilians like himself , who rather than feeling thankful don’t even value the sacrifice?

9 years since and I hear another comment, well not that severe but still hurts “it is a known fact and not new, that it is not worth dying for this country”. I feel very sad when I think of those 1000’s of men who died to save people like these, rather than honoring them they make it look like an obvious mistake…

that is where I give up and feel that it was not worth it, when the people for whom our forces die for, the people who sleep in peace when our men take bullets at border…these very people, don’t even acknowledge their sacrifice and shamelessly take it for granted – that Army men are ready to fight war and die…that it is known that it is not worth dying for our country…

Well in all of this they very conveniently forget one word “men” attached to the word army. Have they ever thought what happens to the families of these people, have they ever thought that these guys may have wife, kid, siblings, parents, friends?

Let me throw some light…

They are humans like us with families and friends – with dreams and hope. Like a Army officer i know of – father to be when he was called to fight in the valley, his wife 5 months pregnant ,he made promises to buy pram and toys for the kids on his return…and left with many more such joyful thoughts. The father being and ex army officer sent his son to the war with pride, mother packed paratha’s made in milk so that it remains soft for long, only later to receive the news that their son died a death of bravery. His younger sister then pregnant too was called from Delhi to Dehradun, on some pretext to meet parents, not knowing that when she reaches she will await with her parents for her brother’s coffin. My hands are shaking writing about happened 10 years back…as it shakes the very core of us even today.

The news on media fades and your candle flame dies – but life for these family go on…think of the young wife, who has to bring up a kid on her own, think of the kid, who has never seen her father and will grow up looking at papa’s pictures and listening to his stories, think of the sisters plight every year on festival called raakhi..think of the parents who now spend their life looking at the picture albums, and lie to each other hiding their pain, fearing they will add on to spouses pain if seen crying.

Life moves on for the world…but it stands still for the family who looses their son…media forgets the sacrifice in 20 days, minister forgets the speech on bravery in 20 minutes, but you visit that house after 20 years…you will still find the parents holding their son’s picture, the son they sent to fight the enemy at front for all of us…

For them the time stands still, and for this family I know the time stood still in August of 98…

Bow to the men in Khakhi

Ok after talking sooooooo much about the defence forces (influenced by my defence background) I want to actually stand up for the cops who fought. I have a specific reason to say so…the Army and commando’s are better equipped and trained, and they somehow know and believe that they can gun the enemy down and over power them…and they go head on…

What about our cops? knowing that they are not trained for the said situation, knowing that they do not have proper arms, knowing they don’t have any protection, knowing that they do not stand much chance in front of the enemy, still went ahead – they moved forward knowing that the enemy is much more powerful…

It takes a lot of courage and bravery to go ahead when you know that you don’t stand much chance in front of your enemy …

I bow to the bravery of these men in Khakhi.

Men in Uniform – Hero’s not just today, but every day…

You call them Hero’s today when you see them on TV in blacks slithering down the chopper and fighting day and night for our sake.

I want to say that these guys are heroes every moment they live, and many die a life of Heros…but we never come to know…as they don’t do it in front of us not in front of TV.

War or no war, attacks or no attacks, they are heros every day, every moment they serve the country…

They choose to join forces knowing that they will not be living in the luxuries you and I might be living in. They, for one do not get the salaries and increments that the corporate provides. They move from one city to another 3 to 4 years with every posting. Most of the times with family and many times without family. Reasons, the posting area may be sensitive, and a non family station. The hardships of weathers, just about ok houses, ditto MES furniture in all houses. There are TD’s( Transfer duties) where our men have to go and be without family for months.

In name of kids education, there is a central school (KV) in every station, many times a hindi medium only. Wives of these men cannot pursue any career, as they have to pack their bags every 3 years and move to a new base. Hence if they happen to get posted to a big city, they start their kids schooling with the school they want to, but then they move on the next posting alone, leaving wife and kid behind for the sake of better education for the child.

And when the crises hit, they pack up for the border when the duty calls. They see their men fall with the bullet shot in front of their eyes, knowing that they could be the next. They also have to carry the news to the family’s of those who get killed in the war, to announce to their wives that her husband will not come back home, to the parents to the sisters, to the brothers, to the children…there are many kids, who are too young to remember their father when they loose them and grow looking at their pictures and listening to the story of their bravery.

These men are not only hero’s today when we see them fight, they are not only hero’s when they fight but we do not see, they are hero’s even when they are not at front, coz they live with their families a life of hardship and are prepared to take on the front when ever needed.

I have highest of regards for these men in uniform.

You Wake up now?

Entire India has woken up to attacks today, saying enough is enough !!!

Why? Simple – Coz this time the attacks happened at the elitest of the lot. Till now the garbage picker, or chai wala or some other segment of the poor were getting killed, but today we have candle march as the rich is affected. My friend Deepak made an interesting comment saying “today the world is shaken, as the page 3 guys are affected, it is not new, people have died before, but now it is noticed as it happened to people who have a voice”

Mumbai was enlightened with new words– “NSG , Army , Commando“ now when it happened on it’s doorstep – well these guys had been in existence for long…they have had major operations even earlier, but Mumbai woke up to this fact today.

Forget the NSG which is a special team involved in special operations, how is it that Army is hero only today when they saw them in uniforms on Mumbai roads fighting for them? Why was their existence not acknowledged when they had been guarding our borders every day for years– war or no war. There are attacks every day, men die to save us every day, have we ever applauded them? Today we do as it happened inside Taj and Oberoi and not in the valley?

Our men had been dying in valley for years – there names do not even appear in newspapers, their death is reported in numbers…7 Army Men killed, or 2 officers killed…that is all…why we never got on to our feet then to salute, only because they died in valley and not in your own hometown?

You need them now when you want them to guard you as you pay taxes? You could not have insulted them more – they are not commodity to be purchased by your taxes, they are men with families like us. You need security so ask for it, ask, because as citizen you deserve it, not because you pay taxes…their lives cannot be measured by the taxes you pay. As my friend Saunak says “this duty certainly doesn’t absolve by paying few thousands as taxes…. There’s no price for sacrifice”

You want the security ? fine so fight their battle for them – have a march against those who are counting the number of eggs in their ration, saying 24 a month is too much, have a march to better their salaries, something which is pending clearance for long, help them fight those who question their CSD facility, have a march to give them better homes, fight for their better life…

You wake up now to the existence of our Defence forces, while there are 100’s of widows, who have been remembering their husband’s for more than a decade, all alone in their homes.

You wake up now as they showed that they can die for you in your own city, while you were totally blind to the fact,that for years they already had been dying for you, but in the unknown darkness of the valley.

Are you willing to do your bit for the nation? Are you willing to join Army/Defence Forces?

I had been to Town yesterday (area of the Mumbai attacks), had to be there, to see where our soldiers spent 4 sleepless nights fighting for our safety. I had to be there, as I saw in each one of them, my brother, who was once in Indian Army and sacrificed his life for his country. I had to be there, as I am not in forces and want to salute those who are.

There was a candle march, where 100’s of young kids with their parents were shouting slogans asking for better political machinery, thanking our forces, and asking for localized NSG unit. I am with them in all this…completely, But….

…But I want to ask each one who was there on the streets asking for justice, that while they are asking the govt to do their bit right, are they willing to do their bit for the nation?

I want to ask all those young boys who were walking asking for the nation to come together, will they leave the comfort of their father’s house and be willing to join the Army? I want to ask every parent on the street yesterday, if they will encourage their son in school today to try for NDA? and if need be lay down their lives for the sake of nation. I want to ask all those who are about to start their career, will they want to write the CDS exams and fight for our nation instead of dropping idea to join IIM and have a fancy corporate job? I want to ask all those unmarried girls there, if they were willing to give up the comfort of their plush homes in south Bombay and get settled with an Army officer, and move city to city every 3-4 years with a new posting? I want to ask all those who seek defence protection, if they are ready to be part of defence, and fill in the increasing shortfall of manpower in the Army / Defence Forces?

It is one thing demanding for army to be based next to you, to guard you 24/7 just because you pay taxes too, and it is another thing, to have courage to be part of it, by sending your Son / Brother /Husband / Father to guard the border, when you know that one bullet can change your lives for ever.

I want to ask, are you willing to do your bit for the country? Are you willing to join the Armed Forces?