I was holding my phone, transfixed and petrified, not knowing what to do. This video, which had just been shared on a whatsapp group of my fellow army wives, gave me goosebumps to say the least. Somehow, I played this video again. And again,…. and again.
It is one thing to hear about soldiers dying in the line of duty, but a completely different thing to see the pain of their families. The little girl in this video is the daughter of a colonel who died in Jammu and Kashmir, a day after he received a gallantry award on Republic Day. The girl, paying her last respects, shrieks the Gorkha war cry (the colonel belonged to the Gorkha Rifles) and then breaks down as officers and soldiers standing next to her reply back. It was gut-wrenching to see all this, I don’t know why I later replayed the video 4-5 times. It was a reality check. It can happen any time, any day, anywhere, to any of us.
Other Army wives in that whatsapp group were in tears, but I was just in shock. It was a reminder that life in fauj is not just parties and luxury living. The Indian Army advt shown on TV, advertising it as a ‘way of life’ showing all fancy things, sadly forgets to show this dark side. I am not complaining, but I guess pain and grief comes as a packaged deal with all things rosy.
I remember, as a young bride, I was shocked to hear Major Sa’ab calmly telling me one evening that one of his coursemates has died on the border. Apparently, they hear such news so often, that it is a ‘way of life’ for them. It doesn’t scare them anymore. It was the first time that I felt fear of death, which was until now reserved for my favourite characters in Harry Potter books.
And yes, everyone else is jealous of us Army wives… they say we party too much, and travel to exotic locations and live a luxurious life, and enjoy discounted stuff in CSD.
But hey, be jealous of our jigra too, which makes us send our beloved off to the border with a smiling face. Be jealous of the time we have to live alone for months and years without our partners. Be jealous of the fact that we are strong to take on the role of a single parent as and when required.
A big and noisy high-five to all women out there who have committed their life to an Indian soldier, knowing fully that his commitments lie elsewhere.