Featured image credit: sourced from bloggerabhilash.info
Usually I am a rain lover and on any other day, I would have probably grabbed my ginger tea with a novel in my hand but something was really different today. I felt like the sky is crying as it was raining heavily and the feeling was just not good. I looked at my Calendar and it was the 26th July, The Kargil Vijay Diwas. You might find it weird or melodramatic but I get very emotional when life of a soldier and his family is discussed. So I immediately decided to pen down my thoughts as writing acts like a stress buster for me.
So you all know that 26th July is the day when the Kargil War came to an end and our Indian soldiers regained the possessions of Kargil, after fighting bravely for good 60 days. This day was named as Kargil Vijay Diwas and thus 26th July plays an important day in our Indian Calendar. It is the day to remember the brave hearts for their bravery, for their victory and most importantly for their sacrifice that gave all of us a LIFE to LIVE. There are many in our nation who does not value their sacrifice but I would not rub that wound today. Today, I just want you all to remember all the soldiers (living and martyrs regardless of their ranks) and their families in your prayers and request you to take a pledge if not anything else to give them RESPECT.
Few days back I got to meet one of the War Widows (courtesy Facebook) and was so overwhelmed with that meeting that I wanted to write something about her in my blog post. Some people are just born to spread positivity and one such woman is Charulatha Acharya. She is the wife of the Kargil War Martyr, Major Padmapani Acharya (who was honored with Mahavir Chakra, posthumously for his bravery in Kargil War) and the mother of a beautiful girl named Aparajita. One of the most modest and humble lady I have ever come across my life, this woman is an inspiration to many. Despite the fact that she lost her husband within the three years of her marriage and with Aparajita in her womb, this fearless beauty decided not to get weak. She do not like to cry and feel sorry for what happened as she strongly believes that it’s a matter of pride that the Almighty chose her husband to contribute his service for the nation. To be honest I was very scared while talking to her as I didn’t want to hurt her feelings but her poise and calm nature faded away all my tensions within few minutes of our meeting. I was amazed by her beauty (both inner and outer), her pure heart and her selfless attitude and wondered there is so much to learn from her. We had a great chat as she talked about her husband and it felt like Shaheed Padmanpani Acharya is very much alive among us.
Fondly called as Charu (by her friends and family), told me that she doesn’t want people to feel pity on her or her family and want to remember the good memories she lived in those 3 years. So as promised, I am sharing the good memories of yours and Major Saab’s life and would pray for positivity and peace for our lives and for our nation.
Everybody says Aparajita (our daughter) looks exactly like her father with a moustache on her face. Further she told me how Aparajita is just the replica of her father. “Like father, she is a warrior and a leader; she is the head girl of her school and also participates in NCC. She sketches like her father and is my support system just like he was”, says Charu. Major Saab always knew it would be a girl and everybody in the family feels Major Acharya has taken a re birth in the form of his daughter Aparajita.
All his course mates and colleagues used to call him Archie and Charu wants people to remember him as Archie and not only as Kargil War Hero.
Archie, the Warrior:
“Babloo” as called by his parents and family could have earned his living like a regular guy with his Hotel Management course and the bachelor’s degree. But his passion for Indian Army landed him to the 2nd Rajputana Rifles (Infantry). But do you know this lion hearted man was once got rejected during one of his training sessions? It was his strong determination and efforts that he got his pride back and got a chance to wear that decorative uniform. This fearless army officer was so passionate and dutiful about his work that he refused to leave the battle field when was informed about the sudden demise of Charu’s father. Rather he told his boss, “If I leave now I won’t be able to help them anyway but if I leave the battle ground now, other arrangements have to be done and I am not convinced with that. Let me perform my duties for my country now and I know my wife and her mother would understand.”
Archie, the Lover:
If you have seen “LOC Kargil” already then his love story would be quite familiar to you but those who have not seen the movie yet, let me take you to the train journey where the love story began. So, Both Charu and Major Saab was traveling in the same Train Boogie. She was looking for some help but couldn’t communicate due to the language constraints and then our handsome hunk offered his help. You would be surprised that both of them were not comfortable in each other’s language yet they managed to communicate and further Charu offered some food to him to express the gratitude for his help. That’s how the story progressed further by meeting each other’s parents and only then Charu realized his man is an army guy. Archie was clean bowled with the simplicity of Charu and it was a love at first sight moment for him. “It was a small mole on my face that attracted him more”, says Charu.
Archie, the Charmer and the Artist:
He was the charmer of any group. His friends and family still remember the tunes played by him on his mouth organ especially the Dev Anand songs. He was a great Tabla player and his hand made sketches were a treat to the eyes. “Chandan sa badan, chanchal chitwan, dheere se tera vo muskana”, was one of his favorite song that he frequently used to sing for his beloved wife.
A Friend, Philosopher and A Guide:
Our chat reminded Charu about the days where language was a big constraint for her yet she managed as it was her husband who taught him Hindi. And if you listen to her English now, you would want to tell yourself that nothing is impossible. She speaks damn good English now and is pretty comfortable in conversing in Hindi too. Charu also told me how Archie motivated her to learn embroidery and stitching and she also stitched a watch cover on the request of her hubby. Back in those days when TV Cable was not a common name and phone was a luxury, she utilized her time in learning new things only because of the encouragement she got from her partner. He always encouraged her to do some business as he knew the situation of field postings.
He always wrote separate letters to his parents, his sisters and his wife. No matter how busy he was but he never forgot to express his feelings to each one who were close to his heart. In his last letter to his father he wrote, “Please don’t worry about casualties. It’s a professional hazard which is beyond our control, so why worry; at least it’s for a good cause. In the Bhagwad Gita Lord Krishna briefs Arjun on the following lines: Hato va prapyasi swargam, Jitva va bhokshijasey mahim, taduthisht kaunteya, yudhaya kritnishchayaha. (“Die and you will go to heaven; conquer and you enjoy sovereignty of the earth; therefore, stand up, Arjuna, and fight with determination.”)“.
When asked if she would want Aparajita to join any Indian armed forces, she promptly replies that she would love to but not against her daughter’s will. She said, I don’t understand why people are reluctant to send their kids to join Indian armed forces. Such mishap happens in real life also and association with armed forces is a matter of pride.
Charu also praises lot about her in laws that they supported her truly. Even they lost their son but they stood there as strong pillars. She remembers, “I used to hug and sleep with my mom in law when this incident happened. For me they are my family.”
Major Acharya belonged to a family who has always served for the nation. His father is (Retired) Wing Commander Jagganath Acharya, later worked in DRDL, his uncle (Retired) Col K Acharya and his brother Col P Acharya (serving) worked/working with the Indian armed forces only for the love for their country. Then, how could we have not expected the same love and passion in Major Acharya’s eyes. He also mentioned in his last letter, “Please tell manam (his mother) that combat is an honour of a lifetime and I would not think of anything less. What better way to serve the nation. I am proud to be in the Infantry and esp(ecially) in our illustrious Bn (battalion).”
Major Acharya!! Even we are very proud of you. Big Salute to you for everything you and your fellow soldiers did for us. You all are the reason that for our happiness, for our better lives. Let me not cry for you as I would not want to hurt your brave soul. let me just promise you that I would respect all the soldiers (All the Indian Forces) regardless their ranks and their families for the life you have given to us. I know how difficult it is for a mother not to get the whereabouts of his son, how painful it is for a wife to stay away from her husband for most of her life, for a child that misses his father as he couldn’t find him anywhere in his/her childhood memories except in the pictures and phone calls, for a sister whose rakhi is most of the time without their beloved brothers and for a father who has given his heart to this nation yet never showed his tears to anyone. I know how difficult a soldier’s life is. So let me thank you as much as I can.