FATEFUL FEBRUARY for Indian Armed Forces

50 days into 2019..…49 recorded deaths!!

These 19 days have been an upheaval for most of us. Tragedy and a series of it has been keeping our Nation active, have been testing our patience, tolerance, endurance, patriotism, language skills, tone, perseverance and a lot much more. Unable to bear the pain alone anymore, a person like me with a penchant for writing would only take up the pen (read hit the keyboard) to let release her pain, agony and the hurting of the lump in her throat. My chest pains, my eyes burn, often they water too, my breathing remains heavy…yes, I am sure my BP is fluctuating too as I have been testing myself on the tolerance scale…each day…for the last 19 days…

1st Feb –

The cursed month (yes, I can well address the month by that by now) saw two young Indian Airforce test pilots crash to death on the very first day…Squadron Leader Samir Abrol and Squadron Leader Siddharth Negi…what was their fault? Two young Air Force officers in charge of testing the aging Mirages charred themselves to death…they were surely not martyred. But were they then killed in action? Were they in an operation that we can call their deaths as KIA? They were sheer victims of apathy & ignorance…

Squadron Leader Samir Abrol & wife Garima Abrol
Squadron Leader Siddharth Negi

Days passed and their shocked parents, families & wives & few of us Indian citizens lamenting their untimely deaths were slowly coming to terms…we accepted it as an accident and moved on while Mrs. Garima Abrol kept reminiscing her unanswered questions. Who had the guts to answer her? Has anyone tried framing an apt answer for her?

12 Feb –

The heat of the avalanche did not melt him. He lay buried under layers of the white frozen snow as the ill-fated afternoon witnessed a disastrous avalanche strike Major Nisheet Dogra’s makeshift transit tent… Well I would love to call it his home for the moment that got hit and stashed away and became a debris as the heavy weight of the snow and ice ensured that it hid Major for hours. Its cruel impact kept the rescue team away from reaching the location where he had fallen. Fallen right? Or was he KIA? Killed in Action. He was from the OG tribe… He led from front… He vibrated the ethos of Indian Army… The week-long lack of electricity or basic facilities did not deter him to set up his home in the remote and desolate place, open to the wrath of Nature. He was an officer par excellence…Major Dogra… We were not ready to part ways with you… So soon…

Major Nisheet Dogra

Also Read: Major Nisheet Dogra martyred in Sikkim, father asks govt to improve conditions

14th Feb –

Red was the color of the day and we got busy clicking our Valentine’s day selfies with our besties and most of us were even lunching out late, skipping office, enjoying some loving moments with our loved ones when the Blue Bird with no eyes (read Twitter) chirped in the news of the dastardly & cowardly attack on the CRPF convoy at Pulwama. It was a pall of gloom that descended heavily on me…and the Nation…the count started from 8 and went on to record 40 of them. Atleast that’s what CRPF official PRO declared in records…not sure what happened to the grievously injured ones. Well, we shouted & cried War War and cursed the never friendly neighbor of ours. We changed our DPs on Social Media (I still have mine changed, feel ashamed to show my smiling face), lit candles, took out marches to India Gate, made videos of the anti-nationals who spread hate India messages on their Social Media handles, made them viral…and then the wait began, the anticipation of the vengeance or revenge in any form. The heart burnt as the coffins landed at Palam Air Base. Camera smart political honchos made their headline appearances, saluted to the Tri-Color wrapped coffins that carried the bits & pieces of our CRPF jawans who were the victims of the terrible act of terrorism. My heart goes out for them as they are differentiated out by each state in the rates of compensation. Time heals they say and here the wound was gradually seething…were they killed in action?

16th Feb-

The beautiful red heart shape on the card invited us to save the date as the couple stood close smiling & framed. Major Chitresh & Ankita mam, we have saved the date and in red it is, it will be 16th Feb and not 7th March that would have seen you taking the wedding vows. We have the invite but won’t be able to keep, as we are mourning your loss Major. You could have ignored, but as the true Indian Army ethos depict, you as an officer lead from front. The IED ticked and even before you could diffuse it, it took away the hopes & aspirations & dreams of a young bride to be who must have been waiting for her big day & planning out her wedding trousseau. Red it is…you were killed in action…the wound inflicted two days back with 40 deaths was fresh…your news bled it again.

Major Chitresh and Ankita

18th Feb –

Our Army knows its duty, when & how of everything…so the everything Operation was on…the blood boiled, the eyes teared, the lump in the throat was painful…the hunt was on. The masterminds had to be nabbed and scores settled, the wound still fresh was bleeding, it had to be balmed. Eye for an eye? No, we won’t turn blind, but the bleeding of the hearts needs to stop and so the Operation was on…night long…again…Indian Army ethos at work…

Early morning news was like a widowed shroud…leading from front, taking the bullet was our young officer Major Vibhuti Dhaundiyal, married for less than a year, he led his team to a successful encounter, killing the horrendous masterminds behind the suicide bomber attack at Pulwama just 4 days back. Major Dhaundiyal was not alone, his 3 team members never forgot to leave him alone even in death. Killed in action? Yes, they were…all 4 of them…

Major Vibhuti Shankar Dhoundiyal with his wife Nikita Kaul

Mam Nikita, your “I Love You Vibhu” send shivers down my spine…never was Love so proclaimed, in public, in midst of the strict Army decorum…you make us proud…more power to the Officer Ladys like you…You etch your feelings in history as flame engulfs Major’s mortal remains and burns my lamenting soul. Sorry mam, we took away your happiness of celebrating your first anniversary.

19th Feb –

Air Force team were you getting jealous? Were you feeling left out as the coffins covered with Tricolors increase in the shades of OG? So, you too? But you are super stars…super heroes. Then how come? What was the need to join the OG tribe too?

The Indian Air Force Aerobatic team Surya Kiran, with its super colorful planes were flying up for rehearsal as the Aero India Show starts tomorrow at the Yelahanka Air Base near Bengaluru. All good, all set, all planned, well groomed…but tragedy struck today as the team lost two of its aircrafts in a mid-air collision and crashes one pilot to death. Two of the pilots were destined to live on to share the story of how their other partner fell to death. And so, as Wg Cdr Sahil Gandhi went down in history, the little Indian Flag that I carry in my heart, went up in half mast. For me, I mourn, each fallen soldier is a loss to my Nation.

Wg Cdr Sahil Gandhi

Supposed to be a month to celebrate love, is the fateful February 2019 testing our love for our Nation, our love for our Brothers in Uniform, our love to bear all the pain in silence…

Misery, anguish, depression…what more is awaited? As a writer, my words are emotionally charged. Such incidents one after the other makes me bleed, they give me pain as they test my tolerance, tolerance level to such an extent that it numbs my soul.

But, let it be that’s all till here today…not much words, too small a photo frame to fit in the huge loss my country has incurred. Where will I fit in so many smiling faces of our Bravehearts…and the tears of the aching souls…?

50 days, 2019….49 recorded deaths…the eyes burn, the lump in the throat aches…no more please…no more…

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