India is celebrating 66th Independence Day today. All the radio stations are playing patriotic songs, television channels showing patriotic movies, news papers are full of the tri-colour and our hearts are full of pride – PRIDE of BEING INDIAN.
While attending the flag hoisting ceremony today in my society, I got nostalgic with memories of my school days. My father being in defense, I was fortunate enough to study in an Air Force School – Kendriya Vidyala AFS Pune. Even after 12 years of passing out of this school, I have the same attachment with it as I had while studying there.
Kendriya Vidyalayas are not such schools that teach you subjects – they teach you values of life, they teach you patriotism, they teach you to adapt to the various cultures spread amongst all the states in India. KVs have students from almost all the states because defense officers get interstate transfers every 3 years of their service.
While in schools, celebrations like Independence Day and Republic Day used to be very different. From dances, songs, parades, stories of our freedom fighters, speeches from Air Force Chiefs to the queue for those 2 “laddoos”, everything was pure, innocent – everything that always made me feel special about being an Indian.
School memories are always special in everyone’s life. For me, they are precious.
Being a defense school, most of my friends had their father, brothers, cousins, uncles – serving the nation on the border. Though it always felt good about this thought, I experienced the real depth of this fact in the year of Kargil war.
Since the time Kargil war was declared, our school had become still. My friends, teachers, schoolmates – everybody had a fear in themselves; worries on their faces about their loved ones on the border, prayers on their lips for them and confidence in their hearts that they will come back soon with a VICTORY.
I guess these experiences are something I can never put in words, something I might never be able to tell. These are just in my heart that keeps reminding me of the tough life our soldiers have and the sacrifices they do.
In Kargil war, one of our teachers lost her son whose age was merely 27 at the time of war. And yes, let me tell you that she had lost her husband in the war of 1971. I have seen her sorrow myself, however every time I met her after that, she posed a proud face – a face so contented to say that her son has given his life for the country.
She is not just one, there are so many such examples around us. I have heard about a village in Punjab where all the boys join army after their education without thinking of any other profession.
One more experience that had stunned me was a meeting with one of the army officers who used to stay in our neighborhood. He described to us life of soldiers at the border during war and believe me – it was UNIMAGINABLE.
He had survived in the war only because he had managed to hide himself behind a rock for 3 days – without food and without water – and in midst of bullet firing from the terrorists. However he didn’t have the fear of it in his eyes, what he had was spark when he said he shot 4 terrorists with his gun.
Today, when the Indian youth is more attracted towards jobs in IT and opportunities overseas, I feel honored to say that my brother who had an option to complete his BCS and take a highly paid job, joined Navy to serve the nation. I am so very proud of you brother!
In spite of extreme weather conditions, no water, no food, away from the family – the soldiers save our country. They are the real heros of our country because of whom we can freely breathe and live our life in peace.
Thank you to all our men and women in the armed forces who have sacrificed so much to keep us all safe and free. I SALUTE YOU ALL.