Wednesday, 25 November 2009

My Hero

“He died, under circumstances when he could have easily saved himself. He died, mainly because he wanted to do something heroic for the country. He died, because he had no fear of death. He died, because he wanted to make his parents proud.He died, because he thought thats the most splendid fate of a soldier” These are the words of Sandeep Unnikrishnan’s maternal Aunt ( Mother’s sister), who is also my paternal aunt( My father’s elder brother’s wife). If you don’t remember Sandeep, he was one of the NSG Commandos killed during the 26/11 attacks on Mumbai: Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan, Ashok chakra(posthumously).

He was the only son to Unni uncle and Dhanalakshmi Aunty. Contrary to her strong willed son, I remember Dhanalakshmi aunty as an epitome of tender motherhood. It’s impossible to measure her loss and makes me wonder how she would be coping with the void left over by her son. Probably he was her sole reason to live, and what’s life when one has no reason to live. Perhaps that’s why they would have refused the financial assistance, including the allotment of a fuel station in Bangalore, assured by the Govt. And when the whole world remembers her son on the first anniversary, its lot more sorrowful for the family.Its like scabs of old wounds are torn open, all over again, and for many-many years to come.

He was a Hero even before his death. He was one of the idols in our family. He was the benchmark and whenever annoyed, my father would tell us to learn from this lad. I was a tad bit envious of him, for all the attention he received. He was a Lieutenant when I was barely in college and struggling with my uncertain future in the world, full of jobless engineers, architects and MBAs. He was a commissioned officer in the Indian army, earning what I could only dream of. When I passed out of college, that was my biggest motivation: I wanted to be richer and more successful than him. I was naïve to quantum success in terms of mere currency notes earned. He has become the hero of a nation, defending a permanent place in the history of modern India.

Last I had been to their apartment was in 2004, when I worked in India and had gone on a meeting to Bangalore. I was treated with some fine home cooked chicken and kerala food and she made Gulab Jamuns, specially for me. I had gone in the afternoon and since I had had my Lunch, she made me stay until the diner. She was alone at the apartment and she made me see all the photo albums of Sandeep, including his passing out parade at the NDA Pune, saluting in front of his proud parents (Coming to more than a thousand photographs). I remember when Sandeep came on vacations to his taravadu (Ancestral home), it was nothing short of a festivity. I remember his mother mention his fondness for seafood and kerala delicacies like Puttu/kadala and appam and how the entire family would join in the food preparations for his arrival. Kalumukaya ( Mussels) fry was his favorite.

He is a true hero and his death is a great loss for the country. But I wish a lot more that he was alive and Dhanalakshmi Aunty was her old, cheerful self. I have not been to their place since the tragedy happened, being away from the country and visiting once a year, but I would like to go to her on my next visit and assure her that she can look up to me as her son. I pray that almighty provide her enough strength to accept the fact and move forward with her life. Hope almighty provides her another reason to live.




45 comments:

Smita said...

Dunno what to say!!!

We felt so much for him when we knew him as a National hero, knowing him personally I wonder what you must have gone through!!!

No words can describe what I feel right now!!!

I only want to salute his & his parents spirit!!

kavita said...

ZB..i shared this post in my FB profile.

kavita said...

With moist eyes i salute this national hero....

kavita said...

With moist eyes i salute this national hero....

ZB said...

@Kavita and Smita:Thanks a lot.

I was thinking, if, for a moment my Aunty would have thought why she let her only son join army. If she would have been stubborn and protested hard, i am sure Sandeep wouldnt have been in Army and wouldnt have left her so young.

In fact i remember some of my family members say to me, what was the need for him to rush off inside the terrorist space inside the hotel. he could have stuck to his position and let the Javans handle things. This is the price he paid for showing heroism.

That makes him that much more a hero. He was extremely brave. I feel he made good use of his short life. Thanks

Mr. Pramathesh™ Borkotoky said...

I have no words to say.

Neha said...

ZB, I lack words right now...may his soul rest in peace..

Raj said...

idk zb.
i think family comes first.
i owe more 2 my father. v rather owe more 2 our family. whethre its d father, mother or brother.

and rather than make anyone a proud mourner i wud prefer 2 make em proud by being succesful before dying.

my apologies.

R. Ramesh said...

ya..like pramathesh...i am speechless ya...such heroes r a blessing for the society...

Gymnast said...

May his soul rest in Peace.
I can only begin to imagine the state of his mother and father...

HaRy!! said...

to all Jawans...salutions!!Jai Hind

Rahul Anand said...

A true Hero...may he rest in peace.

Aparna said...

When you meet your aunt, please tell her that a lot of women in India, including me, wish we had a son like Sandeep.
I know it was a short life and perhaps his death was totally unnecessary, but it was a life really well lived. He died for a cause he believed in and gained love and respect of a whole nation.
Your uncle and aunt deserve our whole hearted gratitude for giving us a hero like him.
Thank you for sharing this with us.

Priya said...

Thanks for Sharing...Actually no words can console his parents for the loss and for our country it was this heroic son who will be remembered for what he has done...
My heartfelt gratitude to his parents...

Pins N Ashes said...

Saluting the great hero he is.

The unsure ascetic said...

Hey ZB,
I share your feelings at this point in time. Only God must give strength to his parents and let them be proud of what their son has done for this nation however thankless it may be. It may hurt them immensely when media made heroes grace the front pages every day. But true heroes like major Unnikrishnan will always be remembered with eternal gratitude.
Jai Hind.

BK Chowla said...

Most of your friends may be wanting to send msg of condolences to you.
I will not,in my opinion you are a lucky man to have had a cousin like him and his parents are blessed to have had a brave man like him as their son.
God bless his soul and I hope this country can have more sons like him,more sons like him,more cousins like him.
I salute him and his family.

The Panorama said...

Touching post, ZB. There really are no words that can ease the pain of his parents but they must be so proud of their shaheed son.

The unsure ascetic said...

Hey buddy. check this out!
http://hummingwords.blogspot.com/2009/11/261108-black-day.html

what is she saying about CM misbehaviour?

Bagman and Butler said...

Your post makes people around the world proud of him.

Insignia said...

What a complete life he has had. You were lucky to have known him personally. He is much more than a hero.

I salute him. Words don't suffice.

Babli said...

We all should feel proud of him. May his soul rest in peace.

sharad said...

no word can offer solace to the family...while we treat 26/11 as an occassion to be annual ritual the pain of the family is everyday...
No words.................................................................................................................................

sharad said...

no word can offer solace to the family...while we treat 26/11 as an occassion to be annual ritual the pain of the family is everyday...
No words.................................................................................................................................

Shruti SriHarsha said...

He is my HERO!!! He is my Inspiration..I was in tears, reading this post...I wish him, wherever he is to have the best of things and peace...Its a very uneasy feeling am going through, thinking of his parents. Its just so painful...

pRiYaN...! said...

he is every ones hero
am also sharing this post with my peom

http://gr8bluffmaster.blogspot.com/2009/11/26-11.html

Antarman said...

Cant even imagin the pain your aunt must be going thru, to me he and his parents..all are heroes...we are alive only because of people like him, who gave a meaning to life, and the sacrifice of people left behind is much more. because they have to live a life without him.

We shall be indebted to them forever.

Rashmi said...

I can understand what loss means.
I salute here, thanks for sharing this.
Jai Hind.

Shruti said...

Hi ZB,
This is my first time here. I came here from neha's blog!
My eyes failed to read the last para.. Salute the national Hero! May his soul RIP! He will live forever in everyone's heart!

bluebird said...

Peace!

Akshay said...

I can truly understand what the loss means especially after having been through such a situation. Though Major Sandeep led a very abbreviated life, it was a life very well lived. He died for a cause he believed in and gained the solidarity, love and respect of a whole nation. May his soul in rest in peace!!

Akshay said...

I can truly understand what the loss means especially after having been through such a situation. Though Major Sandeep led a very abbreviated life, it was a life very well lived. He died for a cause he believed in and gained the solidarity, love and respect of a whole nation. May his soul in rest in peace!!

Akshay said...

I can truly understand what the loss means especially after having been through such a situation. Though Major Sandeep led a very abbreviated life, it was a life very well lived. He died for a cause he believed in and gained the solidarity, love and respect of a whole nation. May his soul in rest in peace!!

Tom Bailey said...

That was a very powerful story to share with others.

Kindest regards,
Tom Bailey

Jo said...

What a handsome young man, and how said that he had to die that way. But he was a hero.

The Canadian Broadcasting Company had an hour-long program on the attacks on Mumbai, and they interviewed some of the hotel guests who survived. I cannot believe what happened there.

I believe that young man saved the lives of other people.

Rajlakshmi said...

a true hero and an immense loss... the stories of our indian soldiers bring tears to my eyes...
very beautiful post...

AK said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
AK said...

I hope that you can go beyond your words of 'assure her that she can look up to me as her son'. It is a HUGE responsibility dude, approx. a 2 decade commitment but if you do this one thing then I am sure you will fulfill, actually more than fulfill, your share of good deeds as a human.

By sheer fate you are at a vantage point where you can make a difference. You will not get any awards or medals but deep down you will be happy that you genuinely tried filling Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan's shoes, however huge they might be.

There is no moral or emotional pressure and I have no idea about your family/financial situation etc. Its your call. And I am sorry if I got too personal.
Best Wishes.

AK said...

@ Raj:
Do you know what people like Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan are taught? IMA teaches them something in the lines of country comes first, then fellow soldiers, etc etc, then family, then last is me (the officer).

Another view point for you, if even half our defense forces think like you then we should get ready to be slaughtered or worse be enslaved.

But you don't worry there are plenty of people like Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan to uphold the life style of many more Rajs.

Chriz said...

i am gonna share this post zillion... here after a long gap.. good to read you again

numerounity said...

Very heart touching post Zillie! I support ur decision to treat his family like yours and I hope that the gracious couple find good son n solace in you.

On a practical side, if you can help/convince his parents to take up that gas station offer, it would be great indeed. I really hope that they agree to this.

cm said...

Thanks for the post!I saw a recent interview of his parents on IBN Live and i was so heartbroken when his parents told the interviewer that they had contemplated committing suicide twice in the last one year.Your Uncle was extremly bitter, angry and sad and he has every reason to be ....all said and done he has lost his only child.
I am also the only child and i can only imagine what his parents are going through. Your uncle also told that all the Martyrs of 26/11 have a reason to live in the form of children or grandchildren but for them the reason for there existence has ceased! May they derive strength from each other and in days to come channelize there grief for some social cause which they feel close to heart ,i think by doing so they would get a purpose and keep Maj.Sandeep Unnikrishnan memories alive forever!

s said...

he truly is a Hero...
http://forkbootsandapalette.wordpress.com

magiarmy said...

i love INDIAN ARMY SOOOOO MUCH WE ARE REALY PROUD OF ALL INDIAN ARMY HEROS. JAI HIND. magiarmy@gmail.com

Sonam said...

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