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Personal War, Eternal Peace.


From Tehelka Magazine, Vol 6, Issue 31, Dated August 08, 2009

Story on how the Kargil War affects one soldier’s mother 10 years on

“HE DIED IN a combat zone, was boxed up and sent home. They pinned his medals on his chest and told his mother he did his best.’’ Ten years down the road, the brave hearts of the Kargil War were remembered on Vijay Divas. This is one of their stories.

Capt Avi Bhardwaj was commissioned into the Indian Army in 1997 and posted at the highest battlefield in the world, the Kargil frontier. At 23, he was high on life and had exuberant charm. He drove an Enfield with Ray-Ban antiglares and proudly sported three gold stars on each shoulder. He had lost his father, Maj Vivek Bhardwaj, when he was barely 10 years old, and it was always his dream to join the army, wear the olive green and follow in his father’s footsteps. In 1999, he laid down his life so his countrymen could sleep in their homes in peace.

He was survived by his mother, who proudly collected her son’s gallantry honour. His body was brought to the Dehradun War Memorial. She was always his best friend and she remembered his last words to her: “promise me that you will always be around your baby”.

Every day she travelled 25km to the war memorial to be with her son. She sat next to his name and moved her fingers over the engraving with a gentle touch. She gazed upon it and embraced each letter. She did all the things that used to make him happy, reading his favourite novel and playing songs on his iPod, which he loved so much. Her lips curled into a smile when she remembered him smile. Tears trickled from her gleaming eyes when she thought of him. He was her only son and meant the world to her, but he was far away.

Each day she spent four hours talking to him, telling him how proud she felt, how she could not wait to hug him for one last time. Whether it was rainy or cold she never missed a day since she feared not fulfilling her promise. He was her gentle breeze in this world of chaos, and she believed that his spirit soared beyond her and watched her like an angel.

As she sat by the memorial, she would put her arm around the stone, clutch his portraits between her fingers and rest. She knew that he, too, would be sleeping in peace.

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