Salute to the Soldiers!!

February, 2019

14th to 28th February, 2019. A singular fortnight. Dastardly & coward attack by terrorists on 40 of our brave-hearts. All of them lose their lives so that we live ours. A measured but swift, targeted retaliation by our armed forces. A strong, confident strike by the Government through brilliant strategic, political, defence and economic actions. Overwhelming international support for this ‘war on terrorism’. Shifting moods of a rising nation. Anger & indignation turning to patriotism and pride. History has been created in this single fortnight even as we mourn the martyrdom of our soldiers and salute their supreme sacrifice.

Someone suggested that this fortnight has so much to speak that I must stay quiet. That I must only salute the brave-hearts and not say a word. I almost did it but couldn’t contain when Gauri Mahadik (who lost her husband Army Major Prasad Mahadik in Dec, 2017 in a fire and is in the news for all the right reasons at the right time) was included in a ‘Company Secretaries only’ whatsapp group. For those who don’t know who Gauri is, just google. She is all over the place. You will find almost all the news channels and social media covering her act of bravery. A Company Secretary & Lawyer by profession, when Gauri lost her hero tragically, instead of blaming her destiny she rewrote it the way she wanted. She is joining the Army shortly (after topping the Selection Exams) as a tribute to her husband. She says she wants to wear his uniform and stars and ‘live him’.

While these are bits of her life available on the media, I decided to call her up as a member of the CS fraternity. Gauri sounded confident, composed and surprisingly very cheerful. I couldn’t believe that a young woman from our profession (which is known for diligence, compliance & caution) has taken a bold, rather off-beat path. Her voice was brimming with energy, enthusiasm & eagerness to begin a new chapter in life. Hailing from a middle-class family in Mumbai, Gauri said she dreamt of joining the Indian Navy when still in her teens but due to financial conditions couldn’t. As fate would have it, she is realising her dream of serving the nation and keeping her love alive by joining the Indian Army. When asked what is the secret of her steely resolve, what is the driving force behind this stunning act of ‘country over self’, she quipped “I always want to stand out in the crowd. Be different. Not follow a beaten path.” I was left speechless. Spell-bound by the genuine, natural response of Gauri, the brave-heart who is all set to ‘stand vigil while we sleep in peace’. Salutations and congratulations to this CS-turned-Lieutenant !! Could we have asked for a better woman role model as Women’s Day is round the corner on 8th March ?

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