There lived a man who fathered my child……..
There lived a man who believed in integrity…..
There lived a man who loved his profession…
There lived a man who never feigned to be a hero….
There lived a man who was my soul….
There lived a man with a heart full of generosity….
There lived a man who revealed all to me….
There lived a man who loved me with his life….
But… now I wait … for he is with god…I know for sure…
One day I will meet him…. I know for sure…
And he will give me that warm strong hug of his… I know for sure…
And I will not complain that I can’t breathe…
You can hug me…. Hug me all you want…”
This poem was penned by Indu Mukund, as a Eulogy to her late husband Mukund Varadarajan who died in a battle, protecting the country. Written on the night she heard of his death, her love poem will leave anyone teary-eyed. This is an inspirational story of a young woman who conquered her grief, being an epitome of bravery every step of the way.
Major Mukund attained martyrdom when he led anti-terrorist search operations to clear the Qazipathri village. During the operations, his team came under heavy fire. He reacted swiftly and killed three terrorists of the HizbulMujahuddin who were responsible for killing election officials 24 hours earlier.
He was wounded by numerous bullets during the assault and his injuries got the better of him. For his brave encounters during the operation, he was posthumously awarded the Ashok Chakra, India’s highest peacetime gallantry award for displaying valour beyond the call of duty. The citation by the Government of India during the declaration of the Ashok Chakra read:
‘During the operation, before attaining martyrdom, major Mukund displayed exemplary leadership skills, raw courage, planning and swift action, which culminated in the elimination of the three top ranked HizbulMujahuddin terrorists in an encounter in the Shopian district of Jammu & Kashmir.’
Mukund hails from a family with an army background. His grandfather and uncles also served in the army. After completion of his graduation and post graduate diploma in journalism, he joined Officers Training School in Chennai. Then he was commissioned as a Lieutenant in the Rajput regiment in 2006. He had his innings at the Infantry School in Mhow before he was part of UN Mission in Lebanon. In December 2012, he was deputed to the 44th Battalion of the Rashtriya Rifles and posted in the Shopiyan district of Jammu and Kashmir.
Mukund graduated from Madras Christian College, where he met his wife Indu Rebecca Varghese. They married on August 28th, 2009 and welcomed daughter Arsheya on March 17th, 2011. Going through life as an army wife, Indu has learnt a lot from her experiences. An independent, free-thinker from her childhood, she grew up strong, fell in love and married her other half. Living true to the phrase ‘Tough get going’, Indu has moved on from the tragedy that has befallen her and her daughter but held onto her fondest memories of love and laughter.Her story will tug at your heart strings, but her valour is something every woman should follow suit.
“I fell in love with his honest nature.”
Reminiscing about her college days, Indu says, “We met each other in Madras Christian College, where I was doing my Masters in Mass Communications. It took me some time to realize that he was more than a friend to me. When I informed my parents that he had proposed to me, they were sceptical about the difference in our faiths and marrying a guy from the army.” Subsequently, the initial reservations turned into acceptance. “What I liked about him was that he was a wonderful, passionate, and humorous person. Though he was very rough and tough outside, beneath that tough exterior he was very soft and humane. The character trait I loved the most was his honesty. He may not have been a romantic at heart but I am glad there was always honesty and it made being in love so much simpler.” Since Mukund was already preparing for his exams, his relationship with Indu was an on-and-off affair including a long distance relationship at some point. “I remember my friends would get so angry that I had to frequently miss Sunday outings with them. All that I cared about was meeting him on Sundays and waiting patiently at the lobby of Officer’s Training Academy.”
After a five-year courtship, Mukund finally convinced Indu’s parents on giving him her hand in marriage. Indu and Mukund had two wedding ceremonies over a five-day period. “The first day was our registration, the second day was a Christian wedding ceremony at St.Peter’s church in Egmore and the third day was the reception dinner at Haddow’s Club. The Hindu MahaSabha performed the Hindu wedding ceremony followed by dinner the next day.” Talking about her wedding she says she was just too happy to marry the man of her dreams that she didn’t absorb the excitement around her.
“We spent only a year together out of 5 years in marriage.”
Since his postings took him around the country, Mukund and Indu spent only about few months together in a year. “I have totally spent only a year with him of the 5 years we have been married, nevertheless the love was the same throughout. After marriage, the first time he came home was only for a few months as he was posted in Lebanon.
Later, I joined him in Mhow where we spent several months together till I got pregnant and had to go to my parents. When Arsheya was born, he came to see me during the second month.” Indu worked as a technical writer and quality manager in Coastal Training Technology for three years before joining him in Mhow.
“It was hard for me to keep my identity but I am happy I never came to losing it.”
Indu claims you are never an army wife until you are an army wife. “First comes the ragging and next the bonding. The army fraternity is a closely knit one, as are the women in the circle. Each and every one will look out for the other as if their lives depended on it, which is kind of true.
Being the wife of Major Mukund, I did feel the pressures of living under a shadow, but it never bothered me. My husband excelling in his field and the recognition he gained in his community are my achievements too. I was just happy being at home and working under flexible hours and taking care of our baby daughter with all the freedom and space that I needed, to do whatever I wanted to do.”
Talking about how she hasn’t cut the cord with her military family,Indu says, “My army family were the first to be with me the minute they heard the news of his death. They mourned more than I did at that time. It’s hard now to attend events and other functions but I have to do it because I joined in as Mukund’s wife and that’s the role I have to live with.”
“I didn’t want to believe it even though I knew it was true.”
On that fateful day that she had heard the news, it was only a week or two from his thirty-first birthday. Mukund’s last birthday was April 12th and he was shot dead on April 25th. “The night before he died, on 24th midnight, I was unable to sleep and I spoke to him till wee hours in the morning.
On the 25th, I had slept early since I was drowsy and I did not pick up any calls all night. The next day a family friend had come home to tell me the news and I just kept asking him to repeat the details over and over. You see characters in denial in movies and it happens just like that in real life; I didn’t want to believe it even though I knew it was true.
I went into the room and hugged my daughter for awhile.” Mukund’s parents have been equally brave through the whole ordeal and have been a pillar of support to Indu.