16 years is quite a long time! I was in class 12 then and she was in her mother’s womb! Her father, Major Padmapani Acharya, Mahavir Chakra (P), was then leading his battalion as the company commander of 2nd Rajputana Rifles, to capture the Tololing feature in Kargil War. At that time, we read in the newspapers that there is one officer in Kargil War, who is a Major and he regularly writes Gita shlokas in his letter to his pregnant wife. That’s how we first came to know about Major Padmapani Acharya. Then the next news we saw was that of his martyrdom in the war, fighting bravely and leading from the front!
14 years went by. Terrorist Afzal Guru was hanged on February 9, 2013 for the terrorist attack on the Indian Parliament. Lots of cry were made by the social activists, lots of sympathies were shown on the fact that “Afzal Guru wanted his son to be a doctor”. And then suddenly it struck us. Have we ever thought of or enquired about the child of our very own, brave Major Padmapani Acharya, Mahavir Chakra (P) who attained supreme sacrifice to maintain the democracy of our nation? The democracy that allowed all those social activists to think about terrorists like Afzal Guru and his son. The irony is that Major Acharya couldn’t even see his child born only. Thus our search began.
Then we came to know that Major Padmapani Acharya, Mahavir Chakra (P) had a daughter on September 1999. And her name was APARAJITA! By then, I was also having a daughter and luckily her name is also Aparajita, born on September 2012! My happiness and pride knew no bound! I felt that God has somewhere, somehow linked me with Shaheed Major Padmapani Acharya, Mahavir Chakra (P) through these two little Aparajita flowers! I never knew when Aparajita Acharya became a part of my life. Many times it happened that when I played with my daughter, I remembered Aparajita Acharya. And every time I thought about her, my head bowed down to her with respect and gratitude. Because, it is only for her sacrifice that my daughter lives today happily and healthily among us. My daughter can play with her father, get all his love, affection and protection, only because Aparajita Acharya along with her father, mother, grandparents and all the relatives paid the price for my protection.
I never had to ask for anything from God. He has given me whatever I deserve and need. I am ever thankful to Him for that. And today, He listened to one of my unasked, unspoken but a dream wish of mine! Few days back God has connected me to Charulatha Acharya, mother of Aparajita Acharya! Amazing powerful and dignified lady she is! She accepted me with so much of love! I suffer from lack of confidence when it comes to talking to someone over phone. She, wife of Major Padmapani Acharya, Mahavir Chakra (P), called me to make me feel comfortable. There are some people who are only meant for giving. I felt Charu didi is someone like that. That too, she gives with a divine smile! She told me not to hesitate to call her anytime and consider her as either my didi or bhaabi (sister-in-law). I just imagined – she being my bhaabi means brave Major Padmapani Acharya, Mahavir Chakra (P) is my brother!
Last 15 years, in all the photos that I have seen of Charu didi, there is a beautiful smile on her face. I have always wondered how someone can be so strong. After getting in touch with her, I must admit that she is the strongest lady I have come across. Little Aparajita has appeared for ICSE exams this year! She has grown up into a beautiful lady just like her mother. I have nothing else to ask for, in life. Now it is my time to give back. And it can only happen when my little Aparajita grows up into a beautiful and strong lady just like Charu didi. I am eagerly waiting for the day when the two Aparajitas of my life will meet each other. With that, my 15year old wait and the circle will be complete that day.