Yes, the beginning was very very filmy. As you have seen in the movie Main Hu Na. The train enters and… Actually the entire story is very very filmy . But mind it, its as real as it can be – with a real hero.
I still remember our first meet. Her train was scheduled to reach Bangalore at 4am. She was coming alone with a broken hand. So Vikas and myself decided to receive her. Vikas had to jump over the gates as it was closed at that early morning. While waiting for the train we discussed the uncertainties of life.
And the train came. We had seen her in photos only with long hair. And then she embarked from the train. .. short hair, broken hand. As I shook her hand, it was rough, hard. I still remember her saying the first thing to me “Di, bring a kajal for me. They don’t allow it in academy. I look like a boy. Your hands are so soft and see mine”. I wish I could tell her that till today I die for that boyish look and rough hands. I so wish…
Before we realised, we were bonded for ever… in a relationship that is much stronger, deeper and closer to many blood relations. I found a sweet little sister in Neeta and enjoyed being her didi. She had broken her hand in a judo match in the academy and I was lucky that she came to the command hospital, Bangalore for the treatment. Guess what? All the brave ladies from armed forces reached her hospital cabin to cheer her you with flowers and cake. That included family of Colonel Jojan Thomas, Major Shafeeq Ghori, Major Akshay Girish and Captain Naveen Nagappa Sir himself with his family. Her induction to the DESH FAMILY was instant!
I used to cook fish for her and this crazy girl had requested me to bring wish from Bangalore to chennai during her POP! I couldn’t as I was staying with Varadarajan uncle’s who are shuddh shakahari. One afternoon my daughter Aparajita accompanied me to meet her. And it was love at first sight. Aparajita says Neeta aunty is her hero, her favourite. I never had any problem in convincing her for a short hair cut as Neeta aunty’s hair was short. Neeta loves her Appu as much as she loves her Arjun. They walked together, swing together, played together and chatted over phone. I am lucky as Aparajita found her role model whom she looks up to in the tender age of 5 years.
Despite severe pains and sessions of physiotherapy my tigress always told me “Didi, mujhe jaldi thik hona hai. I don’t want to loose any more terms “. The path she chose was not smooth. But she is a fighter, as brave as her husband Shaheed Major Amit Deswal, 21 Para. Few of her relatives created problems and threats and troubled her as much as possible. But she stood strong braving all those storms. She had to stay away from her loving son of 5 years for an year. She did that too. Here I must tell that their son Arjun is also a fighter, as brave as his parents. Its not easy to loose father at the tender age of 3 and stay away from his mother at the age of 4 years. But he did it. Being the source of strength for his mother. As the saying goes “behind army there is an army”. Not only she braved emotional obstacles, but she won the physical one too. Can you imagine my hero ran 30km at night, played judo.
Yes she is my hero, my champ. Aparajita’s “favourite soldier “. I had to witness her Passing out Parade and see my dear sister Neeta of become Lt. Neeta Deswal. Those stars shining on her shoulders are her wings and no one can stop her from flying high, high and high. Love you Neeta, Lt. Neeta Deswal, also wife of Major Amit Deswal.