Mahendra joined the army when he was 18 years old. But he was quick to show immense devotion to his position as an officer.
“I wanted to earn money to support my family. I would get up at 3:30 AM and train till 5:30 PM. It was tough.”
At 25 years old, Mahendra got married while continuing to serve the country. His duties kept him busy and he was only able to visit home for 2 months every year.
“While I worked day in and day out for my country, I missed many milestones. I couldn’t attend the birth of any of my three daughters. When my first daughter was born without me there, I wrote my wife a 14 feet letter expressing my love for her. I said that life will have its ups and downs, but I will be there with you every step of the way.”
2 years after his first daughter was born, Mahendra fought bravely in the Kargil war.
“I took pride in fighting for India. But my heart aches every time I recall how my second daughter called me uncle instead of papa when she saw me for the first time. I came home after a posting and she didn’t know who I was. I was broken.”
Through his years of service, Mahendra has had many postings; he also did a mission in South Africa to rehabilitate refugees.
“Every day without him was painful,” says his wife. “But I knew he was doing it for a bigger cause.”
Mahendra was scheduled to retire in 2013 but then got posted in Belgaum as a Subedar Major. For him, serving the nation has always been a top priority. So, for the next four years, he continued getting promoted and even trained 4000 army recruits as an Honorary Captain. When he finally retired from service three years ago, his team held a long function, with one day dedicated to honouring his wife.
“Now that he’s back, we just spend time together – Mahendra even makes his signature dish for us. It’s just the best.” His wife is thrilled to have him home and his children don’t miss a chance to hug him.
#Mahindra salutes the challenger spirit of people like Mahendra and his wife, who dedicate their entire life to the service of the nation. #PeopleWhoRise #HappyIndependenceDay!