When the entire world was celebrating Father’s Day yesterday on social media and otherwise, a beautiful post started going viral on Facebook. And you’ll be pleasantly surprised to know that it wasn’t a child’s heartwarming post for his/her father or vice-versa, but a husband, a retired Air Force officer talking about his wife and thanking her for being there for their kids when he wasn’t there. The post is so heartwarming that you just cannot help fall in love with the entire idea of a husband wishing his wife a ‘Happy Father’s Day’ and thanking her for everything she’s done for their family’.
To talk about the numbers that the Facebook post on Humans of Bombay page has collected would be a huge understatement when one sees the underlying emotion that the entire post carries. The post that has garnered more than 13 k reactions already has a retired Air Force officer talking about how he ‘migrated to Rajasthan from Pakistan with his family in 1947’ (during partition). In a truly insightful post, he shares his experiences of Partition in brief before moving to how he completed his schooling in Jodhpur. With pure innocence, he shares his fascination of flying aircrafts, and his dream run at the Indian Air Force.
The most beautiful part of his story comes when he talks about his wife, whom he met in Punjab and as adorable as it could get, when he saw her in a badminton court, one of his friends asked him to go and talk to her. Seems straight out of a romantic movie, right? As they say, love finds its way, he also went to meet his wife with a tin of laddoos the very next day, on the pretext of seeing her.
“My family and I migrated to Rajasthan from Pakistan in 1947. Although I was only 5 years old back then…I remember the sights of rioting to this day. Everything was in turmoil and we stayed on the platform, while the elders went to look for a place to rent and work for us to survive. Things eventually settled and I completed my schooling in Jodhpur.
The most beautiful part of growing up in Jodhpur was watching the aircrafts fly low over us throughout the day because Jodhpur had an Indian Air Force base. Having seen my country being ripped apart through partition and feeling so passionately about aircrafts and flying… my biggest dream growing up, was to join the Indian Airforce. It has been my biggest privilege that I got to live that dream— I served as a fighter pilot in the Indian Army for 25 years. The first war I fought was in 1965 against Pakistan and I remember flying over the border, saving our soldiers and thanking God that he chose me to serve the bravest men India will ever see— our Jawans.
I was a bachelor during these initial years but my life changed for the second time when I met my wife in 1967 at a badminton court in Halwara. She was the daughter of a Senior Accountant Officer and I remember my friend telling me – ‘Sardarni Hein, Lambi Hein — Ja ke Baat Kar!’ Back then we were all so shy, but I liked her so much, that the next day I took a tin of Ladoos for her family who stayed in Ludhiana. I made up an excuse that I was just passing by, but her father who knew me from the army, invited me over for dinner the next day. I exchanged very few words with her, but I knew that she was the one for me in these initial few meetings. Soon after, she left for hostel in Chandigarh, but I used to write her letters and whenever I got the chance, I would drive for 2 and a half hours on my bike to see her for half an hour! One of the fondest memories I have during this time is when I drove down to see her, took her for lunch to Shimla and then dropped her back… it was so innocent, so pure.
We waited for her to finish her education and then got married, and that’s when war took a different meaning for me. Whether it was the war in 85-86 or the Kargil war, I knew my wife and children were waiting back home for me. The only way I communicated with them was through letters or an odd phone call, but as much as possible I would try and focus the conversation on my children, their progress at school and my wife. I was sometimes in -30 degrees, flying over the border with bullets and bombs all around me…but not once did my family ask me to give it up — they knew what it meant to me to fly…to serve my country.
Everything I am today, I owe to my wife. While I was away, which was for most part of the year she was a mother and a father to our children. We used to go long months without seeing each other, but she always put on a smile and took care of everything. She constantly lived in the fear of losing her husband, but she put my dreams before her fears. Even when I retired but continued to serve as senior pilot at the Pawan Hans, she supported me and my passion to fly without question. So really, I mean it when I say that I am because of her. I love my children, it has been an honour for me to be their father, but today, I’d like to wish my wife, ‘Happy Father’s Day’ and thank her for everything she’s done for us.”
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