The places where moments reside

Heroes: The journey till now

Every piece of writing has a story and here I am with the backstories of all my write-ups in the Heroes series- the series dedicated exclusively to the defence forces of India. 

So I take you through the story and thought behind every writeup during the past one year.

1. Heroes: Stories of courage and supreme sacrifice


Story: The origin of this series is this writeup, during the Kedarnath tragedy. With politicians taking full advantage of the situation for their selfish gains, there were these warriors who were saving lines. With calamity of huge proportions, the rescue efforts of the brave men of the forces was beyond description. I compiled all the news items from across the net and published it as a mark of respect to what they were doing despite loosing their own so that the people may know who are the real heroes. Meant just a one off incident, I didn’t knew that it would become a series in itself.

The name Heroes was taken from a Salman khan movie by the same name which somehow just clicked instantly – an emotion which described perfectly what these people really are – Heroes.

2. Heroes: Flights of Heroism

Story: The continuation of the rescue efforts. Part 2 of Kedarnath you can say. Compiled from a India Today Cover story during that time..each and every word.

3. Heroes: Letter to a Kargill Martyr`s Family.... Capt. Vijyant Thapar

Story : This is a letter I wrote to the family of Kargill Martyr Capt. Vijayant Thapar on the decade completion of Kargill in 2009. I just wanted to say thank you to each and every soldier who was there in Kargill. I had read about the interview of Capt. Vijyant`s father in a newspaper saying that people don’t respect and care about a soldier now. Deeply hurt and sad , I wrote to him what I felt about every soldier in the country (left a comment via the website). Not expecting any reply was surprised when this was what I got. It’s the most prized piece of mail even today.

4. Heroes : A fighter pilot`s rules of engagement

Story: Its basically a compilation of the basic rules of flying and fighting that I was reading in a military fiction novel by a well known International author. Decided to just put it at one place.
5. The angels: My Comrades

Story: Basically the idea of this one came from a video game. Was watching a mission of Medal of honour where the player and his squad get surrounded from sides, the ammo gets dangerously low and there is heavy firing from the insurgents. At the screen it looked like all game over to me when the reinforcements in the form of heavy gunships arrived at the scene and I heaved a sigh of relief. Then the idea came to me that what happens in the same situation on the actual battlefield in real lfe? Its no game which can be saved and paused as per convenience. Its war and its damn tough. So I wrote this one to capture the essence and importance of reinforcements in war when certain death becomes life in a split second.

6. Heroes: My walk back home

Story: Inspired by the true incidents and stories of Indian POWs captured in the various wars with Pakistan. Some of whom are still languishing in jails, having gone insane, dead or what not while their families in India still await their return even after so many years but to no avail. I tried capturing the mindset of each and every POW while drawing the attention to the fact that what about these heroes whom we have forgetton. When are they coming back?

7. Heroes : I am an Air Warrior

Story: The first writeup especially for the IAF written on the occasion of the 71 war, the inspiration came from the only PVC awardee of the IAF – Nirmal Jeet Singh Sekhon who took on 6 adversaries without caring for his own life in the face of the enemy.

8. Heroes: I am the Param Veer Chakra

Story: The biggest thing I ever attempted in the Heroes series. Conceptualised while reading 2 books – Despatches from kargill and Param Vir: Our Heroes in battle. The idea was to honour the PVC receipents and tell the world their acts of valour. Putting together 2 lines for each PVC winner it took around a week to compile while using the book as a reference. Cross checked and requested Maj. Ian Cardozo , a highly decorated Indian army veteran and the 1971 war hero to have a look so that nothing is out of place and the honour of the medal is intact. After his thumbs up, published it on the blog and on 26th Jan 2014 took the help of my friends to spread it across all social networks with massive reach despite being blocked by twitter for 2 hours for spamming. The only prose to be approved and published by the Indian Army on its facebook page. A proud moment for me.

Maj. Ian Cardozo - the man who helped me in this writeup, giving his approval.

9. Heroes : The dusk of my life

Story : Just a thought that what happens to a soldier disabled in war. How tough is his life and how does he feel when his dream of being a soldier is shattered. Researched to find out all the injuries which end careers in an instant this one has been one of the toughest ones to write when you come to know that an ordinary bullet wound can end your passion of being a soldier. Tried to feel the pain of it.

10. Heroes: Soldiers, a radio station , and a Thank You !!

Story: An act which I did in 2012 with Radio City even before the Heroes series was conceptualised in reality. The Heroes tag was added to this title after the series started. The RJs that year went to Kargill to say thank you and not wanting to be left behind in speaking my heart out, despite suffering from high fever I called up the Radio station first time in my life I talked to RJ Khurkhi and said thank you to the whole Radio city team. They were not expecting such feedback and I talked 15 mins to them not to mention the promo they created of my talk and ran the whole day on 15th Aug. 2012. A proud moment for me to be able to say thank you to every soldier in India.

The only article to have 2 audio clips as well.

All articles have been written keeping in mind that no wrong facts are presented and the valour of the soldiers remains intact in every way. What you read in just 5 mins. takes days to conceptualise, prepare and present not to mention the heavy toll it takes on the emotions. I am just somewhat plain lucky that I can write about these soldiers inspite of not being from a defence background.

Just one request to every reader of the Heroes series- Do respect them. They go through a lot of hell to keep us safe. 
Heroes: The journey till now Heroes: The journey till now Reviewed by Shwetabh on 1:53:00 PM Rating: 5

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