Got this from Facebook; an officer's wife describes her relationship with wife of Major Dhruv, who recently died due to an accident in the Pokhran FFR.
The Girl he left behind...
I remember the first time I met Surbhi. Dehradun, Jan 2013. This new couple had joined the battalion, and we met each other at an informal party. They were an extremely good looking couple to say the least! I also clearly remember the beautiful jacket that Surbhi was wearing, that was our conversation starter. On our very first meeting itself she promised she'd get me a similar jacket when she goes to Jaipur next. That's Surbhi - warm, friendly and absolutely selfless. There's, of course, a lot more to her character. To start with, she's tiny (yes short) and absolutely stunning, and always, (and I mean ALWAYS) so well turned out. Even in her pjs she'd look so smart and cute. Maj Dhruv was also this tall and handsome officer, a little too fair may be, which would go red after a few drinks (that we found out later). The two of them complimented each other perfectly!
On day 1, I knew Surbhi would be a great friend, but I had to wait. I couldn't possibly force my friendship on her. We kept meeting at the fauji formal dos, till one Feb evening, at a party I got really sick. Food poisoning of some sort and I had to be rushed to the hospital next morning. And guess who didn't leave my side all day till I got back home - it was Surbhi. That day I knew this friendship would last a lifetime.
And then started our adventures - the endless parties, the mindless giggles, the random coffee and shopping dates, the sleep overs, the movie nights, the social evenings where we danced till our feet hurt and a little more, the army ladies meets, the welfare meets, and a lot more embarrassing adventures which cannot be told here. We were making memories for a lifetime. Out of all the memories, we have our favourite ones too, and that was every time we went to Landour.
Once we went biking up there with our respective husbands. Maj Dhruv had this really really vintage bullet, he lovingly called 'Buddhi'. It had its vintage value no doubt, but taking it up there was really courageous of him, and Surbhi of course! I don't exactly remember how many times their bike stopped that day, and every time it did, Surbhi would spring down from the back seat, help Dhruv with the little push Buddhi needed and sprang back on the seat. It was like a drill the two of them were probably used to.
Landour was magical for all of us. And Surbhi especially loved that place. The free spirited soul that she is, every time I saw her there, it felt like she belonged there! We may have gone to Landour together a couple of times, but the two of them went over quite frequently.
And another thing about Surbhi and Dhruv - while the rest of us chose popular holiday destinations like Goa and Thailand, the two always chose to go to quaint little places. They picked beautiful charming hamlets and the quaintest of homestays for their holidays. And all they needed was each other and a couple of books.
Surbhi was always grounded. She was my rock. I was eccentric and immature. And she, unknowingly brought balance in my life. I always looked up to her, and learnt from her. She had a child in her as well - as playful and carefree as ever; but she was grounded. She knew how to hold things together, be it her home or relationships. If you ever went to her place, you'd know how perfect she was aesthetically. Everything so pretty and dainty, sitting perfectly where it should be. She had a collection of things from all over the country - cushion covers from Kashmir, blue pottery from Jaipur, linen from parts of Rajasthan and Delhi, and a lot many pretty things. Her home was as perfect as her!
Our parties always happened there. I remember Diwali 2013. What a crazy crazy night that was. We literally brought the house down. Their poor neighbours probably wanted to kill us that day. And the only person to blame for all the madness was the host himself, Maj Dhruv. He was the bartender for the evening and only he knows what he did with our drinks! But you know the best part - while the rest of us had a tough time dealing with our hangover the next morning, Surbhi and Dhruv's home was back to looking picture perfect!
Surbhi also had this thing about taking too much care of her friends. Any time I was sick, she'd make me the yummiest of khichdi and go out of her way to make me feel comfortable. She was like my mother away from home, and my best friend who always stood by my side. We had so many fun things to do and talk about, that we never really had any time for any kind of negativity, like the usual bitching thing and the likes. She was always so full of positivity - laughing, smiling and taking things easy.
I always thought Maj Dhruv had the perfect partner. She was understanding beyond words. They understood each other so well, and why wouldn't they? After all they've known each other ever since they've known the world. They were just meant to be together!
While I gave my husband a tough time about not spending much time with me and playing golf on Sunday mornings, I wondered how Surbhi would be so cool and sweet about Maj Dhruv doing the same! I had a lot to learn from her. And out of the zillion things I did, the most important thing was to never focus on the negative things in life.
And while we continued to make happy memories, I was also counting days till our posting out. It was Nov 18, 2013. Surbhi and Dhruv's second anniversary. Actually the night of 17th, we went over at midnight. Other friends joined in as well and we celebrated the two. While on our anniversary, most of us would like to get clicked together, I remember Surbhi sneakily clicking Maj Dhruv and his expressions. Even on their second anniversary she was like a 13 year old teenager, with a huge crush on a school senior, gushing relentlessly with butterflies fluttering around in her tummy! We finally managed to get the two of them together in one frame while Surbhi continued to blush.
I think that was the last of our parties at their place, apart from our farewell dinner which was rather short, sweet and emotional.
It was a pain for me to leave Doon and settle down in a new place. And while I struggled, I kept Surbhi well updated about my daily rants. She listened patently and always came up with a solution. And in case she couldn't, she'd just send me a virtual hug. In the army, changing stations is a regular affair and we all promise to keep in touch. But that rarely happens, apart from the occasional wishes and likes on Facebook. But with Surbhi, I talked regularly. 'Bambi' she'd call me lovingly. I thought it was cute. She was my best girl. She still is. In March 2014, she came all the way to Bombay from Doon, to meet me. We had a ball of a time painting the town red. We had also been making plans for a girls' Euro trip. Our plans got stronger and more pronounced. We knew it had to wait, but we were determined to make it happen.
Surbhi went back to Doon and spent the last few months of their Doon tenure happily strutting around with her Prince Charming, making those endless trips to Landour.
And then, in early 2015, she gave me the best news of her life. She was going to be a mother! Their happiness knew no bounds... Maj Dhruv and her always wanted to be parents, and this was it! With love, care and happiness they were counting down the days.
The child would be born in Nov, round about their fourth anniversary.
She was in her seventh month and we were getting super excited discussing the baby's name and planning a maternity shoot. She complained she was putting on too much weight and I always told her she was glowing and looking prettier than ever! And I was also secretly making plans to give her a surprise visit when the baby arrives.
Meanwhile she hadn't met Dhruv for about 3 months due to fauji commitments. And though she rarely ever complained, she once said she was missing him way too much now.
Maj Dhruv was in Jaisalmer with an unit exercise in the firing ranges of Pokhran. He was a fierce tankman, true to his arm, bashing on regardless.
It was 22nd of Sep 2015, just an ordinary day, when he was taking a break from the firing in the evening. He had recently joined Instagram as well, and was trying to get used to the app. He left a comment on a random photo of mine on Insta, saying how good my husband has always been, because he left his game of golf half way, just so that he'd come back home before I woke up on a Sunday morning. Maj Dhruv would never stop taking our case over that one stray incident. I was so embarrassed then, and I'm so embarrassed even now for that! And while I read his comment, I could totally imagine the wicked smile he must have had on his face when he wrote that.
His smile, people say, was infectious - sweet, naughty, wicked; you'd never know what he's thinking. And along with that smile of his, came "Saala"! He had a particular drawl when he said that. And for a person who rarely used fowl words, that was one slang that was always on the tip of his tongue. Never in a bad way though...always fondly. If he ever called you "Saala" you'd know he loves you. And he loved to tease people. It's crazy how he'd remember the minutest details and pull your leg later about it. He didn't even spare his darling wife. Surbhi was way too scared of lizards, and Dhruv got a plastic model home which he'd place on her hand every day and torture her! That was their love...Stupid, crazy and immortal. They meant the world to each other.
On the eve of 22nd Sep, he sent Surbhi a photo of him on the tank, looking as dashing as ever. And the cutest thing was the heart he made on the photo before he sent it to her. Surbhi had been teaching him how to use all these cute things.
That night Surbhi went to sleep peacefully in her room, kissing the photo he had sent her earlier that evening. They've been waiting eagerly for the time when this long distance ordeal would end and they'd be together. And meanwhile, that night, Maj Dhruv continued to fire the mighty tanks at the field firing exercise...till something happened. Something so bad that would change lives forever. A stray shrapnel came from nowhere and hit Maj Dhruv in the neck. A shrapnel in the neck! He left us.
We got the devastating news and didn't know how to react. It wasn't sinking in. We stayed awake the entire night wanting to call Surbhi, and then stopping myself with the only hope that somebody would just shake us up and tell us it's not true. It's not him!
I arrived in Delhi a day later, completely shaken. I had no idea how I would face Surbhi, and what i would say to her. I reached her place and met her mother, and other relatives. There was a huge crowd. I was in a trance, my eyes looking for her. I've been constantly telling myself that I wouldn't cry and that I have to give Surbhi all the strength in the world. And then I met her. She hugged me tight and said in my ears - "woh Chala Gaya"! I couldn't hold my tears any longer. We hugged and cried.
I saw all our Doon friends sitting in the room. We've been wanting to meet for a long time, but this wasn't the way it should've happened. Grim faces and teary eyes, there was silence in the room. Surbhi was strong and composed beyond imagination. She was having her weak moments and breaking down from time to time, but the strength she showed was exemplary. I noticed her tummy, she looked fully pregnant. Knowing how cute she is, I had longed to see her being all cutely pregnant. But now, I couldn't bear to see her! She remained brave, calm and composed - all for the little one.
Two days later, a memorial meet was being held for Maj Dhruv. Surbhi met everyone as gracefully as ever. The hall was filled beyond its capacity, just went on to show how much Maj Dhruv was loved. Friends and colleagues shared stories and anecdotes. We laughed. We cried. And then came Surbhi on the stage. She read out a poem in his memory, and finished it off with the battle cry of Maj Dhruv's unit. She had the same vigour and fierceness in her voice when she said it aloud. That was a proud moment for everyone sitting there. What a mighty brave girl she is!
Gradually everyone had to leave, including me and that is exactly what we didn't want. We didn't want to leave Surbhi alone in her misery. Her family was of course, by her side, but we wanted to be there as well.
I felt guilty coming back to my life. Even though I kept telling her that I'd be there for her, but was I actually there?! I kept asking myself. In our whatsapp conversations that followed, I couldn't dare to ask her how she was. Instead I asked how her health was. Thankfully she had been taking very good care of her health. We'd talk almost every 2 days, but it wasn't the same. I was scared to ask her anything. I was scared that I'd end up saying something wrong. I didn't know what to say exactly except for the fact that I just wanted to be there for her. There were days when she'd be brave and strong and talk about practical things. And then there were days when her despair would just come through in her words. She'd ask how she would do everything without him, all the things that they were meant to do together...and then she herself would say that she knows Dhruv is with her, watching over her and he'll be there for her forever.
One day she broke down completely. The day when an official letter arrived where she had to sign as the "widow" of "Late Major Dhruv". How could she do it? Dhruv may have left, but she knew he'd be there for her always.
Surbhi is heartbroken. But this brave woman has been picking up the broken pieces and fitting them back in her jigsaw puzzle. The other day she sent me a photo of the collage she has made for her room. It has all the photos of Maj Dhruv, that she must've sneakily taken on their anniversary. It made me cry. I didn't tell her that though.
I've been waiting to write something about Surbhi and Maj Dhruv since the incident. But I refrained. May be because it had a sad ending. But today I did. Because amidst all the sadness, the silver lining that Maj Dhruv had left behind, has finally arrived in this world. Their little prince arrived on 15th Nov, and he's the silver lining who'll bring back happiness in Surbhi's life. We all are waiting eagerly to see that vibrant smile back on her face.
It also happens to be their anniversary in two days. They'll turn 4!
(Meanwhile, it's a promise to myself and to her, that once the baby is a little older, we'll go back to Landour to relive all the happy memories. And also we'll try and make our Euro trip happen, only this time it won't be just girls anymore...our little Prince Charming will be a part of the group.)
Be the rock that you are my Darling girl Surbhi, and your Dhruv star will continue to shine on you!