What I Learnt From THIS Aviator !

“There are some people, who come into your life and leave and then there are some who come into your life, stay for a while and leave their footprints in your heart. And you? You’re never ever the same..”

This is a story about someone who changed me for the better despite his actions being contrary to  that.

Where do I begin? There is so much to write about but every time I begin to pen down a thought a million others come like a whirlwind. Like the stories one has read and heard of, girl meets boy, they fall in love and live happily ever after. No this isn’t a fairy-tale and the world is not all hearts flowers and sweet nothings. Realizing that is what took me the maximum time.

Being the daughter of two army officers life had been pretty eventful since the very start. And obviously one of the skills we “Fauji Brats”  learn to develop over the years, is meeting people as strangers and bidding them farewell as the best of friends.

All of this started in 2009, Grade 10. My father was posted to Delhi and life was “good”. And then walked in someone who transformed my world, who transformed everything.When “HE” came into my life , my world did not go upside down. He just made everything around me seem more beautiful and I learnt to appreciate the little things in life.

And who is “HE” ? – Aaryaman Mittal. (Name changed to protect the fantastic)

He had completed his 12th boards and was on his way to “touch the sky with glory”. Aaryaman always wanted to be a pilot. And not just a pilot, a “fighter pilot” in the Indian Air Force. He had taken the NDA written examination earlier that year and the results were out. No points for guessing. He cleared it with flying colours.

How did we meet? Both of us being “defence kids” , our paths crossed due to a common link. Those were the Orkut/Facebook days and we added each other. We started chatting and our conversations used to stretch minutes into hours. A month later he asked me out. Honestly I was waiting for it and was jumping with joy when that happened.

We met when he came to Delhi that month. He came to my school after my exams and we went out for coffee. He was the “perfect guy” in terms of everything including how he looked.  The cafe coffee day phrase “a lot can happen over coffee”, is essentially very true. That day was all about coffee and conversation. We spent quite a lot of time together and  really enjoyed each other’s company. And at the end of the day that is exactly what makes you sail through the relationship. He was everything I had ever wished for and I was content and very very happy.

Though I was a “Fauji Brat”, I had never thought of being with someone in the Army, the Navy or the Air force. Needless to say I did not realise how difficult it could get! He had his SSB  ( Service Selection Board – similar to a GD/PI except that it lasts five to six days !)the next month i.e. September , which went off really well and he was referred to the Delhi centre AFCME for the medical tests. We had planned it that way, that he could meet me on his way back.

Throughout this time we were in a long-distance relationship and surprisingly things were very smooth. We rarely fought and it isn’t even fair to call what we had “fights”. I would rather refer to them as “heated arguments”. Even though one of us would step back, the other knew that the stance hadn’t changed and there was no concept of “winning and losing” and argument.

He loved to travel and since his entire family was in the  IAF, he would  travel across India to meet someone or the other. Me on the other hand, had school and had less time on my hands comparatively as the next set of exams was around the corner.

We were not like the couples who needed to talk all the time and getting annoyed about not giving enough time to each other and that was actually a blessing in disguise. For as December rolled through it was his last month of “freedom” as he would be reporting at the National Defence Academy, Khadakwasla, Pune  in the last week of the month.

We had talked about this phase and he had often explained to me how difficult it would be. He would be a first termer and how NDA was all about “ragdaa”. The Cadets were so busy all the time that they would be surviving on 0-4 hours of sleep, forget about getting the time to call up their girlfriends and talk for hours!

I began counting the DLFATG ( Days left for Aaryaman to go). In fact we both were. But we were prepared for what it would be and in a way him going to NDA was at a good time for our relationship.

I had my pre-boards to take in January and his term would have commenced. Both of us would be extremely busy. (obviously him more than me.) This helped us get used to the “no communication mode”.

Despite being busy at the academy, Aaryaman always found the time to call me at least once a week. And I looked forward to those calls immensely. Sometimes I would be lucky as he would call in the middle of the night when I would be least expecting it. I would tell him to sleep (secretly wanting to talk for hours) after about 5 minutes of conversation but he always knew that I wanted to talk.. Even though these conversations were not as long as they used to be earlier, they helped me survive the rest of the week. We resorted to letters for communication.

As March came closer, the Board exams drew nearer and the phone calls became few and far in between. The night before my first exam he called me and I missed it unfortunately. I remember vividly the wave of sadness that washed over me when I saw the missed call the next day.The next time he called was on the 17th of March. A day before my Hindi exam.  We talked for an hour which was an AMAZING opportunity! I do not know how he managed it ! But he did!

I had three exams left and on the 25th night I discovered he was cheating on me. I did my best to be practical and studied for the remaining exams.The 31st of march after the exams finished, I allowed myself to feel the after effects. Despite having my friends by my side only I knew how I felt inside. I was just numb. No pain. No tears. I was a zombie for a while that followed. But life goes on, doesn’t it ? School restarted and 11th began. Science was the choice that year which required a lot of time to be devoted to it.  My main motive was not to think about him and so I made sure that there wasn’t  any time to think about him. Time passed and I became okay.  Eventually I got over him and sometimes even laugh at some of the crazy things I did! Life in college started off and was great. I really started enjoying my single status.


And Aaryaman? I didn’t really keep much track of who he was with. Just heard from a common friend that he had fallen for someone and  I was genuinely happy for him. He passed out of the NDA went into the AFA and commissioned as “Flying Officer Aaryaman Mittal” and I am SO proud of him.

Agreed, he cheated and that is unacceptable under any circumstances. But the amount he taught me? That was tremendous.

At the end of this story what did I learn ? THIS Aviator taught me more than I can put into words. Be it the late night calls in early November before my exams to teach me Trigonometry or shortcuts to remember while drawing ray diagrams for physics over the phone or whether it is all about the customs at the academy. Ranging from the little things in life to the big ones that matter equally, he taught me every bit of it. He taught me to love and he taught me how to deal with the loss.  Being with Aaryaman has made me realise how much at home I was while dating a person from a similar background as me. This is something I would definitely take forward.

I had always been a very “trusting” and “non-restraining”  kind of a person (forgive me for the brag). Never had issues over whether my man is talking to a girl at 2 am in the morning or texting someone else along with me. In fact it surprised me that I never even had problems with him meeting some other girl alone. Despite the fact that Aaryaman cheated on me, he is the one who helped build this level of trust (and broke it too), I find it hilarious when I look at other couples fighting over these issues.He helped me mature a person. They say when you’re in school your love is “puppy-love”  and an “infatuation” and the works. It isn’t always true.

People often ask me, do you think he really liked you or was he just playing around. I honestly would never know the answer to it. Only he would. One of my favourite things to do at that time was to create a journal where I write only about him and how I felt on various occasions when we would talk, meet, argue, text, chat whatever. I handed it over to him when I met him and he returned it back to me the next day with his feelings written down in it for each time we met, talked, chatted everything..

You do not always talk about the relationship, how you met and how you broke up. You sometimes also learn to cherish the good times and keep all the memories stored in some corner of your heart and move on with life. But what you do take along with the memories are the experiences.It isn’t about hating those who broke your heart and swearing to take revenge. Mostly it’s about loving yourself and knowing what you’re worth. Due to past relationships and experiences people find it difficult to love. I’d only say, teach your heart to love unconditionally and one day you will meet the person you are destined to be with.

Being vulnerable is something we are all scared of. Think of what life would be if there were no boundaries. What would you say to those you love? What would you do on that day? Think of it as if today is that day. Be fearless. Live without regrets. Who knows? You might not have tomorrow?



The Soldier

The title of this should be “The Broken Soldier”, which is pretty much an oxymoron.
How can a soldier be broken ? Right ? He is supposed to be strong. He is supposed to be the protector. He is supposed to be able to stand in the middle of the battlefield and not flinch when a bullet comes his way. He is able to see his men and friends succumb to injuries and still move on because it is what he has to do.
And in his solitude, he would mourn all that he has lost. He will be woken up by nightmares.

And this is the life he has chosen. He knows he can be called anytime and he has to go. He knows he may not return. He knows that the glimpse of his parents crinkled eyes, filled with tears upon his leaving may be the last glimpse. His girlfriends arms wrapping him in a tight hug, may be his last memory of her.

And yet he has chosen this life.

These men, are the strongest I have seen. Their strength comes from the ones they love. Their home, family, lover and friends.
A soldier will never talk about how he feels with many. Only a couple of people will be privileged enough to know what he writes in the pages of that leather bound diary. Only the chosen one would get to read what the warrior’s ink says.

I have been fortunate to meet a few of this fine breed of men. They are undoubtedly a class apart.
A soldier’s love story, will be nothing short of the fairytale romance. Sometimes it is a gruesome nightmare. With the days that pass more and more conversations make me believe that these men deserve all the love in the world and yet so many of them are shattered from within. They deserve to be loved just as much as anyone else. How can you discriminate on the basis of profession ? Aren’t they human beings ? Don’t they have dreams ? So what if the uniform comes before the lady ? Isn’t that what sets them a class apart ?
And this is what breaks my heart. There is nothing more upsetting to see someone who has stopped believing in love. Who is a stranger to gestures like someone being genuinely interested in how their day was and what they did just because the girl he loved wasn’t.
Someone who is amazed when the other person would wake up at an odd hour to wish them luck for an exercise or a camp or just to make sure they are awake in time for the flight they need to catch, just because the girl he loved did not do the same.

She said she loves you and she couldn’t wait for you to call .
She says she will wait, but one month of the long distance made her change her ways.
She said she will adjust, but the odd hours and hectic schedule made her take a u-turn.
She said she will do what it takes, she couldn’t go on.

He becomes someone who trusts with difficulty, because his princess left. And for what ?
The reasons are a million and each of them a lie.
‘Long distance never works’
‘You aren’t there for me’
‘This is hard’
‘We hardly get to see eachother’
‘Why can’t you come for longer’
‘Why don’t you get leave’
‘I can’t live this life’
‘Its too tough’
‘I’m sorry , I can’t go on like this’
Sounds familiar? That’s what she said.

Don’t stop believing in love and miracles. Sounds idiotic ? Let it ! What is life if you haven’t given yourself a chance to take chances ?

You will find the one who make your world round. Who will love with all she has and will let you go gracefully not because she knows its your job but because she understands that it is already so hard for you and she is the one who will keep you strong.
The one who will stay up at all hours for that call which will last 20 seconds maximum because she knows how precious those three words are and she knows that its as important for you to hear them as it is for her.
The one who trusts. The one who is your rock. The one who will only break down when you are by her side and can be her rock. The one who will wait for you to return. The one who will love unconditionally and mean it when she says that she loves you. The one who is proud of you and will never hold your duty against you. The one who is fit enough to be called an ‘ Army/ Navy/ Air Force  Girlfriend/Wife’