There is a popular saying by a noted US Senator that goes - 'There's no greater service to this country than the defence of its freedom'. Though it was for another country, the meaning applies to defence forces all over the world. And actress Aishwarya Sakhuja relates to it first hand. The actress has been an army brat all through her life with her father having served in the Indian Army. And while she couldn't be any prouder, she has also borne witness to the sacrifices her father had to make to serve and protect this country. Holding nothing back, a very candid Aishwarya recalled, "My father was hardly around when we were growing up. But the time he would come home for a month long stay, we would feel our space was invaded because it seemed like I didn't know him well enough."
*But this was a temporary situation. Aishwarya added, "My thought process obviously changed as I grew up. I started having a deeper understanding of what my father's job entailed, how important it was, and that I was not the only one missing spending important days of my life with my Dad. This is the story of every household in India that has family members serving in the Army, Navy and Air Force. We wouldn't always get to spend all holidays, birthdays and graduations with the family. And as I gradually realised that the nation came first to my father, my feelings changed too."*
"But having said that, the love for my country was as much a part of my schooling as it was of our everyday family conversation. I learnt so much from the environment I grew up in. A key lesson that I learnt and vowed to carry with me for the rest of my life was to respect people from all walks of life despite any class, religion or gender. Army is a highly secular institution and hence we were taught equality from the very beginning of our lives. We learnt that Papa belonged to the country first and then us. We learnt it was important to adapt as every 2 years we moved cities. We learnt to make do with the best we had. I now know how to disconnect and at the same time connect with people from all walks of life," she explains.
Well, to all such hardworking servicemen out there, who work day and night to keep India independent, our heartfelt gratitude for the tireless services and for the sacrifices you make to keep us safe. Jai Hind!