Terrorizing World – "Enough is enough"

Time to ACT tough . Now !


Posted by :) on November 22, 2009

Source : TOI Remembering Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan

One Operation And One Single Day Changed It All For Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan. The Nation Salutes The Braveheart Who Took On Terrorists And Made The Ultimate Sacrifice During The 26/11 Attacks In Mumbai Last Year

Aarthi R | TNN

Bangalore: At K Unnikrishnan and Dhanalakshmi’s house in Bangalore Sandeep’s room is still “upstairs.” But, they have brought down almost all memories — even from his house in Manesar — to live with. Right from his photo when a year old to his posthumous medal to the couch and ‘red car parked outside’ and the huge unopened trunks. Even the things he last used from the toothpaste to the razor to the deo are safe inside a drawer here. The one thing hidden in his room cupboard is him posing in big specs as an NDA cadet, grinning wide. “He never wanted a dull face. Always sported a smile. In fact, he had a problem getting his ID card done as his GC wanted him with a serious face!,” Dhanalakshmi says, sporting a natural smile remembering him. “Yes. He is with us and we will go wherever he takes us,” she adds. Her “Sandu mon was back home July last. He left on August 11. Even when in the Army, he was never away for long.” He was supposed to have come back to Bangalore on December 17, 2008. Even the tickets had been booked. He was quite excited about the planned family trip to Kerala early this year. Almost everything was planned. But one operation and one single day changed it all. Sandeep never discussed work with them right from his NDA days. It was only recently that they realized that he had a tough time in all the three Jammu & Kashmir postings in his early days. He also went missing for about 50 hours in an icy trench without food and water.
“Perhaps, he kept us prepared.” Two years ago, when a close friend’s son passed away in an accident, Dhanalakshmi didn’t eat for almost a week. Back home then, Sandeep had told her — “For Kaushik you are so upset, what will you do if it was me?”
“But, this didn’t happen. Strangely, in Sandeep’s case, we only missed one day’s meal,” says a surprised father. He was well prepared, but he kept preparing them as well. “He didn’t like people living beyond a certain age. He was not sympathetic to aged people. But, at least another 10 years more would have been sufficient for him,” says the father, trying to sport a smile.
Even when he was away, he was always present for them. Once when the solar installation at house was delayed for two weeks, he called saying — “It’s the 15th day I’m calling to remind you.Tomorrow is your ultimate date.” I still feel he’s there doing the same. My mind knows that he will not be still. Whenever I commit a mistake like when driving, I feel he’s there to change my version,” explains Unnikrishnan.
Sandhya’s (Sandeep’s cousin and close friend) young son Tharun now gives them ample company. Upto all the mischief Sandeep deprived them of. “His favourite is fish. He is almost Sandeep to us,” they say. “It’s not memories. He is still living with us. He cannot go away just like that,” say Sandeep’s parents.

Sandeep the person
Quiet, yet frank and curious, Sandeep was four months when they moved to Bangalore. His childhood was spent in Domlur. Before he turned four, his favourite pass time was cutting any paper he lay his hands on with a pair of scissors. He was also fond of animals. He was always thin, yet physically agile. A few inches short of 6 feet, he last weighed 68 kg. “You needed to shake hands with him to see how strong he was. He even suggested we use this clutches to strengthen our palms,” remembers Unnikrishnan, demonstrating the action.
So, how did Army happen?
“It was on his own. He decided on it when he was in class 8 itself. All said and done, the respect you get in Armed Forces in India, you never get it anywhere else, even with parents. That’s what perhaps attracted him then,” explains his father. His father would have wanted him in IT. Sandeep wasn’t interested. “What is it you do sitting in front of the computer 13-18 hours? was his main worry. He was very keen to join the NDA. His first choice was Navy. But he had a slight vision problem, so he had to go with the second option of Army. Even as we stood in a queue at St Joseph’s for a BSc back up in case he does not get into CET, he said: “It’s futile, dad. I have already given my NDA and results have come. I will be joining. That day I realised he was serious about it. First two years I feared his safety, then I was confident.”
After a total 20 years of service, Sandeep was planning on a civilian job.
A father’s friend
“There was nothing Sandeep could not talk to me. I used to talk to him the same way. However, we almost never agreed on anything without any argument. He was not the person to agree to anything easily unless convinced. We were stark contrasts. Right from Sandeep’s preference for brands to cars and even wearing a formal tie. Those things I really miss now.”
The bad news
“When I first heard about his death on TV — I knew that he was there but kept repeatedly telling myself no, he was not. A kind of pretention. I was just waiting for him to come out after the operation successfully and then involve in another argument with me.
Even when the body was taken for cremation, my personal feeling was if only I could take a piece of his hair or even nail to preserve. Even in the truck and in the crematoria, I wanted to but could not. But luckily when I came back, we found his comb, he had last used when home. A round comb, luckily, he hadn’t cleaned it!

Breaking the news  to Dhanalakshmi
Unnikrishnan’s greatest challenge was conveying Sandeep’s death to Dhanalakshmi, who was then singing and cooking. “When I said ‘he’s no more,’ she just ran away, leaving the stove on. She never became unconscious even for a second. Wanted to get every bit of news on it.”
“Looking back, I really don’t know how and when I heard it. He knew it. I didn’t. But when he told me, I lost my control. Hit him hard on the chest with both hands saying, ‘Even if they say it on TV how can you tell so as his father,’ I fought with him. Not his fault but I could not control my emotions.”
She last spoke to him on the Sunday before 26/11. He spoke unusually long, excited about his trip to Delhi with his friend. “We never knew about any movie or even song until he showed or talked about it to us.” Engrossed in explaining, she also starts imitating his expressions talking about the places he’d visited, holding his
hands up and eyes wide
open. Then, realizing, she b re a k s d ow n . “He had s o m e – t h i n g special in him.
Every face I see, I see Sandeep. Never thought this would happen. When in class 2, his teacher told us he will be like C V Raman. Then I did not think much. But now, sometimes I think,Why didnt he?” she wonders.

A great son
He never missed his parents wedding anniversary. He made it a point to be back home on every August 31. “He was always there to get us to cut the cake.” “‘Whenever he wanted money, he used to ask me. I thought he was spending left and right, but it was not so. He was spending on charity and on his subordinates,” Unnikrishnan says. Sandeep’s sahayak at M a n e s a r, Sohan — who is now in Bangalore to give them company —told t h e m about it.
Perhaps too late, yet special now, Dhanalakshmi also recalls an incident when in Domlur. He was in class 6 then. “He came back excited, telling me he saw Sivarasan (planner of Rajiv Gandhi’s murder who was killed in a police shoot out in Bangalore) in the 137 bus he boarded. How, he was dressed as a blind man, with walking stick in hand and wearing glasses. He got down in HAL II stage. We never believed him then. But, I still faintly remember, how he came back angry when it was later reported.Even today I don’t know if he really saw Sivarasan. And perhaps it’s too late,” she says, trying to laugh but unable to control the tears anymore.
Coping with the loss
“When some unknown person recognizes us and tell us more about Sandeep, that gives us a lot of comfort. Even at times when I say he was foolish in doing what he did, I am stopped and told ‘Don’t say so. You and I could not have done what he did,” says Unnikrishnan.

Reaction to 26/11
There’s no point in it. Kasab is an offender. They are keeping him alive. One can say Kasab was a machine used by them, but he has a brain. They had all gone for their purpose. I have a problem; not that he had any tussle with Sandeep. He killed many innocent people. We saw him shooting. He was standing, shooting and laughing. Who is he? And we are asking Pakistan to do something. He should be hanged from a lamppost. That should be a lesson to other terrorists.
Tussle with Kerala CM
When I first heard it on TV, I thought it was end of the world. The next moment,I realized nothing had changed, except Sandeep. Later on, I remember everything, including Mr Achutanandan’s visit. People said I acted that way because I was emotional. But no. It was on purpose. I never had any problems with him, nor abused him. It’s just that I didn’t want anyone to take undue credit.

Sandeep’s Favourites

Food: Hard core non-vegetarian who also loved his mother’s ‘appam and stew’. Sea fish, especially fried sardines with tea being a particular favourite. But he ran away from rice! “When it came to rice, dhal and ghee, his mom had to forcibly feed.” Colours:White, Black and Red Place: Nainital Music: Anything not classical Movies: Good movies in any language. A look at his huge collection shows him as a fan of action films and classics. Back home, he was regular at Malayalam movies at a theatre nearby with mom. Sport: Before joining NDA, he was completely into studies and sports. No game that he hadn’t played. He liked football, hockey and cricket but athletics was his forte. Several of his records in school have not been broken yet. “I guess because he was into all sports, he did not shine in any one of them,” says the proud father holding a small cup from the cupboard that was Sandeep’s favourite : his first cup in high jump that’s still unbeaten at school. Other interests: Quizzing, debates, reading and languages, English being his favourite.


2 Responses to “‘YES, HE IS STILL LIVING WITH US’”

  1. Shubha said

    Long live Sandeep… in the memories of all… Hope justice is giving to u and all those who sacrificed their life in the mumbai attacks… Kasab should be hanged…. hope it is done soon.

  2. Kerri said

    Valuable information. Fortunate me I discovered your site
    unintentionally, and I’m surprised why this accident did not came about earlier! I bookmarked it.

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