Preet Amol Singh
It was a shocking news for me when I received a WhatsApp message from a friend on June 6 regarding the missing AN-32 in which our school friend and batchmate, Mohit Kumar Garg, was on board. As I was in Nepal for a conference and had limited access to the Internet, all hopes were shattered when it was confirmed that the aircraft went missing on June 3.
I still carried hope that he and his teammates would be rescued by the IAF, but that was not to be.
Mohit was a dear friend, classmate and bench-mate for six years. What a fine gentleman he was! Always cheerful. Hardly have I seen any pictures of him without a smile. Mohit joined PPS Nabha in class V. The school was inaugurated by Dr Rajendra Prasad, President of India, in 1961. Mohit was studious and an obedient student. We used to call him by his nickname, Moti. ‘Moti’ means a precious gem. We Nabhaites can proudly say he was our real and priceless diamond.
I remember he used to be an extra-ordinary student and would score full marks in mathematics, and for this reason, he would volunteer to keep the scoreboard during inter-house competitions. Being a mediocre student, especially in maths, physics and chemistry, I used to enjoy the opportunity of copying the answers from his sheet!
I was frequently in touch with him on WhatsApp and Facebook. We used to exchange a lot of messages and crack jokes at each other. Even after joining the Air Force after clearing his NDA examination, he remained in contact with most of his schoolmates.
He had a very supporting and down-to-earth personality. We all friends of PPS Nabha had our last get-together at his wedding in Patiala. I remember that beautiful evening, recollecting funny memories of our school days, and last but not least, the beaming smile on his face. I still cannot believe that it was meant to be our last meeting.
We all know that life in the defence forces is tough, but also the most satisfying for a soldier. It is said that the only thing that is permanent is change. It is apt for the forces. Soldiers are never to be made to feel comfortable at one place, and hence, they are shifted frequently from place to place every two-three years. He also had his fair share of a tough life.
All I can say is that my dear friend, your loss cannot be fulfilled but in the time of grief and sorrow, we stand by your family firmly.
I dedicate to him these beautiful lines of Jiddu Krishnamurti for a friendship that never ends: ‘Tell your friend that in his death, a part of you dies and goes with him. Wherever he goes, you also go. He will not be alone.’
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