Wednesday, November29,2023

A Tribute to a Dear Friend, Col Vijay Mishra, who Passed away Unexpectedly on the Night of September 3-4, 2023

I find solace in expressing my emotions through writing, but today my words are heavy with grief as I extend my deepest condolences to the family of my dear friend, Vijay Mishra, affectionately known as Motu Mishra.

Always wearing a smile and ever-ready to lend a helping hand, there was something about him that drew me close. I got to know him during the third term at NDA when he was transferred from Kilo squadron to my Bravo squadron. Our camaraderie was immediate, and we soon became the best of friends, enduring our academy life together. We made it a point to stay close, embarking on all treks and midterm breaks side by side. During the fifth term, our adjacent cabins on the top floor central lobby became a haven, complete with a shared open terrace. It was there that we would cook Maggi and omelets on Sundays, enjoying each other's company.

Motu loved capturing moments through photographs, and since I was the only one in the squadron with a camera, he featured prominently in many of my snapshots. His advice was always sound, and talking to him was a cathartic experience during my personal struggles. He always encouraged me and urged me to strive harder to excel in the Academy. Whenever I achieved recognition during our training days, his appreciation and shared happiness were heartfelt. You are the long-distance runner, just rein in those emotions a bit, he would say. I can confidently say that my supersession affected him more than it did me or my family.

Our paths crossed only once during my service in 1995 when I was on my way to the Siachen glacier tenure. However, we remained connected through letters, phone calls, and later through WhatsApp and social media. Whenever my articles were published, he would either call or leave detailed comments praising my writing skills. There were many occasions when we tried to meet in person, but due to organizational or personal constraints, it was not in our destiny to catch up. He had invited me to his daughter's wedding in March of this year, an invitation I regretfully couldn't accept due to my son's board exams.

We last spoke just a month ago when he appreciated an article I wrote about telegrams, reminding me of how a poorly phrased telegram had brought sorrow to our course mate, Ravinder Chandel. The words father dead shook us all until we realized it was not a young father but an aged grandfather who had passed away.

Motu had been dealing with some health issues, which we discussed at length. He assured me that the worst was behind him when I expressed my concern and urged him to be cautious. He loved to indulge in food, and in my eyes, he was on the higher side in terms of weight and other parameters. Yet, he was conscious of this and reassured me that he was taking steps to ensure a healthy and long life.

I find no words to ease the sorrow that has befallen his wife and beautiful children. In some situations, time fails to heal the wounds. All we can do is cherish his memory through the photographs, WhatsApp chats, and the memories we shared over three decades of friendship. They say, Whom God loves, die young. I seek an answer from God as to what compensation he provides to those who lose their loved ones.



Col HP Singh, VSM is
an alumnus of the Lawrence School Sanawar and NDA Khadakwasla. He is a prolific writer and based at Mohali, Punjab