Tuesday, December 23, 2008

I met this "REAL HERO" yday.

When mom told me about 2 commando's in the same ward as pa, I couldn’t wait for the next day to come and me to talk personally with them of their heroic hair raising experience. Same commandos who had encounters in Taj & Oberoi last month that most of us had been watching n reading so much abt. I spoke with one of them & here I pen the accont of it.

This young man must be in his mid twenties and has had 3 bullets pass thru his body while he luckily escaped some more. I didn’t want to make it sound like an interview, so simply asked him I was eager to know what happened around him. And I am happy he did that with a smile and some spice. Pravin Tibatiya, he is a MARCO. I fell short of words to tell him how proud we are for his courage. Such men are the real heroes!

They don’t call the trouble makers as 'terrorist' they call them militants. These MARCOs are trained and have instructions to 'shoot at sight' which means no militant caught by them is left alive.

It was the night of 26th running into 27th dawn. Pravin was among the first Naval troops reaching Taj at around 12.30 post midnight and his family had just no idea of it. While cautiously searching each lobby and floor in a group, they came across a dark room and the whereabouts of light switches were not known even to the person from hotel, guiding them. They couldn’t be using headlight, lighter or torch coz it would mean "here I come, shoot me pls' kind of signals to the militants in case they are positioned around, so they moved slowly and suddenly observed movement at the other end of the dark room (if someone is already inside, the science of light and sight says that they would be able to see them coming in- even in darkness). This group therefore slid back to where they came from except for Pravin who not able to turn back, hid himself behind a pillar & realised in no time that there are 3 militants behind a similar pillar on the other side of the room. There was random shooting in intervals. From the sound of gun/cartridge/magazine made by the unknowns, this MARCO force had already got to know of the AK-47's being used by militants. They also carried grenades and tear gas, all this being used quite wisely to make it tough this side. Pravin couldn’t move, neither could he see anything nor the gang outside could help him anyhow. Every time he moved, he had to face gun shots and he fired a few too. He was carrying grenades with him and when he used one, he just kept waiting for it to blow. Sadly, It didnt work. I asked him "were you scared?" to which he smilingly replied "dar hi hai jiski waja se insaan har kadam sambhal kar agey badhata hai”(Its fear that teaches you to be mindful, in short).

After playing this ‘eye spy’ game for about 1.5 hours between 1:30 & 3am, when he had already held her breadth for 5 min and couldn’t hold more, he finally thought death is certain. what he had to decide was - whether he wanted to die of tear gas filling his lungs or the bullet shots. So he pulled his socks, gathered everything he could (mentally n emotionally n physically) and jumped out from behind the pillar and ran towards the exit, without stopping to fire continuously at the other pillar, not sure if he gunned anyone to death. How were they surviving the tear gas is a mystery to me yet but what I missed to mention earlier is the reason why Pravin could not move out earlier with his group. When they were searching for the light switches n moving in slowly n they heard some movements, there was sudden firing when probably the militants would have seen them; one bullet hit him and actually blew off his left ear.

So all this while, he was bleeding, bearing the excruciating pain and not in his most alert states, just thanking god that it was not his brain. He also thanks god now that he was not wearing helmet (though I thought it was stupid of someone to send the MARCO in without helmets for security.) He says, if he had a helmet on, the bullet would have entered the helmet n moved round within the bullet proof helmet to rip off the top part of it only to make it worse for him. Painful isn’t it?

Once out, he fell unconcious in a while and was rushed out of the hotel, there was no medical facility right there so he was put in ambulance to the Naval hospital at 3.20am where he is being treated by various doctors for different parts of his brave soul’s abode.

The respect for him grows manifold when I learn his response to the 50K cheque offered to him last wk by someone from the state gov. This official made efforts to personally visit him but couldnt resist sounding irritated when Pravin refused to accept the cheque saying “do u even have an idea that it took me 3 hrs to find you here?” when Pravin humbly replied – “Sir what I did is just my job and defence even pays me for this. If you still wish to offer something, pls offer to the defence fund and when you talk of the painful 3 hrs, please dont forget the 60 hours put in by the force without a blink of eye.”


5 comments:

Puja said...

My Salute to Marco Pravin Tibatiya and all other Men who constantly put their lives in danger so that we can be safe...
Tara.. I really appreciate you putting this on the blog, or this story about this brave fighter would have just gone by without anyone noticing his deed...

amit pant said...

when ever i read such stories I feel calmed done and humbled. And just hope that our heros dont face such situations too often.

bharati Awatramani said...

It really makes us feel so proud of our men who protected us from these terrorists...
U have written this down so well.. one can really imagine the whole scene..

mindspace said...

Puja: u'r right. those who die get so much attention, but then there are these unsung heroes who face it as well - more or less, just that they survive thru.

Amit: i hope that too.. n u must in that case read such stories too often (jst jkg)

Bharati: Thank you for a read n leaving comment! they do really put their lives to guard us.

Ritu said...

Thanks for sharing. It brought tears into my eyes. These guys are the best. They make me feel so inadequate and selfish .....

Words fail me

http://www.phoenixritu.com/