Playful, energetic and lovable – five-year-old Kritishman is just like any child of his age, but he has a pain that most don’t – that of losing his father.

He was only three years old when the tragedy struck the family. His father was an Indian soldier posted in the Maoist dominated region. One night he went out for a night patrolling duty in the jungle and never returned; he bled for the nation far away from the comforts of his own home.

At the beginning, the family told Kritishman that his father has been posted to a far away place and will not be able to come home soon, but the truth eventually came tumbling out like his mother’s incessant tears.

Today he is well aware of his father’s martyrdom and is very protective of his things in the house – like the pillow he used to sleep on. His mother tells us that he never lets anyone use it. A few months back he dug up an old karate book that belonged to his father and is very possessive about it. He flips the pages and tries to emulate the karate steps that that are illustrated in the book.

“I know that Papa was a black belt in Karate and I want to be like Papa. I will also join the CRPF like him“, he says while showing us the book with pride. He wants to fight the ones who snatched his father from him.

He studies in Nursery in a local private school, which is well structured with caring teachers. According to his teachers, he is a well-behaved and active kid who likes to participate in co-curricular activities and is smart in studies as well.

Kritishman’s mother has tears in her eyes when she recalls her last conversation with her husband. “We spoke at night before he went for his night patrolling and he said he would call in the morning but that never happened“, she says wiping her tears. “I still feel that he will come back and ask me to cook his favourite dishes“, she adds with a hint of a smile. She recalls the time they went to the famous Kamakhya temple in Guwahati to seek blessings and protection for the family “but God didn’t answer our prayers“, she ruefully states. Post the martyrdom of her husband she shifted to a rented house as her in-laws started blaming her for their son’s death.

It hasn’t been easy raising a child without the emotional and financial support of her husband but Kritishman’s mother is trying. “My son’s wellbeing is all I care about now, he is the only connection I have to my husband and it is my goal to raise him like his father aspired to“, she says kissing her son on her cheeks.

As the mother-son bid adieu to us with big smiles on their faces we are convinced that with a positive attitude and hopeful hearts even the biggest storms can be overcome.