Dressed in his school uniform Lalit looks as sharp as his goal in life – to join the Indian defense force. The 19-year old was only 6 years old when his father was martyred, leaving his mother to fend for him and his two younger siblings. Having grown up in the shadows of his father’s service to the nation, Lalit is determined to follow in his footsteps.

“I only remember snatches of memories of when he used to take me in his arms, he dressed in uniform, his strong stature. The memories of the funeral are also in bits and pieces. I remember my mother crying a lot and me being quite clueless about the reason.”, he tells us when we ask him if he remembers much about his father.

Since the tragedy Lalit has doubled up as his mother’s support system, babysitting his siblings while she was at work,

running house errands, trimming down expenses and inspiring his siblings to do, and of course, studying well to make his mother’s efforts worth it.

About academics, he says “I know the struggles my mother undertakes to educate us and that inspires me to do well in studies.”. He is in his 12th grade in a private school in the village, and though it is expensive for the family his mother is pulling it through for the sake of good education. She works for daily wages in brick lines or works as a labour in the government schemes like NREGA as a casual labour. It was her husband’s dream to educate the children well.

Being from the sport enthusiastic state of India, Lalit likes outdoor sports and takes part in almost all games and sports at school. His favourites are football and basketball, and though he’d have loved to play under professional guidance, there aren’t any such facilities in his hometown.

It is not uncommon for boys of his age to lose their way in the sway of youth, but Lalit is a strong pillar of the family and is an inspiration for his siblings.

“He is a good kid, he understands his responsibilities well and is a great source of strength for me”, his mother comments beaming at her son.

She was a young woman herself when her husband was martyred and it is well imaginable the problems she faced to raise three children on her own. The hardest days well behind them, Lalit’s family is now ebbing and flowing towards a better life, with Lalit shining the path ahead of them.