It is said that on your last few breaths on earth your life’s distinctive moments and faces of your precious few flashes in front of your eyes. We are sure that when Nidhi’s father lay martyred his mind wandered to his home, hundred miles away, and to his family. He must have remembered the birth of his first born, Nidhi, and her beautiful dimpled smile.

Nidhi’s father was martyred two years ago, but his 5-year-old daughter still waits for him to come back home.

“But how could we have told her? She was only three when he was martyred. We made up stories and she believes that he will come home soon”, her mother tells us with tears in her eyes. She mourns the loss of her strength, support and companionship in her martyred husband. “He could not even see the face of his second child”, she breaks into loud sobs as she tells us her grief.
We are in the courtyard of their house in Punjab where the young Nidhi lives in a joint family that includes her mother, younger brother, grandparents and uncle. It is 3 pm in the afternoon and Nidhi had just had her lunch. She hid behind the curtains as soon as she saw us.

“She is the soul of the family”, her grandmother says cheerfully. The whole family contributes to raising her; her grandfather takes her out for walks, her uncle helps her in studies, and she sleeps at night to the lullabies of her grandmother.

The family is doing its best to not make her miss her father, but she still vividly remembers the time they went to the Chandigarh State Zoo and also the bike rides her father took her out on whenever he came home. “My uncle also takes me out on bike rides, but I still miss going out with my father”, she admits. She plans to roam around town with her father on his bike when he finally comes home. “He is in Jharkhand serving his duty. He will come soon,” she says, revealing her cute dimples. It breaks our heart to see a young child await her father, her hero.

She studies in Upper Kinder Garten in a private school in her town. According to the school principal, she is an active child and popular amongst her friends and teachers. “Nidhi is enthusiastic and participates in almost every activity, games and is also good in studies. We are happy to have her as a student here“, her class teacher compliments.

“Education was very important to my husband, and because of his support I finished my Master’s degree in B.Ed”,Nidhi’s mother tells us, adding that her husband was serious about his children’s education too and that because of him his kids go to a good private school. “It will make him proud to see his kids do well in life and that is our goal now”, she says and takes a sleepy Nidhi inside for her afternoon nap.