Veer’s reputation precedes him. When we reached his house in Punjab on a moist August day, he was still at school but his mother already introduced us to his nature.

“He is the reason behind the smile on our faces”, she said hinting towards the family’s continued grief over his father’s martyrdom. His father, who was a CRPF soldier, laid down his life two years ago. She understands that he is sad over his dear father’s demise, but masks it by cracking jokes or changing the topic.

“His father was his hero, his mentor and perhaps because of such a close relationship it is difficult for him to express his grief. Such emotions are wordless”, she pondered with tears in her eyes.

Just then Veer arrived from school with ruddy cheeks and school bag full of books. His dusty pants bore evidence of playing wholeheartedly in the school playground and his broad grin bore testimony to his happy – go – lucky attitude. The 14-year old lit up the room with his innocent presence.

“He loves to play cricket and always spoils his school uniform as a result”, his mother lamented lightly.
“Who is your favourite cricket player?”, we asked the young boy.
“M.S Dhoni!”, pat came the reply.
“Do you like to go to school?”
“What is the best thing about your school?”

“The big playground where I can play with my friends“, he replied without blinking an eye, much to everyone’s amusement.

“Do you want to be a cricketer when you grow up?”, we asked further.

“I will become an engineer in the CRPF and serve the country like my father”. His confidence that was serious and endearing at the same time surprised us because we had expected him to say yes to become a cricketer. This young boy sure has his heart in its right place.

When we asked whether he missed his father he turned solemn and schooled us by saying that he knows that those who are martyred live forever.

“I miss him but I know that he is with us”, he said with a cheerful smile. He did admit that he feels incomplete without his father who was a strong influence in his life.
On being asked what his favourite memory of his father was, he said that his father gave him a cycle on his birthday that made him immensely happy. He treasures the cycle now more than ever and whenever he rides it, it reminds him of his father’s kind face and heart.
We also met his teachers and school friends on our trip and were told by everyone that Veer is an energetic and happy child: popular amongst teachers and classmates alike. In fact even the school guards are fond of him! He has many friends and the school’s good environment has assisted Veer to get ahead of his personal loss.

“He is naughty, but a good student and well mannered”, his Maths teacher divulged. The teacher also mentioned his quickness in learning formulae and solving mathematical problems with ease. he studies in Upper Kinder Garten in a private school in her town.
Back at home, it is his elder sister who guides and centers him. She is his strongest pillar and mentor.

“She scolds me but also loves me a lot”, he said with a mischievous smile.

“And what about your mother?”, we asked.

“She is the best mother in the world, I love her the most!”, he said encasing his mother in a bear hug.

His energy is truly infection and we are certain that it is his positive outlook towards life that will take him far ahead.