If asked to express our patriotism in words or speech, we would all dig out that hidden I-love-my-country feeling and prove ourselves to be the best citizen a country can have. But what if we are asked to go to war to save our country? Would we be willing to sacrifice our luxurious life and our family for the nation so that the others can live peacefully? Would we think it to be fair if we would achieve appreciation for the gory nightmares from only 5% of the people we would be fighting for? Wouldn’t most us fall back if asked for such commitments and sacrifices?
But there are brave hearts in the country, willing to fight, kill and even die if need arises. They are the Indian Army, Navy and the Air Force. Many of us have failed to completely realize the importance of the sacrifices that these defense officers and their families make so that we can live a peaceful life. ‘Mistress of Honour’ by Bhaavna Arora, a book inspired from real-life stories, is one such heart-touching tale of sacrifice, courage and bravery.
The story begins with the description of 1984 Operation Blue Star where Deepak Potnis, a senior officer in Indian Army meets Parminder Kaur Sodhi “Pansy” while saving the citizens from the Golden Temple. Pansy, a journalist from Britain, had lost her family in the riots. Love blossoms between Potnis and Pansy and they get married. Soon, they are blessed with a girl named Rihana.
The small, happy family does not get to stay together much as Potnis is called for duty to various places like Srinagar, Assam and Tamil Nadu during emergencies. So Pansy has to take complete responsibility of Rihana and wait for Potnis’ safe return. The anxiety of Pansy and Rihana while Potnis is away is emotionally shown. Bhaavna Arora has nicely shown the great bravery with which Potnis, his junior Officer Shamsher and his team tackle emergencies and terrorist activities, paying no heed to the threats that they receive, and fighting without worrying about their life. The care and love between Pansy and Potnis is beautifully shown.
History repeats itself when Rihana and Advik, his school friend, fall in love and decide to get married. Advik had recently finished his Air Force training from the NDA. Just after their engagement, Advik is called on duty for the Kargil war. Rihana now has an important decision to make. What is that? Will Advik return to her second love Rihana safely or will he cheat on Rihana for his first love, his country? The end is really interesting and effective. I got teary-eyed as I finished the book.
Guns and planes, tanks and bombs may sound cool but it requires guts to use them against those who want to kill you. The military has to pass through phases of emotional nightmares and they do it without complaining because they commit to the uniform even before wearing it. They fight for the humanity, not for any religion, language or caste. Above this, Bhaavna has shown that their families, specially the women have an equally important role. They have to constantly live in anxiety and worry for the safety of the men. And still, they know they always come to a close second while the men serve their first love, the country faithfully. They have to be a mistress of honour, of daring and of courage.
Bhaavna Arora has carried out the story beautifully, the description of the characters is done nicely and the female characters are depicted strongly. “It takes more than grandeur to kill and die for the nation!” A light and delightful read, ‘Mistress of Honour’ will take you on a journey of true patriotism, courage and sacrifice.