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Nine months after her husband Colonel Santosh Mahadik was killed while battling terrorists in Kupwara, Swati Mahadik cleared the final hurdle for her induction into the Army.
The final list of those selected by the Services Selection Board (SSB), released on Thursday, included Swati’s name. Hearing the news, the 37-year-old said she felt emotionless.
“There was no emotion, no happiness or sadness. Just numbness. It seemed routine, even though I had worked so hard for it in the last few months. I guess because there was no one to celebrate the news with,” she said.
Swati is now gearing up to join the Officers Training Academy (OTA) in Chennai in October as part of the SSCW (Non-tech) course for 11 months’ training before she joins the Army as a lieutenant.
Colonel Mahadik had been fiercely proud of his olive green uniform. Since November 2015, when he died, the uniform hung desolately in his house. That was when Swati decided she needed to bring the uniform back to life. Almost a year later, that determination has borne fruit.
A graduate from Savitribhai Phule Pune University and a special educator specialising in autism, Swati worked in various schools across the country. Colonel Mahadik’s death not just changed her life but also her professional goals.
“It was not that I needed more security. Santosh had provided all that. I and the children would have been well cared for. But I needed something to live for, which would align with my husband’s goals,” said Swati, who started preparing for the SSB in her spare time.
“The only concession the Army gives for widows of martyrs is age concession and that’s all I got too. After that, all candidates are on a par, be it the written exam or the interview or the fitness tests,” she added.
“Santosh used to say that satisfaction is important in life. The word he used was ‘trupti’. I guess that’s what I am feeling now. I had a great husband, I have two beautiful children, and will now wear the uniform my husband wore — I have nothing more to ask of life,” she said.
Her daughter Kartikee is 11 and son Swaraj is 6 years old.