When I opened my Whatsapp this morning, I was in for a shock; a most unexpected one. It was the untimely demise of Colonel Sandeep Dhawan due to Covid. May God give the family courage and fortitude to bear this irreplaceable loss.
Colonel Sandeep Dhawan was commissioned into 17 GRENADIERS on 24 Dec 1982, and commanded battalion in the same regiment from 2002 to 2005. He also served a brief stint with 9n. He had served as a Staff Officer with the Military Operations Directorate, Army Headquarters. He was also an Instructor at Infantry School, Mhow and a United Nations Military Observer in Rwanda (UNAMIR) from 1995-96. He was Team leader of Indian Army Training Teams, Lesotho (Africa). He married Anshu in May 1990 and has two daughters, Akarshita and Nikita.
“13651, Koduvath Reji, this is Sandeep, H/61,” was the salutary call I received three months back. I wasn’t surprised by Sandeep’s ability to recall all our National Defence Academy (NDA) identity numbers, even after 33 years. He was a proud father calling me about his daughter Nikita’s application to University of Toronto for a PhD in machine learning.
I assured Sandeep all support from our end and answered many a query about Nikita’s stay in Toronto, including the financial aspects. We discussed all options threadbare. Sandeep had done his homework well and was a man who went into every little aspect. I promised him a ‘firm base’ at our home for Nikita, where she can walk in freely, and also my availability 24/7 as I am often at home. This was the usual and expected support I always ensure to extend to all our coursemates, military friends and their children.
We had three more tele-conversations, all about Nikita and her stay here in Canada. I researched her professor and told Sandeep he was a tough nut to crack, though I was unimpressed by his student evaluations.
In one such conversation, Sandeep recommended the book ‘Angela’s Ashes.’ I promptly ordered it and was delivered to me last evening by Amazon. I never realised what was in store for me!!!!!
We had planned to meet up at Toronto this fall when he came to drop off Nikita. All this time, I had no idea he would be saying goodbye to us so soon. Rest In Peace Buddy.