Do you remember Akshay Kumar's film 'Holiday'? The film's tagline said- 'A soldier is never off duty.' Well, it comes out that the film might be fictional but the message behind it wasn't. Because we have witnessed a similar example about how a soldier is never really off his duty. Indian Army Major Hemant Raj was excited to go to his homeland Kerala to celebrate Onam with his family. But when he reached Delhi to take his flight, he came to know about the situations of Kerala.
He said, "I was quite excited to go to my hometown in Kerala to attend Onam. My leave was sanctioned and I had my flight scheduled for Kochi from Delhi.
He further said, "I got to know that my family members were in relief camps and my village was completely flooded. I was informed that my flight to Kochi was cancelled. I requested IndiGo officials to accommodate me in their flight to Thiruvananthapuram. I told them that I was keen to serve my people. The officials respected my uniform. I reached the state capital around 2 am on August 19."
After reaching Thiruvananthapuram, he contacted Air Force officials and requested them to airdrop him at Chengannur. Upon reaching there, he saw the bad situations as roads were flooded with water and he was unable to reach the interiors of the town. Even the mobile phones were not working.
He said, "I came to know that my family members were also in a relief camp."
Major Hemant built a team of Defence persons on leave,veterans & local fishermen boats to help marooned people. He said, "I met a few ex-servicemen and students. We set up our 'command centre' in Chengannur. We came in contact with 13 Garhwal Rifles rescue units which faced language problem. We offered them one local retired defence person each for their units. Local fishermen, too, came forward to help."
He further told, "I had a team of 35 ex-servicemen and students whom I was commanding. The local students brought laptops and phones and we set up a temporary operation centre. We started noting the addresses where help was required; we called back to check if details were accurate."
The team went to the interiors of rural areas and rescued about hundreds of people.
We salute the real life heroes our nation who are our silent protectors!