Our Saturday was rather eventful and not just in the usual way! Often, in the comfort of our own homes, we tend to forget that somebody has given up the chance to lead a comfortable life to serve a bigger cause - to serve our nation. And so we were delighted to be a part of this event that gave us a chance to realise the value of human life and recognize and take pride in what the Indian Army does for this nation, and continues to do so - 24*7! 

The 17th anniversary of the Kargil War organised by Select Citywalk started by a salute to the courage of the fearless soldiers at India Gate, and took place on 23rd July, 2016. The Chairman of Select Citywalk laid a wreath at the war memorial, the young students of Army Public School, Dhaula Kuan conducted a walk of tribute carrying banners and placards conveying the gratitude of a grateful nation to our soldiers who selflessly serve the country in times of war and in peace alike. The energetic students later broke into a flash mob (yay!), calling out the war cries of the various regiments of the army. 

We got chatting with one of the Board of Directors of Select Citywalk, Ms. Neeraj Ghai on what made them take this step towards recognising the Armed Forces. In her own words, “It is the armed forces that build the nation, they are the most important building blocks of our country. The lives that we lead are due to the sacrifices made by them and their families, hence the community at large needs to be sensitized and it is for us, as responsible citizens, to show a sense of gratefulness and gratuity towards the army.

Select Citywalk has always been in the news, either for its multitude of offerings for the quintessential shopper, or for its good deeds. And with organising and shaping such events, it becomes one of the few corporate hubs in the city who are indulging in such philanthropic work with an aim to give a 360-degree dimension to the lives of people in Delhi and to the community at large.

We also had a candid rendezvous with Ms. Alka Ahuja, widow of Sqn Ldr Ajay Ahuja, one of the finest fighter pilots of the Indian Armed Force, who made the supreme sacrifice for the country during Operation Vijay in Kargil, on May 27, 1999. He was the Flight Commander of No. 17 Sqn Golden Arrows, on a flying mission as a photo-reconnaissance specialist when his aircraft, a MiG-27L, had an engine flame out, after a shoulder-fired Stinger SAM (Surface to Air Missile) fired by the Pakistanis hit the plane. 

Ms. Ahuja remembers her husband as a brave soul, who would refer to the country as his first wife. Feeling honoured by the homage paid by Select Citywalk every year for the services contributed by the Indian Army, she feels such recognition should be given to the Army, who works for the country tirelessly throughout the year in dire conditions.

Further, a 20 feet installation of ‘AMAR SIPAHI- The immortal Soldier’ was unveiled on 20th July, 2016, in the mall premises. The beauty of this installation lies in the fact that it had been carved out of 80,000 pieces of ornamental bullets and bullet shells. The shoppers can also visit the shopping centre and pay tribute to the heroes in uniform by writing messages of gratitude and love on postcards for the soldiers posted at Kargil. The mall also witnessed the launch of the book ‘Param Vir, Vikram Batra- the SHER SHAH of Kargil’ – a father’s biography remembering his son, a great soldier who was awarded the highest gallantry award - the Param Vir Chakra for making the supreme sacrifice in the line of duty. 

On the 24th of July, we were also in the company of Param Vir Chakra awardee, Subedar Yogendra Yadav, at the mall. He is one of the living legends to receive the Param Veer Chakra, and commenting on the event, Inder Sharma, Chairman, Select Citywalk said, “It is both a pride inducing moment and an emotional tug in the hearts of millions, for the soldiers who courageously fought for our nation. We wish to commemorate Kargil Vijay Diwas to remember the courage and the supreme sacrifice of all the fearless souls who stood tall between the intruders and the nation, so that the others may live peacefully. It is our humble effort to honour these great soldiers.

Let's hope Delhi witnesses many such events in the near future. Kudos to Select Citywalk for curating such a beautiful event!