The murdered colonel Ashutosh Sharma joined the army in the 13th attempt

NEW DELHI: The unfortunate thirteen was fortunate that the colonel joined the army after trying for six and a half years as he had no other dream than to put on the olive green uniform.

Colonel Sharma, who was among the five members of the security forces staff killed during an encounter with terrorists in northern Kashmir, is the second commanding officer of the 21 who lost their lives fighting terrorism.

Remembering, his older brother Piush says he always used to get away with it, no matter what. It was like my way or the highway for him. His only dream was the Army and nothing else, says Piush, who works for a pharmaceutical company in Jaipur.

He had waged a war to join the Army in one way or another until he finally succeeded on his 13th attempt (in. Since that day, there was no going back for Ashu (Col Sharma), Piush told PTI by phone.

Colonel Sharma joined the army in the early 2000s.

Putting on a brave face as he recalled childhood memories with his brother, who was three years his junior, Piush recalled a conversation she had with him on May 1.

It was the day of the Rashtriya Rifles uprising and he informed us about how they had celebrated it in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

I used to warn him many times and had arranged a standard reply 'muje kuch nahi hoga, bhaiya' (nothing will happen to me, brother) ... he said, struggling to hold back the tears.

Colonel Sharma sent in some photos and that is the last memory the family has, he said and added wish he knew I am speaking to him for the last time, he would not have ended the call at all.

Holding on to Tamanna, daughter of Colonel Sharma who studies in the sixth class, Piush feels that the boy could not understand the changed realities.

But I must say that she is a brave daughter of her brave father and that she will be fine, she said.

The only thing Ashu regretted was that he couldn't join, he said, remembering his nature of getting out of the way of his jawans and solving all his problems.

His friend Vijay Kumar, CISF deputy commander, recalls the memories with Colonel Sharma and said: I advised him to find other paramilitary forces, but it was all Greek to him. It has to be just army and army, and the army was his answer always.

His attitude was always the best and I have never seen anyone file a complaint against him when we lived in Bulandshahr (), he said.