He was assumed to come home for his 23rd birthday on February 10. He did, five days earlier, but in a coffin, protected in the Tricolour.
Even in death, Captain Kapil Kundu kept his promise to his widowed mother and lived up to the words he ever trusted in — ‘Life must be big, not long’. Taken from the famous Rajesh Khanna-Amitabh Bachchan-starrer movie Anand, this was one of the encouraging quotes that Kundu had posted on his Facebook wall.
The Captain was among the four Indian Army personnel who were killed in heavy Pakistani blast along the LoC in Jammu and Kashmir’s Rajouri district on Sunday.
On Monday, the whole village of Ransika, around 30km from Gurugram, mourned the death of a soft-spoken and introverted young man, who trusted in a life which was larger in stature and not in length.
“I had sent him off with my head held high. Now, I will smile to bid him the final goodbye,” his mother Sunita, who was struggling to hold back her tears, said.
He was youngest among three siblings — he had two elder sisters Sonia and Kajal, both married — and a bright and focused student since his childhood.
“As a student, he ever scored in the 90s. He was a bright student. He liked to read newspapers and books on general knowledge. He loved us a lot and never troubled us. I ever waited for rakhi and his gifts,” said Kajal.
Even his teachers at Divine Dell International School in Pataudi district remember him as a brilliant student. “He joined the school when he was in UKG. Incidentally, he was component of the first batch of our school. He was so good in maths that he would finish the sums even before the teacher could write the formula on the board. I had taught him English and maths in Class VIII. He was very eloquent in English. He took up science (without medical) in Class XI. He was always well-prepared for his exams. I remember he had told me, ‘Ma’am one day, I want to become a general in the Army.’ He had even invited me for his passing out parade in Dehradun in 2016. On December 24 last year, he had come to the school for the alumni meet. He urged the students to ever follow their dreams and join the Indian army,” Purina Tholiya, principal at Divine Dell school, said.
Captain Kundu had joined the Army after creating it through the National Defence Academy (NDA).
His uncle Ramesh Chandra said, “Kapil was a quiet person. He would keep things to himself. His father Lala Ram, who worked with Air India as a foreman, had passed away four years ago. Everyone had thought he would join Air India but he had other plans. He wanted to join the Army.”
Mahender Singh, a retired army personnel and Kundu’s neighbour, said the Captain was a brave soldier who never shied away from challenges. “His first posting was at the Army supply unit. He refused to take the posting and requested his senior officers to transfer him to the front. Looking his courage, he was immediately sent off to Poonch in Jammu and Kashmir,” Singh claimed.
Captain Kapil Kundu’s last rites were achieved at a park near his home with entire military honours. Around 2,000 people attended the funeral.