When Shyamala received a video call from her husband Lance Naik Sai Teja at around 8 in the morning on Wednesday, she had no idea it would be the last time she would speak to him.
As personal security officer to Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat, he informed her that he would be travelling to Tamil Nadu later in the day. Around four hours later, he would be one of the 13 killed when their helicopter went down.
The 27-year-old from Chittoor district of Andhra Pradesh has a 5-year-old son Mokshagna and 3-year-old daughter Darshini – both too young to realise the enormity of the tragedy that had struck their lives.
Lance Naik Sai Teja had last visited home three months ago during Ganesh Chaturthi. His mother Bhuvaneswari had reportedly encouraged both her sons to join the army. His younger brother Mahesh is serving the army in Sikkim.
Born at Kantevaripalli village in Chittoor, Lance Naik Sai Teja joined the Indian Army in 2013 in the Bengaluru Regiment.
After serving for a year in the army, he gave the departmental exams once again and was posted as Lance Naik at 11 Para (Special Forces). He served at the Bengaluru army training camp and was later appointed in the personal security wing of General Rawat. He got married in 2016.
People from various parts of the Chittoor district have been expressing their grief and offering condolences to the family members.
Speaking to news agency ANI, Lance Naik Sai Teja’s niece, B Sukumar said that the family was shocked to find out about the accident that took place in the afternoon.
The Lance Naik’s funeral will be performed at his village as per the Hindu customs, Ms Sukumar said.