A biography written with great modesty & perhaps a more befitting title of the book could have been ‘Anguish, Resilience, Perseverance…Attitude’.

General Vijay Oberoi lost a leg on the battlefield at a young age with barely four years of military service. The turbulence that went inside him in the aftermath of the tragic occurrence never got reflected to the outside world – his family values, his education, his training, his military pride made sure that he maintained a cheerful demeanor. He joked, he had fun, he had romance even in the early days of his recovery – the zest was always on display.

He was from the Infantry where nearly all your duty is done on your feet. He is from the Maratha Light Infantry that draws its traditions of valour from none other than Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj. So he went on valiantly on his feet for four decades thereafter, doing his duty admirably.

Blessed with a sharp intellect & an ability to wield the pen, he made great contribution to the Indian Army in drawing up stratagems.

Before the book takes you through the by-lanes of his military career, it gives an interesting account of his ancestral home in Rawalpindi region, his family, his education & early years – and you would notice how it all adds up to his persona. The one thing that you cannot miss is the warm family bonds that the author is so proud of.

Well, Gen Vijay Oberoi is not the only author of this book. Mrs Daulat Oberoi, hailing from a prominent family of Kolhapur & daughter of a well known General, writes poignantly about her parents who were from different faiths. She gives you a pretty good insight of what a military wife is made of, what she is expected to do and how she copes up to different environs, all of which add up to those intangibles that give an edge to the fighting capability of a battalion, of a regiment, of the Indian Army.

And if you do miss out on some colourful prose thus far, there is a prolific writer Ms Rashmi Oberoi, the elder of their two daughters, with her “musings” as the dessert. Taste it yourself as I would not like to take away your first-hand fun. But the quote of her distinguished Dad needs to be put down here “disability is never in the limb or an organ, but in the mind”.

Excerpts – Vijay’s Story

“Conventional wisdom is that in a soldier’s career the watershed event, if any, is the day when one gets shot up severely in battle, fighting for the country”.

“After all, I had achieved something extraordinary – soldering on in the Indian Army from a lowly captain to the rarified heights of the second highest appointment in our over one million strong army – ‘on a leg and a prayer’.”

“Command of the battalion was a long-term challenge, as individuals are transitory but battalions remain on the scene permanently and need to be nurtured like plants”.

Excerpts – Daulat’s Story

“ In the late 1920’s, by falling in love, my parents broke many taboos in the prevailing societal norms, as my father, a true-blooded Maratha had fallen in love with a Muslim girl in staid Kolhapur, and on return from Sandhurst as a KCIO married her!”

“On the untimely passing away of my father in 1951 at a very young age, The Times of London had said: ‘In times when communal feelings ran high, by their sincerity and charm and the complete absence of racial or communal feeling, Dinkarrao and Vimla played a great part in strengthening cooperation and friendliness between people of different races and religions wherever they chanced to be.”

“For her outstanding Red Cross work during the War, Mrs. Surve was awarded the Kaiser-i-Hind medal, which was a source of quiet pride for her husband.”

Kaiser-I-Hind driemaal.jpg

Excerpts – Rashmi’s Musings

“Their fairy tale ‘Romance on Crutches’ was soon the talk of the town. Their whirlwind courtship days are spoken of even today. The young lady being a Maharashtrian and the Captain a Punjabi was never a hurdle.”

“I could not help and reminisce the days gone by when we lived in the old family bungalow, now replaced by a concrete jungle. I missed the mango and Jamun trees around and the old printing press that lulled us to sleep with its silent working. Change is inevitable as they say but your roots remain the same and the love never fades!”

“It was in USA that I learnt the dignity of labour, which unfortunately is still lacking in India. Most evenings, I baby sat for friends after attending a course in First Aid and becoming a certified baby-sitter. I raked leaves, mowed lawns and shoveled snow. Weekends, my sister and I worked at the Commissary and Supermarket on the Army Base. The job involved ‘bagging’ all the groceries of the shoppers in the correct order in the bags and then carrying the bags safely to the cars and getting tipped for the chore.”

Recommendations of the Reviewer

Young officers & not-so-young officers – the account will give you some gems that you will always treasure.

Aspiring brides, young military brides, regimental ladies – the love for your heroes will become rock solid & your self esteem will be on Mt. Everest.

Non-soldiers – you will be fruitfully enlightened by the camaraderie & fighting ethos of the Indian Army.

Read this book.

Title: “No Commas; No Pauses; No Full Stops – A Personal Mini Account”.

Author: Lt Gen Vijay Oberoi (The Maratha Light Infantry.

Publisher: Regimental Printing Press MLIRC.

Printed by: Rajhuns Printing Press, Kolhapur.

Year: 2016.

No. of Pages: 149 (including photographs).