Author – Shyamola khanna talks about her journey :The COW in Kargyll and The Lahore Connection
I married my Punjabi fighter pilot for his genuine charm and his bravado—of course the uniform added tremendously to his bearing and personality. I loved the person , although to be very honest, at that moment in time, I knew nothing about the IAF or the fighter aircraft or the men who flew them .
That knowledge came slowly and then I realised what a dangerous profession it was . One day after nearly 10 years of my marriage and with two small kids in tow, we were invited to the squadron to view the newly acquired supersonic ‘swing-wing’ aircraft. When I stood near the cockpit and watched another pilot press a button to move the wings , it was like an epiphany.
This machine with its zillions of buttons, screws and what have you, carried these brave hearts to places high up in the sky. God forbid if any one screw or nut failed or popped out, within seconds it would all be over.
That day my respect for the fighter pilots increased ten times and my love for these boys in blue quadrupled. Of course the organization was, to my mind, the best of the three armed forces.
That love and respect came out in my first book, The COW in Kargyll ,(COW being an acronym for the Commanding Officer’s Wife) published in the year 2017, by Creative Crows, a publishing house started by a veteran of the armed forces.
My second book, The Lahore Connection, came out in April 2019. It is a collection of short stories with a tag line that says, ‘stories of love and DV’. It is a fictionalized reality of the many strong women I have met from the IAF and otherwise—women who have rebuilt their lives after very difficult times. They are the true heroes whose lives I have had the honor to put on paper .
The College of Air Warfare(CAW) in Secunderabad celebrated its 60th anniversary and I was pleasantly surprised when the commandant AVM S K Jha agreed to introduce my book at the grand evening function. I was given a few moments to speak and I took the opportunity to dedicate my books to all the women who stand by their husbands through thick and thin , women who are never praised or appreciated but stand steadfast .
AVM Jha promised to get a copy for each of the Officer’s wives present that evening. All I can say is that I was overwhelmed and so emotional—Thank you IAF. Love you guys!