‘My sons will not follow in my footsteps’

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“IF YOU ask me how I feel after having served the Indian Army for 24 years, I’ll tell you I am really dispirited,” says Lt Colonel Yogesh Abby. Nearly 25 years after he joined the army, Abby put in his papers in April 2007. Respite came relatively early. By March 2008 he was a free man. “I couldn’t have carried on like this any longer,” he says.

Discontent, Abby says, set in around the early 1990s when the paucity of officers in the army was beginning to become noticeable. More time was spent at office. With the education of his two children becoming a problem, his wife Mona and the children took up residence in Chandigarh in 1996, the last year of their army life. It was also the same year Abby was superseded. The 45-year-old hung around, waiting to complete the 20-years minimum term of service that would ensure him a permanent pension.

He regrets that after having given his youth to the army, all he took away with him was Rs 16 lakh. “No one joins the army for the money, but you have to draw the line somewhere.” he says. Today, as an owner of a consultancy, Abby says he earns about Rs 80 lakh if he closes a deal.

So, while he cherishes the lessons of bravery the army taught him, he is certain he would never motivate his sons to follow in his footsteps. “Thankfully they don’t look at the army as an option,” he says with a sigh of relief.