Chennai: A bad attitude. That is what Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman said in an eight-year-old video when asked what it takes to make a good fighting pilot.
A brave mother too, should perhaps be added to that list of attributes, going by the accounts of those who know the pilot’s family well.
Retired Group Captain Tarun K Singha, who has known the family for decades, said that the image of a calm, composed Abhinandan that many saw after his capture by the Pakistani Army just shows the genes that Abhinandan inherited from his mother, Dr Shobha Varthaman, who has worked in many conflict zones all through her career as a doctor with Medicine Sans Frontiers (Doctors Without Borders).
“She epitomises the quintessential woman of substance. She has served humanity amidst cataclysmic violence, healed the wounded in some of the worst conflict zones around the world, ensured mothers and their newborn survive post-delivery complications in Haiti,” Gp Capt Singha told News18 about Dr Shobha.
He emailed Dr Shobha to offer solidarity, but did not expect an answer in these stressful times.
Abhinandan Varthaman’ s father Retd Air Marshal Simhakutty Varthaman,
“But she replied with such composure within 15 minutes, even so late in the night. It just shows her character, her mental strength and tenacity,” Singha says about the mother of this braveheart soldier who found himself in enemy territory on Wednesday.Abhinandan Varthaman’ s father and mother
A woman toughened by serving in war-ravaged countries, Dr Shobha has also been an activist for healthcare and education. More recently, she launched an online campaign to increase punishment for child sexual abuse convicts two years ago.Abhinandan Varthaman’ s wife,Tanvi Marwaha, was Squadron Leader in the Indian Air Force for 15 years