Shalini Singh – a name synonymous to tough, courage & determination. This single mother fought tough circumstances and has carved a more secure life not just for herself but also for her son.
Shalini was just 18 years old when she tied knot with young army officer, Major Avinash Singh Bhaduria. She continued her studies & ensured she complete her graduation post her marriage. The couple was blessed with a baby boy, named Dhruv within two years of marriage.
Life was going blissful with Major Avinash often preparing her for tough times. Little did Shalini know that life had tougher plans for her. Her life changed in 2001 when Major Avinash Singh attained martyrdom in an attempt to kill terrorists in Doda, Kashmir. 23-year-old Shalini was a young widow all by herself with two-year-old Dhruv. Shalini shared how her whole life came crashing down in minutes – “The only thought in my head was that this was the end. The idea that a man is so important in your life that you have no existence without him was so strongly grilled in my head, that all I could think of was ending my life. But my only hope was my son, Dhruv, as he lay in my lap giggling, oblivious to the tragedy that had snatched his father away.”
Shalini grieved but her sorrow didn’t stop her from rearranging her life. She decided to join the Indian Army after some of Major Avniash’s friends suggested her to do so. Ensuring that her son will be her strength and not weakness, Shalini started to prepare herself for the Service Selection Board (SSB) interview. Such was the timing that three months after losing her husband, she was called for the interview, which she faced and cleared with confidence and courage.
Life wasn’t simpler after the selection as well. The physical and mental pain during the training coupled with leaving a toddler behind was one of the most difficult ordeals for Shalini. But Shalini was determined and dedicated to her profession. She served as a Captain for five years and broke the glass ceiling in a male-dominated environment.
She tried to give herself a second chance and a safe future for her son by marrying again to a man who promised to give her a better future. Things, however, turned nasty when she started to face domestic violence. Recalling one such incident, Shalini said – “He broke a glass on my head, after hitting it thrice in succession.”
Keeping this past behind her, Shalini marched forward. Today, she doesn’t consider her second husband a part of her life. She feels proud of Captain Avinash and still carries her last name proudly. Moving positively, Shalini channelised all her energies to do social good by guiding army widows to apply for the armed forces and/or help them in building up a new skill to live confidently.
In 2017, Shalini was crowned as Classic Mrs. India – Queen of Substance, a title that gives justice to her worthwhile and endearing strength. Not many know that Shalini Singh is the only Indian to participate in an international pageant in the single parent category in Las Vegas where she was Ms India, Earth Warrior. This title defines the woman of steel Shalini indeed is!
All of us face setback at one stage or the other in life. Our strength, however, lies in how steadily and confidently we restructure our lives despite the setbacks. Shalini Singh’s life is an inspiration to all of us. Here is a woman who never allowed the problems of her life determine her future. We wish her good luck and hope more people seek inspiration from her life journey.
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