Guneet on losing dad Lt Col Karanbir Singh: I wasn’t prepared for his death - Hindustan Times
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Guneet on losing dad Lt Col Karanbir Singh: I wasn’t prepared for his death

ByAbigail banerji
Jan 15, 2024 12:57 PM IST

On Army Day today, 19-year-old Guneet Natt fondly remembers her dad and the life lessons he passed on to her

Guneet Natt bid goodbye to her father, Lt Col Karanbir Singh Natt on December 23, 2023, eight years after he slipped into a coma. The late cologne was shot in the face by a spray of bullets by a militant in Kupwara (Jammu and Kashmir) in 2015 where he was leading a military operation. The 19-year-old lit the pyre, a ritual usually done by the oldest male in the family, and says, “Before we lost him, I was always scared - What if we lose him? How would we (her mother, sister and herself) cope? How will I react? But I no longer have any fear. We were hopeful that he would get better [with time], but in 2021 his health started deteriorating.”

(L to R) Late Lt Col Karanbir Singh Natt with his wife and two daughter, Ashmeet and Guneet
(L to R) Late Lt Col Karanbir Singh Natt with his wife and two daughter, Ashmeet and Guneet

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Guneet Natt is a student in Delhi
Guneet Natt is a student in Delhi

She goes on to add, “On the day of the cremation, I was calm and composed. There was no storm brewing inside me when it came time to give him Agni. My mum and I knew it was our responsibility to ensure we give him the farewell he deserved because he fought for the country.”

Currently pursuing B.Com Honours from Shri Ram College of Commerce in Delhi, Gunnet says, “I thought I would be used to his absence, but I realised, I was never prepared for his death. For eight years, he was with us physically. We could still visit him for important life events, like when I was awaiting my 10th-grade results, I sat by his bed in the hospital.”

Guneet's mum, Navpreet Natth became the first woman to collect the Sena Medal on behalf of her husband, even though he was alive
Guneet's mum, Navpreet Natth became the first woman to collect the Sena Medal on behalf of her husband, even though he was alive

Karanbir was awarded the Sena Medal for his military service for performing ‘such individual acts of exceptional devotion to duty or courage as have special significance for the Army’. Her mum, Navpreet, became the first woman to collect this medal on behalf of her husband, even though he was alive.

Guneet says her dad was her best friend
Guneet says her dad was her best friend

Looking back at the time she shared with her dad, Guneet says, “My sister, Ashmeet and I have a 10-year gap between the two of us. So, for most of my life, I was an only child. My father was my friend. He knew how to enjoy life and always told me, ‘Follow your heart. Don't listen to anyone even if they tell you are wrong’. For eight years, he kept fighting, he had a lot of willpower. Those are the biggest lessons I’ll carry with me in my life.”

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