A determined life ride for defence widows

With no sponsors, no crowd-funding, Krishna embarked on her solo expedition on April 11 from Kochi. Her Akashvani FM Rainbow colleagues have been helping her at most of the places with accommodation and, if needed, medical help…writes Nivedita Khandekar

 A quirk of fate changed her life and it had a Delhi connection!

Almost 25 years later, life came full circle for this single mother and RJ from Kochi who visited the building where her late husband, an Indian Air Force officer, had worked till his death due to an accident on a West Delhi street.

“The goal of my socially committed journey is to motivate and give strength and courage to the widows of the brave men in uniform, the guardians of our country,” said the 44-year-old gutsy woman, who has planned to visit 75 Akashvani FM Rainbow stations coinciding with the ‘[Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav’.

But it was no routine visit for RJ Ambika Krishna, an Akashvani FM Rainbow artiste from Kochi. Solo biking on her Enfield Bullet, Ambika is on a mission to spread a word about the defence widows through her cross-country travel from Kochi to Shillong to Amritsar and back to Kochi.

Her arduous journey began from Kerala and on the very third day she met with an accident. It happened when she had just entered Chennai. In the accident, Krishna fell down and incurred a major ligament tear in her left leg, the same that is used to change gears of her bike.

However, determined not to let anything stop her, she continued with medication.

Moving onwards, she covered Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Odisha, West Bengal, Assam, Meghalaya, Bihar, Jharkhand and Uttar Pradesh, and earlier this week she reached Delhi.

When asked about her journey so far, she said, “Nothing bothered me, except when I was caught in the middle of a Agnipath protest in Uttar Pradesh. Fortunately, it was a matter of minutes and I came out scratch-free.”

She narrated her voyage as how she survived the oppressive heat in the central Indian belt and the devastating rainfall in northeast India. How she survived long, lonely highways along the eastern coast and the dusty, undulating roads at many places.

Almost sticking to her schedule of 47-50 days, her journey through Uttar Pradesh was delayed a day or two as she had a fever that prompted an extra day halt in Agra.

First thing she did after reaching Delhi was to visit a doctor. Then, just like she has been doing at all her halting stations, she visited the AIR FM Rainbow station in Delhi and recorded two back-to-back live sessions and shared her adventurous journey and her inspirational story. She also visited the Air Force building where her husband had worked.

After a stay of three days in the national capital, the woman, determined to achieve her target, moved ahead to Haryana and Punjab.

The roots lie in her own struggle when she had lost her husband.

When IANS caught up with her in Delhi, Krishna was emotional as she was to visit the place where her husband was working then. Married in 1996, she lost him in a freak motorcycle accident, leaving her alone with their three-month-old daughter.

“Come to think of it, I was in Kerala after delivery. He had gone to book a train ticket for the two of us to return with the child. Imagine how happy he must have been. But fate had other plans!”

Thus, she started her real struggle that tested her grit and determination. She completed her studies that had stopped because of her marriage and child birth. With no support from her in-laws and only indirect support from her own parents, the single parent faced enormous hardships while raising the girl child.

An accountant’s job helped their survival.

“With nobody close to support me in my hardship, I know how I kept my morale high and today, when my daughter is 24 and recently hired by Infosys, I can proudly claim to have sailed through this,” Krishna said with a shine in her eyes.

Her troubles never deterred her but instead made her stronger. Her originally shy nature changed once she accepted a part-time job as an RJ in 2015 and within no time, became popular all-around Kochi.

For years, she nurtured her passion for photography and regularly went on photography tours. She is equally passionate about riding her bike and going solo on nearby trips as a regular. But the pandemic hit hard and made everyone sit at home.

“This year, after almost two years of sitting at home, it struck me that I had to do something. A trial motorbike expedition followed and I was very happy I could do it. That set the ball rolling.”

With no sponsors, no crowd-funding, Krishna embarked on her solo expedition on April 11 from Kochi. Her Akashvani FM Rainbow colleagues have been helping her at most of the places with accommodation and, if needed, medical help.

But she has managed fuel on her own. “But of course, if someone can sponsor, I am willing,” she said.

For now, she is deeply motivated with the choice of her purpose, a tribute to defence personnel and raising a voice to the cause of defence widows that resonated with her personal life.

“To it I decided to add my professional life. As an RJ, I think, I have a sense of communication. I can put forth a point properly. This made me choose to be a voice of those women who may face troubles if their husbands die on duty,” Krishna said, adding, “When I am back from this expedition, I am going to start the next phase of my mission — visiting all the defence widows in Kerala.”

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