Seema shares her story on being India’s only Female Commando trainer

5 minutes

“I have spent weeks of my life in dense jungles, scorching hot deserts, freezing glaciers and high altitudes. I could not even attend her father’s funeral. ”

I am Seema a woman in her forties. I reside in Mumbai but travel most of the year. I was born in a family of heroes. Since my early days, I was deeply inspired by my father who narrated stories of his participation in the freedom struggle. I always thought that I too should contribute to the country in some way. They say intense desire creates its own talents and opportunities. And that is exactly what happened in my life.

I went to a convent girls school. Scholastically I was a topper but I was a bullied child. So I don’t have great memories of school. College life was good because I met a young medical student who later became my life partner. I knew he was my knight in shining armour. We bonded through the medium of martial art because he was into martial arts and I was always yearning to be strong. So while I learned the art of getting strong, I also developed an unbreakable bond with my partner.

I got married at a tender age of 18 to my husband who was doing his medicine. He was also very passionate about martial arts. He introduced me to fighting arts at 18. At 20 I also took up sports shooting as a hobby. My interest in adventure took me to many other courses like Mountaineering, sailing, SCUBA diving, Taekwondo, Knife fighting, Fire fighting etc.

I am a Commando Trainer which means that I train the commandos of the Forces. I did not plan to be in this field. It was not a deliberate life design for me but destiny had those plans for me.

My family was not supportive. I had to train my body and mind to think and do the impossible. And where the pursuit is of such enormous magnitude, sometimes it’s our dear ones who fail to understand our passion. They could not accept that the woman of the house undergoes such intense training. We had to leave the house because my in-laws were unable to understand my passion. However, I was very fortunate to have a supportive partner. He always encouraged me. Even the decision to give up the idea of having our own biological child was a collective one. My field being a physically demanding one, having a child would have been difficult.

To start with, I faced bankruptcy as we were not charging the Forces. We were travelling 8 months in a year to various places so that was no time to pursue money making. I had to sell off my mangal sutra and jewellery to survive. But that was ok since the cause was noble. The work was challenging and respectable so we took it in our stride.

My journey was not at all easy. I had to bear the physical pain along with the emotional stress. I had to travel to hostile locations, through harsh weather and inhospitable terrain.

Once a debilitating vertebral fracture during training made me bedridden for 6 months with no hope of walking. Then again a severe head injury due to a fall on the head caused amnesia(loss of memory) which took 6-8 weeks to recover. I seriously contemplated during these times whether I want to go on but deep within in my heart, I knew I always wanted to go on in the same field.

All these paid off. Today I am India’s only female commando trainer who has been training the Special Forces for 20 years without any compensation. Till date, I have trained more than 15,000 soldiers in modern close quarter battle. I am also a 7th-degree black belt holder in military martial arts, a combat shooting instructor, an HMI medalist in rock climbing and a Mrs India World pageant finalist. I have also been the author and co-author of at least half a dozen books.

Life is a battleground. It’s never easy. First learn to survive, then to overcome and lastly to win. Don’t lose your belief in yourself. If life is bad, it will change to good. Walk on and enjoy the roses on the way. Life’s too short to waste. So live every moment to its fullest.

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