Book Review – Cost of War by Simran Randhawa

Book: Cost of War
Author: Simran Randhawa
Blurb: Cost of War is a book about selfless bravery, valour, pain, and loss. This book is about what happens to a soldier’s family after the soldier is lost in the line of duty. It is the story of Maj. SJS Randhawa, KC, who sacrificed his life for the safety of this great nation and, in doing so, protected his fellow men. For his bravery and valour, he was awarded the second highest peacetime gallantry award, Kirti Chakra, posthumously. This book is the story of his wife, whose life was torn apart with one single bullet. It is about her transformation from a happy wife to a widow, and then into a warrior. She became the first war widow to ever join the Indian Army and is fondly known as Lt. Col. RJ Randhawa. Called Romi by her loved ones, she inspired folds of Veer Nari’s in her wake. With the help of General Ved Prakash Malik, PVSM, and Dr. Ranjana Malik, former President of AWWA, Romi paved a path where there was none. The Cost of War is the story of a daughter who lost her father and a part of herself forever. This book is the truth of a child of war who struggles to maintain a tenuous grasp of a world sundered by war. This book is about the cost of war. A price borne by the families of fallen soldiers is the cost of freedom and peace.

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“Cost of War” by Simran Randhawa is a poignant narrative that delves into the realms of selfless bravery, valour, pain, and loss. The heart of the book beats with the sacrifice of Maj. SJS Randhawa, KC, a soldier who laid down his life in the line of duty, ensuring the safety of the nation and the protection of his fellow soldiers. The narrative extends beyond the battlefield, unravelling the intricate and often overlooked aftermath that war inflicts upon the families left behind.

The book is an emotional journey, focusing on Maj. SJS Randhawa’s wife, the resilient protagonist, who transforms from a contented wife to a grieving widow and eventually into a remarkable warrior. The story takes a closer look at the profound impact of a single bullet, tearing apart a once-happy life. The soldier’s valour is immortalised through the posthumous award of the Kirti Chakra, the second-highest peacetime gallantry award, underscoring the magnitude of his sacrifice.

At its core, “Cost of War” is the tale of Lt Col RJ Randhawa, formerly known as Romi, who shattered the mould by becoming the first war widow to enlist in the Indian Army. Romi’s journey is a testament to the strength of the human spirit, transcending the limitations imposed by grief and loss. Her inspiring story becomes a beacon for countless Veer Naris, symbolising resilience and determination.

Simran Randhawa skillfully navigates the narrative, painting a vivid portrait of Romi’s transformation and her pivotal role in inspiring other war widows. The book sheds light on the challenges Romi faced, from societal expectations to the personal struggles of coping with profound loss. It is through Romi’s perseverance and the support of figures like General Ved Prakash Malik PVSM AVSM and Dr. Ranjana Malik, former President of AWWA, that she forges a path where none existed before.

The collaborative efforts of Simran Randhawa, General Ved Prakash Malik, and Dr. Ranjana Malik breathe life into the pages of “Cost of War.” The book not only narrates a personal story but also serves as a broader reflection on the sacrifices borne by the families of fallen soldiers. It unveils the hidden cost of freedom and peace, spotlighting the indomitable spirit of those who bear the burden of war on their shoulders. The writing style adopted is both emotive and evocative, creating a vivid portrayal of the emotions and challenges faced by the protagonist, Maj. SJS Randhawa’s wife. The narrative unfolds as a tribute to the soldier’s gallantry, emphasising the sacrifice made for the nation’s safety and the protection of comrades. The language used is poignant, drawing readers into the heart of the emotional turmoil experienced by the family left behind.

The author’s choice to delve into the personal transformation of the protagonist adds a layer of depth to the storytelling. From a happy wife to a widow, and ultimately emerging as a warrior herself, the evolution of the central character is skillfully portrayed. This progression serves not only as a testament to the resilience of the human spirit but also highlights the strength found within the crucible of adversity.

“Cost of War” is more than just a biography; it is a mirror that reflects the terrible reality that military families experience. The text is elegant, conveying the deep emotions and trials of Romi’s journey. Simran Randhawa’s narrative ability guarantees that readers are not passive observers but active participants in the emotional journey.

The narrative not only pays homage to Maj. SJS Randhawa’s sacrifice but also stands as a tribute to the resilience of the human spirit. It resonates with universal themes of love, loss, and the unwavering pursuit of a better world. “Cost of War” is not just a book; it is a powerful testament to the human capacity to endure, evolve, and find meaning even in the face of the harshest adversities.

In conclusion, Simran Randhawa’s “Cost of War” is a remarkable literary work that goes beyond the boundaries of a traditional war narrative. It is a beacon of hope, shedding light on the unsung heroes—the families left behind. This book is an eloquent reminder of the profound cost paid by those who sacrifice for the greater good, and it stands as a tribute to the enduring spirit of the human soul.

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