Hyderabad: In mid-February, amid the brewing Ukraine-Russia conflict, a 21-year-old from India studying in Ukraine, got a rare opportunity. The youth, who grew up in India with a fascination to join the Army, had failed to get a chance. He has now managed to join the paramilitary forces in Kharkiv, Ukraine, to fight against the Russian troops.
Living in a town called Subramanya Palyam on the outskirts of Coimbatore, all what Sainikesh Ravichandran's parents knew initially was that he got a "partptime job in an online video gaming company."
Speaking to Deccan Chronicle, his family explained how they tried to convince him to return home. "He initially lied to us by saying that he got a part-time job. After being incommunicado for four days, we got to speak to him and he told us that he has joined the paramilitary forces in Ukraine."
Though our family friends wrote to the Indian Embassy in Ukraine to bring him home, he refused to return and told us that it was his dream to join the army, if not in India, then somewhere else. "It is my passion and I want to do this," the youth told his family, according to J. Lakshmi, his mother.
Tamil Nadu State Intelligence officials, along with teams from the central intelligence, visited his house to speak to his parents and found that his room was full of posters of fighter jets, armed forces and military gear.
Officials from the Special Branch of Coimbatore said that it was his decision to stay and serve the army in Ukraine and that they did only an enquiry with his family.
Officials here said "Sainikhesh, a student of National Aerospace University in Kharkiv, could not make it to the National Defense Academy (NDA) due to height-related issues." He moved to Ukraine in September, 2018 and his course is due for completion in July, 2022.
His friends back home spoke about how Nikhesh has always been eager and fascinated about all-things Army. "Since his Class 12th, he has been seeking to join the Indian Army and has dreamt about being in the field in uniform. Even if you check his Facebook, you would only see posts about military and fighter planes, jets, arms etc," said Ramesh Kumar, his friend.
Sainikhesh has now locked his profile on Facebook, while his display picture shows him in full military gear, wielding an assault rifle and his cover photo is of him standing with his fellow army soldiers.
Sainikhesh is the elder of two sons born to Ravi Chandran, who runs a furniture business, and Jhansi Lakshmi. His younger brother, Sairohit Ravichandran, is studying Class 12th in Coimbatore.