Vein Poin Village, Tarn Taran:
The courtyard wore an air of desertion, even despair. On May 2, Naib Subedar Paramjit Singh of the Army's 22 Sikh infantry, who was killed in Jammu and Kashmir's Poonch district, lay here amid his loved ones, draped in the national flag. His last rites were attended by thousands from across the border district of Tarn Taran.
Four days on, in Vein Poin village, his wife and three children sit in silence, holding each other. Khushdeep, the youngest of Paramjit Singh's daughters, only 12, holds a photo of her father close to her.
"I want to grow up to become an officer," Khushdeep says, stoic but resolute in the face of grief.
Khushdeep wants to grow up and join the forces like her father
"Khushdeep was the youngest daughter and had a special relationship with her father; he used to respect his daughters like sons and had big dreams for them; he wanted them to become officers", says Khushdeep's mother, Paramjit Kaur.
A new ray of hope has now appeared for the family. A young, Muslim civil servant couple from Himachal Pradesh has decided to adopt Khushdeep, or Khushi, as she is known to her loved ones.
The civil servant couple says it salutes the courage of the martyrs of the country
"My husband and I had read about the family in the news and we felt really bad. We decided we would also support little Khushi," said Anjum Ara, superintendent of police in Solan district.
Her husband, Yunus Khan, the deputy commissioner of Kullu, said, "We salute the courage of our martyrs. This is only a small gesture, to improve the financial, moral and social status of Paramjit Singh's family in general and Khushdeep in particular."
Young Khushdeep is a student of class 7. Yunus and Anjum, who have a four year old son, have decided to sponsor Khushdeep's education in entirety and also bear all her other expenses while growing up. "She will be with her family and we will continue to visit her here and guide her siblings as well. Whether she chooses to become a civil servant, or join the army, we are there to always to support her," added Anjum.
For Paramjit Singh's family, the gesture is godsent. "They (the couple) have come into our lives like god. Look at the irony; god took away one father from a young daughter but has given her another father's care and blessings," said Ranjit Singh, Paramjit Singh's brother.
"This is truly an example for the entire country; a person who doesn't even relate to you is taking such a sensitive step. Our family is very grateful (to the couple); when our child will do well, surely she will also extend her goodness to others around her," said Mukhtar Singh, Khushdeep's grandfather.