“When life gets tough, you get tougher “
Updated: May 7
Manipur-born Major KH Deepi Devi (Retd) a talented classically trained vocalist, mother of 7
year old and the eldest of three siblings, and the most beloved of her father worked for
Doordarshan Kendra PPC Northeast In Guwahati.
She completed her schooling in Guwahati and the 12th grader along with her family shifted
back to Imphal, where her father was expecting his posting. Whilst he went covering the 2007 World Military Games in Hyderabad on TD, ( Temporary Duty) She aspired to become a Genetic Engineer. As she earnestly waited with her Intermediate results, for her father to come back for the formalities of admissions.
She learned of her father's death passing on, en route to the train he was on coming back home. Devastated and her world turned upside down in split seconds; whilst her siblings were still in primary school and her mother was a housewife, she was about to become the only
the breadwinner of the family.
Mourning still and dropping out of the academic year, she took the colossal responsibility of
supporting her family and started working immediately. With no prior experience in Television
and being a die-in harness appointment, she gracefully pulled off a contractual job at
Doordarshan News Imphal. However, the remuneration not being enough to support the
family, and to make ends meet she would give tuition after her TV station work shifts.
Additionally, to continue her college studies which could also suit her working hours she
enrolled herself for early hour classes before work, making her schedule running a tight ship
from the wee hours of the morning to coming back home late evening, only to feed herself and catch some sleep, thus maintaining the sustainability of her family for four years, stoically
setting aside and sacrificing all her dreams and aspirations for her future.
Meanwhile, fate had something else lined up for her, as during her first year in college she met the Late Col. Mr. Rajesh Mishra, who was then the Public Relation Officer of Imphal who also may have been a physiognomist. Not only he spotted the qualities of a good Military Officer in her that the nation needs but also was very empathetic about her story, having gone through similar tests over time, while growing up. Thereby, encouraging her to appear in Combined Defense Service exams after graduation.
Yet again having no prior knowledge of the Military let alone having any family background in
the Army, but being guided by Colonel Mishra to believe in herself and to push the throttle of
her potential full. Skeptical yet strong-willed to take the shot, in the 3rd year of her college, she appeared in the first UPSC exam of her life and cleared it on the very first attempt with flying colors. It was during the preparation for joining the Army, she happened to meet her now husband who was an Army officer posted in Imphal, who also was very instrumental in guiding her through and motivating her to join the forces.
After clearing the exam, she also pinned down SSB Interview on the first attempt, followed by
medical, and topped the charts with rank 13th in the India merit list.
Soon enough, the opportunity opened and before she could complete her graduation she had
the joining letter in hand. Come September 2011 she joins the training at the Officers Training
Academy. OTA shaped her mental, physical, and robustness which is much required for an Army Officer during which point she got injured thereby extending the combat training by 6 months.
Upon successful accomplishment of the training, she was posted in Kupwara, Kashmir. Her first posting was in the Ordnance Unit. Serving the nation for two years in the Insurgency infested Kashmir she has then served and posted to Guwahati, twice in Jabalpur, Hissar, and finally Shillong.
The servitude in Shillong gave her the clarity of her choices as fulfilling her duties she felt driven to serve the nation differently meanwhile exploring her potential further, eagerly.
Heavy-hearted bidding adieu to the Army she enrolled for IIM Shillong for a Business
Management course, Meanwhile perusing the course still, she applied for the role of Senior
Manager of Government Relations and as the felicity of fate would have it! after the selection
process, just 2 months before her retirement from the Army, she bagged herself the gig.
Retired from the force, on the 15th of March 2023 after ten years of serving her nation with
honour and pride, and on the 30th of March she was also awarded as “Northeast Women
Leader” by the World Women Leadership Congress and CMO Asia. Deepi now works for Procter in Gamble Mumbai and she still looks after her family and her siblings.
Shared by Major KH Deepi Devi
Posted by Dr. Rumi Borah