A Hug is all I Need


The Hindi word, ‘Shanti’ means peace, and it includes equanimity and tranquility. ‘Dhiraj’ means patience. Both these virtues are desirable attributes of human personality. During my service I had the good fortune to meet father-son duo, who were known by these names. The elder of the two was about twelve years senior to me, while his son, Dhiraj was my adjutant in Sikkim. I can say with conviction that they both served the Army with grace and dignity. The picture you see on top shows Dhiraj, when he joined the RIMC, in Jan 1969. He was eleven years old, then.

At my behest, Dhiraj has sent a very sweet little story of his childhood days. It gives me great pleasure to share it with you. Those who have met Brig Shanti Mullick may like to see a few of his pictures, which have come along with this story.



A Hug is all I Need

By Col Dhiraj Mullick (Veteran)

It was a cold and dreary winter morning in Dehradun, a small town located at the foothills of the Himalaya Mountains in Northern India.  Through the window across the room, I could see the weak morning sun appearing every now and then from behind the clouds and doing its best to fight the cold.

Having feigned a stomach-ache, I was skipping school for the day. I lay in bed, smarting from what my maternal uncle had said to me the previous evening when I had told him that I don’t buy anything from the school tuck shop since I don’t have any money.

“What! You are nine years old and don’t get any pocket money! Why Not?” he remarked.

His son Aditya, who is about my age, went on to exclaim “I get two rupees pocket money every Sunday!” Back then, in 1966, two rupees was a handsome sum of money for a nine-year-old.

It was true. Unlike most children in my class, I never received any pocket money from my parents. Though I had never given it a thought, the previous evening’s incident had disturbed me and set me thinking. I thought of the fruit buns and cream rolls which my friends used to buy from the school tuck shop, and I thought of the naughtier children who bought candy from roadside sellers when the school bus halted at traffic signals. I realized that they too must be getting some pocket money from their parents every week. And I thought ‘Why not me.’

As I lay snuggled in bed – the thought kept coming back, ‘Why not me…’

Unable to make sense of my feelings, I finally summoned the courage to confront my dad before he left for work. So, I tip toed down the hallway and peeped into the dining room where he was seated with my mother having breakfast. I marched in and questioned “Papa why don’t you give me any pocket money?”

“What happened son?” he asked.

“I want two rupees pocket money” I persisted.

He made me sit on the chair next to him and asked again, very softly, “Tell me what has happened.”

I related to him the events and conversation of the previous evening and my desire to carry ‘my own money’ to school every day. I told him that I felt I cheated as he was not giving me any pocket money.

He gently caught hold of my hand and said, “Come with me”. He led me to his room and stood in front of his dressing table.  He pulled open the right-side drawer and picked up his wallet which was lying there and said “Son, this is my wallet. It has a good amount of money, more than you need for your pocket money. When it’s not in my pocket, I always keep it here. Whenever you need money you can take it from here – as much as you want.  I also want you to know that whatever is in it, is yours as much as it is mine or your mother’s or sister’s or brother’s. It’s for all of us to share.”

“I’ll return it to you someday … when I’m grown up and have my own money” I blurted. And then the tears which I had so valiantly been holding back started flowing down my cheeks.

My father looked at me lovingly and said, “Don’t worry about returning the money A hug is all I need. You must also remember to share it with your mother and your sister and brother. And for that, you don’t have to wait till you grow up. You can give it right away.”

With that he opened his arms and embraced me in a warm hug. I held on to him tightly and he rocked me gently till I calmed down and my tears stopped. 

My father’s words and the warmth of his loving hug are cherished memories from my childhood that I’ll never forget. They taught me the priceless value of sharing and caring, and that love is the most precious gift we can give. A gift we can give anyone – anytime.



Children are innocent and very tender. Whenever they face situations which are difficult or beyond their comprehension, they get confused and may go astray. They may develop unwanted traits and habits and nurture resentment which they then carry through their lives. Good parenting and a loving environment can enable them to understand and appreciate the right values in life.

As children we only started getting pocket money when we entered 7th Standard i.e. at 12 years of age. Perhaps our parents thought it to be the right age for us to handle money and to be able to spend it wisely. They always told us:  Money is important in life; but a good life is more than just money!


Now, here are a few pictures of the elder Mullick


As a Major, in Blue Patrols



Just before retirement in 1981


shanti mullick

One of the last pictures of Brig and Mrs Shanti Mullick


And, for those who may like to see how Dhiraj and his wife, Heena look now, here it is



A Tailpiece

Different people have been affected by the recent Pandemic in different ways. In my case, what I miss the most is the joy of meeting people in the traditional manner: a warm tight hug. Indeed, the children can not even be touched! I wonder whether this will make a difference to their psyche. When my children were growing up, our mother used to tell us to fondle them…and that included hugging and kissing. The IT professionals have devised methods to do everything, including teaching ‘online’.

Are we heading for an era when hugs will be ‘online’ ? I wonder!!!





  1. kanwal Bhalla says:

    Dhiraj and Heena
    I just read your article…… i did not know your parents. But the picture of you two suddenly opened floodgates of memories and I was reliving our Jhansi association.
    such happy, pleasant memories.
    please be in touch

  2. Amul Kapoor says:

    Sat, Oct 3, 9:13 PM (13 hours ago)
    to me

    Good evening Surjit Sir,

    Hope this finds you and the family well, happy and in good health. Thank you for the article, real life, “All I need is a hug”. So beautifully written and expressed.

    I send a heart felt hug to you too.

    Stay blessed Sir.

    warm regards and best wishes,


  3. SURENDRA TS says:

    Well articulated. Tugs at your heartstrings. I can empathize with the father-son duo.

  4. Brig Surinder Singh says:

    Well said, Dheeraj,

    From whatever I have heard about your father, this narrative fits into that penpicture. I think he was my eldest brother’s batchmate in IIT, Kharagpur.

    These little things have a lasting impact on the mind.

    The pictures are lovely


    • Maj Gen Surjit Singh says:

      Brig Shanti Mullick was from the 3rd Graduates. He was a course mate of Gen Tripat Singh. In fact, they were good friends.
      Born in 1927, he was a few years older than his batchmates. He became an Engineer long before the IIT came into existence. Be that as it may, Brig Shanti Mullick was a very congenial person. No one has ever heard him shout or say anything unkind to any one.

    • Dhiraj Mullick says:

      Thank you sir.

      You are absolutely right when you say they have a lasting impact…
      Infact, l feel love underpins development of important values in every child or for that matter every human.

      Warm regards

  5. Sitendra Kumar

    to me

    Dear Sir,
    What a nice father-son duo.
    What marvellous relationship they shared.
    What splendid values father gave to the son.
    The story touches the heart.
    A matter of time, may be a year or so, then we would be able to hug our near ones.
    Thanks for sharing this .


    Sitendra Kumar

  6. Satish Kumar Bhandari says:

    satish bhandari
    to me

    Very beautiful


  7. B Mohanti says:

    Pocket money reminded me of our days 1955/59 in RIMC when Rs 5/- on a Sunday outing once a month was a princely amount.
    A hug is all I need certainly touched a chord.
    Bibhu Mohanti

  8. RS Bhatti says:

    Rajinder Bhatti

    to me

    Very profound words!

  9. Lt Gen RK Mehta says:

    Raj Mehta

    to me

    Thanks for sharing Col Mullick’s tender story.
    Regards and best wishes.
    Stay safe.

  10. colls says:

    Whatever you may say
    just remember this
    and my inner feelings

    after 6 months Quarantine
    took a special Flight
    in August 2020 to Canada
    as I am PR
    though resident of Noida
    Indian Citizen

    Just imagine my feelings
    when I met my grand kids
    earnestly wanted to hug and kiss them

    but promised Quarantine
    14 days more
    I could see the longing in their eyes
    as I contained my tears
    for the love of them

    I forcibly maintained
    more than 6 feet distance
    so that healthy they remained

    How I swallowed my inner feelings
    a silent dream for ever I must maintain

    I flew flying kisses
    they smiled
    it was my granddaughter’s 16the Birthday
    very special by Canadian standards

    she well understood
    till tears I couldn’t hold

    Love your parents
    kiss them, hug them
    never will they return ever again.

    Time’s move on
    Online is today’s mutual game
    but from love can anyone abstain
    humble I still remain.

    They bore the separation
    I the pain
    01 OCT 2020
    Specially for you Col Dhiraj

  11. Kul Prakash Deswal says:

    A very touching narrative. Understanding parents bring out the best in their children but a hug is what we all want from our loved ones especially when you grow old.

  12. SJ Singh says:

    The picture at the top of the story is lovely. What innocence! And what an age to join the ‘Fauj’ !!

  13. Col NN Bhatia says:

    Narindra Nath Bhatia
    7:38 PM
    to me

    Thank YOU, Sir, for sharing very moving & touching story that should be part of every family.
    Col Bhatia (Retd)

  14. Col Ranjit Maini says:

    Ranjit Maini
    11:39 AM (5 hours ago)
    to me

    Sir, A wonderful article. Thanks for sharing’

  15. Col IP Singh says:

    Thank you, Sir
    Col IP Singh

  16. Col JK Bajaj says:

    JK Bajaj
    3:07 PM (1 hour ago)
    to me

    How True!
    Thank you for the Forward

    Indeed very touching and sweetly expressed; a simple anecdote

    I salute father and son team with
    my utmost & affectionate regards
    Not forgetting their dear Mom & other children who imbibed these
    values for generations to follow

    It’s hard to ignore or forget these simple messages!

    My v best wishes and special thanks to dear Dhiraj, for remembering to share with us,
    when going really getting tough!

    Sharing is Truly Caring-
    There after flows automatically !

    Jai Ho

    Warmly Ur’s; Sir- Jatinder

    • Dhiraj Mullick says:

      Thank you sir ….. for your graciousness and the time taken to put down your thoughts.

      They mean a lot to me.

      Warm regards

  17. Rustom says:

    This was really a ” happy “reading…


  18. Gurdeep Singh says:

    A beautifully written account, staight from the heart. Very touching. A hug is all I need, so true. Thanks for sharing. Such stores rekindle the emotional cord and gives lot of inner strength. Grateful indeed.

    • Dhiraj Mullick says:

      Completely agree with you sir.

      Inner strength gives us self-confidence. It also helps us to embrace the right values which are so necessary for leading a happy life.


  19. Brig PT Gangadharan says:

    Forwarded to all my friends.
    PT Gangadharan

  20. Brig Jaisheel Oberoi says:

    Jai Oberoi
    1:27 PM (46 minutes ago)
    to me

    Luckily hugs between children & their parents still happen
    Jai Sheel

  21. Ashali Varma says:

    Ashali Varma
    12:33 PM (1 hour ago)
    to me

    What a very beautiful story.

    Sent from my iPad

    • Dhiraj Mullick says:

      Thank you Ma’am.

      Coming from such and accomplished and prolific writer – your words are very valuable for me.

      Warm regards,

  22. Amrik Singh says:

    Amrik Singh

    to me

    In addition to the benefits you describe for child, hugging your child also creates a stronger bond with you. Hugs improve trust, reduce fear, and strengthen relationships. And these benefits are mutual. Giving and receiving physical affection is good for both you and your child
    Warm Regards,

    Amrik Singh
    M 9873635145
    E amrikrgc@gmail.com

  23. Wg Cdr Joseph Thomas says:

    Joseph Thomas

    Thanks. It is a good piece.

  24. Dave Sood says:

    i love these family stories. Truthfully told and every line is full of emotion and love.

    Enjoyed it.

  25. I am very glad to see a post by my dear colleague from Sikkim days in the 80′ s . The narrative has touched my heart greatly , especially since I have met his parents once in NOIDA . I am in touch with Dhiraj even now after all these years and cherish our association very much.I urge him to write more such posts .

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