Shalini Singh lost her first husband Major Avinash Singh Bhadauria in war and got divorced from her second husband who used to do domestic violence on her. She is a single mother to a 17 -year-old boy. Hardships of life only made her a stronger person. She worked hard and went on to become a captain in the Indian army. She was crowned ‘Classic Mrs. India – Queen of Substance’ in 2017. From being a simple homely girl who was married at the age of 19 and never wanted to work, Shalini Singh has evolved as a person adapting herself to all the challenges that life threw on her.
Shalini’s parents got her married to a handsome guy working as a Major in the Indian army in 2001. It was a dream come true for Shalini who always dreamed of getting married and leading an easy life as stay-at-home-wife. She spent a few happy years with Major Avinash. But her world was changed forever when her beloved husband, Major Avinash was killed in an encounter with terrorists in Kashmir, India. At 23, Shalini was widowed. Her 2-year-old son lost his father. Her world turned completely upside down.
“Everything seemed unreal. Nothing made sense. Nothing had a meaning. My life had lost meaning so early in life, all of a sudden. I felt like finishing myself.” Shalini Singh
She looked at the innocent face of her son, completely ignorant of his loss. He couldn’t feel the pain. Shalini decided to stay strong for him. She made up her mind to walk on the path of her husband and join the Indian Army.
Many of her husband’s colleagues told her not to take up the job as it involved great mental and physical challenges. But Shalini Singh had made up her mind to join the Indian army at any cost.
“I decided that my son is my biggest strength and I will not let him be a weakness.” Shalini Singh
With great determination and support from her family and friends, Shalini applied for the Service Selection Board (SSB) interview in the Indian army. She prepared for the interview in coaching classes and finally got a call for a week-long interview at SSB, 3 months after she lost her husband. Shalini took her son along with her.
It was one of the most challenging times of her life but she survived it with a winner’s spirit. In the coming months, she had to leave her son to her parents’ home as she cleared the interview and joined the Indian army as a captain. Shalini’s life changed drastically. From a simple homemaker wearing beautiful dresses, she had become the army officer putting on army uniform and boots. She had never imagined this type of life for herself. The army training was quite tough but Shalini Singh never lost her heart.
On 7th September 2002, Shalini Singh got commissioned as a captain in the Indian Army. In October 2002, Shalini Singh’s martyr husband Major Avinash Singh Bhadauria was posthumously awarded the Kirti Chakra award (A gallantry award). Shalini Singh, went up to President of India in her army uniform to receive the award on behalf of her late husband. Shalini calls it an emotional but proud moment of her life.
“For a young single mother working in a mostly male-dominated environment, life had many challenges too.” Shalini Singh
But Shalini Singh served her country with all dedication and sincerity for 6 years. After 6 years, she resigned to pay full attention to her growing up son. Shalini’s life again took an ugly turn when she met a horrific accident which left her with multiple life-threatening fractures all over her body. She recovered from all these fractures in nearly a year. After this, she decided to move on in her personal life and re-marry. Unfortunately, she couldn’t find happiness in her second marriage. Her husband used to do domestic violence on her. She divorced him and decided to do something more meaningful in her life which could give her a new identity. She participated in Mrs. India 2017 contest. She went to live her dreams and on the 14th of April, 2017, Shalini Singh at the age of 39 was crowned Classic Mrs. India 2017 Queen of Substance at New Delhi, India.
About her future aspirations, Shalini says,