Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi today said he dreamed of joining the Army when he was young, but could not do so due to his family's poor financial condition.
"I was in the fourth class and belonged to a poor family...I saw an advertisement in a newspaper about Sainik (Army) school Balachadi at Jamnagar in Gujarat. After saving Rs 2, I bought the prospectus and filled it up, keeping in mind an aim of serving the nation," he said here, addressing a huge gathering of ex-servicemen at Ahirwal region of Haryana.
"At that time, there was a feeling that serving the nation means joining the Army. It got stuck in my mind," he said.
His dream of joining the Army was, however, shattered after his father told him he could not afford to pay for the entrance exam, Modi said.
He said Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda has also studied in the Army school located at Jamnagar.
Modi said to satiate his desire to join the Army, he served tea and breakfast to soldiers who went to fight the 1962 war.
"When 1962 war broke out, I was in class 6-7 standard and I read in the newspaper that soldiers were travelling through Mehsana station and some NGOs were distributing sweets and breakfast to them. I went to Mehsana station without telling my father. At that young age, I served tea, breakfast to soldiers and even touched their feet," he said.
Modi said his arrival at Rewari as God's wish.
"Perhaps, it was God's wish that today's rally had been scheduled earlier. I did not know that there is going to be a big announcement to be made on September 13 (anointing him BJP's PM candidate). And after that, my first programme of ex-armymen was to be amongst you which also seems to be God's wish," he said.
Modi said he got a chance to work in Haryana with Chaudhary Devi Lal, Bansi Lal and then former prime minister Atal Bihai Vajpayee and L K Advani. "The last rally I attended here was with Atal ji," he said.
Earlier, he said Haryana was a land of brave people who laid their lives down for the country.