A Guest in the Backyard

Winter is settling down in Windhoek. Days have shortened. Early mornings and evenings bring cold winds. At times it blows really hard to bring down the wires of electric fence or dry branches, and to create loud banging music by slamming open doors or window panes.

The other day, the windy morning was quite agitating. I went in the backyard as usual to access the clothesstring. While I was putting the wet clothes one on the string, I heard some rustling noise in the nearby bushes. I stopped for a while and tried to follow the sound. But as I kept quiet, the rustling also stopped.

After a long pause I continued my work and the rustling started again. Someone was surely there around. Could it be a snake? I knew the snakes also liked basking in the morning. 😮 The thought of having a snake nearby brought goosebumps on my neck. There were some clothes still in the bucket waiting to go on the string. I left them as they were and moved back as slowly as I could. There was no rustling for a few minutes. I decided to wait.

Rock-Dassie

The rustling started again and this time I could follow the direction of the sound. All I could see was a little wondering face behind some succulent plants. 🙂 I had never seen him before in the backyard though I had seen numerous birds and a couple of mongooses there. It was somewhat like a hare and a rat. Thank God, it was not what I thought to be!! It appeared slowly from behind the plants and I understood it was a little Rock Dassie 🙂 It went to a stone and sat on it to bask in the warm morning Sun. It was staring at me with all the curiosity in the world gathered in its glass-bead-like pair of eyes. It was the first creature I found super-cute while staring!! 😀 Yes, only while staring.

When he yawned, I could clearly see its sharp incisors. Then I decided to keep distance from it. I stood there for some time. It must have become tired of sitting there. It went towards the fence, and climbed the wall. The neighbouring dog started barking as he must have noticed the Dassie on the fence. He jumped into the yard of neighbouring house. He must have managed to escape the ferocious dog as the barking stopped and the rustling of the dry leaves too.

I couldn’t see him again for long since then.

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A Love Story a Magic Pen Started

It was not exactly the Valentine’s Day but a few months before it during year 1994 when their love story started. It was also not long when they both met and started knowing each other. They had met just a couple of times.

That day, he was about to go to a remote place. Since they were not going see each other for long time, he had come to see her in person before boarding the train, which was scheduled in the following couple of hours.

He presented a small gift to her, as a token of his remembrance.

She uncovered it carefully and found a beautiful black pen with an intricate print on it. Her eyes twinkled with happiness. 🙂

He: “How do you find it?” 🙂

She: “It’s beautiful!…Thank you!” 🙂

He: “You know, it is not a simple pen. It is a magic pen.” 😉

She was surprised and confused at the same time to hear what he said.

She had never believed anything since her childhood without knowing the whats, the whys, and the hows. But she believed in what he said just as she believed in him completely. If he says, then it must be surely magical…But what is the magic? She couldn’t hold her curiosity about the pen’s magic for long. He observed her funny expressions.

He (playfully): “Whenever you write a letter to me with this pen, it would automatically reach me.” 😀

She (curiously): “That’s just not possible!!” 😮

He (smiling): “Why not?… But yes, you need to do one more thing to make this pen’s magic work.”

She (anxiously): “And that is…?”

He: “Each time you write a letter with this pen, you need to write my address on the letter too, and put it into a nearby post box.”  😉 😀

She understood the magic. 🙂 She liked the way he indicated his interest to know her more. He wanted to understand her and take their brief introduction with each other to a next level. She remembered, she had got some freshly plucked jasmine flowers. She put them into his shirt’s pocket. She promised him to write letters. After spending some silent moments together, they took each other’s leave with heavy hearts.

Those were the no-cellphone days. It was not easy to speak to a remotely located person. If they did not have STD/ISD facility on their landline telephones, they used to stand in the queues of STD/ISD booths to make a long distance call. During those days, writing letters was a reliable way to stay connected.

The pen was one of her most precious possessions. During their separation times, she wrote numerous letters with that pen and sent to him from miles away. The pen went on playing its magic and wiped out the physical distance between the two hearts in love.

I still fondly possess my magic pen. 😀

love-story-with-a-magic-pen

Embracing the New Year

How was year 2016 for me? When I think of this question, a lot of recent memories crowd my mind…Year 2016 was full of experiences, zest, fun, and lessons. A year of learning the whole set of new lessons and revising the old ones…I went to places, met people, made new friends, and observed them all. I could overcome my fear of water and swim, learn basic French, and pick up photography as per my last year’s resolution. 🙂 I visited the great Pyramid of Giza, Roman Colosseum, London Bridge, and climbed the Leaning Tower of Pisa. It was so much fun to see a number of jaw-dropping places in Namibia and South Africa with my loved ones. I witnessed a wide variety of flora, fauna, and different colors of the mother earth.

The places I visited throughout the year were wonderful and exclusive, but it was not the case with people I met or been with. 😀 Some strangers beautifully reintroduced me to all the small and big things I could smile for. Some people I came across had less than their worth and some others had more than they deserved. Some funny people praised themselves on good results of execution of their plans and blamed others when results were unwelcomed. I met a girl who was ready to leave anything to find real love and then I met a woman who left love for money and material…I can say, I completely understood relativity! 😀

I learnt once a person’s soul departs, at no cost the person can come back…In contrast to the volatile life, this is a certainty of death. All you have are the memories of the days shared together. So it’s us to decide what kind of memories we want live with.

I learnt that I should not accept someone’s nonsense at first place. If I do then most probably I would have to submit myself to compromise my self-respect on every such nonsense in future. After all, I am responsible to condition others’ behavior too.

I used to think that if at all we quantify faith from 0 as no faith to 100 as undoubted faith then all the values between 0 and 99 are same as 0. I used to believe that I have faith only if it was 100%, complete. But according to my experience, faith can also be between 0 and 100.

I learnt that honesty and integrity are not something that weak people can handle. People will always take the easy and lazy route to hide their unethical behavior instead of choosing to condition themselves to be ethical, or not getting into unethical behavior at all.

I revised an old lesson that a person can change only if he or she wishes and works to change.

I also experienced an incredible power of pure thoughts and unsoiled character that anyone can accomplish by behaving in accordance with good virtues consistently. But sadly, a person with such character often continues the journey of growth alone.

I revised the lesson of hope. Hope and optimism go hand in hand. Hope had always been by my side even during the bad patches in my life. It is something that never ever broke my faith with it. This year I find myself equipped with little more knowledge I gained from my lessons… 🙂 I am going to release any bad memories accumulated over the past year. I am going to carry on only with the experiences and lessons.

While bidding farewell to the ending year, I find myself as anxious as a child, who awaits to open a series of gift boxes… 🙂 I am anxious to uncover what God has planned for me, day by day. I am ready to enter into year 2017 with full hope…to embrace new days, new experiences, and new lessons.

happy-new-year

Swiss Landscape on Bernina Express

“If on earth be an Eden of bliss,

It is this, it is this, it is none but this!”

When I entered Switzerland its stunning beauty made me remind these lines. Switzerland boasts Alps ranges, a large number of tunnels and bridges, highest dams, and four official languages. It displays a unique range of magnificent landscapes. We all wanted to see the mighty yet beautiful Alps ranges and the scenic beauty of this blessed piece of land hence we visited Switzerland this summer.

We planned to travel by the world-famous Bernina Express, the train especially operated for the purpose of site-seeing. We decided to take the route from Tirano to Zurich and excitedly boarded the train.

bernina-express

The train was bright red-colored from outside with refreshing cream-white color inside the compartments, which were very comfortable and lavish. A very special and noticeable feature of Bernina Express is its large and clear windows through which the passengers can see the surrounding nature. These windows are extended up to the roof and facilitate the passengers to see every bit of the beauty and find themselves as a part of the nature while being on the wheels. Another stunning feature is the height at which Bernina Express operates effortlessly on narrow-guage. It runs at an adequate speed to let one observe the surroundings. The train operates at the height of 2253 meters above sea level and makes one wonder, how successfully man has created machines and tamed them at his service.

As the train steadily kept moving ahead, the breathtaking landscapes started unfolding. It took us through pastures of lush green grass. There were healthy brown cows grazing on the slopes. They were wearing flat-shaped brass bells tied in the embroidered leather belts around their necks. The black-nosed sheep were looking as if there were few white woolen bundles kept on green carpet.

switzerland-landscape

Along the green pastures, there were small houses topped with tapered roofs and fenced with wooden bars. Sometimes they were so close to the train that I thought I could extend my hand to touch. They had little entrance gates which were adorned with bells and floral plants. The gardens in front of the houses displayed artistic arrangement of small fountains, animal figurines, and colorful pots. We spotted a little house just near the rail track where figurines of seven smiling dwarfs were kept in the garden. They looked so cute! 🙂 I tried to look for the Snow White’s figurine around but the train moved ahead and that pretty sight of the house was replaced by another beautiful view of chestnut trees.

The Swedish houses had small old-styled windows of wooden frames. Almost every window was decorated with the rectangular pots placed just outside the windows, which contained plants with pink, white, yellow, and purple flowers. They made a good contrast with the color of the window frames and left us impossible to decide which one was beautifying the other 😀

There were churches seen occasionally in the backdrop of the hilly green meadows. The Swedish towns just looked like the ones portrayed in the fairy tales. 🙂 Indeed Europeans have an obsession as well as an eye for a great detail to maintain their gardens neat, clean, and attractive.

The train was taking us on bridges, through tunnels, and around orchards. The food service carts arrived full of hamburgers, sandwiches, wines, and other drinks. They also had soft toys for sale, especially the Valais Black-nosed sheep. As we progressed on our journey, we started getting the glimpse of Alps Mountain through the tall pine trees. Soon Bernina took us nearer and we were astonished to see the snow-clad tops of the Alps.

switzerland-matterhorn

It was the most breathtaking moment when we saw Matterhorn, the fifth highest peak in Alps ranges. It is in the shape of a pyramid with four steep triangular faces, each one facing a direction. Though its appearance, height, and expanse were scary, it captivated our eyes. 🙂 I find the view of large natural bodies like mountains and oceans is always spectacular. It limits one’s ego and makes one realize how negligible one’s presence is on this mother Earth!

We were so engrossed in watching the beauty around that we could not believe our destination had arrived. While we were on the train, the time seemed to pass so fast! It was an indulging experience to travel through the scenic beauty of Switzerland.

Switzerland landscapes are splendid.

It makes one’s eyes hungry and contented at the same time with its delightful beauty. 🙂

How Can I Always be Happy?

We tend to lose peace of mind and happiness because all our days are not perfect. There are rough patches in life when the things seldom seem to turn out the way we want them to. At such times, a classic question always occurs in a troubled mind: How can I Always be Happy, irrespective of difficult times in life or annoying people around? Is it really possible to always be happy?

Since I was seeking for the answer of this question pursuively and genuinely, I found it hidden in a very empowering quote of Lord Budhha. The quote says,

“There is no path to happiness: Happiness is the path.”

So simple to understand, yet difficult to follow! It says happiness is not a destination. Instead, we need to see it as a journey, spending each moment of life happily. 🙂Budhha

I have indeed been appreciating the people who are living by this statement. Living this way somehow did not seem easy to me because of a very simple reason: My body and mind often go out of synchronization. Sometimes I am physically doing whatever is required to be done at that point of time but in the background, I keep thinking of past or future…The instant my attention goes away from the present moment, my mind starts wandering in bygone memories…or I get carried away with the worries that might not even come up in future…Either way, I unknowingly push myself to the world which then only exists in my thoughts. Frequent trips to this imaginary world make me exhaust and lose serenity 😥

When I was a child; I was aware of only present tense. While growing up I experienced and learnt the other two tenses, which are quite capable of taking away one’s peace of mind. Is it not all in vain, if I could not appreciate beauty, warmth, or lesson the present moment has to offer?…Am I going pay attention to a moment in hand only when it is transferred in to the past?…or Am I going to live in future over which I have a very little control…? 

I must be able to follow Lord Budhha’s statement…Happiness IS the Path. I must realize myself as a continual happy being…It is possible only if I choose to be happy over everything else. Initially it would be difficult to remain in the present moment. Hence I will start doing that only for an hour. Then for a day. I will gradually increase the time and then at some point, being happy always would be my habit… 🙂

Now, living in today and indulging in the present moment is fine; but what if my today is not so bright? Can I still be happy?

Here I need to share what my mother says. She says, “We must observe everything keenly; even the sad time, impossible people, or the challenging situations. We certainly get to see something good in them. Every single thing that we have is either a blessing or a blessing in disguise.”

There I am! 🙂 What a perspective she shared with me! I must observe keenly. I must take the notice of small details. I must understand what I can change and what I must just accept. I must see the situations and people beyond their imperfection to be able to find something good in them. Once I realize their goodness, I would be able to deal with them in a better way.

In Indian culture, we touch elders’ feet to give them respect. In return they bless saying, खुश रहो! (Hindi) or सुखी रहा! (Marathi). This literally means Be Happy. In the context of what Lord Budhha said, this blessing is not merely a wish; it strongly suggests the recepient to remain happy in every kind of situation.

We can be always happy if we develop the attitude to be always happy. It is difficult for sure; but it is not impossible. So, let us count our blessings as well as blessings in disguise and go on being happy… 😀

 

Separation: The Inseparable Part of Military Life

At times browsing google for the queries such as, “Top 5 ways to keep yourself busy”, “How to handle long distance relationship”, or “Top 3 ways to the peace of mind”, just does not help during separation. Though these indexed tips can give clues and prepare oneself to deal with the separation in military life; the only way to deal with it is to go through it optimistically. Separation is the testing time not only for the man in uniform serving on borders but also for his better half, children, and everyone concerned in the scene.

She drops him at the railway station for Jhelum Express or at the Airport for that Air India flight to Srinagar. At that very moment of separation, she finds her throat choked up and her eyes working extra for modifying what comes from her heart…It is equally tough for him. He tries hard to follow the command of his brain rather than heart…He finds fighting with an enemy was easier than freeing himself from his little one’s tender hug…

He boards and on the way back home, she puts on her goggles leaving everyone around in surprise if that was the right time to wear them… 😮 It is just painful for them all each time they separate…She wonders why she has not yet excelled at taking his leave in spite of numerous practices… 😥 She reaches home. How quiet her happening home has turned! She hurriedly goes to take shower and lets her long-held tears run down with water…She sits alone in the favorite corner of her home and encircles that date on the calendar. Her count-down starts. It is now time for her to pull up the sleeves.

During separation, major challenges she faces are taking it positively, keeping herself busy so that the difficult time seems to pass smoothly, and managing their long-distance romantic relationship. These challenges always appear with the degree of difficulty in that order.

Alone-in-Separation

She understands that separation is bound to come with the kind of profession her beloved has chosen and she needs to support him always. She knows, instead of being gloomy all the time, she should engage herself in something constructive that makes her happy and energetic. She thinks of the positive outcomes of separation. Out of her regular responsibilities, she can get some time to look after herself. She can equip herself with a new skill.

She is well-educated. She invests her time in a professional work. It earns her satisfaction of using the grey matter and also makes her wallet deeper. She takes a job in Army School. If teaching is not her cup of tea, she takes a job outside the Army society, in other government sector or in private sector. Perhaps, she has been doing it already.

If she is not profession-oriented, sky is the limit for her wish list. She takes up social service. She visits an orphanage and brings smile on the faces of homeless orphan children. She also visits elders’ home, widows’ home, or differently-abled children’s home.

She takes up activities such as gardening, painting, reading, baking, or trying some international food recipes. She tries her hand at various arts such as Ikebana, Origami, Crocheting, Cross-stitching, Knitting, Paper-quilling, Oil-painting, Sand-painting, or Quilting. She creates beautiful bonsai plants by herself in the terrace garden, something out of the beaten path. She learns to make her personal jewelry. She joins sorority club or her group of ladies staying in Separate Family Accommodation (SFA). She learns a foreign language with the intention of using it with the native speakers of that country she will visit. She browses through various DIY project ideas from the Internet and applies them to organize her home and life. She enrolls herself for post-graduation, or pursues dance or singing that she had left some time back. She turns a writer or a fine poetess and brings power to her words. If she is mothering an infant or a toddler, then her hands are already full. 🙂

Out of the sheer love and loyalty towards her man, she behaves more responsibly while they are away from each other. She mixes in to the society like a seed in the mud apple (Chickoo): Surrounded by what she cannot avoid; yet separate from it. She thoroughly understands the simple bottom lines of handling a long distance romantic relationship:

“Do not do anything that you would not like your partner to do to yourself.”

and

“Be truthful always.”

Just for a momentary urge of getting over loneliness or boredom, she does not subscribe to anything that she would not do for her lifetime. If they are speaking over telephone, there are gross chances of miscommunication. It happens not only because of technical issues involved but also because of complete absence of the visual channel between them. Since they both are in two completely different situations while they are away; she does not hastily transfer any information to him about some critical situation that occurred at home. She knows, it can only make him feel helpless. Sometimes their communication takes place as if between Mars and Venus. She understands that every relationship has different requirements hence she needs to play according to the cards in her hand. She remains composed.

On the home front, she takes her old in-laws to Army hospital. She helps her children in their studies and extra-curricular activities. She watches TV for Arnab Goswami’s debates or listens to any news from Kashmir or North-East field with her ears all up. On hearing news such as landslide, firing, or avalanche breakdown occurred where her beloved is placed, she prays to the almighty more intensely. She lights up diya for his wellbeing and for the safety of all those men working there in uniform whom she does not know.

She misses him when she finds all her women friends and sisters showing up with their husbands at a family gathering. She misses him when she wants to whisper that good news into his ears…She misses him when she is being taken into the labor room…She misses him while cooking his favorite green vegetables…She misses him even more on Karva Chauth…She misses him on any of the family member’s birthdays and more on their wedding anniversary.

She regrets his absence when the life seems going tough. Once she gets to hear Aasha Tai singing one of her brilliant melodies on radio:

“बेचारा दिल क्या करे…सावन जले…भादो जले…”

She can correlate…how long it has been, since her sweetheart is away?…She misses being with him… 😦

The days of their separation go on…Just when she thinks it is high time and she can spare anything to be together, she gets to hear news of his coming home. 🙂 She plans for their time together and stocks up her pantry with his favorite food items. She anxiously waits for the day to see him…

Army-Couple-United

On the day of his arrival, she approaches him with a pounding heart…A happy, smiling face and big, tearful eyes at the same time…? He gets confused…but finds her expressions simply captivating… 🙂 She cried when they were departing. Now she cries while uniting.

They are together. All their efforts are fulfilled and their home is complete.

We stayed separate for around 10 years in our married life of 17 years. We had to say bye to each other more frequently than we expected and I had prepared myself for; Arun being a Signal officer. I think that makes me quite a person for sharing my experience about separation. 😀 I still remember our first separation within 6 months of our wedding, when Arun had received posting order to join Kupwara, one of the ever-active and perilous field stations till date in J&K valley. Op Vijay had commenced then in Kargil. Back home, I had lost sleep for days and I could barely make out chappattis in my plate from the pieces of paper. During those no-cellphone days in year 1999, when I did not get to hear his voice for a couple of days at a stretch, I used to pray harder. No sooner than they opened visiting permissions, I availed leave from my private job and went to see the Bde unit. I indeed felt at peace then.

Separation in a romantic relationship is tough. It deprives the couples from everything they have right to share and everything they need to share. It is tougher while romancing a military man. To military couples, it always comes hand in hand with unavoidable worries due to threat of life at every step he faces. While defending the borders of the nation, he is an all-time soldier working without the luxury of postponing an issue to tackle little later. While he is posted in the field, he works under the stress of taking immediate and intelligent actions. In such case, separation tries patience of all his concerned family members and friends.

She can survive through separation from her military man in a better way if she grooms herself to see a silver lining around the cloud. Separation makes her more knowledgeable and versatile. It makes him more home-oriented. It teaches to keep complete trust on the spouse and to become a trustworthy spouse too. Separation strengthens a couple’s emotional bond and brings out the best in them. It elevates the respect for one another’s hardships. While in separation, they both understand various shades of human nature. They realize how deeply they love and care for each other. Separation confirms to the military couples that it is just the physical distance between them and no matter how many miles away; they are together for eternity… 🙂

How is it Like Being an Indian Army Wife?

Army Couple

Every young girl dreams and waits for a prince charming to come on a black horse and take her away as his bride to get married. When she is about to get married to an Army man, it is like realizing her dream.

I think dreaming to marry a man in olive-green and being an exemplary Army wife are two different equations. To decode what it takes to become an Army wife, let me shortly tell you about Indian Army and the men in uniform.

Indian Army is one of the first five largest military forces among the total 126 military forces present in the world. The most eligible gentlemen cadets are handpicked for further training through the toughest exam conducted by Service Selection Board (SSB). An Army man undergoes rigorous physical training that tries and establishes extreme limits of his stamina, endurance, and abilities to cope up with harsh working conditions. He is groomed to handle any crucial situations may they be professional or personal. This training turns him into a completely confidant, smart, and a fit officer, who can take anything; may whatever comes his way. Being aware of his enhanced capabilities after the training, pride comes to him naturally. And ahem 🙂 … it suits him whether he wears any of his smart uniforms or a simple casual outfit. During the course of his profession, he gets posted at various peace and field places every 2 to 2.5 years. At the place of peace posting, there is no separation from the family and life is still much easy.

But his field posting is a different affair. Sometimes the names of these field places are difficult to spell and locate on the civil versions of maps. He cannot keep his family with him while he is posted to a field.

While on duty at a remote field place, his day starts at 4:45 am. He takes all meals at the officers’ mess. His office starts very early and he is all occupied with inspections, planning and executing war games, training subordinates, establishing systems, and administration. He always carries the professional responsibilities towards the organization on his mind. Some of his field areas record the daytime temperature of sub-zero and the lack of oxygen. During some crucial times, he works around 16 to 18 hours a day, without proper food or water at hand. He witnesses the game of life and death from a close proximity.

ArmyMan-in-Shoes

When he is away from home, he waits for letters and messages from his loved ones. He urges to hear baby talk that his little daughter or son utters into the phone speaker…He keeps his baby’s picture as his cellphone wallpaper. He tirelessly eats all Aloo-mixed versions of vegetables that the mess cook prepares for meals; may it be Aloo-Gobhi, Aloo-Paneer, Aloo-Capsicum, Aloo-Bhindi, Aloo-Methi, Dum-Aloo, or Aloo-Mutter! Oh yes, also the Aloo-bondas as tea time snack, or that Aloo-paratha in the breakfast…He wonders what the mess cook would serve him if there comes a dearth of potatoes in ration! 😀 He waits for days and months to go home and have the tasty food that his mother or wife serves him with love.

Behind his tough, disciplined, and hardworking adult persona hides a little child, who giggles freely and sleeps for little extra time while on vacation. He tries to catch up on all that he missed while he was away. And when the vacation comes near to its end, he gets anxious on the slightest thought of separation from his loved ones. But he never shows. As a strong officer, he needs to be in control always; for all that comes his way. He prepares himself again to take the leave of his family and departs with the stock of love to resume work.

It takes something special to be able to handle this proud and commanding alpha man, a loving husband, a father of his children, and a child himself. Being an Army wife is not just about flaunting branded outfits and accessories, or driving a sedan…In my view, an Army wife is a courageous life partner of her husband. Her sacrifice starts when she enters marriage with the awareness that she is at second place in the list of his top priorities. Because for him, the nation comes first.

Here I remember a very meaningful quote in Hindu Neeti-Shastra that narrates six basic virtues of a married woman:

“कार्येषु दासी, कारणेषु मंत्री।  (Karyeshu Daasi, Kaaraneshu Mantri)
भोजेषु माता, शयनेषु रंभा।  (Bhojaneshu Mataa, Shayaneshu Rambha)
रुपेषु लक्ष्मी, क्षमायेषु धरित्री। (Roopeshu Lakshmi, Kshamayeshu Dharitree)
सतधर्मयुक्ता, कुलधर्म पत्नी।” (Satadharmayukta, kuladharma patni)

This Sanskrit quote means, “She works like a servant for her family, she advises her husband like a wise minister, she feeds her family with a mother’s love, she pleases her man romantically like a beauty named Rambha, she is the form of Goddess Lakshmi because she helps to multiply wealth, and she is forgiving like the mother earth”. I humbly mention that an Army wife has almost everything in her.

She is a blend of strength and warmth. She understands her husband’s unparalleled hardships and runs their house single-handedly when he is away. She takes care of his parents in his absence so that he can concentrate on his work. She becomes their children’s father and does not crib about the problems she tackles in his absence.

She drives car smoothly. She is an awesome cook. She applies her unique artistic ideas to convert a white-washed house into a beautiful warm home. She has an eye for colors, fabrics, weaves, and prints. She can change the cooking gas cylinder or an electric tube by herself. She is an amateur carpenter. She handles bank transactions and investments proficiently. She knows how to handle medical emergencies. She can even bring up their autistic or differently-abled child when he is not around.

C’est tout? Non…She knows Roger means okay and recce means reconnaissance. She knows Army diction of the terms such as TD, Adjt, Div, Cmdt, QM, and more. She can cook three-course meal for 20 people on a brief notice. She is fearless with cockroaches and she can use her new pair of Marie Clair stilettos to kill the small snake that sneaked in from the ground floor bathroom pipe. 😀

Army-couple-togetherShe conducts herself gracefully and knows all dining etiquettes during parties. She is a mentor for junior ladies and a counsellor for jawans’ wives. She maintains cordial relations with fellow Army wives and senior ladies. She understands her man and complements him effortlessly. She holds her strength up even during those bad times when she feels like she is getting more than she can handle. She can multitask. She is jovial. She is cool.

Does she sound like a superwoman? Or a woman from another planet, maybe… 😀 No…She is a common lady with uncommon spirit, endurance, creativity, and emotional quotient; doing it all for the ultimate noble cause.

There are quite reasonable pay-offs for her being an Army wife. She gets to be an inseparable part of a man’s life who is always morally upright. She is his most trusted friend and an advisor. When her hero is promoted as a Commanding Officer (CO) of a unit, she becomes the first lady of the unit. She always receives genuine respect from her husband and his fellow officers. These gentlemen around her make her feel like a pampered queen. 🙂

She can stay with her husband during his foreign missions or join him on short foreign trips. She can visit unique places of his postings. She gets to see the natural and cultural beauty within and outside India. She gets to participate in adventurous activities and make a lot of friends. She gets to look at people beyond their places of origin, castes, and religions. She gets to serve others and thus she can create positive karmas for herself.

I am happily married to a very capable signal officer for the past 17 years. We both hail from civil background. My civilian acquaintances knew that I was going to marry the then Captain Saab. They knew only the rosy side of Army life and they often equated it with parties, freebies, and drinks. They used to say like, “How lucky you are! You would lead a very lavish life!” After our wedding they would say, “You have sahayaks and maids at your disposal, you get free house, canteen facilities, blah blah blah,…, you really live life king-size…”.

How much of it is really free, at what cost, and to what extent is another topic for discussion. But yes, we Army people do live our lives king-size. We party hard as if there is no tomorrow. Maybe because we frequently undergo long separations from our families…Maybe because we face numerous uncertainties and we wish to make the most of each moment in hand…Maybe because we know tomorrow would be different…

An Army wife neither receives any formal training to manage the show nor does she receive any bravery award…She stumbles, observes, learns, and moves on with smile and confidence…She becomes stronger each day, for she knows that she is the strength of her Army man. She knows, however unacknowledged her sacrifices go; she will continue to contribute in kind for her motherland.