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

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… 🙂