I set foot in the Army Base at Pathankot after about a month of our wedding. Those of you who have read my last year’s AtoZChallenge posts about 26 hours before the Wedding would know that my husband, the soldier was about to move to some remote location in J&K, in just seven days after the wedding. Thankfully, he had his leaves extended to three weeks and then… he left, leaving me behind.
One fine day, I decided that it was high time that I see him. He simply cannot ‘abandon’ his newly wedded wife. Can he?
And thus…..I took a flight to Delhi. The very next evening, I was there, beside him. Obviously, he was shocked and by then, had started to understand what he had signed up for. The impulsive side of his newly married wife was just beginning to unleash.
Little did I know what awaited me at the Army Base. He tried to talk to me about his Regiment, who the Commanding Officer was, the 2nd in Command, their family, his friends, his unit officers, what company he falls in, and blah and blah throughout the journey from Delhi to Pathankot. Nothing was entering my head. It was so complicated and it was nothing but blah for me! I was just happy to be with him. Euphoric!
But, once we were alone, he laid down the basic rules to survive the day.
Rule #1: Address the officers by their Rank and Name.
Rule #2: The wives are addressed according to their husband’s name. i.e Mrs.So and So.
This impossible task was in front of me. Because I should ideally know their names as well as the officer’s name in a short span of time.
Coming from the corporate world, I could address them only by their names. Or at the most, it was just Sir, and Mam’ that came out of my mouth. How on earth are you going to remember everyone’s rank? How can you show discrimination towards the ladies, because as far as I was concerned, they were all elder to me? And most importantly, how do you acknowledge when the Commanding Officer calls you Mam?
In the evening, an official party was arranged to welcome the new bride to the Unit. It was our “Dining In” ceremony. After the so-called ragging by the seniors, I felt comfortable. The bunch of Army kids joined me and was warming up to me. I played with them- Dumb Charads and the likes.
While I was feeling a sense of pride and content at having been good with the kids, one among them said, “Aunty, you are so pretty!”
I was shocked and taken back and not a least bit happy about what she said.
You’ve got to be kidding me!
Here I am…a girl of 24 being called Aunty by a 16-year old!
And how can he keep this vital info/’rule’ from me?
After the Party, I confronted him about this scenario, “I don’t look like an Aunty!” He smiled and assured me saying, that is how it is. All the Army kids are to address the Officers and wives as Uncles and Aunties, irrespective of their age. Else, once the familiarity and understanding settles in, they become didi, dada and the likes. But for now, I was just a new bride and had to jump through all the hoops laid out for me.
Gosh, they can call me by my name or at least Didi.
Army and their traditional way of addressing others! Phew!
So, what do you think? Is it embarrassing if your Project Lead calls you Mam? Or you addressing him by his position/role? Is it okay if your family friend’s 16 year old daughter calls you Aunty when you are only 24 yourself? But, wouldn’t you be on cloud nine when you are showered upon with such love and chivalry by the men in Uniform?
I am Married to the Olive Green and I’m writing about the 26 things which I get to do/experience that you as a Civilian wife do not!
I hope you come back again tomorrow!
Meanwhile, here is one of the 26 easy Chicken recipes from my Food Blog to try out!
I’m on co-host Pam’s Unconventional Alliance Team along with Parul from Happiness and Food, Rajlakshmi from The Twinkle Eyed Traveler, The Poetry Wagon, and Destiny’s Child and Claire from A Field Trip Life