When I ask my friends and family on what they hate the most, they say, it is entertaining unexpected guests. My Mom hate it when people drop in unannounced. The home will be a mess, your kitchen will be full of dirty dishes and your mind suddenly ponder over what you have in your pantry for preparing an easy snack or a cocktail.
If not anything else, life in Army has taught me two things.
To prepare a five course meal in two hours and to be ready for a party in 15 mins- that too in a saree!!
In my early days of marriage, when I wasn’t used to the Fauj customs, we have had young officers (and their wives too!!) banging on our door at one in the morning. And it would be accompanied by the customary anthem, “Mam…….Coffee, please”.
I then put up a bright smile, welcome them in, prepare coffee and their favorite Maggi. In those days, I used to wonder if they do not have any sense of time or privacy. But then I realized, it is fun. It is family. And later, I also joined this celebration.
It is a tradition that the officer will always call up to find out if the Lady will be comfortable in case they come over at a particular time. This often gives us adequate time to prepare dinner, set the house, be presentable to welcome them and also to hear their never-ending Army stories.
But No! My soldier often decides to announce that he has invited a couple of his friends for dinner by about six in the evening. Imagine my plight! I run to the kitchen to check the pantry and make a list of the ingredients needed to cook the often five course meal. If they are his close friends or unit officers, it is reduced to a three course meal.
While I sweat it off in the kitchen, my soldier often lay down the plates and set the dining table. He puts his heart and soul to setting our home, selecting music for the party and the likes. He is quite good at it now. Man, ain’t I lucky! All I need to worry is about the food. And oh yeah, he is always proud to show off the elaborate dishes I lay out for them. He should be luckier, I guess!
It is like getting ready for war!
Like being prepared at short notice, to face the unexpected and to simply, win it!
It is not that we don’t get any help either. Take for instance when we called on his coursemate and family, and a couple of unit officers for celebrating Onam festival with us. I had prepared the entire Onam Sadya – a feast of 24 vegetarian dishes, served in banana leaf.
His coursemate’s wife, my friend had dropped in earlier to lend a hand in the kitchen and the officers were more than happy to help serve.
It is a team- coming together, keeping together and working together!
We often have new officers posted to the station. We have new neighbors too. We always try to help them feel at home, with an invitation to lunch and dinner until they are settled down in their new home. We make friends easily that way. I was fortunate to have looked after their three dogs- a Dalmation, A Beagle and a Golden Retriever when they went for a holiday. 🙂
We are normal too. We fumble on unexpected visits. But, we understand the importance of coming together and being one close-knit group. Especially when your husband is away, guarding the borders, these get togethers bring closeness and affection to our lives. Army……….is family.
So, tell me! How would you react when your husband’s friends with family come banging the door at one? And when they say they need food? Will you be able to train yourself prepare a five course meal in two hours? Will your home be always spick and span, ready to welcome guests at literally any time of the day/night?
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 an easy Chicken recipe from my Food Blog to try out!