The Officers in the Armed Forces can be associated with the terms dynamic, disciplined, prim and proper, smart, chivalry, charismatic, energetic..oh, the list seems endless! Then, what about us- the Armed Forces Wives? Do you think it is easy for us? As if everything is given to us wrapped in a beautiful gift? We have learnt it, the harder way!
i. There are days when we get goosebumps seeing the “Do you have it in You?” ads! Life in Army is no ball-room dancing. It is demanding and involves a lot of sacrifice. In my first two years of marriage with him by my side 24/7, I was pampered and everything was delivered to me on a silver platter. Now, that I have started to understand how life actually is, I have began to appreciate the lil’ pleasures of life. Sometimes, that two-minute phone call from him by the end of the day would be the only ray of sunshine.
ii. A posting order might ask you to report to the next location in ten days. Who else but us can wrap the entire home in card boxes and cartons and military boxes in a matter of days and enthusiastically move with him, along with our kids and dogs? Of course, without knowing if the lady luck favors us in the form of at least a temporary quarters.
Most of the times, there would not be time even for a proper good-bye. Packing and moving the entire home, the car, bike and all that comes attached, the documents, things we need to take with us to our apartment(if staying separate), the rent, the lease, flight tickets, the booking, the re-scheduling, God! Absolute Chaos!
And what not! Even while we are in the verge of tears, trying to hold ourselves from sobbing in front of his subordinates, we put on a brave face, smile warmly and thank each of them for their help and support during the tenure. We would do courtesy calls to the senior ladies, assuring them that we will be in touch even when we know it is unnecessary.
iii. Creativity at its best! We can quill, sew, do spectacular flower arrangements, style, keep our home prim and proper at any given point, host shows, be the MCs, manage kids (and the husband), cook in an hour, be ready with a sumptuous spread of food even when the youngsters decide to gatecrashe at 1 am and of course look like a diva at the same time. We would put to shame the Masterchefs and the PR agencies 🙂
iv. Time Management: Men……please stop complaining that women take ages to get ready! Take us as an example! We can change from sports dress for golf matches to salwar suits for the lunch at the Mess, to Jeans and casuals for tea, another salwar suit for the welfare meets, a Kanjeevaran Saree for the formal dinner and flaunt in that little black dress for the late night parties. Do we complain? Well…!
v. When he is away, guarding the frontiers, do not dare to ask us- Dar nahi lagta? Aise akele akele kaise reh lete ho? Yes, he is in the field, with no telephone connectivity and may call only once in three days! But we are the ones who book trucks for movement, settle in new homes, get our children’s admission done in schools, and takes care of bank accounts along with other hundreds of miscellaneous duties. We take the role of a plumber fixing leaks, an electrician fixing the fused light bulb and a devoted nurse to take care of the aged parents. We drive with ease and take our kids to the doctor when their is bloodshed! (Of course, Army Brats! What else can you expect of them than fall from a swing or fight with your neighbour’s kids!)
vi. We are always in our cheerful self. We greet with a smile (even at 1 am), know the table manners, including about napkins, seating, roses and candles and do not ever crib or pretend illness. We can never been seen throwing tantrums (unless it is with our husbands). We know ballroom dancing, some steps of garba, dandiya and other Indian dances.
g. We can shop! While our husbands plan on getting a saree or pashmina embroidered in Kashmir, our friends would be thinking of getting a lehariya saree dyed in Rajasthan, or a white and gold saree from Kerala.
h.We simply know how to do things or get things done because we have learnt from our better halves that it is always better to be prepared to face any situation. We can convert the most contorted house into a beautiful spectacular and warm home for our soldier. We bring in the memories from all corners of India into our living room.
i. We may be working in the IT, or would be doctors, lawyers or teachers. But do we deter from fulfilling our duties as Army Wives? Hell, No! We attend the Ladies Meets and Welfare meets diligently and help in anyway that we can.
j. We are as practical and grounded as any other woman. I so wish that our Bollywood stop stereotyping. We do not cry on getting a phone call from our husbands posted at the bother. We know that it’s our man’s job to be away and accept it without any melodrama.
We belong to the silent ranks and if given a chance to do things all over again, we would not hesitate to choose our soldier as our life partner again! I, as an Army Wife can vouch for that! And somewhere down the road, we also dream the same life for our children. We are proud, passionate, bold and defiant. Yes, we are extraordinary, because we are in love with a soldier!
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!