Monday, January 24, 2011

The Army officer's wife- A role that we play other than that

I am married to a man who is in and out of his olive green uniforms and seeing him every morning going for PT and at evening sharp four forty five he would be out for games. Many times I would convince myself that this is the way of life. The coffee mornings, the evening social, the welfare meets and the raising days are just going to be a part of our life.

The only part that I thought I would be playing in his life would be to accompany him, dressed up in my best sari (in winters it would be the silk kanjeevarams and in summers the chiffons and crapes would be out).

But its more than that.

Most of the times it would just be us women talking about the mundane topics of where what sari could  be bought at their with the best bargain. Sometimes it would be creating your own garment by adding your own creativity like the borders bought at the 'Laad bazar' in Hyderabad or the inexpensive crape sari bought at the Amritsar markets. Another thing that army wives become good at is decorating their houses. You cannot beat the decor they create by using the minimal supplies their budget would allow. The MES furniture that had been used for generations, become the makeshift home for all. The artwork on the walls are mostly done by us- the wives, while husbands disappear for the official work. It becomes a lesson in making on your own independently with or without your husband. For the newly weds it is demanding but with all the support that army gives you by sending you help is somehow commendable. There are times when we also become event managers. The coffee morning becomes a complete official duty for us to make the morning for the senior ladies as entertaining as possible. The solo songs, The Master of Ceremonies, the dances, the tambola games and the paper games followed by elite snacks is done at its best. Tedious at times but when we are appraised for the effort, it all feels worth it. 

Then comes the part where we are becoming a model for the 'Jawans' wives. No matter how younger you are to them, they follow you blindly. Be it advise on marital affairs or how to take care of children before, during and after the pregnancy (even though you don't have any plans for starting a family), be it joining classes at the Vocational Training Center or taking up a job as a computer teacher, it is you that they come to when problems arise. The happiness in their eyes when they win a competition for your battery (The regiment is usually divided into sub-units called 'battery'). Little do they know how brave they are. Staying all alone without help and having to take care of the house and the kids all at once is something that is only possible with complete dedication and love. 

Being a part of the army is a beautiful experience. The money doesn't matter and at times even the boring parties don't matter. You become what you want to become in this organization. There are times when cribbing becomes a session (after all what job is perfect) but you know that you have a life and a responsibility of being not only a wife but an army wife. 

Monday, January 10, 2011


Lady Dorothy Townsend, a beautiful woman in her thirties had a secret. Unloved and unwanted she found shelter of the arms of her lover. Or so it is believed. The Raynham Hall Mansion, a huge imposing structure stood tall and handsome right in the middle of Norfolk, England. Lady Dorothy's suspecting husband Charles Townsend buried his wife in the year 1725. However later it was said that her funeral was faked and she was locked away in the remotest part of the mansion. She suffered there, without any windows and no one to talk to. Sitting there alone near the only hole she could see the light pass through she vowed to live no matter what. She suffered a guilty conscience too   
so she didn't vengence in her mind. She passed away a few years later and Charles followed her lead. They seemed to have loved very much once.

The picture below was taken in 1936 and published in THE COUNTRY MAGAZINE.

                (Rewritten by SKS)

An ARmy Wife woes- THE space crisis

Me and my Husband often have this argument on how much of a shopoholic I am (Which is not really true. ALl I have are a few pair of shoes stuffed under the bed, under my cupboard, under my husband's cupboard and a few tucked in the truck). Of course the clothes have another issue. The MES wardrobe can only fill 1/4 of my things and i keep rotating my other stuff (again!!) in my husband's wardrobe. The 'Bhaiya' keeps himself busy adjusting clothes, shoes,  everywhere.

So you see the shopping part isnt really my fault. The problem is with the house MES gave us. Too little space for my stuff.

The other day we were at the mall and I managed not to look at that very hot black pair of boots (It's pretty cold in Jalandhar during winters, and i have only few pair's lying around). I had a very difficut time thinking where would i actually keep those lovelies. I moved on to another section, hoping to buy something that wouldn't have space issues but then clothes are the best choice, isn't it? you buy it and then its easy to adjust them somewhere (i am still deliberating this thought). However i managed to buy a long quilted coat (Pretty one in black with block print) and I really took an hour to think whether to buy it or chuck it. Hubby was around, peeking, waiting and looking at him, whether he would resist buying me this one. He didn't. Lucky me. (Yipeee!!!)
We roamed about an hour. Buying something else would just confirm his belief of me being a serial shopper so i walked straight to the pay counter and bought it. It felt good to collect points on my LIFESTYLE card (for a discount for another rainy day). Tapping my feet impatiently, i collected my bag with a grin. I would definitely clean my cupboard to fit this in.
It didnt really happen. I opened my wardrobe. Hubby pointedly ignored the clothes falling out. i took out a hanger and tucked it in, gazing at rest of my 'old' clothes (They were bought on a few weeks earlier after all) in irritation.  
I complained about the space again and slept happily, swearing i won't buy another piece of clothe again.