Hello from Indonesia

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Hey all my dearies…

First of all I owe you all a big big apology for having kept away from the blogosphere for a really long time , almost an year, well, with an exception of a random poem here and there. The last one year has been one roller coaster ride and that involved lots and lots of travelling and socializing !

Well, the last time I posted I had told you about our move to the southern part of India and now believe it or not, I am writing this post from a place far away from India, Jakarta, Indonesia….

Yes, we have just moved into Jakarta a month back for an official course of my better half, who as most of you already know is in the army.

Well, so we will be in this part of the world for some time now and so I thought this is the best opportunity to get back to what I love – blogging. Being in a new place, one is exposed to so many different experiences, a whole new culture, language and food. So I thought I should take to sharing my pictures and experiences of this place with all my sincere followers and blogger friends who have patiently continued to follow me despite my obvious absence from the blogging scene.

In fact, last December we had traveled to South Africa and I had so many pictures to share with you all but my busy schedule as an army wife prevented me from doing so.

Anyway I thank all my friends for staying with me and all my new followers too for their support.I hope to be more consistent with my  blogging now that I have a little more time on my hands. Cannot wait to hear from you all.

Hope you enjoy the slideshow of a few random pictures taken here in Jakarta…

till then

warm regards

sweety

 

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A new abode !

Well, for those of you, among my fellow bloggers and followers, who have been wondering about my whereabouts, owing to my absence in the blogosphere , I owe you all a big apology. But the good news is that I have finally shifted to our new abode,  Wellington,  a quaint town nestled in ‘BLUE MOUNTAINS’ or the NILGIRIS , the mountains of  south India.

Presently I am enjoying the salubrious climes of this beautiful region while  my friends, in most other parts of India are either burning under the scorching summer sun or drenched from head to toe by the monsoons .

It has been a week  here now and a very hectic one at that.

As I have mentioned in some of my previous posts the life of an army wife is a busy one. In addition to the unpacking, starting up the kitchen and other daily chores , one is expected to be around for other social events as well…lectures, ladies club meetings and loads of parties and get- together. Besides my little one has also started her school here so I had my hands full which is why I found little time to even read my notifications, let alone write new posts.

Today being a Sunday was much more relaxed and hence I decided to pen down this post to remind you all of my existence 😉 I look forward to getting a lot of inspiration from this naturally well endowed place, surrounded by greenery with its lush tea gardens bringing them here for you all to see.

I guess it will be another month or so before I can call my self ‘completely settled’ in my new environs. Till then I shall try and keep posting whenever I can and catch up with your posts too.

Cee’s Share Your World

http://ceenphotography.com/2015/05/25/share-your-world-2015-week-21/

SHARE YOUR WORLD

In this time’s ‘Share your world’ Cee has  asked us to choose four topics out of those given by him and make four lists, of at least four items each. Since I am getting back into the groove after a long interval with only occasional posts I thought this would be a good way to connect with my readers and letting them know a little more about me . So here go my lists :

  1. Stuff that makes me laugh

  • Humor based movies and TV series like Two and a half men.( Different thing I lost interest in the latter after Charlie sheen left the show 😦 )
  • Jokes shared with family and friends , and poking fun of each other.
  • People who take themselves too seriously make me giggle. I feel everyone should possess a light vein. It helps break the ice.
  • My own absentmindedness !

2. Fun things for a rainy day

  • Eating hot spicy  Pakoras (  Indian veggies dipped in seasoned flour and deep fried in oil) .
  • Drinking a steaming cup of coffee
  • Listening to  Louis Armstrong‘s ‘What a wonderful world’ … It is so positive and full of hope .
  • Rain photography especially rain drops on roses !

3.Things I want to have in my home

  • Buddha status and artifacts fill my house yet I want more ! I find Buddhist statues very calming to the senses.
  • Kerala Mural Paintings on my walls. They are so bright, vibrant and exquisite.
  • Fridge magnets from across the globe (which means I want to be a globetrotter 😉 )
  • A warm cozy reading corner with a fireplace, which is impractical in the tropical Indian weather !

4.Places worth shopping

  • Goa in India is ideal for a beach holiday, tan and loads of shopping. The flea markets here are very attractive and vibrant .
  • Paris , I love for its fashion in dress and shoes. When I went shoe shopping there I wanted to buy the whole shop !
  • Venice for its Murano Glass artifacts. They are so pretty and I also love the Venetian masks.
  • Dubai , is haven for shopaholics. You can get stuff as cheap as 1 Dirham too….

So that is it for my list. Hope you did not get too bored reading through it

Now for Cee’s bonus question :

 What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up?

My husband has already left for Wellington, near Ooty, in the South Indian state of Tamil Nadu. And I am grateful to God that he was able to unload and unpack our stuff into our new house without hassles. In the coming week I hope to spend some time with my parents before I fly off again into the Hills of Nilgiri in Wellington with my little daughter !

The Sweet, Sour & Spicy army wives

                                                                            
                                                                    They are cool, they are classy

                                                                    They are smart, they are sassy

                                                                       They are friendly and fun

                                                                They are bold & beautiful women

Army wives are a class apart- the backbone of their family, a source of inspiration for friends, and motivational factor for the nation as a whole.

 Once you are wedded to the olive green, you earn yourself a new extended family. And just like any other family this one also has all kinds of people, with vivid, unique and sometimes unbearable attributes. Being an army wife our encounters are almost often with other army wives, some of whom you remember your entire lives for the love and warmth they shower on you, right from your early ‘bride’ days, while there are others you never forget for completely different reasons….

 

 Here is a list of the different ‘kinds’ of army wives one may bump into during the husband’s service years (you are free to add to this list in the commentbox !). :

  1. Mrs ‘Know-it-all’: This particular kind is generally found hovering around the young  army wives, mostly newlywed, flaunting their military vocabulary and providing their (unwarranted!) expert advice with regard to army etiquettes and customs. The jumpy young brides keenly take notes only to be educated later by their better halves that their ‘supposed’ mentor was a ‘newlywed’ herself, her liaison with the army not being older than six months!

  1. Fairy Godmother: You have to set up your first kitchen, host your first housewarming party or perhaps make a choice of dress for the mess dinner tonight;  Distraught, you have begun to fathom the end of the universe when, lo and behold, an angel walks in. She helps you solve your problems- be it shopping for the right utensils, getting your menu ready or dressing right for a mess party. This particular species of women seem to possess an inbuilt mechanism to sense a crisis (call it the sixth sense or telepathy!) making themselves available at all times of dire need. Generous by nature, they make your problems appear trivial or better still, evaporate with a swish of their wand (actually, with their brilliant presence of mind!). They come in all ages, though their numbers are dwindling owing to the increasing concept of personal space and self centeredness.

  1. The ‘green eyed’ girl: This variety of women is found in abundance everywhere on earth so why should the army shy away! It is not very hard to identify this particular species of army wife if you happen to meet one. Most of them are found scrutinizing their counterparts, noticeably beset with envy. But more often than not, this variety is averse to giving compliments .When this ‘kind’ is at a friend’s place for dinner they inspect the entire house with a keen, albeit, malicious eye and are visibly uneasy  when they notice the sumptuous menu at display.

So do not be surprised at the uncanny resemblance their home decor shares with yours or at similar choices in footwear or clothing (what coincidence!), instead take it as a compliment. 😉

  1. The Grumbling granny: There is no dearth of this breed in the army family. These ladies are easily recognised as belonging to this ‘kind’, by their characteristic puckered brow or a grimace. Whether it is the oily food at a social gathering, an ungracious host, a maid who never comes, the husband’s erratic schedule or an unfriendly workplace; this category of army wives has the weird ability to make a mountain out of a molehill. Needless to say, they are unhappy people who fret and fume about anything and everything in life, spreading their aura of negativity wherever they go.

So if you are the type of person who prefers to stay positive and satisfied with what life offers you, beware of the Grumbling granny!

5.The Master Chef: The liberal army rations enable one to experiment with a lot of ingredients and hence, most ladies in the army are good with baking and cookery in general (exceptions are always there!). The frequent parties, both at home and outside along with travel to far off places, help the ladies in the army to hone their culinary skills to perfection. But even among these reasonably good cooks, is present a superior breed of exceptional chefs, with extraordinary skills in preparing gastronomic delights that can give even a Michelin star Chef a run for his money. It is always a pleasure to meet such women and learn from them!

  1. The Gossip Queen: This species is not indigenous to the army, yet it has found its way into every nook and cranny of this noble institution. It is difficult not to stumble upon at least one of this kind in every peace station. The women belonging to this category of army wives are seldom interested in their own lives and usually spend their ‘not so precious’ time in discussing the private lives of other people. Their faces beam with excitement at the prospect of a scandal and their tongues never tire of peddling rumours. Although they have the knack to spice up an otherwise drab conversation, their petty talk and gossip mongering is best avoided. This breed of army wives are the most dangerous of them all as they enjoy the power to ruin lives and destroy relationships.

So my advice would be not to feed their greedy minds or indulge in any unfruitful dialogues with the likes of these.

  1. Mrs Artsy: Hand them a brush and a few bottles of paint and watch them transform a plain, boring wall into a masterpiece, a simple chiffon sari into a beautiful, trendy one or an old cushion cover into a gorgeous work of art! Meet Mrs Artsy with magic fingers that have the Midas touch. Their homes speak volumes about their artistic talent and they are an asset to the ‘ladies club’!

  1. The Buttering beauty: Never mind how you look, what you wear or how bad your food is, when the Buttering beauty is here. This category of people are extremely gifted with the power to fake a ‘wow!’ or an ‘aw’, following them with flattering statements about the way you dress, cook or speak, without an ounce of truth to it. You shall come across these Buttering beauties more frequently as your husband climbs up the hierarchy and you become what is referred to in army parlance as a ‘Senior lady’ !

           You may graciously accept the compliments that come your way, but with a pinch of salt. Genuine compliments motivate but false flattery misleads one into believing things about one self that are           not  true, creating a false ‘self image’. Learn to differentiate between actual fans and buttering beauties!

 

  1. Mrs Green Fingers: A tiny patch of land outside the ground floor apartment or a small area in the terrace of their first floor home, space is never a constraint for Mrs Green fingers. She can work her magic anywhere, planting fresh herbs, vegetables and vibrant flowers that make even the dullest of places throb with freshness and beauty. A tiny kitchen garden, a garden patch or simple pots in the balcony, their enchanting fingers attract flora even the arid deserts of Rajasthan. Nurturing plants and taking care of them is an art in itself so kudos to these nature lovers for their invaluable contribution to the ecosystem!

  10.   The ‘Gazillion tasker’ : Though most wives in the army are good at  juggling two or more responsibilities     together, either by choice or by sheer lack of it, there is one particular breed of Army wives that are extraordinary in the way they handle the different priorities of life with unmatched flair . Such women never cease to amaze me  as they go about their varied jobs, multitasking between their responsibilities as a wife , a mother, an entrepreneur, an artist and a zillion other activities with elan . Their energy serves as a true inspiration to a lot of women who strive to emulate them, albeit, not so successfully!

 Apart from the above mentioned categories there are a few others too….like…. the ones that open up a blog and imagine they have become a writer! 😉

 

So which ‘kind’ are you?

    

 

From Robot to human ! ( Technological De-addicition complete)

These days I am in a ‘technology de-addiction’ (don’t refer the lexicon, I just made it up !) mode , not so much by choice as by lack of it . The place I am in  right now (and will continue to be for a month or more) as I  have written before is a little far away from civilization ( alright, perhaps ‘little’ is an understatement. It is very far from anything close to civilization !).

There is no mobile connectivity, and even land phones are out  most of the time, owing to the wind, rain and sometimes neither of these. My accessibility to the internet is restricted to weekends. Needless to say, I am unavailable on my Whatsapp account as well .

But that is what has made me experience this life, as it was before; before any of this had ever come to exist , a life as it was meant to be !

I have discovered that living without facebook or whatspp does not kill. I am living and I have never felt more alive before. Well, alright perhaps, that was a bit of exaggeration , but the essence is the same, I am definitely feeling more human these days ( though I am so addicited to these technological innovations now, that I cannot survive being human for too long! ).

So I await my robotic existence , where I type more than I talk, I see more than I listen and I chat with far away people more than I do with my own family members and emote more with emoticons than with my own face. Wow, what a life !

And here I am, breathing in fresh mountain air as I take my morning walks, feeling the breeze, watching the snow capped peaks, listening to the rustle of the leaves and the cawing the raven ; when I could have just slouched on my couch and exercised my fingers instead (typing on my phone I meant !).

I spend precious mornings and evenings painting flowers and butterflies with my little one, watching animated movies on the laptop together , dancing like crazy to rocking numbers , swinging together in the garden, playing with the little puppy we have got here, watching the bees and the ducks ….. when I could have just handed her a tablet and let her be !

I read more, I write more, I click more pictures and definitely appreciate nature more. I feel so much like a ‘human’ again…a ‘boring’ human who will be a complete and utter misfit in a techno-savvy world.

But am I happy…? Yes. Do I feel good and healthy? I feel refreshed and rejuvenated ! Am I exaggerating again? No, this is honest :P. So I guess, I needed this forced de-addicition to start seeing things as they were before , to start enjoying  the simple pleasures of life we take so much for granted otherwise. I needed this, to realize the time I was giving away to these socio-technological innovations , for free. I needed this to let me know that I am supposed to control them and not vice versa.

Well, have I learnt my lessons? I think I have. I cannot and will not wean away completely from any of these , the internet in particular( for how else will I run my precious blog..?) , but I will not go back to being a robot again.

I want to stay human, for this is how God meant us to be !

Ten points to prove that shifting places and new postings can be fun !

Life of an army wife is no different from a nomad’s . We literally live off suitcases . No home is our home forever . We move . We stay . And just as we fall in love with a place , we pack up and leave again .

Life is not stable , never static . It is action packed for life , or at least till we choose for it to be . 

There are many of us , who enjoy it , while a few of us don’t . This shifting of base , every two or three years comes with a lot of benefits and unfortunately with a few negatives as well . But then , it depends on you , whether you want to see the glass half full or half empty .

Here are TEN   points to prove that new postings and constant shifts have their benefits :

1. Getting to see new places : This of course  may sound like a cliché , but it is indeed the truth . A defence life is the best way to travel across the length and breadth of the country and sometimes even , abroad , without much of an effort or expense . Defence wives , particularly Army wives , can boast of a rich travel experience , including in depth knowledge about the culture and cuisine , of different places , sometimes , the most uninhabited and  far off lands too ! So if you are looking for new adventures everyday , get married to an army officer , and you are sure to have one !

2. Collection of handicrafts  from across the country : Visit an army house , and it will prove this. Whether it is the artifacts , local handicrafts , an exquisitely furnished center  table or a leather bean bag ! We have it all . Each time you visit a new place , or get posted to one , it provides one with ample opportunities to make a collection of  the unique cultural exhibits of that place .

3. A unique collection of Sarees and other dress materials : Every army wife makes it a point to shop for  clothes , especially handcrafted sarees , specially designed dress materials etc from the place where they are posted . India , being a country rich in  a variety of colors and crafts , offers  a wonderful shopping opportunity to one and all . The need is to explore these places and crafts ,  and as far as army wives are concerned , it all all ready made for them !

4. Ready made vacations : Every new place you get posted to ,  has a list of weekend getaways already tried and tested by your predecessors  ( army officers and families have the unique ability to find spots for picnics , even in the most inhospitable areas ! ) and you just need to follow the ready made itinerary and

have fun .

5. Tension free schooling : In most places , there are Army schools and Central schools that enable your kids to continue their education hassle free , even in a ‘middle of the year’ posting .

6. Adaptable kids : Most parents in the defence life , are often worried about their kid’s education and the fact that their child’s overall development may be hampered when they travel so often  , and get into the ‘not -so-good’ schools . But , if one does  look around , it goes without a doubt that Army kids are smarter , more flexible and adaptable than their civil counterparts . They adjust to new surroundings faster and also cope better with stress in school and outside , owing to the unpredictable nature of their father’s occupation .

7. New homes : The main change that comes with every new posting is a new house , different , similar , inferior or superior to the previous one . This has its advantage in the fact that , you tend to ‘de-clutter’ your home every two years , (each time you shift ! ) and try to avoid collecting junk at home , compared to your civil counterparts , who while living a stable life , tend to keep collecting unwanted stuff , over the years .

8.New neighbors and new friends : Every new posting comes with a lot of new neighbors and friends , which adds more fun to life . Besides , the fact that we would leave in a few year’s time , makes us more tolerant to ‘bad’ neighbors too !

9. New Jobs :Though a lot of women complain  about the instability ,  in the lives of their army men , to be the main cause for them not being able to pursue their respective careers , I personally feel that a lot of  these places do provide ample job opportunities , and the short service period prevents you from getting bored with your job .  Besides , these days online jobs and freelancing can be carried on uninterrupted  , in all areas with a stable net connection .  Teaching is ,  without doubt the best career option of Army wives , and most army cantonments have a school , where you can do so , conveniently .

10.Variety is the spice of life : A new place removes the monotony from our life and adds spice to our romantic lives too .

With new places to explore each time and new adventures to indulge in , life can be anything but boring .

So cheer up !

Trials and tribulations

Life is always so unpredictable ! Well , at least when you are a soldier’s wife all the more . Many of my friends have asked me how I handle being so far away from my better  half , so frequently , when they cannot  even imagine a day without their’s . Well I think life teaches you a lot of things the hard way…

When I was a newly wed army wife (or lady wife as referred to in the army ! ), I had similar opinions as them . I was a naive girl , who was afraid to stay all alone in  a house , or even travel by myself ! I was brought up in a metro city , yet I hadn’t really ventured out to far away places on my own …

Yet , today things have changed…I have traveled alone to far off places , even on International trips with a two year old toddler , dangling by my side . I have  now stayed alone , for nights in old , dilapidated bungalows (that belonged to the Nizam’s army ) and stayed without talking to my Husband for days (owing to poor mobile connectivity ! ).

I would be lying  , if I were to say I am not afraid anymore. I am still afraid , still jittery , but I have learnt to face my fears now .  One’s success is not in being ‘unafraid’ but in being aware of one’s fears and preparing to conquer them .

I guess , in the Army  life we do not have a choice . Sometimes if you want to be with your husband , even if it means only for a short while , you are willing to go that extra mile , just to see that smile on the face of your daughter /son  , when she/he meets her dad and vice versa .

Every time I go through a long , tiresome journey  to meet him , my heart is  filled with excitement and happiness , and in the face of these emotions , the weaker emotions like fear , nervousness and discomfort take a back seat .

Some of my friends belonging to a civilian life (as in non army background )  , call me brave , to have married an army officer . But honestly , I am not being brave , I am just adapting… and so will anybody else in my place.

Every human being had this innate instinct to adapt to his/her surroundings and this adaptability is essential for survival . So no matter what situation one is in , there is always a way out , if not , we can create it .

Most of modern day inventions and innovations today are a result of this adapation . It is the very life force that makes a drowning man , hold on to the next available thing to cling on to , so that he can keep afloat .

This life force is present in all of us , just that many of us do not realize it and give up on things quickly. It is when life gets tough , that we realize our true strengths , our capabilities. Of course it does depend from one person to another , as to how you emerge at the end of the hurricane . Some break down , while others grow stronger and more resilient .

Being an army officer’s wife it will , without doubt be the latter .

The other day I was watching the interview of an army wife , who lost her husband , in a military operation  an year ago . What I saw in her eyes were not , tears of a  dejected woman who was now a widow , rather a sense of immense pride  and fortitude that would have moved even the hardest of hearts . She was smiling and eloquent through out  and the nation salutes her stoicism.

She didn’t choose her destiny , especially when she had a four year old daughter by her side , yet she faced it with dignity. She rose from the ashes , much like the mythical Phoenix  , with a vengeance . 

From where does she draw her strength..? How did she manage to keep such a cheerful disposition ,in the face of such  heart wrenching  trauma . Now , that is what I call the life force . The inner strength , that guides all , yet only a few care to listen .

 Everyone has their fears , their problems , their anxieties , but do not let these conquer you , instead , learn to cheat them and be a winner . .. I am still on my way ..

Here is a link to that interview if you want to have a look . It is truly inspiring…….. :

 http://www.ndtv.com/video/player/the-buck-stops-here/india-should-see-the-man-mukund-was-not-my-sorrow-martyr-s-wife-to-ndtv/354130?pfrom=nri_videowidget_cat_5