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.
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 !). :
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!
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.
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. 😉
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!
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.
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’!
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!
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?
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 !
I do not wear a uniform
nor do I guard the border
I do not scale mountains tall
or belong to any cadre
I do not brave the weather , rough
or follow orders from above
I do not endure conditions tough
or toil to earn the nation’s love
I do not miss being there at home
in the comfort of my tender hearth
I do not need to face the storm
yet stay motivated and strong at heart
I need not face the bullets
or see my fellow men die
I need not be indifferent to deaths
or regret not saying a goodbye
Because I am not a soldier
but , his humble half
Who awaits his sturdy shoulder
to rest my head on , and share a good laugh …
The following pictures were taken in ROSS ISLAND , ANDAMAN AND NICOBAR ISLANDS , INDIA .
Ross island was discovered by the British , in 1858 , when they came here in search of landmass to deport their prisoners and convicts from mainland India. The original inhabitants of this island , Andamanese aborgines , fought with the British ,in what was called the Battle of Aberdeen..
The island was the administrative capital of Andamans , from 1858 to 1941 , when it was captured by the Japanese. Ross island was a residential cum official complex , which was self contained . So it has the OFFICERS MESS ,OFFICERS QUARTERS etc , the ruins of which remain till today…Standing there ,takes us back to the British era…or the days of the ‘Raj’ in India…
When we visit the island today , it reminds us of its glorious past .The building ruins are now covered with the roots of the trees that are gradually consuming it………