The Fauji Lifestyle – An Enviable One
Being an officer in any of the branches of the Military, the Army, Air Force or the Navy used to be a coveted position at one time. Today, the quest for high paying corporate jobs has sidelined this noble profession that brings not only pride and glory but an enviable lifestyle that few probably think about.
Corporate salaries today are in their lakhs and by comparison, the pay packet of the average fauji officer may appear modest. But the sort of perks that the lifestyle offers, are hard to replicate in the civilian setting and in terms of quality of life probably total up to a whole lot more. Consider the following:
Any Army Cantonment or Air Force station or Naval Base that you have ever been to, will probably set itself apart from the city within which it is located. Quiet, leafy, green, uncrowded, peaceful and secure; they are veritable havens that you know your child is safe growing up in. Houses are usually spacious with soothing green environs even if there is not much attention given to visual aesthetics or mod cons.
Where in civilian life would a person hot to have the benefit of one’s individual bungalow in pleasant surroundings where one can have a beautiful garden out front and grow their own vegetables in the rear. This is difficult to imagine anywhere in a crowded city scape, no matter if you are the CEO of a big company.
And even if the company that one works for is able to provide this sort of a lifestyle it is unlikely that a person will have any time left over from work to enjoy them. The fauji working hours usually are from 7 in the morning to about 2.30, so that most of the time parents and children are able to have lunch and spend quality time together.
Amenities that the fauj provides will usually include sporting facilities such as club house, tennis, badminton, and squash and perhaps a swimming pool at most stations. The quite sylvan environs usually mean that children can bicycle on the roads quite safely without the parents being afraid of their safety or being run over by the traffic. There is plenty of scope for healthy physical activity for the entire family.
Also a base hospital close by means that all medical needs of the entire family are attended to, including dental.
The shifting that fauji life entails is a bit of a bugbear for many. You basically pack up everything you own and head off to yet another place every few years. This can be remarkably educative for the family and can tremendously widen your world view. Children learn firsthand about different parts of our truly diverse county and one gets to visit the corners of it that in the normal course one would never imagine existed. Also when you are in a relatively far flung area you learn to be creative in terms of the resources you have at your disposal and gain a keen knowledge of the indigenous way of life. This can be a very enriching experience.
The social life is another plus. Being part of a professional unit means that the officer also has a readymade social circle. Frequent parties and events are enjoyable not only for the adults, they also make the children socially adept, confident and comfortable with picking up new friendships. Case in point: the number of Miss Indias, Worlds, and Universes that have emerged from fauji backgrounds!
I am not making a pitch here for the recruiting agencies of the fauj here; merely offering a firsthand account of having been a fauji wife of many years now.