Life of a Military Wife
Many of us think that army ladies are super stylish women, partying through out the year, enjoying discounts in the military canteen, travel all over India with our husbands. We are usually seen as women who take pride over our husband's profession, living in big bungalows with garden, but it is just a small part of the package to which a lot more can be added.
We portray ourselves as courageous women to the world but we constantly keep praying for our husband's safe return. We as a married women have to mentally prepare ourselves to stay without our husbands most of the time of the year. I can literally count in fingers the numbers of years that we stayed together. Especially when we have a kid, it feels like we are single parents. The responsibility of raising our children solely falls on our shoulders.
Choosing between Career and Home Making
Career takes a back seat the day we get married to an army officer. We as army wives had to choose between a steady career and home making as we cannot have both.
We try to diversify ourselves and we have ample time to try our hand in other fields like home making, baking, embroidery, blog writing or simply just taking care of the house and the kids. Some of us even work as teachers in the Army Public School.
Being the Jack of all Trades
As the lady of the house we need to be the jack of all trades right from organizing a house party on our husband's birthday and wedding anniversaries, with excellent cooking skills especially should know to cook the traditional dishes of our respective state. For e.g I was a South Indian and usually the officer's and families come home to have idli and sambar. We should master driving skills as we cannot depend on our husbands for going out and buying basic necessities, the challenges do not end here, we as wives should have good interior designing skills as most of the officer's houses will be decorated with decors purchased from various places where they had been posted before. We are experts in handling power cuts and even short circuits from bad wiring that too with a one year old kid.
Eventhough India is a country of diverse culture, it is recommended that the lady should converse fluently in Hindi as it is the predominant language that is usually spoken among the baiyyas and the maids. I stress this point here because I come from the Southernmost part of India where the predominant language is Tamil and English. I never knew a word in Hindi when I got married to my husband (which has changed now). I found it arduous to extract even the basic work from the maids and baiyyas.
Shibboleths of the Indian Army
The officers usually address the other officer's wives as Ma'am and among the ladies we address the other ladies with their husband's surname for e.g Mrs So and So (which I hate the most). In army even the brigadier would stand up to wish the lady. Initially I was taken aback when an officer of my father's generation addressed me as 'Ma'am'.That is the kind of respect that they hold for the ladies in the army.
The dining in and dining outs are a custom in the Indian army. When an officer is posted to the station they usually have a dining in party to welcome the officer and his family. Similarly when an officer is posted out, we bid farewell by throwing a dining out party.
Wardrobe Makeover- A part of the Lifestyle
We should have good style sense and our wardrobe should have all kinds of dresses to cater to the needs of different occasions that included the floral ones for the spring theme, the pastel ones for the monsoon theme, the black ones for the dinner parties coupled with accessories to go with the dress. Sometimes we are even judged by the kind of dress we wear.I had undergone a complete wardrobe makeover and I spent a bomb on my wardrobe and accessories.
The Army Wives Welfare Association
As an army officer's wife we need to interact with our husband's extended family (i.e) the jawans and OR families through welfare meets. I was told that these jawans and families come from villages and are mostly illiterate, but that was not the case, most of them were graduates and had worked as teachers in schools. They had mastered the art of thriving in all kinds of environment with minimal amenities.
The Life of a Military Wife
We as army wives need to handle all kinds of situations in life, had to be experts in planning and packing stuffs (without ending up in excess baggage!), should be able to give up our career and last but not the least we should get habituated to live without our husbands most of the time of the year.
They say change is the only thing permanent in life. It is more relevant and applicable in fauj.We interact, we make friends, we socialize, we party and when the time comes we pack our trunks and say goodbye to get ready for our next posting to start all over again, cause saving memories is as important as saving money and we appreciate its value like no one else.