The army faux-pas!
I woke up in the middle of the night – 3.30 am to be precise- my mind was racing- I knew every single word I was going to write- I thought “aah! I have become a true Hubber”- alas- this morning the vague thoughts of the hub float mistily in my mind – so am going to try and relocate ‘em elusive words.
Army life has a strange hierarchy- I was used to it since my dad was then a senior army officer- punctuality to begin with- else you were left in the porch dressed with nowhere to go coz- it was 8.16 and dad said you need to be ready to leave at 8.15 for the Mess party. You see the Mess was exactly 14 minutes away- that meant they would make their entrance at 8.30 to the dot.
From being the wife of a young officer, one knew the protocol of who’s who and what was the correct pecking order to pick up one’s plate at the buffet table. I knew very well how to turnout perfectly dressed too, from mom who was impeccable and had told us what colors – what saris –for each occasion.
Only I had a couple or should I say a few, serious problems- I think I should blame it on being a Sagittarian- you have to blame someone- and my parents don’t have these genes!
You know some people are good at remembering faces, some at remembering names- I somehow can do neither! So there came a time when hubby would introduce me to someone at a party and say “you remember so and so” I would be blank- after which was this debate after the party- how could you not remember- he even had dinner at home- so I adopted a new technique- say yes I have met earlier regardless- sadly , it came to pass- the person turned around and said politely- no I don’t think we have met. So another solution was sought. Connect names with other stuff- you know how they teach you to connect the dots- well horror of horrors- there was this Maj. Isaacs who I was introduced to – and decided thereon that I would ‘connect’- I connected him with Isaacs Newton- being a science student. The rest of the evening wore on with me so proud of myself calling him Maj Newton!! He stayed away from me after that….
A young lady by the name of Chhaya- an uncommon name to me then- was connected to an actress of yesteryears- called Laxmi Chhaya- I called her Laxmi for many a month till one day she politely asked me “why do you call me Laxmi?” She also happened to be my son’s first grade teacher!!
I stopped connecting!!
Then there were there instances where since I could not recognise people, it sounds crazy- but I DID know my friends- I am talking of all the hundreds of folks you meet at vague Mess parties!!
Now this evening was a real biggie- the Army Commander (the big of the biggest) was posted in town! They were coming to our Mess for dinner- a big party with the same hundreds of unknowns I mentioned earlier. I
kept a look out for ‘her’ and was standing with a group of chatty whoevers. Went to pick a drink- an innocent enough move- I rejoined the group- there was this sweet looking new one who was standing there- thought I was being extremely sociable so started talking to her- now the standard army talk starts with “have you got a house”- that being a hot, perennial and touchy topic- since everyone was in a queue for housing . (most of us lived in these temporary hutments- and just when the grand announcement was made that we had finally got a house- hubby would usually bring his news of a posting as well!!) To get back to our conversation I innocently asked her the same – to my utter amazement she said yes we have got a house. I asked her when did they get posted in- she said a few days ago- I was aghast- a few days ago- incredulous- how, how, how did you manage that- you must have known someone high up!!
A friend of mine dragged me away- she’s the army commanders wife you know- she has THE HOUSE!!
I told hubby the same evening- I think you need to look for another job! The army is not your true calling.
I had visited hubby many a time in his new place of posting- was happily mingling with a few of the people I had come to know- there arrives this guy who says- hey, haven’t seen you, new around here- I didn’t quite like his tone and attitude so promptly said- haven’t seen you too, new here?- that was the new General!!
Its as well hubby took premature retirement from the army before some major disaster took place.
If anyone out there knows how to remember faces n people- do help out!!