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The army faux-pas!

Updated on February 16, 2010

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!!


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    • profile image

      soumyasrajan 7 years ago from Mumbai India and often in USA

      Hi! billy

      Nice one! Enjoyed very much. You know - is it not true every one is like you? Once in while, well! actually quite often.

    • Shalini Kagal profile image

      Shalini Kagal 7 years ago from India

      If at all - at Raju's place? :)

    • billy sidhu profile image

      billy sidhu 7 years ago

      i dont think so- in pune??

    • Shalini Kagal profile image

      Shalini Kagal 7 years ago from India

      Hi Billy - what a hoot! Sabu's sister? Have we met?? :)

    • billy sidhu profile image

      billy sidhu 7 years ago

      hi DG- thaaaannnkkkss- yes brother sabu is actually my brother tho rest assured he has missed these genes!! and nope not such a disaster anymore- coz now i just say hullo (whoever) if they smile warmly i give them a handshake and if even warmer- a hug!! works wonders- then they really dont bother about their names!

    • De Greek profile image

      De Greek 7 years ago from UK

      YOU are a walking disaster! Funnyyyyyyyyyyyy :-)

      Oh, and I see that we are related through Brother Sabu :-)

    • billy sidhu profile image

      billy sidhu 8 years ago

      thanks sally- i think fruit names are good ideas- even I wont call anyone Ms Banana- (I hope):)

    • Sally's Trove profile image

      Sherri 8 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      I share your inability to remember names and faces and therefore I go through quite the same discomfort as you (except that I didn't have a husband whose career might have depended on my ability to be to this degree of social grace).

      I've tried association techniques with one degree of success or failure, and here's what I've learned.

      If I meet someone who's name is Barbara, I look at her nose and decide whether it looks like a banana. Meeting someone named Mr. Smith, I look at his hands to see if his are workman's hands (the hands of a blacksmith), or are they soft and plumped. So far, so good.

      I have never called a Major Isaacs Major Newton, but I'm not too likely to have called a Barbara Ms. Banana, since banana is not a name. I can't say I'll remember her name, but at least I won't call her Ms. Banana.

      Some of us have the gift of remembering faces and names; clearly, you and I don't. We need all the help we can get.

      What a great read.

    • profile image

      billy sidhu 8 years ago

      thanks FP- glad someone finds my situation funny- got your contact thru my bro sabu singh!!love your hubs!!

    • profile image

      Feline Prophet 8 years ago

      That was most entertaining! Looking forward to reading more of your hubs! :)

      And when in doubt about a face or name just grin and it! :P

    • profile image

      billy sidhu 8 years ago

      oh thank god- theres a whole club out there!!

    • profile image

      RSehgal 8 years ago

      I can never remember a name

      and I always forget the face .....

      join the club!!

    • billy sidhu profile image

      billy sidhu 8 years ago

      oh god i had forgotten that one!!

    • Jayant Purohit profile image

      Jayant Purohit 8 years ago from New Delhi

      Ma'am, I did'nt know you could write as well you narrate. Though I've heard the story from the "horse's mouth", so to say I still found it very humorous. In case you wake up with a feeling that the 3.30 am words are gettin elusive, you could also write about your telephone call to "Mhow".



    • sabu singh profile image

      sabu singh 8 years ago

      Very funny Bils. Well-written and humorous to boot. Keep it going. Love