What is the Indian Army Wife Life like? – this is a question I get asked a lot. Especially after my book on the Indian Army Wife life – ‘Soldier & Spice: An Army Wife’s Life’ was released.
Maybe it is because of the book, or it’s the incredibly wise seasoned Indian Army Wife impression I give to people – um, okay, it is definitely the book – but people tend to ask a lot of questions about this life that I’ve chosen because of the man I love and married. And I tell them the truth – it ain’t easy, bro.
Yes, yes, we Indian Army Wives are all about love, courage, inner strength and elegant sarees, but we also have a list of things we hate. Okay, hate is a strong word, and I am trying not to use it at all because my daughter is quickly picking up on words I use (long story, another post) – so let’s say there are things we “dislike”.
Of course separation & loneliness, field posting, forced ladies meets, bossy and bitchy senior officer wives is on 99% of Indian Army Wives’ hate list – and sista’, if you are shaking your head at this, chances are you ARE that bossy or bitchy wife so just stop whatever nasty things you do or say and have a heart, we are not our husband’s ranks – we are combat sisters who need to stick together, not secretly plan to kill one another, okay? Okay.
I was a new, curious and starry eyed New Indian Army Wife about almost 6 years back, and though some might still consider me a misfit, I give myself full credit for trying. And I’ve learned! Like, a lot. For example, I haven’t said f*#k in front of a senior lady for almost a year now – considering how that is my go-to word in my life as a full time advertising professional. Not a big deal, but it’s a start.
But my point is, I know what it is like to be a new Indian Army Wife, how overwhelming it could feel at times. (You can read my awesome post 5 Truths About being an Army Wife for more). So, here is my list for all you adorable, young and fabulous New Indian Army Wives! You’re welcome.
A friend of mine called me today, almost sobbing with anger. Yes, anger – not sadness. She was mad. Her husband was posted to some place 7 months back, (see, number 7 again!) and all of a sudden he got another posting and now all the packing and moving and everything is just making her go crazy. Yes, we are Army Wives, and yes, we do know what we signed up for when we decided to marry our soldiers and OMG YES, we know we are supposed to deal with the moves and the separation like a boss – but honey, unexpected postings are just bitches. We aren’t mentally prepared for those, and this is why the hate. Generally, one does have an idea of when a posting is due. It varies in every Arm, and though no one can tell where exactly one will go to and on what exact date, we do have a general idea. And when this pattern breaks suddenly, the new and new-ish Army wives instantly hate it. The seasoned ones hate it too, but they know better than to show their displeasure to the new ones because hey – decorum, or etiquette or something!
Seriously. What is the deal with this ritual in fauji parties? I also wrote about it in my book, I am so pissed at this. You dress up and go together to an Army party and then you leave together. In the middle, you are only hanging out with the other ladies, and the husband is talking shop with the officers at that bar or wherever all the other officers are. Husbands and wives just don’t mingle in Fauji Parties and it is so boring. You just get to exchange glances and secretly roll your eyes together at something someone says, but you can’t sit with each other and laugh and dance like the civil parties. Sucks for a newly wed, because the old-ly wed learn to work through this (inside jokes, secret sign language, text chats etc).
Almost every newly wed Indian Army Wife feels that the husband’s buddy knows him better than she does, and this calls for a full on war. In the wife’s head, of course. The buddy knows the officer’s uniforms by date-stiched, he knows what’s kept in all those intimidating looking black trunks lining the living room wall, and most importantly, he understands what the husband means when he says foreign sounding things like CI Ops, Papa Battery, AGIF, DSOP and others. I know how confusing and hence scary this is in the beginning, I’ve been there. But, dear new army wife, it gets better. You learn to co-exist.
There is just so much potential for cute furniture in a fauji quarter, and a new Indian Army Wife sees the white walls and ugly peg-tables and thinks why yes, I’ll turn this around and make it exactly like the home of my dreams. Very nice, very good thought. Only, you can’t. You will soon realize that you can’t keep buying furniture, no matter how cute or appropriate or on-sale, because with the constant moving and the wear-and-tear happens during the across the country moves, it is not rational to buy too much happy-home stuff. It’s heart breaking, I know. But you have to restrict yourself, new wife. Sadly, I have no solution for this one, I’ve bought shit loads of stuff anyway and half of it is broken or damaged already and I still keep eyeing the Home & Kitchen section of websites, knowing that when we finally settle down in a house of our own, I will be too old to care. Sigh. So I try to do what’s possible – stick glitter on peg table and paint the trunks yellow and red instead of black. Rustic is in, right?
Besides, when your man dresses up in combats, and you’ll forget everything else and I’m sure you wouldn’t care what piece of fauji furniture you’re christening then. *wink wink* AMIRITE? So hang in there girlfriend, because it’s a good life.
Like I mentioned in the beginning, a lot of girls ask me about the Indian Army Wife life, and I also get a lot of deep-ish questions like ‘should I marry a soldier?’. It is strange and fun at the same time. They think that I have all the answers! Apparently I’m an expert at the Indian Army Wife life because I wrote a book, a super cool one at that, hehe.
The truth is, I’m no expert. I mean, read my book to know of my expertise level – I am still learning, I still struggle to cope up with the demands of the Indian Army Wife life – be it the ladies’ Meets or the separations. but I’ll tell you this – if you have a sense of humour in you, you’ll have fun anywhere! And the Army is a wonderful place if you decide to not let the little things bog you down.
And I trust you to tell me all about these ‘little things’ okay? I’ve got to complete this hate-list, after all! hee hee. Send me your list of things you hate as an Indian Army Wife, and I’ll add it in the next post to this series, promise.