In other word, this is an account of my personal suffering at the hands of something impossibly crucial and equally daunting in every Army Wife’s life – The Staff College Exam.
Don’t get me wrong, dear civilian, we the wives don’t have to study for it. Not at all, ha ha (and thank God for that!). Our husbands do the hard work, meaning studying for 6 (or is it 16?) totally serious and sever subjects like Military History and Military Law with at least 5 thick books per subject. Yes sir, and you thought 12th grade Physics was scary? ha ha ha.
When the husband reaches a certain service bracket, he studies (or at least tries!) for this competitive-within-the-Army exam because this particular course apparently accelerates the fauji career. He studies – for his brighter than the sun career. But like everything in the Army, the wife has a crucial role to play in the study process. And all wives invariably become a part of the glamorous Staff Dream because hey, who doesn’t want to be a “Full” Colonel’s wife, be the awe-inspiring First Lady of a unit, and later on (hopefully) be a VVIP “lady” at all those fancy ladies’ meets?
We, the wives, go through various stages during the husband’s preparations for Staff. I’ve classified these broadly under the following 5.
5 Stages of an Army Wife’s Husband-Preparing-for-Staff Phase – before the exam actually happens:
Wow, this is ITTT! I am going to be SO good at this exam! I mean, in being a supportive wife everyone talks about, obviously. If this is as important as they say, let’s kick ass at this Staff thing, baby! I am going to motivate him endlessly, inspire him to no end with my ingenuity, my poise and my calming aura. Easy peasy. Let’s do this, Baby!
One year in Wellington! Wow.
Asks Staff-Cleared wives (pun intended) about shopping haunts in Wellington.
When among unsuspecting friends, makes vague statements about being in the Nilgiris the next year.
Begins to dream of an Army HQ Delhi posting after Wellington because that’s the real dream, no?
Gives husband the breezy smile every time he complains of too much to study and say something smug like You’ve Got It Babe, or I Have Faith in You, or even We Are Going To Be Totally Awesome In Wellington, yo!
Why the hell is it taking foreverrrrr?
But isn’t it supposed to be over in a jiffy? It has been MONTHS for God’s sake!
I can’t deal with this Staff Stress anymore, I need a break. Let’s take a vacation, baby!
Tries her best to not disturb the studying husband, and fails because there are daily matters to discuss (like what’s up with the MES maintenance guys), toddler to control and general life to be lived. Besides, what’s the big deal about Staff anyway, I am SO over it.
4. Self Motivation.
No, I CANNOT be annoyed! Not for another few months!
I need to hold myself together!
I need to be the motivating and inspiring girl I hope to be!
It’s all under control!
I can do this!
THIS IS SPARTAAA!! (or similar motivation cry)
Is he studying enough?
Shouldn’t he be on to his seventh revision by now? Why is he still asking for books? Can I interfere in all this? What the hell do I do?
Damn, he looks exhausted, poor baby.
God, please make us clear the Staff College exam and I will quit alcohol non-veg non-veg on Tuesdays.
Is there a fast I can keep to please the God of Military History? Or a dance ritual that can invoke the magical powers of the historical DSSC building of 1947?
OMG What if he doesn’t get through and I feel guilty?
I don’t want the guilt!
SAYING NO TO THE GUILT! NOT THE GUILT!
I CAN’T DO THIS AGAIN NEXT YEAR.
Yeah, you guessed it right. I am sort of, kind of, in the last stage now and I am literally singing Wake Me Up When September Ends all the damn time (exam is in September). But I know it’s going to be worth it, and I try to be the best Silent Rank recruit ever, so I’m counting days calmly and keeping my fingers crossed, not because I am ambitious of my husband’s career, no sir, that is not me at all.
I’m hoping and wishing and keeping my now-numb fingers crossed because if not cleared this year, the husband will attempt it again the next year.
And then the next.
And that is going to require a whole new book because just one blog post will not do it justice. So pray for us, okay lovelies? Or better still, be my friend and keep me and the toddler busy so that we can leave the husband to his own sweet devices, giving him all the time to study.
Here’s to all the super strong Army Wives, and more power to us!