This report in Hindustan Times’ Chandigarh edition, dated Aug 06, 2014, was a disturbing one to say the least. The report was widely circulated on all fauji whatsapp groups, especially the ones in which Army wives are there.
It was about a Major’s wife in Faridkot military station being reprimanded for missing a fashion show rehearsal because she decided not to leave her kids unattended at home. She was told in strong words that she should give priority to such AWWA (Army Wives Welfare Association) programs as it is a part of Army’s tradition.
The lady in question, Vidhya A Karajagi, shot off a letter to the Army Commander, South-Western Command, naming her husband’s CO and the Brigade Commander along with their respective wives. (Will be posting a copy of the letter soon.)
Vidhya, you might not know it yet, but you have just become an icon for so many Army wives in India who have to go through AWWA and FWO (Family Welfare Organisation) activities every day/week/month reluctantly, wondering who is at the receiving end of this welfare. Women in hushed tones are congratulating you for the courage you have shown to stand up to such irrational pressure tactics.
The report has also brought out a grey side of Army wives’ life, which is usually associated with lot of glamour and style. Civilians often think of us Fauji wives as having all the time in the world to attend parties — sometimes five to six in a week. Do they really think it is something we enjoy?
They have no idea how tiring it becomes to attend such formal social functions (sometimes held for the silliest of reasons). Of these, 90% parties are those which require us to wear sarees, hold a glass in hand and indulge in boring small talk (keeping an eye out for protocols all the time). Does that sound like a fun party to you?
Functions organised by AWWA (an NGO, and a big joke) and FWO should at least follow one simple rule — live and let live. You want to organise a coffee morning or a games night, go ahead. But please don’t force anyone to work for you, especially if they are not interested.
PS: A note to the sub-editor at Hindustan Times who edited the copy — the headline gives a false impression. Major’s wife refusing to participate is not news, they refuse all the time. The wife shooting a letter to the Army Commander, complaining about being lectured over it is the actual news. Sorry, but couldn’t resist pointing it out.