Every three months, hundreds of officers of the Indian Army across all arms descend on the cantonment town Mhow (near Indore) and bury themselves in books.
The grueling Junior Command course, better known as JC, is a training course that they take very seriously.
This year, Major Sa’ab was among the JC Boys (as I like to call them now) studying the way that will put serious IIT aspirants to shame.
Some came alone, while others were MBBS (Miya Biwi Bachhon samet). Major Sa’ab was among the forced bachelors, a privilege he couldn’t enjoy on weekends as I would drop by on Saturdays and Sundays.
So, acuriousarmywife.wordpress.com here has a list of 10 things that only the wife of an officer attending JC will relate to:
- “JC aya!” Sounds like “Piya ghar aya“, but has the exact opposite effect. It sends most of us into frantic mode and the first thing we do is google ‘Mhow’. Where is this place? What’s the weather like? How far is Indore from Mhow? Where do I shop there? 😛
- What all do I pack for two months — this question weighs heavy on our mind even after the JC course is over. Some Army wives try to pack light, especially if they are travelling by air. I emphasis on the word ‘TRY’ because, as an unsaid rule, Army wives cannot pack light. We have to pack sarees, suits, winter-wear (if any) and all that jazz that WE KNOW will be needed in a military station. Those with babies have to carry some extra baggage (and I am not referring to the baby here).
- Before coming to Mhow for JC, officers start asking other officers who had attended the previous course about how to study and stuff, while we ladies ask fellow Army wives about the accommodation scene, kitchen facilities, ladies’ meet menace, shopping areas and similar topics of national interest.
- On reaching Mhow, most of us feel a little disappointed about how the place is too far yet too close to Indore city (my pathetic attempt at translating kitne dur kitne pass). We know the malls, the eateries and the picnic spots are so damn close to Mhow. What an amazing place it would be to spend a couple of years with the family. But then every trip to Indore costs 2-3 hours, which is gold for JC officers. So the wife either sulks at home, secretly cribbing about not being pampered enough, or she just vanishes with the car to explore the city on her own. Bechara officer, sochta hai Mhow mein car leke jaunga toh time save karunga, but ultimatly has to ask coursemates for lift till classrooms too.
- Sugrahini becomes the place where Army wives do their JC. Mexican cuisine, baking, and other such short-term classes are organised to keep the ladies busy and out of their husbands’ way — all at throwaway prices.
- I once heard someone say that Mhow shopkeepers make a lot of money thanks to Army wives. Dohads, Chanderi sarees, smocking dresses and special Mhow embroidary saree (I was unaware of the last one, which is shocking considering I lived in Indore for 15 years) are the things that we Army wives love to hoard. The traders of the tiny Mhow market eagerly await the arrival of every JC course.
- Other than the things I mentioned above, Mhow is also famous for things that have extremely high value in the Indian Army. I am talking about bean bags, leather show pieces, paintings (especially the fauji ones) and last but not the least… fauji nameplates.
- Words, terms and alphabets complete it’s life cycle in two months, bouncing off our ears till it starts making some sense. We hear stuff like Syndicate, AE 1, AE2, I grading, sand model, Alpha, AI, Bravo, BI, Charlie, and Echo, in addition to KLPD.
- The two months fly by way too fast. Many of us were wondering how we’ll take care of the baby (babies, in some cases) alone, without any help from husbands. Many of us kept thinking of how we’ll pass time in that sleepy town where internet connectivity is a luxury. We all think of how we’ll be able to pack all the stuff we shopped for into those tiny bags we brought. Time simply flies!
- And before we realise, it’s all over. We make some glorious friends, revel in the fact that our husbands consumed less alcohol and more notepads, and take back some awesome memories with us. Hasta la vista Mhow!