A Curious Army Wife

I joined this crazy tribe when I married into the Indian Army

Archive for the tag “Army”

FAQ No 5: Kid’s schooling or keeping the family together?

Since I have no experience in dealing with a situation like this, I will request all readers to give their inputs. Many of you must have gone through something similar as well.

FAQ 3

 

Kissa Adjutant ki kursi ka!

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The impact of my Major Sa’ab’s announcement that he would soon be on the adjutant’s chair can be accurately compared to that of an iceberg hitting the Titanic. This blog post by A Curious Army Wife is dedicated to the wives of those adjutants, who live a life worthy of a field allowance even during peace postings!

If you are an adjutant’s wife, then here are 10 things that you will definitely relate with:

1. Till now, you must have thought that your husband loves the country more than you. And you were fine by that, weren’t you. Trouble starts when patidev becomes the adjutant and you are pushed to third spot in the love thy list —

  • Our country
  • Whoever is on the other side of the phone.
  • You. (Oh this is so not good).

2. You initially revel in the power your husband has in the unit as an adjutant, till reality strikes hard and you realise, it’s not really power but a big headache. Phone pe phone pe phone…

3. You chuckle when you hear the Jawans address you as “Adjutant Memsahib“.

4. It’s a fun guessing game to indulge in — guess who’s on phone? If you husband answers with “Jai Hind” and then sits up in attention, then it’s probably the CO or a very senior officer. If his posture doesn’t change, it’s his SM. If he scrambles to open his diary to check something, it’s another officer. If he suddenly starts massaging his temples, it’s from MT. If he looks up towards the almighty for some inspiration and patience, it’s from a JCO.

5. You feel weirdly wicked to be in possession of all the information about what the ladies in the unit are demanded  from the adjutant. Aah! So Mrs XYZ asked for the gypsy to go shopping? And Mrs ABC asked her husband’s sahayak to be changed! Poor husband tells these things to you innocently, but you just feel supremely happy at getting the inside dope.

6. “Dinner Conversation” is a distant dream. For a conversation to take place, you first need to have dinner with the person. On the rare chance the adjutant makes it home for dinner, there is very little hope for a proper ‘conversation’ because the damn phone keeps ringing all the time.

Army officer

7. You reach that stage where ‘OK Report’ becomes an integral part of your life. Are you going out shopping? Give an OK Report to your husband when you reach. Boarding a train? Give an OK Report when your ticket gets checked. Applying make-up? Give an OK Report when you manage to get the shape of the eyeliner correct. Marroing tadka to daal? Give an OK Report with exact time it took for the daal to cook and gap between boiling and tadka.

8. It’s ok to call him for those OK Reports, but god forbid you call him to ask what time he is coming home, all hell will break lose. “Yaar, you know na I am very busy. I will come when work gets over, don’t call me over such things,” he would say.

9. When he says “Today, there isn’t that much pressure of work. I will finish by maximum 1800hrs. We’ll go for a walk then,” you safely assume you won’t see his face before 2200 hrs.

10. The frequency with which he picks up others’ calls will makes you jealous. “Han han, mera phone kabhi attend bhi mat kariyo,” becomes the patented snide remark of every Army wife.

But when Adjutant Sa’ab has had enough and says in utter frustration, “I think I need to stop taking calls, and start giving some balls,” there is no thikana of your khushi!

All’s well that ends well, or in this case, ends soon.

8 questions your relatives ask when they visit your fauji ghar!

Questions relatives ask when they visit your fauji ghar!

Disclaimer by ACuriousArmyWife: This post is based on real life and real relatives. Buahahaha!

1. Ye furniture army ne diya hai?
Our answer: Han ji, see the point is that it is difficult to travel with a lot of stuff every one or two years na. So Army generously provides the basic furniture to everyone.

2. Ye bhi? Wo bhi? (pointing at every possible piece of furniture).
Our answer: No, this lampshade, this painting, this “welcome” sign, all this is a part of our personal purchases!

3. Army fridge aur TV bhi deti hai kya?
Our answer: Nai mummy ji, wo aapke damaad ne khareeda hai, khud ke paseene ki kamai se.

4. Ye naukar toh army hi provide karti hai na! (Pointing towards husband’s sahayak)
Our answer: Shhhh chacha ji, wo naukar nai hai. Wo jawan hai jo husband ki help karta hai uniform set karne mein aur official work mein bhi.

5. Ye maali and maid toh free mein milte honge na tumhe!
Our answer: Err, nai. Dono ko hum mahine ke end mein salary dete hain. Duniya mein kahin koi ghar ka kaam free mein nai karta, Army mein bhi nai.

6. Wow! You get free ka ration!
Our answer: Nai baba, ye husband ke salary ka ek part hai jo ration ke roop mein ata hai. Free toh bilkul bhi nai hai!

7. Army log toh party karte rehete hain all the time!
Our answer: Jab tak sab saath hain, tab tak party kyun na karein. Kal kisne dekha hai! (Super senti, I know!)

8. Arre tum toh harr cheez canteen se discount pe lete ho na?
Our answer: Han. (We know you want to buy stuff from there. Just be upfront na!)

The curious syndrome of vanishing careers

In love with an Army man? Badhaiyaan ji badhaiyaan!

In love with your career too? Good for you.

Until.

Until the time comes for you to bid one of the two a tearful goodbye, hopefully temporarily.

Two of the blog readers asked me what to do of their lucrative careers when they marry their fauji boyfriends. A very valid concern for a modern woman who has been brought up to excel professionally and is suddenly faced with this dilemma. What do you focus on, being with the guy you love, or earning that fat paycheque?

Photo credit: outsidethebeltway.com

Photo credit: outsidethebeltway.com

The reason we have to make this hard decision is because … er… okay lemme break it down into 10 points (like we used to for writing long answer to questions in school).

1. You love an Army man.

2. An Army man’s career is a cycle of field posting (border areas or sensitive areas) and peace postings.

3. They are allowed to stay with their families only during peace postings.

4. About 2-3 years separates a field from peace from field from peace…..

5. Marrying an Army man means a happy reunion at peace station.

6. “Where are the peace stations located?” you ask, well, the peace station might be in small city or in smaller town or in tinier village or it might be in the middle of nowhere and last but not the least – it might be in a place that makes you go …’Alright! where the FUCK are we??’ Unless you are super lucky to get good-city postings.

7. Now it so happens that in all of the above scenarios, the only viable career option for women is teaching. Because there are schools everywhere. And hospitals… so yes, its safe even if you are a doc or a nurse.

8. If you are anything other than a teacher or are in the medical profession, chances are you will find it extremely difficult to land a decent job.

9. If you do get a job, it will probably come with a 50-70 per cent pay cut.

10. Or you can just get a B.Ed degree and start teaching…just a suggestion.

There, in the simplest possible language, I have summed up the battle which we girls fight before making the choice. And when I had to make this decision, I chose to be with my man.

I chose to be with my man because (and I take special pride in it) I knew that I had found the right guy. However clichéd that might sound. I chose to put my 6-year-old journalism career on hold to stay with him for 3 precious years before he goes off on a field posting. And I did all this in spite having full knowledge of what lay ahead of me or didn’t – that there won’t be a stable career or an enviable CTC from now on.

I took solace from the fact that my husband would have adjusted his career choices to suit my needs had he not been in the Army. That it is something he can’t do, simply because it is not in his hands, is a different story. Now that’s one way to ‘look up’, isn’t it. I did not stop working though. Internet became my best friend and I took to freelancing and content writing. And it gave me time to blog — something that my regular job would have left no scope/time/energy for.

I meet women who were bankers, IT professionals, HR executives, lawyers, musicians, PR honchos, scientists, chartered accountants, air hostesses, doctors  and real estate professionals, all of whom had to put their blooming career graph in the freezer when their husbands got posted to smaller military stations. And they all did it happily.

Then again, there are women who choose to stay in bigger cities to keep their jobs and travel frequently to meet their husbands. They try to balance work and married life quite well (and are deaf as well, specially to all those who say to them, “fir shaadi hi kyon ki”). I have special respect for all those women only because I know how difficult this choice is. Hats off to them!

So all those women out there who are still not sure what to choose, I have just one thing to say. Choose what you would miss terribly if you let go of. Choose what is dearer to you and won’t give you sleepless nights for not being a part of your life.

Do not feel guilty for choosing your career, you did nothing wrong. Don’t cry about loosing you career either, should you choose to be with your soldier. But since I chose to be with Major Sa’ab, I’ve already told you what the thought process behind it was. Now it’s your turn.

Good luck superwoman.

This post was written to satiate an urge to write when Housing prompted me to.

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