A Curious Army Wife

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

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Interview with author and Army wife Aditi Mathur Kumar

Indian Army is a very small community. Hence proved. My previous post, a review of the book ‘Soldier and Spice’ written by Aditi Mathur Kumar, was quite well recieved (well, tell me something new ūüėČ ) and I started making inquiries about the whereabouts of the author.

Aditi Mathur final

Aditi Mathur Kumar proudly displays her story of an Army wife – Soldier and Spice.

Info which the book failed to provide, I found thanks to social networking sites. Within hours I had my ‘Eureka’ moment. Aditi lives in my city, just a few kilometres away from my house. And then I started to freak out — should I have written Mrs Aditi Mathur Kumar in the email, adhering to army tradition (as opposed to just Aditi)?

The answer was perhaps staring at me all this while — a person who has written this bindaas book would have no time to dwell on such petty matters. In fact I once said Mrs Kumar and she was like, “Oh god not you too. Call me Aditi.” And my BP was back to normal.

A free spirit , a great gossiper, a quirky mother of a two-year-old and someone who calls a fauji spade a fauji spade — that’s Aditi for you. She can talk non-stop, which is why a one-hour meeting turned into a two and a half hour interview, not that I am complaining.

Now I just had to HAD TO ask her some questions, being the curious Army wife ;).

On how the book materialised: A friend of mine in Delhi, who had started an online rent-a-book service, suggested that I should write my experiences in the Army. So for quite some time I toyed with this idea, but started working on it only when I was pregnant and had nothing to do other than wait for the baby to arrive.

On central character Pia: It is not entirely based on me. I have combined many women’s experience. Almost all are true stories. Other characters are also based on people I have met over the years, which includes not¬†just¬†Army wives but civilians also.

On whether there’s anything about the Army that still amazes her: Oh no! I come across things all the time about our fauj which amazes me to no end.¬†Specially the behaviour of Army wives never ceases to amaze me. Ladies’ attitude in some matters is shocking.¬†There are times when I feel why can’t¬†Army wives, who are quite well educated, fail to stand up for¬†themselves.

On ladies being bullied by senior officers’ wives: It happens when ladies start misusing¬†the power which is technically not even theirs. Their husbands¬†must be senior officers, but that does not give them the right to boss over junior officers’ wives. I will never ask a¬†wife of a junior officer to do something which I won’t do myself. Or which she doesn’t want to do. But not everyone¬†thinks this way. Maybe this is one reason I have rubbed many people the wrong way.

On response about the book from within the army: It was quite well received. It¬†is a nice feeling. There is a degree of cautiousness when you write a book about fauj, but since mine was an honest book about life of an Army wife,¬†there were no problems. Many senior officers’ wives¬†contacted¬†me to congratulate me and said they¬†have bought extra copies to give to junior officers’ wives.

We gossiped some more, but those stories are not something I can discuss here. They are as secretive as other matters of national security, and can only be talked about in hushed voices with other Army wives. ūüėõ I suggest you read the book, and if you feel particularly adventurous, write to her to coax her into writing another book about us. She has a Facebook page and can also be reached via email on aditimathurkumar@gmail.com.

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