First things first
It had been almost one year since I had been dating Captain Sa’ab. We hadn’t told our parents yet and he was insisting that we do it soon. When neighbours and relatives and colleagues and utter strangers start bringing “perfect matches” for their only son, it was a little difficult for Captain Sa’ab’s parents to hold off the inevitable. And so we told them. And others. And some more people. And those strangers also.
I bring to you their first reactions.
“Oh thank god. We were so worried you are going to marry some non-Hindu guy. Yes yes, we know Captain Sa’ab. He is a good guy. We have met him only twice but we know he is a good guy. So what if he is in the Army. Aajkal toh life ka risk har kisi ko hota hai. Chalo good. Now get married as soon as possible. You are not getting any younger and who knows how long we are going to be around.”
Captain Sa’ab’s parents
“Hamein toh pehele se pata tha. What do you think, you bring this girl to our family functions and go with her to late night movies and we won’t get the hint? Chalo now get married this year only. Maybe in the next six months? What do you say?”
“Wow! your fiance is in the Army? So cool na. You will get free house, free daaru, free food. You guys get a full time servant also right? Teri toh aish hai yaar. You won’t have to do a thing. You will get to see all these exotic places around the country. So you get one servant or two?”
“Oh Captain Sa’ab will get servants right? That is so nice. They live such a comfortable life. Now that you will marry him, you will get to live in a big big bunglow. You will have a huge garden and lots of servants to do your work. Do you know my bhabhi’s sister’s friend’s brother’s daughter? She married an Army man and she is living like a queen. Our little girl could not have found a better man…of course the match that I had suggested was far better and lives in US but it’s ok.”
Capt Sa’ab’s relatives
“Arre wah now after he gets married, we will all go to his house and bahu rani will take care of us. She will have so many servants to take care of the villa.”
“Servants, servants, servants, blah blah blah…”
Just to be clear, we DO NOT get free servants or maids. They are all paid help. I think people confuse an Orderly with a house help. More on that later though.
And that’s how I realised that for so many people, life in Army means having a free servant courtesy an extra benevolent government.
Guess what was a close second….discounted stuff at CSD Canteen!