My experience at a party (yes, a fauji party) taught me one important lesson. They don’t tell you about this or blogs, it is only after it happens to you (or someone you know) that you can be on your toes about when to mention the two letters M and H together in public.
So, being at a peace station, many couples in our battalion took to starting a family. Every other week we would hear about some lady’s “good news”. It was not always good; sometimes nature cruelly dealt a devastating blow in the early stages of pregnancy to some couples. But yes, there was always something happening on this front! Thank heavens that our parents don’t know about all this (we are being nagged enough about it over the phone as it is).
Now, about this party, it was an informal dining-out party for some officers who were soon going to be posted out. All the ladies were huddled up around the bonfire to keep ourselves warm and were congratulating each other for becoming Maasi(maternal aunt) since a lady had delivered a sweet little baby girl just three days ago.
Talks drifted on to pregnancy experiences and other related issues, which was my cue to get up and find Capt Sa’ab. As it happens in almost all fauji parties, the ladies would sit together and gossip while the officers would all gradually move away and crowd the bar. We call this the “Hindustan-Pakistan” divide of a fauji party.
I found Capt Sa’ab and told him that I wanted a break from all the baby-talk. He started laughing and said, “ Yeah, you don’t even have anything to contribute on that topic.”
I joined the Hindustan group (of course women are the Hindustan in such parties) after a while who were now talking about their morning routines. I cheerfully joined in, and blurted “I am not sure how in the world am I going to wake up early tomorrow”.
Mrs. CO asked me, “Why? What is there tomorrow morning?” (Her concern was not misplaced; I was infamous for waking up at around noon (or after :p). In my defense, I work late nights.)
“Oh! I have to go to the MH (Military Hospital).”
No sooner were these words out of my mouth that all the ladies started “ooh-ing” and “aah-ing” in unison which made Pakistan (the officer’s group) look up from the bar to see what the fuss was about.
And within seconds, I realized my mistake. “Wow, good news hanh?” One lady asked me.
“That is great, we were waiting to hear your news!” another lady chipped in.
“Sahi hai beta, tu toh chhupi rustom nikali,” said another.
And there I was, haplessly shaking my head and trying to tell them that I was going there to get my eyes tested by the Ophthalmologist. But to the ladies, MH only means the Gynaecologist!
Lesson learnt, go to MH, but do not broadcast it, if you don’t want any baby-rumours doing the rounds.