A Curious Army Wife

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

Hello Reality

I was holding my phone, transfixed and petrified, not knowing what to do. This video, which had just been shared on a whatsapp group of my fellow army wives, gave me goosebumps to say the least. Somehow, I played this video again. And again,…. and again.

Photo courtesy: manglorean.com

Photo courtesy: manglorean.com

It is one thing to hear about soldiers dying in the line of duty, but a completely different thing to see the pain of their families. The little girl in this video is the daughter of a colonel who died in Jammu and Kashmir, a day after he received a gallantry award on Republic Day. The girl, paying her last respects, shrieks the Gorkha war cry (the colonel belonged to the Gorkha Rifles) and then breaks down as officers and soldiers standing next to her reply back. It was gut-wrenching to see all this, I don’t know why I later replayed the video 4-5 times. It was a reality check. It can happen any time, any day, anywhere, to any of us.

A Facebook status update by wife of a martyr, shared on a Fauji wives' group.

A Facebook status update by wife of a martyr, shared on a Fauji wives’ group.

Other Army wives in that whatsapp group were in tears, but I was just in shock. It was a reminder that life in fauj is not just parties and luxury living. The Indian Army advt shown on TV, advertising it as a ‘way of life’ showing all fancy things, sadly forgets to show this dark side. I am not complaining, but I guess pain and grief comes as a packaged deal with all things rosy.

I remember, as a young bride, I was shocked to hear Major Sa’ab calmly telling me one evening that one of his coursemates has died on the border. Apparently, they hear such news so often, that it is a ‘way of life’ for them. It doesn’t scare them anymore. It was the first time that I felt fear of death, which was until now reserved for my favourite characters in Harry Potter books.

And yes, everyone else is jealous of us Army wives… they say we party too much, and travel to exotic locations and live a luxurious life, and enjoy discounted stuff in CSD.

But hey, be jealous of our jigra too, which makes us send our beloved off to the border with a smiling face. Be jealous of the time we have to live alone for months and years without our partners. Be jealous of the fact that we are strong to take on the role of a single parent as and when required.

A big and noisy high-five to all women out there who have committed their life to an Indian soldier, knowing fully that his commitments lie elsewhere.

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7 thoughts on “Hello Reality

  1. Thanks for writing and sharing this. It’s interesting to read about the perspective of military families – wherever they may be.

  2. My daughter’s dream is to Join the Army, I am both proud and worried.

  3. I really admire the army wives who knowingly (and smiling) send off their husbands into risky areas. Somehow the army effect rubs off on them too; they seem to be made of sterner stuff than others.

  4. GiveSmiles on said:

    May God give strength to such families. With all due respect, there isn’t any need for anyone to feel jealoufamilies anyone else. In the society everyone has their own roles to play, without which the society cannot function.

    Being noble is also being humble. 🙂

    There are other professions as well in which lots of efforts goes. Docs, astronauts, research scientists, fire brigades to speak of the few. There are many among them, almost all of them at times, which neither has rosy perks or even any vacation to celebrate at all.

    Here By God’s Grace, people benefit from this institution more than being harmed. Only very few get to that level of honour of martyrdom. By God’s Grace most of them make most out of the wordly life. The risk factor is involved in almost every profession, but the benefits one get from here is not to be underestimated. This institution is doing great among the few things which are doing great in India, I must say that.

    However, again The World is full of people who have their own roles to play, everyone has their own role of contribution without which one can’t function as a society unless God Wills the other way out.

    One must respect one another irrespective of their professions, and not envy them in any manner.

    Last, but not the least. I pray to God, to give strength to the families of the deceased, and keep the other families and their beloved in His safety.

  5. oddmonk-75 on said:

    I wrote this to my wife before I asked her to marry me. Though taken from a book, its the grim reality specially the last para. I write for all the bad boys who live by a code

    “FOR THOSE
    I LOVE
    I SHALL
    KILL & SACRIFICE”

    IT IS NOT EASY to be the wife of a special operator. When a woman falls in love with any man in uniform, she knows she is inviting a difficult marital life. A man who is committed to the service of his country must first obey his orders; the needs of his family will always take second place. There will be long periods of separation, assignments to faraway and unattractive places, and the constant tension of an uncertain future. Still, the balance of military personnel are often able to set down roots, remaining assigned to one particular base for years at a time. The families of these people lead seminormal lives, develop social circles, and manage to keep their children in the same schools for extended periods. In times of peace, the larger percentage of military men and women go off to work in the morning and return at night.

    But when a woman falls in love with a special operator, she knows she’s in for a roller-coaster ride. Marry any member of Special Forces, and you can forget about counting on celebrating birthdays, holidays, or anniversaries together. You might be in the throes of honeymoon bliss when his beeper goes off and he jumps up to leave. You might be clutching his hand in the final agonies of your first labor, when he kisses your sweat-soaked brow and walks out the door. Your mother might pass away and he won’t make the funeral. His mother might die, and you will have to watch him kneel at her graveside, stricken with remorse, long after she’s cold. If you are a woman in danger of falling for one of these men, your family and friends may wisely warn you to cease and desist. But the heart is a blind hunter.

    Perhaps it is a selfish thing for a special operator to marry and have children. But after all, we’re only human, and the love of a wife and family is an important part of what motivates us, an essential kernel of that life we dedicate ourselves to protect. And no matter how many names of our friends are etched into a memorial walls, none of us really believes that we will leave behind a bereaved family.

    But to the warrior goes the glory, while to the wife goes the pain. A special operator may be killed in combat and even suffer terribly at the precipice of his death, but then it’s over for him. For his wife, the agony goes on forever.

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