A Curious Army Wife

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

Archive for the month “February, 2015”

You know you are in a fauji home when…

Every Army wife takes her home décor very seriously (I doubt Mr Modi takes running the country that seriously) and would not rest until she is satisfied that her nest is unique in every way. In spite of that, there are a few things which every fauji house will have. You know you are in a fauji home when…

1. You see a cap stand. Have you ever seen one in a normal Indian’s house? Nai na? But an Army officer’s house will have one for sure. Having a cap stand in the house, mostly near the front door or in the spare bedroom, sounds so British. Every time a civilian relative/friend comes over, the first thing they will ask is why on earth do you have a XXL sized key holder? And then you patiently tell them that it is a hat stand which is needed to hang the peak-cap and the games cap and beret and the regimental hat and the golf cap and the combats hat and the NDA/IMA/OTA cap and that branded cap and that hunter hat and…. you get the drift!

The wife of Major Sa'ab's CO was kind enough to let me click a picture of her elaborate cap stand.

The wife of Major Sa’ab’s CO was kind enough to let me click a picture of her elaborate cap stand.

2. Drinks and appetisers are served in crystals. Even the ashtray is a crystal one. Whisky glasses, juice glasses, snacks, desserts and mouth-fresheners too are mostly served in crystalware sourced from the north-east, in and around Siliguri to be specific. If Army officers have their way, they will take bath in crystal buckets and also get window glasses replaced by it. And there is a high probability that they’ll gift it too! Moral of the story, crystals are a fauji’s best friend.

Crystal glasses

Crystal glasses

3. You find one of these five things in the house: (a). A giant paper hand-held fan. (b) A weird glass top table with…err..are those tree branches posing as its legs? (c) A piece of home décor form Rajasthan, like those hanging puppets or a wooden carved chair. (d) Swords, spears, fancy looking trophies and group photographs of various courses in which everyone looks exactly the same. (In case of Air Force officers, it is toy models of various aircrafts and for Naval officers, ships and anchors.) (e) Racquets of all racquet-sports (yes, and not just one) and/or Golf kit.

Tree-branch repurposed as a table stand.

Tree-branch repurposed as a table stand.

The famous Paper Pankha!

The famous Paper Pankha!

4. There are more peg tables in the house than there are pegs and tables put together. It kind of makes having a centre table redundant. Oh wait, the centre tables are for that crystal ashtray in point No.2.

5. You see non-functional chimneys and fireplaces (even in relatively warmer stations). What is the deal with that, seriously? Are we supposed to feel the warmth by just looking at it? My kitchen has a chimney placed strategically over the stove. It is just eating up precious storage space. And the best part is that it is blocked. But is it? Wait till it starts raining — the chimney will leak like a bloody tap.

6. You see a giant shoe-rack full of — what the hell — men’s shoes? Correcto! An officer’s shoes will hijack the shoe-rack which is originally a woman’s territory. Two-three types of DMSs, a couple of running shoes, then two-three formal shoes, a fancy pair of over-expensive sports shoes, a couple of those trusted Woodland shoes and…. you get the drift right? If not, refer to the ‘drift’ in point No.1. In my house, there was no place for a second shoe-rack. As Major Sa’ab’s footwear was literally falling out of the 5-6 storied rack, I finally had to get a space-saver shoe hanger for myself, you know, the one which one hangs at the back of a door and has pockets to keep the footwear. This borders on domestic abuse but what to do!

When glitter can boots simply cannot share the same shoe rack. Picture clicked by another Army wife Sheetal Sahay.

When glitter and boots simply cannot share the same shoe rack. Picture clicked by another Army wife Sheetal Sahay.

PS: All pictures in this post are from the houses of real Army families. And I am thankful to all of them as they allowed me to raid these special corners of their quarters.

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Mom, dad, I love him!

Damn it is not easy! This is my pathetic attempt at making that heart sign. Major Sa'ab says it looks more like a pahadi aloo.

Damn it is not easy! This is my pathetic attempt at making that heart sign. Major Sa’ab says it looks more like a pahadi aloo.

Unfortunately for Major Sa’ab, I am a very unromantic person. At least as far as roses, teddies, cards and chocolates go. I don’t mind the candles, because you know, you can always use them when the electricity goes off (which is a problem in Army accommodations too). Heck I am the kind of person who corrected grammar and punctuation in Major Sa’ab’s first love letter and sent it back to him (can’t mess with journalist on that one).

So you can imagine how flustered Major Sa’ab was, looking for a way to express his love when he was pretty sure that the usual gestures would end up being laughed at – by me!

Being the brave soldier of the Indian Army that he is, Major Sa’ab did try those stunts AFTER we got married, which was two years ago. Now that I am married to him, I obviously can’t run away, so he went all mushy on me last Valentines Day and on our anniversary as well!

But this is after marriage na! The first time he proposed his love to me was in totally un-DDLJ style. He texted me. I replied back. He texted again. I replied again. He said he was in love with me. I said give me time to decided whether I love you too, but I am definitely attracted to you. Over the next 20 days, he said “I love you” so many times, that I had to give in and during one of our nocturnal phone conversations, I said “I love you too”, partly to shut him up! As if!

Bluestone
This pic reminds me of the time I used to show my ring to others after getting engaged. 😛

But after so many years, I am amazed that not a day passes without us saying ‘I love you’ to each other. I have never heard my parents express their love for each other in front of us (I highly doubt they did it in person as well). More than expressing my love to Major Sa’ab, I found it more difficult to tell my parents that I am in love.

Though they had given me the freedom to marry anyone I like, they never missed a chance to warn me that the guy should be from our religion. I had my moments of pleasure in tormenting my parents about this (admit it, we all like to see our parents worrying about us).

I would torture them with made-up stories of my fake boyfriend Rashid, though they got used to it later on. So when the time came for me to tell them I am indeed in love with Major Sa’ab, I was lost for words. Not because of any religious conflict because we both were form the same religion, but because we simply didn’t know how to start this conversation with our parents.

But thankfully, my sense of humour and adventure (not at all inherited from anyone in my family) got the better of me.

So after a late night movie, Major Sa’ab dropped me home with instructions to tell my parents about us asap. “Ji Sa’ab”, I replied back in true military style. We both worked in different cities but were in our hometown that week to break the big news.

I went inside, announced grandly that I have something important to declare. Sleepy-eyed papa and wide awake mummy followed me to the living room.

“Just because you have been after my life to get married, I have found a guy,” was my opening line. That’s right, blame it on them.

“Okay. Who is it?”

“See, now don’t panic,” I said, as they both sat up, alarmed. “It’s not Rashid.” They relaxed a bit. “But I think you should prepare yourself for this, he is a Christian,” I finished the sentence. Within nanoseconds, my mom’s palm went to her forehead and papa started shaking his head.

I give them a lot of credit for asking for more details.

“What’s his name, what does he do?” my dad asked.

“His name is Edwin, he is from Goa, and he is a DJ.”

“What is a DJ?” my mom looked puzzled.

Arre those guys who play music in parties,” my dad answered. When you put it like that, DJ sounds more like a bandwala in a marriage function. Which was why my mom went supersonic!

“He plays music for a living! Naach gana karta hai wo!” she squeaked. Now that sounded like I was marrying a bar dancer.

I was not done yet. “Please don’t be rude to him when you meet him. His appearance is slightly odd, I should warn you. He has long hair and facial piercings.”

By this time, their BP had reached a high/low mark (I think it’s different for them on different occasions) and they were mentally striking off my name from their Will.

Finally my dad said, “Do whatever you want, it’s your life after all.” And I regret that I burst out laughing at that very moment. I should have waited a little longer to see what other filmy dialogues they were gonna hurtle my way.

“Oh ho don’t worry. I was kidding. I am in love with Major Sa’ab (then Captain Sa’ab). I want to marry him,” I said as their BP instantly shot back to normal.

“Aaaaah! We knew it.” They did not.

And that was how I proposed to my parents. In India, proposing to parents is more important. And a couple of years later, Major Sa’ab and I got married. And I have ever since been hearing the “Sound of love”.

I hear it when he wakes me up with a bed tea (not always, I am not THAT lucky). I hear it when his car comes to a stop in the driveway. I hear it when he groans about me teaching him how to cook. I hear it when he says “Shabaash” while giving me driving lessons. I hear it (I have put on the ‘maybe not sure expression here) when he launches his abusive rant on the phone directed to those training under him. I hear it when he jumps like a surprised kitten when I place my ice-cold hands on his neck during winters. I hear it when he snores at night, and then snores in a different tune after I poke him.

But if there is something that I associate more deeply with his love, it is my ringtone! It is the guitar tune of the song “Agar mein kahoon” form the movie Lakshya, where an Army officer falls for a journalist (that’s our story, only with good-looking people).

So whenever my Major Sa’ab calls me from remote places during long periods of separation which is common in Army, my heart skips a beat. I hear my Sound of Love. That ringtone reminds me of the lovely days we’ve spent (including the Valentine’s Day when he got beaten up by me for gifting me a red teddy bear).

I am participating in the #SoundOfLove activity atBlogAdda in association with Bluestone If I win that gold band, I will work towards achieving WORLD PEACE. That is, after I scandalise my husband by declaring that I bought it. The picture at the top of the post has been clicked by me, and is copyright protected, so don’t get naughty. Check out the video (below) where this hot chick says yes to a guy only when he says I love you dil se. She is the same chick in the picture I posted above, showing that finger to us. Deva re deva!

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