A Curious Army Wife

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

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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61 thoughts on “You know you are in a fauji home when…

  1. Aww..such a sweet post honey! You are most welcome any day to click more pictures. Mundane stuff looks so much more gorgeous on your blogs. Thanks for covering something that is so obvious to us, that we keep overlooking it.

  2. Amarjeet Kaur on said:

    Excellent write up.Fauzi wife is unique & so also the husbands.

  3. Good one 🙂
    All these points are so valid especially the crystal one and the hat collection :p

  4. Dr Shikha Kapur on said:

    👏👏really got a good peep into a faujis life and home……loved reading it thanks Navreet Mam for sharing with me

  5. hahahaha………..I have all these in my house :)…….very well written

  6. manisha. on said:

    Forgot the best part … They settle their house in every two years .. and the condition of most of their houses are ….. wow

  7. What a wonderful post, covers all the points of a fauji home. Nicely done.
    May I request you to think of another word for this tag line in your header – “I joined this crazy tribe when I married into the Indian Army.” for ‘crazy’
    Just think it is not the most apt and complimentary word for army.
    Thanks.

  8. Smiled a mile thru this 🙂 Well written with that dash of craziness we are infamous for !

  9. anindita sharma on said:

    Very well written and extremely true! Shifting from an army family to a naval one, my MES experience has just become better 😉

    • Oh I remember we once visited Major Sa’ab’s coursemate who is a Naval officer. The condition of the house and the fact that they got maggi in their monthly ration was enough for me to wish things were as rosy in Army too! Enjoy your leak-proof house 🙂

  10. Anupam mathur on said:

    Very well written …I have all these in my house.

  11. You forgot the Chess Board, that’ll be laid open at all times. When you try to wrap it and pack, a commanding voice’ll pierce into your heart saying, ‘A fauji is always at war; leave it untouched.’ And if you counter that by saying,’But the game is finished. Why don’t I pack it in now and later when you wish to play, I’ll take it out for you. What’s the point in leaving the pieces arranged forever?’ And this time you’ll get a much glorified statement, ‘A fauji may not be at war at all times; but he’s always ready for it.’ 😛

    • Hahaha, that sounds like almost every other fauji I’ve met. Battle-comparisons are common in Army households, I get it now. Earlier I used to think Major Sa’ab (my husband’s) ka hi screw dheela hai. 😛

  12. col arun joshi(retd) on said:

    The wooden/steel boxes as settee , a brass arty amn shell as a base for a pedestal lamp, a glass eagle shaped bottle(mekans) as a decorative piece, a small pad and a string secured pencil at the main door, a door knocker since the MES call bell does not function- in the good old days. Guess all that has been phased out

  13. Oh wow ,you made me smile, I mean seriously, bang on….. 🙂

  14. Loved the way this was written! I’m from a Navy background, Father, two brothers, and son in the Navy, and apart from the fireplaces, I guess everything holds true 😀

    Enjoyed the tongue-in-cheek humour 🙂

    • Ah yes, I double-checked with my uncle who is in the Navy about the fireplace thing. He also said that thankfully MES had the good sense of not installing fireplaces in coastal areas. What a killjoy :D.
      Appreciate your kind words :). I’ve followed your blog also, the first post caught my attention.

  15. Harish Vaidya on said:

    I am retires fauji staying in non Army location at mid size town. No matter how I have tried to look a typical civilian, I find we still possess all things mentioned and displayed proudly.

  16. Archana Chaudhry on said:

    Lovely article!!!! If I may add to it…the decor will also clearly show the places where all one has been posted to!!!!

  17. I can so relate to everything here. And written very well too. 🙂

  18. Hey very nicely written! All the points are so so true.. 🙂 Request to include “Before” and “After” taking over the house…again its a life time experience in each station!

  19. neharika on said:

    Too gud, very true

  20. So true! I completely agree with you on the shoe rack hegemony 😀

  21. Hi! Nice read! I was actually mentally ticking off what all is there in my home! :p (and i dont think i need to say got almost all the boxes ticked!) And the shoe rack point is probably the Most valid….i remember going on vacations or weekend breaks the 1st year of our marriage and being told to pack light….but after a couple of trips i learnt that for my hubby travelling light still includes at least 4-5 pairs of footwear 😀

    All in all…Interesting blog….it also set me thinking wat else is there in all fauji homes, like carpets of all shapes and sizes, the mhow paintings, wrought iron furniture, especially the swing, And soooo many precis’… enjoyed reading….all the best!

    • Oh good so it is not just me who frowns when Major Sa’ab packs formal clothes and shoes even when preparing for a holiday… I think they are just being cautious in case they run into a fauji gathering. 😛

  22. Ritin Yadav on said:

    Very aptly brought out.
    Just to add on…a bar (design stolen from any home decor website)….a hukkah (used more as a decorative item rather than an actual hukkah)…..trunks of various sizes (used mostly as seaters in drawing rooms after breaking their shape)…and not to forget paintings from Mhow (obviously we think its better than a Hussain)

  23. Pushpa Bhat on said:

    Hi!!! this one is so true..i have almost all of these. I had just told my husband, a few days back, about this fan being everywhere 🙂

  24. Very charming and entertaining. Well it’s a “home” you love returning to for the $million smile she wears on seeing you – most precious, of course among the other relevant stuff to earn the title Fauji !!

  25. Loved it thoroughly! What a delightful read 🙂

  26. Christina on said:

    I totally loved this article. It is 100% true. We army wives have such fabulous and beautiful homes that we love so much. Thinking about every corner and wall and feel very proud by EOD. Army wives live life with style and Aura. Something that makes us stand out and Unique. A thing that I would like to add to this list
    “The Brass decoration’s”.
    Once again ‘excellent’ article.
    Cheers 🙂

  27. SATYENDRA SINGH on said:

    That’s amazing factors collaboration in typical army home in your blog. Few things are missing ie various scotch brands, precious number of gifts, mometo, rack of cosmetics purchased from canteens, too much xxl size trolleys and much

  28. Thoroughly enjoyed your blog!

    I grew up in a Civil Servant’s house (during the late 70s and 80s) and guess what, most options check! Everything except the cap stand. I also lived in a Bungalow with a fireplace in a place like Coimbatore! And the chimney…well the kitchen roof caved in, so when they repaired the place, they left the chimney out! I inherited that tea-bush table! Well, in addition we had lots of deer horn and bison horn as décor!

  29. zeliangp on said:

    great write up, and so matter-of-fact – to the point.

  30. Sonika on said:

    Hahaha…Very true.

  31. Sneha on said:

    Hey, long story short. My “would be” who also happens to Capt. Saab introduced me to your blog in attempts at getting a hang of what it means to be an army wife, this was the first blog url that he shared with me so I distinctly recall it. Today I was aimlessly reading posts on fb and happened to chance on the exact same article being posted by someone else. Of course one wonderful lady mentioned the link to your article stating that author was different person but it got lost in the trail of messages. Having studied and enjoyed learning IPR I thought you deserved credit and copyright to it. I am sure you won sue the lady in concern. All the same you can bask in the glory that your blog has found way to whole lot more people. Here’s the link ” https://www.facebook.com/groups/faujihumour/permalink/659221784206331/ “. Cheerios

    • Oh dear, I have been grappling with this problem a lot. Just three days back a friend told me a trick to prevent my content from getting copied. High time to implement it! Thanks for bringing it to my notice though :). And good luck to you and ur capt sa’ab.

  32. So verry true..
    We let our men dominate the shoe racks n cupboards n trunks full of uniforms and cap stands n ash trays, n curios they got us from Congo to Kalimpong to Nubhra…..we proudly decorate the whole den with their stuff all over the place..may be more so ..bcz they are never around…

  33. Shipra on said:

    Hi Anamika.. very nice read.. and new for me because I don’t have anyone from my family in Army yet. By the way I got this blog’s link form “worldofmoms.com” where you write articles. But I must say it would be a tough job to manage a “fauji home” 🙂

    • Thank you Shipra for dropping by. It’s so refreshing to have you here, women from non-Army background rarely read my posts! 😛 Managing a fauji home is just as difficult as managing a non-fauji home I guess.
      It’s just that women put their feet up and let their hair down when the husband is away for months !! So that’s a breather, which we all ignore because we worry about husbands more 😀 .

  34. Very Nice Info 🙂

  35. gagan deep on said:

    Too good madam.Relieve some old memories.

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