A Curious Army Wife

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

Archive for the month “September, 2015”

FAQ No.2: Leaving my job behind

Okay everyone! Help her out. We’ve all faced this problem sometime. FAQ 2

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Black Military boxes? No no, I want some colour

An army family is going to be on the move all the time. Count yourself lucky if you get 2-3 years of an uninterrupted peace posting. Having met so many defence families, I have come to a simple conclusion — pati saath ho na ho, black fauji trunks kabhi ek fauji biwi ka saath nai chhodte.

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Colour splash!

Big black boxes… ummm, metal or wooden.. frankly I am not a great fan of those. I understand that they are a necessity, as they come handy in every shifting and moving process, but I am still not that attached to them yet. Maybe I’ll get used to them eventually.

But not black, pleeease! They look so depressing and boring. Boring Big Black Boxes. BBBB. Hah!

So when the time came for us to get extra boxes for our debut shifting experience in fauj, I had this idea that I don’t want the BBBBs. I wanted VCBB… Vibrant Colourful Big Boxes.

So all the time that I had wasted on Pinterest paid off and I chalked out a plan to colour the six boxes we’d bought in different colours. I needed some zing in my life, I don’t thinking dragging black boxes around with me would have helped the cause.

So pesh-e-khidmat hai DIY Guide to Colourful Fauji Trunks! Taaliyaan!!

The boxes in original condition.

The boxes in original condition.

Step 1: So I went ahead and bought all the things I would need to get the six boxes coloured. I had a kitschy design in mind, so bought green, blue, yellow, red and white. I also bought a primer, because you simply cannot apply paint directly onto any metal surface.

Not inside the house.. get it?

Not inside the house.. get it?

Step 2: Take the boxes outside the house, before you start painting them. Yes, it is a very important step that I swear by, because it is difficult to get rid of the smell and stains on the floor if you start painting inside the house. So go out — in the backyard, garage, or balcony. I learned this the hard way.

 

First coat of primer drying.

First coat of primer drying.

Step 3: Apply two coats of Primer to the box. It is a brownish liquid that forms a protective layer between the metal surface and everything else. You can read the rest of the stuff on the Primer’s label, I am not going to waste my time on that here. ๐Ÿ˜›

It rained every alternate day, which threw my schedule off course.

It rained every alternate day, which threw my schedule off course.

Step 4: It will take at least 2-days to get the two coats of primer on. Let it dry after the first coat, preferably for 24 hours before you start off with the next coat. Get the brush to reach every nook and corner of the box.

A friendly visit!

A friendly visit! Good thing the Primer had dried by then.

Step 5: Stray animals and birds are likely to delay this whole process.

Isn't this one looking a little blue? ;)

Isn’t this one looking a little blue? ๐Ÿ˜‰

Step 6: Decide which colour you want the base coat of the box to be. Mix the paint with maybe 30ml thinner (haha, yes, everything is fauj is measured in multiples of 30ml). You can add white paint to the colour if you want to lighten the shade a bit. Like I had bought Navy blue shade and added white to make it turquoise.

Step 7: Let the paint dry for another 24 hours. Apply a second coat of paint just to get an even finish.

I am not an artist at all. And I lose interest in any project very quickly. So I abandoned the idea of kitschy design on my trunk and decided to go for solid colours.

My living room.

My living room.

And now I have a pair of red, blue and yellow trunks. It not only felt damn refreshing to have these bright trunks around, it also helped a lot while packing as all similar stuff went into colour-coded trunks. Like kitchen stuff in two red trunks, decorative items in yellow trunks and my stuff in blue trunks. I decided against stenciling Major Sa’ab’s name on those trunks (as many Military men do), why would I want to spoil my efforts hanh! ๐Ÿ˜›

The only glitch was Major Sa’ab was leaving for a field posting and did not want to take a colourful trunk with him. In fact he specifically mentioned that he will cut all ties with me if I suggest he take the blue trunk. So he stuck to his trusted black mini-trunk, the one which he’s had since his NDA days. Fine! I’ll keep my rangeele-bakse with me.

So this is the story of my now-extremely jhataang living room, where my boxes are proudly displayed.

 

 

When Army wives start using fauji lingo… Part 2

After the first part of When Army wives start using fauji lingo (Part 1, read here) was published, I got some useful feedback from Major Sa’ab. He also suggested that I ask other Army wives to contribute the words they use regularly.

I asked around on Facebook and found some more such words, which meant a sequel to that post was long due. So here it is! Thank you ladies for contributing, your names are mentioned at the end of your ‘word’.

1. JOSH-TYPE or GOOD JOSH!

Meaning: Full of life, very active. Officers’ generally use it to describe a person who is enthusiastic and does the job without any delay.

Usage: My neighbour is a josh-type lady, apparently she took care of 90% things in the Ladies’ Meet. I wish we had someone as josh-type as her in our Unit.

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2. ROGER

Meaning: Ok. Yes.

Usage: I got a message,”Roger, will check it tomorrow”, and I asked who is Roger and whether he is known to you.

(Contributed by Himantika Kumari Dugoli)

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3. PC- PARENTAL CLAIM

Meaning: If the father of a Gentleman Cadet has been the CO/Subedar Maj/battle casualty of a particular Unit, then that GC can opt for the same Unit citing PC or Parental Claim.

Usage: Abhishek Bachchan is acting because he has a PC.
(Contributed by Archana Jha)

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4. ADM INSPECTION

Meaning: Adm (administration) Inspection is the checking of a Unit/Formation’s readiness by a higher authority. Physical fitness, Administration and Operation Roles are some things that are checked.

Usage: Adm Bandobast Pura ho gaya hai. Five guests from my sasural are coming for 10 days. Samjho mera Adm inspection hai.
(Contributed by Ranjeeta Ashes)

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5. RECCE

Meaning: Short for Reconnaissance. Going to a particular location for checking, studying and observing before the actual operation at that location takes place.

Usage: I went to the market on the first day to do a recce of all the shops there. Went next day with my proper shopping list.
(Contributed by Shimbhee Rajan)
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6. DETAILED/DETAILMEMT

MEANING: To assign some work to a soldier/officer or a group of soldiers/officers. Mostly used to denote how many people are occupied where.

Usage: I wanted to go to the handloom exhibition but my mom detailed me to take care of my nani at home till she comes back. Couldn’t leave till evening and missed the show.

9 Reasons why Maggi and Fauj are made for each other

Army maggi

We all had a harrowing time when Maggi was banned. What a relief that it’s coming back to reunite with her beloved fauji.

I keep reading about how much Maggi means more to everyone that probably a lot of other meaningful things (I am not judging them, cos I am a Maggiholic myself). But Indian Army loves Maggi like crazy. Why is Maggi such an important part of fauji life and why do faujis miss the yellow packets at CSD Canteen?

If the nation wants to know, then know nation shall.

I can think of 9 instances where faujis and Army wives find solace in Maggi’s noodley comfort.

1. When the Mess runs out of food for every-hungry cadets of the National Defence Academy, then what saves the day for them? Maggi, of course! And the preparation would put even hard core life-hackers to shame. Since cadets at NDA are not allowed to keep an electric kettle or a gas burner with them in their rooms, their inner-Einstein invented a new way of cooking Maggi.

The elaborate process involves a cadet first peeking out of his room to make sure there are no officers and senior term cadets anywhere around the room. Once that is ensured, the door is locked securely, out comes the mess tin issued to every cadet, and an iron.

The iron is balanced between books in upside-down position (so that the hot surface faces upwards) and acts like a hot plate. Mix water, masala and Maggi in the mess tin and keep it on the hot iron. Call up your girlfriend and talk for 15-20 minutes. (Yes, the Curious Army Wife knows this). Once the Maggi is cooked (well, almost), the cadets make some lame excuse to hang up and I lie not when I say that all it takes is just 10 seconds for the mess tin to be empty again! Viola!

Maggi and Anda Bhurji -- the ultimate military combo.

Maggi and Anda Bhurji — the ultimate military combo.

2. NDA traditions often get carried on to various other institutions like Indian Military Academy (Dehradun), Naval Academy and the Air Force Academy (Hyderabad). So All-India coverage of iron-mess tin-Maggi is ensured by our future officers.

3. Young officers often miss their three-course meals in the Mess to go to that Maggi shop that serves every possible variation of Maggi. Major Sa’ab swears by the cheese Maggi he survived on during his YOs in Mhow.

4. The flamboyant officers often go out on dates but end up returning home with their stomach still growling — all because the damsel wanted to go out dancing or check out the new pizza place. The fauji would obviously not want to scare the girl off by eating much much much more than her. So he returns home, calls up his sahayak, who runs off to the Mess to get hot and soupy Maggi! Fauji trupt hue!

5. Enough of this. How can Army wives lag behind in this Maggi eating-spree. She gets her first taste of fauji Maggi when she gets married and joins her husband for the first time in a peace station. More often than not, it takes from a few days to a few months for a house to get allotted to them. Till then, khana-peena is done in the Mess. But one fine day the lady would say, “I am sick and tired of dressing up for meals. I want to eat in my pajamas and I WANT MAGGI!”

6. Then when the couple is allotted a house, the new-age digital wife is obviously going to spend more time on Facebook and Watsapp (and my blog) than in the kitchen. She then suddenly realises that it is 1300hrs already and she hasn’t prepared lunch. Koi tension nai, Maggi hai na! Maggi

7. The sleepy couple doze off at night only to be woken up at around midnight by the sound of the doorbell. A normal civilian family would obviously panic. Who could it be at this hour? Is everything alright? But a fauji couple never gets anxious. They wake up and open the door (withoutย  looking through the peep-hole or asking who’s there) because they know there is a pack of hungry young officers (and ladies too) waiting outside for a midnight party! Don’t worry, this is common practice in fauj. Now the pack has to be fed.

Had it been 1970s, the lady of the house would have promptly prepared aloo ke parathe or something like that. But not our aaj-ki naari.

She knows the short cuts, and Maggi is the shortest of the cuts. In fact the Curious Army Wife is always on a lookout for the easy way out! Four packets and some veggies are enough to feed the pack. The group leaves happy and satisfied… at around 0300hrs.

8. The wife is visiting her parents in another city. The officer is at home studying for some godforsaken test. He misses his wife and her food. The maid is there to cook, but her daal is not as good as his wife’s. After putting in a few hours of studying, the officer gets up, enters the kitchen and makes the only thing he can make in there — Maggi. If there is one thing he can make right from his academy days, it is Maggi. He slurps the last strand of the noodle and goes back to his desk to fall asleep on top of his books.

Cook a tricoloured recipe. Ye lo ji Tiranga Maggi!

Cook a tricoloured recipe. Ye lo ji Tiranga Maggi!

9. Somewhere up there on mountain is a group of Jawans on their regular duty. They are thousands of kilometres away from home. Huddled up around a small fire to keep them warm, they often have chai and Maggi as a quick evening snack. Maggi might not take 2-minutes to cook, but it takes less than 1 minute for that Jawan to gobble it down. And then it’s business as usual.

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