Four years ago, I fell in love with a Sapper officer. Barely a year later, I got engaged, and soon married him. And, when the time came for me to stay with my husband, an armyman, I was made to put up with a student of B-tech. Before you get to any wrong conclusion let me clear that the Sapper officer, RR officer and the student is all but one person. Call it irony of life or irony of an army man’s wife, but within four years of my marriage I have realised what it means to be an armyman’s wife — indeed, your life is full of surprises. So far, my life has been a rollercoaster ride, with joyous moments. Being a daughter of an army officer, I presumed that adjusting to my “new lifestyle” would be quite easy. But let me confess, it is the same as learning something in the classroom and putting it to use on field.
I found myself being addressed as “Aunty” or “Mrs Sandhu” as against “beta” or “didi” from my childhood days. And then there were other, albeit small, changes that took time to gel with my style. Then again, as they say: life is unpredictable, something happened that turned out to be a blessing in disguise. I got an opportunity to revisit my childhood home. My husband is an officer from Corps of Engineers, he got posted to College of Military Engineering in Pune for his degree, (In the Army circles it is jokingly referred to as three years of full paid leave while being in service). This came as surprise to me. For long ago, in my childhood, my father was posted in Pune for two years. We lived in a huge bungalow on the Mumbai-Pune highway. It was a British era house with huge rooms and lots of space.
The morning after we landed in Pune, I found myself standing outside the very house, this time with my husband and 8-month-old child. Tears welled up in my eyes as moments of my childhood flashed in my mind. I went back to the days when I was a six-year-old and used to run about the house. The house was in a dilapidated condition and had been reduced to shambles, bu that did nothing to affect the fondness I had for it. Now that there existed the MAP (Married Accommodation Project), nobody wanted to stay in old bungalows. Needless to say, it still looked welcoming. My lifestyle changed, from hanging out at small joints with friends to hosting tea parties or attending some after marriage. One has to agree that army and parties go hand in hand. Practically there is a party for everything in fauj.
The way I carried myself changed overnight, I could no longer slip into any casual wear and get ready for the party. Sneakers were out, stilettoes and sandals were in. Saree conquered my wardrobe, I memorised everyday that silk, crepes’ are for winters, georgettes and chiffons are for summers. Not to forget, simple suits and cotton sarees worn for welfare meets. I did my look with elegant jewellery of pearls. Chunky jewellery was a big no-no. In short, army did to me what the Fairy Godmother did to Cinderella — an overnight transformation. My vehicle was not the carriage but the gypsy. My counterparts married to civilians feel that this nomadic style of living, shifting every two-three years, bidding frequent good byes to our husbands is very difficult. I agree, but then it takes a few among us to be a “Lady wife”. And I am happy just being that.