Wear his ring, not his rank!

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Okay! Cool! Your husband is <insert his rank here>. That’s awesome. That’s more than awesome. I would love if you could thank him on my behalf for serving our country with his blood and sweat. Trust me, I understand, how much it takes to be away from family, friends, love, hometown, and everything that, in multiple ways, is a part of his identity. And of course, if you were not his pillar of strength, he wouldn’t be where he is right now. I am explicitly stating that he could not have done any of this without you. But oh dear, that’s where your role ends.

Being married to an army man, I know I always take the second precedence. Duty comes first, always — without any ifs, buts, whys, and why-nots . He has taken that oath and as his life partner, I must help him stand by his words. Well, but then, frankly, I am not doing this for the country, I am doing this for my man, and here is what makes his role very different from my role.

I rejoice his success. I help him overcome a failure. But I don’t sit in his chair or walk in his office, uninvited. They are his, not mine! I married my man for who he is, not for the brass on his shoulders; so of course, with or without the uniform, I take pride in my man and love him with all my heart.

Someone I know introduced herself to me in the first meeting as the wife of the second-in-command in the unit and I couldn’t help but chuckle. “Oh dear! you are not married to an appointment. You are married to a gentleman — all in flesh and blood“, I so wanted to say. But better late than never, Mrs so&so.

No, hold on! That’s not all. Some women talk about helping out their husbands with the duties.

So, am I supposed to share my husband’s duties? No, the answer is — I am not trained to do his tasks. I may be a coder, a doctor, a teacher, but of course, I am not supposed to take strategic or welfare related decisions for the unit/sub-unit on his behalf. I am not supposed to give any instructions to the staff meant to assist him. So, buddy bhaiya certainly is not arranging the school uniforms for kids in my house and escorting my babies and babas to the school bus stops. And in return, I am not grooming their wives. I trust their parents to have groomed the girls well. If at all they need my advice, I would love to offer one, but not in the capacity of an officer’s wife — but in the capacity of a fellow human being who shares similar problems as theirs. Do I feel great that they think that I am worthy of giving them advice? Oh yes! Of course. But I am no one to shove my choices in their life. For example, unless I am a Sangeet Visharad myself and they have come to me to learn music, I am not qualified to tell a JCO/OR wife, “Tumahara sur hi nahie lagta hai! (You can’t sing well!)”

I am glad that the men in uniform — full of chivalry and class — miss no opportunity to show us respect. Whether it is an NCO in the mess offering me a glass of cold water on a super sunny day or an officer pulling a chair for me at a formal dinner, I feel glad that ‘my husband’ socializes with men who respect women. I am proud that army as an organization welcomes me with open arms despite I NOT being a part of it in any official capacity. I remain a civilian. So, women who pass nasty comments on civilians make me wonder, “When did you don the OG, dear lady?”. Last I checked, you were a civilian yourself.

Also, how much ever I love my husband — he certainly is not the be-it-all of my existence. I have a career. My political viewpoint is different from his and we debate, the army parties are not the only occasions I shop for, and oh yes, he didn’t have to ‘groom me’ — my parents & alma mater did that really well.

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However proud I am of my husband for the person he is and, to some extent, the hardships he takes in the line of his duty, that’s not the only thing I am proud of in my life. There are many more achievements to my credit other than being an army wife, an-almost-single-mother, and grooming the ladies around me. So, when women say they gave the life to army because they couldn’t have enough time beyond army activities! Sorry, the army never asked for it! You did it out of your own free will. You did it for your life partner. Blame him with all your might for making your life challenging, but blame the army! Nay!!!

I am not taking away the fact that your life could have been easier if he was not in the army. He chose that life and you chose him! Ah! But that doesn’t mean, you show off his rank instead of his ring.

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To Mrs Satan and her cult with love!

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Until 25 years of my life, I was unaware of Mrs Satan and her cult. Mrs Satan’s cult includes very peculiar kind of women. They are urban but not suave. They are well-dressed but uncouth. They might be occasionally seen in branded western wear and sunglasses, but they are the strongest believer of misogyny. They despise women who talk about equality and talk about being child-free all their life. If Mrs Satan’s cult ruled the world, they will announce capital punishment for all women who give more importance to their careers than worldly gossips that Mrs Satan’s cult thrives on.

On a regular day, you will see Mrs Satan talking about the importance of being a devoted and loving wife to her husband and a dedicated mother who sacrificed her (not so) thriving career for her children. But after she has consumed a few shots of vodka, she will tell you how much she has sacrificed for the main man in her life – who is not even thankful enough. You see Mrs Satan married Mr Satan in the hope of climbing up the social ladder, but Mr Satan was a simple man and didn’t rise much in-spite of Mrs Satan’s sacrifices, vices, and social plotting. Now, Mrs Satan, who is terribly upset at this unplanned full stop to her social rising, can’t even express disappointment because in her own words – “No one else could have dealt with her so patiently for so long”.

Now, Mrs Satan and most women in her cult come from remote countryside places and have always dreamed about their prince charming flying in economy-class flights to rescue them from the ‘small towns’ they detest. Despite being aware of their limitations, they are an extremely confident lot. While they can’t pronounce Krug Clos d’Ambonnay correctly, they will hold their champagne glasses in so much style that Audrey Hepburn might feel inferior.

If you have to see the real side of Mrs Satan’s personality, wait for her to talk to her house-help. Mrs Satan, who has strong opinions about house-keeping and child-rearing will abuse the domestic help in the choicest manner with colorful abuses in front of her kids. Right from the time her kids have started understanding words and surroundings in general – Mrs Satan has told them about their social status and privileged upbringing. So, obviously, her kids are not allowed to touch, play with, and be around people who are even one level beneath Mrs Satan’s ‘presumed’ high-class society.

If Mrs Satan ever created a Curriculum Vitae to apply for a job, her list of achievements would include: paintings that she bought but claimed to have painted, home decor items purchased from ‘Ravivari’ markets but presented with an expensive home decor label, and a big, big paragraph about how she has fulfilled her motherly duties much better than other women around her – who leave their kids ‘orphaned’ while they go for work.

Mrs Satan hates beautiful women. In a happening party, a ‘beautiful woman’ (by all conventional standards) happened to catch the fancy of all men. Mrs Satan who felt extremely sidelined and insulted, then, spoke about how she will never dress in a revealing manner to get attention from the opposite sex. Mrs Satan hurled abuses at the beautiful lady because she happened to be smart as well. Mrs Satan gathered her cult around her and spoke about how this beautiful lady is not even concerned about her husband’s needs and is often travelling out for work.

Mrs Satan hates women like me as well. Partially because we don’t compete with her socially and partially because we are not enamored by her fake charm. Mrs Satan makes a point to talk about the importance of work-life balance whenever she is in my proximity despite not having worked a single day in her life, simply because she feels women like me waste their lives trying to achieve professional competence which our husbands are anyways bestowed with, simply by the virtue of their gender. Mrs Satan like a nosy neighborhood aunt also shows a lot of interest in my soon-to-expire reproductive system by simply reminding me that I will soon cross the most ‘fertile’ period of my life and miss the joys of motherhood if I delay pregnancy even by a day now. Alas! What a waste of life! She also tells me that the only way full-proof way to ensure that my man doesn’t stray is to serve him ‘ilish mach’ at least twice a week.

Mrs Satan, as I told you, is an interesting woman with a fan following of many women like her. Ah, I despise myself for not being included by her in her ‘young women grooming club’. But then, not everybody can be this lucky!

Life, my friends, is difficult!

 

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There are people who are epitome of elegance & there are people who are epitome of chaos. I belong to the latter category. People who know me don’t get surprised when I trip from the staircase &  spill tea all over myself even when I am not in a hurry. But that’s me – and I am unapologetic about it. Now, this sentence about being unapologetic has been deliberately added here to subtly put across the point that chaos in my life doesn’t end even when I try. But then you, my dear readers, must know what happens when someone like me, a Ms. Chaos, pretends to be Mrs. Elegance. Swirls of emotions attack me every now & then, and here is a glimpse of those emotions:

  1. Nostalgia: But, you know, I attended 6:30 a.m. lectures in college in shorts & slippers and it was so bloody me! Who is the person I see in the mirror?
  2. Discipline, say what?: Not that I have ever been in a rebel, I definitely plugged in headphones when I was lectured about poor attendance. I have sneaked out of lectures and arranged for proxy attendance. So, arrive-before-time is a concept I am still getting acquainted with.
  3. What’s cooking, PASTA?: I am extremely ‘jugadoo’ (there is no better English word for it; ‘resourceful’ just tones down the impact) when you need something edible to be fixed in 2 minutes. I can make tea by using an immersion rod, boil Maggi over the iron box, roast papad by using the iron box but, dude, don’t ask me what goes in my favorite Arrabiata Pasta. That’s too much for my gentle soul to handle!
  4. Wish I could do this as easily as others:( : Take for example, draping a saree – I take 3 hours to get it in place. Then I take another 3 hours to feel comfortable in it. Then I take another 3 hours to take out the safety pins that I almost put through my skin. Saree is a 9-hours affair for me. And I really respect people who take 10 mins to drape it and can run for a marathon with their saree perfectly in place. I take a bow!
  5. Husband, who? Oh husband! My husband!: Now, my husband has been a friend much longer than he has been my husband. So, while his name rings a bell – I am still getting used to the word ‘husband’ and his husband-like tantrums!
  6. I-know-I-am-sounding-stupid: “Well, sorry but I have not seen anything in Fuchsia in my life so far. Color codes in RGB, please? Ah! Does it help to tell you that I design websites – but I need color codes for that.  May be, I feel less stupid now! Sigh! I know I am sounding crazy!!!
  7. Help me, Dear Lord: Help me Dear Lord, as I have to address a crowd of 100 facing towards me and not just make sense but sound inspirational. Did I excuse myself from morning prayers because of crowd phobia back in school? Never thought of Karma biting my back then!

Life, my friends, is difficult!

Huffington Post: The 4 Stages Of Fitting In As A Fauji Wife

Coming from a ‘civilian’ background, I had no clue that faujis speak a completely different language. So, I was surprised at my husband’s surprise over my addressing my boss by her first name. “That’s how we address colleagues, don’t we?” I said, at which his eyes almost popped out. “She is your boss–super-boss–isn’t she? Isn’t it considered disrespectful to address her by her first name?”I couldn’t help but burst into hysterical laughter.

That was my first ever insight into how faujis think. Having been married for only a year and with my husband on a ‘field posting’ I know I have a lot more to learn and can happily claim to be ignorant of fauji manners for some more time.

Read More: http://www.huffingtonpost.in/richa-kashyap/the-fauji-life-for-a-new-_b_9459154.html?utm_hp_ref=india