Life as an Army Wife is no ballroom dancing! [ #Guestpost ]

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I loved the warm vibes and friendly tones in my online interactions with Shalini R Nair who is an avid cook, fiction writer and holds the distinction of a much read/followed army wife who blogs. Not one but two blogs!!! Her cookery blog has sumptuous and easy to follow recipes while her second blog is her love for life in all its glory. She was one of the first online friend I made – a friendship that’s treasured to this day. This is her first time on my blog and I am bursting with pride to present her viewpoint on her life as an army wife!!

What it takes to be an Army Wife

Of course, life in the Army is fascinating! But do you think it is easy for us? That everything is given to us wrapped in a beautiful gift? We have learned it the hard way. Life as an Army Wife is no ballroom dancing!


“When is your Deployment due?”

It was three days before my wedding to the Olive Green when the photographers decided to do a photo shoot for the wedding album. While I had butterflies in my stomach, smiling and looking into his eyes, he blurted out, “I am deployed to a remote location in J&K and I should report on duty after seven days of our wedding”. My whole world came crashing down and the song from the movie BorderTo Chalun” started playing in my head. No kidding! So, no! You never know when your deployment is due. You might have to move on ten days notice. That means packing up your entire home in boxes and moving along with your kids and dogs.

Living out of a box!

When I took a peek into his bachelor accommodation for the first time after wedding, other than his belongings in apple-pie order, what caught my eye was the number of black boxes he owned; twenty-three of them – two packed with military books, one with winter clothes, two with uniforms, another two for his shoes, one for his caps and then a few more which had a stag head, ten Buddha idols, three beautiful wall fans for decor and much more. Needless to say, I added another twenty boxes by the time we moved for our first posting after the wedding.

Calling On

“Mam… Coffee, please”, is a customary anthem you get to hear along with loud bangs on the door at midnight. These are your soldier’s junior officers and wives; and you ought to put up your brightest of smiles even in this Goddamn hour, welcome them in, prepare coffee and Maggi.

It is fun, I tell you!

There are also times when the husband calls up at six in the evening, to announce that he has invited a couple of officers for dinner. A dinner always is an elaborate meal. I have learned to prepare four appetizers, roti, rice, dal, two curries, two sides and a dessert in 90-minutes time. I kid you not!

We also always try to help our new neighbors with an invitation for lunch or dinner. We can also take care of their adorable Beagle and Labrador in case of an emergency. That’s because we understand the importance of coming together. Because when your husband is away guarding the borders, these friendships bring the much-needed warmth into our lives.

The Army Wife Wardrobe

We love to dress up! Who don’t you might ask! How about cut-off denim shorts, buttoned up shirt, cowboy hats, and boots? Or anarkhalis, gold and silver braid, and gorgeous jewelry? A stunning LBD and five-inch heels? Along with traditional attires, a complete winter wardrobe and sportswear, we also have a huge collection of sarees – Leheriya from Rajasthan, Chikan from Lucknow and Kasavu from Kerala. And believe me, we wear them all on different formal/informal occasions.

The Weird Questions!

Let’s face it! All the Army Wives go through this humiliation or bewilderment of some popular questions asked by our civilian friends and relatives. While some are outright funny, often we feel like giving a smack on the face. These are about our Sahayak (who according to them is a servant), free ration (which is now not issued), free liquor (seriously?), and getting them Raybans, laptops or even Maggi from CSD/Canteen (no comments!). I have been asked once whether my husband has killed anyone! Well…well…

Forget You Have a Job!

Whether you’ve done your Masters in Engineering or Business Administration, or you have got an MBBS, LLB, CA or a Ph.D. degree I’d say, our career is one huge sacrifice which we ought to make – maybe as early as the first day of marriage, two months, three or ten years! After all, you cannot find an IT company in the hillocks of Pithoragarh or the snow-clad mountains in Leh.

Pangs of Separation

Nahin! Humko darr nahin lagta! Even when he is posted in a field location with no telephone connectivity and you wouldn’t get a call from him for days together, we ought to put on a brave face, assume the role of a plumber, electrician, and a doctor and a driver to our kids during the bloodshed! Because… heavens! They are Army Brats!

Be Prepared!

Unforeseen, unpredictable situations are not a new thing for us. When the news of my husband’s coursemate, a very dear friend – Lt. Col. Niranjan’s martyrdom was known, it was devastating, to say the least. We live a life of fear. Of terror. Of alarm. To sum it up, we at the Fauj says, ‘Love your spouse with the opportunity you have. No one is guaranteed a tomorrow”.

You are & will always be his second wife…

… that is if you’re lucky! Our soldier’s first and ultimate love will always be his Uniform. Their love for machines, arms, and guns is eternal, for they are their best friend in times of trouble. And I dare not mention about their ardent love for the Bullet – Royal Field. Phew! Thank God that we are at least a part of their life.

Army Wives are proud and passionate and belong to the silent ranks. If given a chance to do things all over again, I’d still not hesitate to choose this life!

This guest post has been written for the birthday celebration on my blog all of september 2017


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26 thoughts on “Life as an Army Wife is no ballroom dancing! [ #Guestpost ]

  1. My respect for defence folks has only grown after our Ladakh visit. Shalini, I don’t have a friend or relative from my generation in the Army so these things are so new. Love you and P for the sacrifices you make for us. The fellow Indians. ❤️

  2. Firstly , let me congratulate both the Shalinis !

    Shalzz…..may Ur blog reach greater heights.

    Shaalu…. Nice write up . 23 boxes for a bachelor?! Looks like he very thoughtfully had purchased most of the things for u 🙂 I am sure u guyz r having a gr8 time in fauj.

    Nice to see both my very first online friends colloborating together on this.Love you gals

    1. Awww M thats such a sweet thing to say!! I am glad we connected too and became friends; now we need to meet someday soonest. BTW I would love to host you on my blog too – love your writing a lot! 🙂

    2. Thanks, Meenakshi. I swear he had so many boxes! I was shocked! His deployment to North East and Bhutan resulted in some gorgeous home decor I should say 😛

  3. Shalzz your post is WOWZA….. This is one of the best, written from the heart post with so much love and joy mirrored in it despite the innumerable odds that arent in your favour! Salute to a brave woman and wife!!! Love & hugs 🙂

    1. Thanks a lot for the opportunity, Shalz and for the kind words you said. I absolutely adore this space of yours and I am so so happy to have written this article for you. Love that you loved it! <3

  4. Shalini, It is only after reading your blogs, Indy’s and Ramya’s that I realised how tough it is to be an army wife. But you girls are literally the air beneath your husband’s wings.

  5. What an amazing post! Every single army wife’s courage shines through this post. Hats off to the bravehearts who keep us safe, and to their supportive families. A big thank you to both the Shalinis for giving me the opportunity to read this.

  6. I was misty eyed throughout this post, Shalini! My mami, my cousin, my bhabhi, and my aunt are all army wives, and I know pretty well the lives you lead. My respect to all you brave women…we civilians can’t even imagine what sacrifices you (along with your spouses) make for our country! God bless you all!

  7. Oh I live reading Shalini’s posts. Indeed I find her style engaging and endearing . I feel she should be the spokesperson for the Indian Army to get more motivated and committed people to join up

  8. I love reading Shalini’s post, I was gigling when she mentioned about the questions asked by us (civilians) my best friend is married with a star studded army man and her lifestyle, her dressing, her we are one culture gives me goose bumps. RESPECT all the way for these men and their wives. Lovely post.

    Shalz… amazing, I am hooked to your blog with so much variety in reading. More power to you gal.

  9. Dear Army wives,
    STOP references to fictional stories, Border and Pukar. Blog the reality. It’s fine.. We want to read nonfiction too. For example:
    As a wife of a major, I’m entitled to following benefits:
    If my husband is injured to an extent that he becomes immobile, below are benefits offered
    If my husband is martyred, I am entitled to

    Now, let’s blog.

    Services was chosen by your husbands as an income source. I chose wineries as an income source. Let’s respect each other equally.

    1. Though I didnt find your comment very pleasant, I have approved it to be published Yuvi so that Shalini can respond to it. I didnt find anything about her blog on her life as an army wife to be OTT romantic or movie inspired. She has written this post from her viewpoint and how she copes with it. She has done a wonderful job of expressing her sentiments and I find yours deragatory to this post.
      I dont see why anyone needs to justify or list benefits/reasons for choosing a certain life – you are right he chose his service but you are not right in listing thoughts as you have here in this comment!
      I think you really need to re-read what you have written here and your intention to write it – its offensive!!

      1. Thanks for the approval. I will await Shalini’s response.

        You may find my comment offensive as it asks direct questions. It’s certainly not derogatory.

    2. Thank you. Point noted. The only thing I found morbid in your comment was about how the services was chosen as a mere income source! But that’s okay. Everyone is entitled to their own opinions.

      1. Thanks Shalzz- you have been too kind to him! I am sorry you had to face such a comment and thank you for being so dignified in replying to it!! A big hug and much love gurl!!!

      2. Thanks for the response.

        Let’s weigh all professions Income leading to development is the only metric here. Development of his family depends upon a person’s work-life balancing skills. Rest I leave it to you to ask questions like:
        1. Isn’t it enough?
        2. How many years more of adjusting?
        3. Can we do a vacation to Australia again?
        4.Both of us know the situation. is there a need to be proud of being a couple in the army? There are better jobs outside!

  10. Ah I missed reading this earlier, but glad I caught up with it. I smiled through most of it and know that my Mom would have been nodding her head. What about AWWA – isn’t that ‘compulsory’ anymore? 🙂

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