Accidental Marriage


Accidents happen. This happened in 2015...



Bliss is

...Soldier coming home.

Do you?

miss him more in a party?

I do.

#separationinthearmy


Pretty Much!


On Separation in the Military



Soldier is away. I do not know for how long. May be a month, or two. Or even more. We never know.

This is our first official time of separation-due-to-duty after marriage, ignoring the two times I was away visiting both sides of the families.

And it sucks! No, really. No better way to describe it.

I do not feel like getting out of bed every morning. No, this is not an excuse for why am I sleeping till 10 everyday!!

I do not feel like stepping out of the home at all, or to attend any parties or meet or speak to anyone. I hope it is a phase that passes soon and I learn to cope well. Meanwhile, I've collated a list of activities to do when you're alone, while your husband is away guarding the nation  (feels so rad, I know!):


  1. Sleep.
    Because you don't properly when he's here, and when he'll be here again :P
  2. Stare at the roof. While you're in the bed waiting to fall asleep, or not wanting to get out of bed.
  3. Plan to clean the house. Cos we all know you wouldn't get down to actually doing it! Ha!
  4. Spend hours looking for the ideal body wash online, but skipping bath for real. Most days.
  5. Eat instant noodles -for breakfast, for lunch, for dinner. And for snacks in-between.
  6. Celebrate No-Wax Week every week, till he's home :P
  7. Watch cheesy Army videos on YouTube and sulk over how this sacrifice of separation from your husband is so important to the safety of the nation!
When you're done and tired of all of the above and have some really good me-time at hand, here's what you can actually get down to doing:

  1. Go take a shower. Try to do it every day. It's a good start for rest of the day.
  2. Start studying. If you're enrolled in a course or have upcoming exams. No better time than to do that now.
  3. Treat yourself to a facial. Or a spa. Anything that makes you feel perky :)
  4. Go hunting for a really nice lipstick. Take all the time you need in the world to find that perrrrfect shade you've been lusting over since ages!!
  5. Write him love letters. Old love feels better than new tech.
  6. Call up old friends. The ones you left behind in the civvy world. Catch up on the good times.
  7. Dance to Taylor Swift at full volume. Cos you know hubby's too cool for these school type songs.
  8. Clean your closet. No kidding! Please do!!
  9. Spend time with other ladies in your unit. Cos you're never alone. Learn from their experiences, share your woes because no one will understand you better.
  10. Get a job. Any job. If that might keep you sane.
    1. Travel. If you may. 

    Basically, stay busy and stay happy. There's always a hole in your life, a blank space in your home, till your sunshine is back from field, but sulking and anti-social behaviour won't help. You do not want your soldier to come back to a grumpy, stinking, hairy piece of mess, do you?

    So yeah, get a life! Get a smile on your face and march on! Because guess what? That brave soldier miles away endangering his life guarding the country? You're the Queen of his heart. So be like one. Brave, Defiant and Awesome!! 

    Style Files: The Most Elegant Indian Woman Ever


    Maharani Gayatri Devi, of course! I wish I had even 0.1% of her elegance in me.




    (Source)

    Still learning...

    Seven months in the Army, and I'm still trying to learn..

    • How to tie a saree so as not to fall off my face while I walk
    • What is the point of Ladies Meet?
    • Why can't I be friends with another Army Wife without others feeling insecure? Or jealous? I'm trying to navigate this life, and some support would be helpful, right?
    • How to get my makeup right. Without looking like a ghost. Oh, a not-so-little-girl just said to me yesterday - Aunty, you look like ghost in this makeup! (Sulks!)
    • How not to be completely an Army Wife and just get a life of my own.
    • How to plan a Menu for party
    • How to eat less at a party
    • How to decide between gold or silver accessories for a dress?
    • How to walk like you're not a WWE wrestler?
    • To say 'Good Morning/Afternoon/Evening' instead of Hello!

    What To Do When Your Husband Has An Exam

    Soldier has a major exam tomorrow. He has been terribly busy for last few months (peace posting, my foot!) and rarely got any time to study. It doesn't help that his study leave was cancelled as  well and now he has just one day to study the whole syllabus. Poor he!

    When your husbands have exams, which in Fauj, are in abundance (!), these are some of the things which you can do, to make sure that he can study hassle-free and (hopefully) pass in flying colours :D :-

    1. The Place: Let him decide where he wants to study; And support his decision. A separate room, in the garden, in the office or even in a field location - Let him choose where he feels most comfortable and where he can focus his best and do not nag him for it. Do not ask him why he can't study in the bedroom with you, or that you'll be in the same room and make no noise, or why does he has to sit in the office to study when there are so many rooms in the house. Let him choose, let  him study. In Defence, getting time to study is a luxury, let him decide where he can utilize it best.

    2. The Food: My Soldier feels most comfortable studying at his office. So instead of nagging him to come home for lunch/dinner etc. (because I'd been waiting for him), I did the next best thing - send the food to office! Apart from light meals like poha/sandwich which he could eat while studying, also pack in his favourite chips/nachos/popcorn/dry fruits etc. which he can munch on while he's working his brains off. Your soldier can study without losing focus and the wifey wins some brownie points too! :D Just make sure to keep heavy food like meat/biryani/pakoras for some other day so that he doesn't feel heavy and sleepy.
    3. The Family:  You can wait till the exams are over to tell him what maid problems you've been facing, or whose wife said what, or to criticize the existence of redundant events like Ladies Meet or the royalty that runs them. It can wait. Don't be a desperate housewife. Tell the babies, daddies have to study. Tell the relatives to visit sometime later. It is extremely important that your husband does well in his exams. The results impact his career in more ways than we can understand. And you want him to succeed, don't you?
    4. The Friends: While you are all alone and may feel ignored all this time, keep yourself busy. Pursue a hobby, travel if possible and stay in touch with your friends, esp if they consists of Army wives in a similar position. For me, it's a Whatsapp group of wives of the Soldier's coursemates. It is good to know that I am not alone, that what I face is nothing new, that I can crib about everything 'wrong' with this life and know that I will be heard patiently and we can all laugh together at the tragedy of our fauji wives lives :P


      So this is what I've learnt from my little experience. Most of all, be there for your man. Like he's always there for you.


    Happiness is...

    ...Sunday dinner cooked together :)

    The Tragedy of Being a Woman

    Le Husband calls, "Hey, wassup??"
    Le Me: Just came back from the beauty parlour.
    Le Husband: Stop wasting money, honey.
    Le Me: Achaaaa
    Le Husband: I meant it as a compliment ya.You don't need to go to the parlour. You are perfect the way you are.
    Le Me: Well, I need to go to beauty parlour to look like I don't need to go to beauty parlour.
    Le Husband: 
    Le Me: Welcome to the World of Women honey 

    6 Phases in The Life of A New Army Wife


    1. Phase I -Bedazzlement -Life is rosy. Literally. You will be sent flowers from whichever corner of the country your soldier is posted at. You will wooed with chivalry in all its forms known to mankind, rather the womankind. You will be floored even if you had been a feminist all your life before. You are in love with a soldier, you know, those amazing manly men, who live by chance, love by choice and kill by profession!  Those late night talks, those romantic messages, stories from their academy days and their field postings, dreams for the future, etc etc. Your 'civvy' friends will bombard you with questions about your about-to-collapse career and you'd reply - Don't worry, I'm different from other fauji wives. May be they aren't career-oriented enough. But I'll still be working after marriage'.

    2. Phase II - Amazement - You get married. You are giddy with happiness. The new bride gets all the attention, and pampering from your new family a.k.a your Unit. Of course, you are the Queen of your Soldier's life. You set up your small little home, Bollywood style. A dazzling man in uniform as your husband, a cute little house probably in the mountains, ample time where you get to sit back and have coffee while you read books you've always wanted to read - you are living your dream life! You even learn to cook and try your hands at exotic dishes, may be even bake! You don't miss your work at all. If you hadn't already before marriage, you go back and resign from your job, because who needed it anyway. Just you, your husband and your little dreamy life here is enough.

    3. Phase III: Realization - Something itches. Ladies meets catch up. And welfare 'activities' you cannot make sense of. The saris which made you feel like the epitome of womanhood, which your husband would so lovingly help you put on (and remove ;) ) start to annoy you. You are done exploring the little town. How often would you meet the same 2 or  3 ladies in your unit? They are very nice, but they can't be your friends, because your real friends are back home. You don't have a job, you don't have friends, you feel like you don't have a life. And one day you wake up and realise - What have I done?!?

    4. Phase IV: Rebellion - You cry. All the time. Your soldier is never home. And whenever he's home, you fight - because he's never home. You are lonely. But you don't want to meet anyone. You don't want to step out of the house or attend any events and parties anymore. You stop reading books, even though you got so many of them from the library. You stop pursuing all your hobbies.You don't want to cook or bake or wash dishes because - hello! You're not a maid! And being at home, being homely, is not natural to you. You were once a successful career woman  You don't like not having any money in your account and having to ask your husband for money, because it hurts the ego of this 'career woman' who had never asked even a single rupee from anyone once she started working after studies. You just want to get back to work again, and get a salary in your account every month and spend all of it on shopping, like you used to do - before marriage. Heck, you realise marriage is the culprit. Life was so good as a single independent woman!

    5. Phase V: Acceptance - After you are done sulking for a few weeks, you realize you have to take charge of your own life. You realize the soldier is never going to have time because of the usual military woes - heavy workload, manpower crunch (If only the government would do something about it!). And the Captain that you married is probably a Major now, so asking for his time is like asking Bill Gates to visit your home for tea and chit chat. So you start going out alone. You start re-engaging with the ladies again, but this time you try to genuinely get to know them and be their friends. Your girls network within the fauj increases. You make new friends. You start participating pro actively in the welfare of the families, may be use innovative means to improve their lives for the better. You join some skill building course. Or you start applying for new jobs. May be you get one. May be you become an entrepreneur! Or may be you apply for that (dreaded) B.Ed after all. You start building your life anew. 

    6. Phase VI: Contentment -You are happier. The soldier is also working at managing his work-life balance and tries his best to spend quality time with you. Your life has gained back it's rhythm. You are busy again. You feel useful again. You feel like you are making a difference in someone's life. Your love for your soldier, and this fauji life has only got stronger. Also for the sari! You start treating every hurdle with a pinch of salt! Because you realise, it's not your man or your marriage, or the military that is the culprit - it's the situations we face day to day. And as long as you are a team, you will sail through it successfully.



    Patnitop : Best Place to Get Lost

    We finally took a couple of days off to visit the beautiful hill settlement of Patnitop. If you're looking for a place with no phone connection, no internet, no crowded tourist traps or not even anything to shop - to just take a break from it ALL - Patnitop is your place to go. Some pictures from the serene place here:








    Patnitop travel guide

    How to Choose a Husband

    I'm travelling home in a long train hour journey and a peppy teenage girl from the birth above is keeping me company. She shares her catastrophic life problems which as an adult I know would not matter at all to her when she's my age. Boys, studies, future and stuff.
    She asks me, "Should I do love marriage or arranged marriage?"
    I think for a while and tell her, " If you are in love with someone, but they are  not a good person, do not marry them.
    If you happen to meet a really nice person through your family, do not hesitate to marry them."
    Which is what matters I guess. It's not important how you marry, the only most important factor is who you marry.

    My Style Icon : Emmanuelle Alt




    If there's one woman, who's style I truly admire, it's the Editor-in-Chief of Vogue Paris - Emmanuelle Alt.

    Her style usually consists of simple denim/trousers, with basic t shirts and a blazer/jacket. She wears minimal accessories which is usually mostly her regular watch and belt.

    In this age of excessive indulgence, Alt shows us how even minimalism can be chic.

    Unlike other big names in the fashion industry who's luxurious style we can only dream of and usually cannot be adapted to the 'normal' 'real lives we live, Alt's style is wearable for the common woman - it's effortless, it's chic, it's comfortable and it's us.









    How to Understand Your Husband Better

    Spend some time with his family.

    (unless your in-laws mirror an evil clan, which thankfully, mine do not).

    It is beautiful to learn where he comes from, where he gets his culture from, his habits, his personality, his character. It is humbling to slowly unravel what makes him him. It helps you to understand him better. It helps you to be a better partner to him.

    So try that. Preferably on your own. Spend some time with his family. Listen to his childhood stories (even his susu-potty tales if your in laws are as fun as mine). Know about his upbringing, his successes, his failures and all the antics in-between.

    It will change the way you see your husband. For the better. Trust me.

    Last Day at Work

    Today was my last day of my current job. I met each and every staff before leaving, because I have interacted with and known everyone by name, including the attenders and housekeeping staff. I thanked them all for their support and care.

    I am not yet sure how I'm feeling yet. Leaving a job is always a scary feeling, especially when you don't have a new job already in your hand. It's like taking a leap of faith - hoping things will work out well, hoping you'll be fine. And I believe, as I have experienced, if your heart is in the right place, it'll always work out fine. 

    New life, here I come! 

    Anticipation

    While on phone last night, the Soldier said that he spotted a frog. In our bedroom. And while I was still on line, he went about ousting it from the house. I could hear it croak.

    Considering the heritage status of the Army accommodations, the impending monsoons and my fear of all things that crawl, I'm sure this is what the next three months are going to look like for me:



    Image Source

    Two Months of Marriage...


    ...have taught me that if you're a team, everything else is secondary.

    Pretty much :)


    What's In a (Sur)Name?

    A key question that faced me when I was getting married was whether I should change my surname after marriage.

    I had also discussed this issue with my fiance and he said the decision was totally up to me.

    After a lot of thinking and consulting with my married friends on various practical pros and cons, I decided to retain my maiden surname.

    No ego involved, no identity issues, no feminism here but just because - it was the simpler way.

    Changing/Adding surname means changing my surname on every single identity document I own, which is simply a LOT of paperwork.

    I am proud of my maiden surname. It has been my identity till date. But I'm also equally proud of my new identity - it's going to be a part of the me the rest of my life.

    Not changing my surname doesn't mean I love my husband less, or not sure of our marriage's longevity or too proud for my good.

    In station, I am known by my husband's name only. Nobody knows my maiden surname. I sign the registers, guestbooks, etc. as Mrs. Soldier and I don't mind it a bit. On social media, I have added his surname to mine, because I liked to. But when it comes to important paperwork/applying for jobs, I use my maiden name only, as that is how all my documents like marksheets, degrees, bank accounts, etc. are.

    Thankfully, I belong to a family (both sides) where such practical matters are not a matter of ego. So it makes my life simpler. Which is what the purpose was in the first place.

    Because at the end of the day, it's who we are that matters, not what we are called.

    Happiness is...


    ...listening to his voice after a long tiring day.

    On Reading



    Pat Barker books, Pat Barker, Good Novels


    I just finished reading this interesting book from the Booker Prize winner Pat Barker. In fact, it's after very long that I've had the time to read a mature, sensible, literary novel, thanks to my new married life of no work* and all play :D

    I enjoyed the process of reading this novel thoroughly. I'm liking the fact that I can take time out of my life to read more such novels of my liking. Novels like these need time. Novels like these demand and deserve to be relished, each word understood, each emotion felt. Most of all, they engage your intellect, making you ask questions, helping you understand this world a little better. But the best thing I like about reading such novels is that they inspire me to write and enable me to write better. Novels like these, make you grow.

    The Officers' Mess Library has some wonderful books that I'm planning to gorge on in the coming rainy evenings. Can't wait!

    What have you been reading lately?

    *P.S. Washing dishes feels more work than writing an office report. I ain't complaining though. Nobody writes reports while dancing :P


    Yes please!



    That Horror...

    ...called your wedding video.



    You know you're married when...

    ALL you think about is home decor!

    Resigned

    Just handed in my resignation to my boss. I'm not sure how I feel.

    I'm happy to go back to J&K, to my home, but not sure what my professional future holds.

    I just know I'm gonna be fine.

    Like I always have been :)

    Realization

    ..is the day you know home is where he is.

    Warning signs


    You know you're spending too much time alone when you start thinking that having a baby rightaway might not actually be a bad idea!?!


    Note to self: Please find a job ASAP.


    Life...Now

    We wake up in the mornings to a hot cup of ginger tea.

    I make breakfast while he gets ready.

    After I finish my chores, I take a shower. Then read.

    When it's 12, I cook lunch.

    After he goes for his sports practice, I sit out with a cup of coffee. And read.

    Sometimes in the evening we go to our friends for dinner. Or their children come home and we make noodles and dance. Sometimes, it's just us two and we cook dinner. And dance.

    Most nights, we ride around on his Bullet.

    Every night before we go to bed, we sit for a while in our verandah where the cool summer night breeze blows across our faces, and we can look at the full moon and stars and speak about life. Or sometimes, just stay silent, soaking in the moment.

    We don't have much. But we have everything we want from life.

    This is a life of contentment.

    Of quiet happiness.

    Army Wives

    Just one week into the Army and I realise :

    • Every lady looks beautiful
    • Every lady cooks well
    • Every lady bakes .. too good!
    • Every lady has a perfectly maintained house
    • Every lady is such a perfect lady!

    How will I ever match up to them?

    On Army Parties

    I have attended more parties in the last one month than I had in my entire pre-marriage life. Sharing the things that happen in the Army parties when you attend them as the new lady in the station:


    • You are made to sing. In every party. Especially when your husband is known for his singing and guitar skills. Even if you have never sung in your life before.
    • When the dress code says 'comfortable', you arrive wearing a salwar suit. Because you are an elegant lady, no? Only to find all other ladies is in dresses/skirts.
    • Your least shiny saree also stands out for being the most jazzy. 
    • You eat significantly less. Because you want to look like a lady and not some streetside civvy glutton.
    • You try to be a 'lady', all the time. Or at least be less clumsy.
    • Your get bombarded with the (fictious, mostly) 'adventures' of your husband's past. Just to pull your leg.
    • Your legs get pulled A LOT.
    • You laugh a lot.
    • You learn to take everything in stride and have a good time. No matter what.

    Bonus: You still get to dance on cheesy Bollywood songs :D


    The Aunty Diaries


    When the kids meet me for the first time - "Hello didi!".

    The parents, "Beta, meet this is Soldier uncle's wife."

    The kids again, "Oh, Good Evening Aunty!!"

    Me outside - forced smile.

    My heart inside " Oh dear lord! Why this injustice??"


    The most important person in a marriage


    We had our first formal dinner today with the soldier's old unit's officers and their families.

    All the wives could talk about were - maids!

    I cannot tell you how bored I was! I wondered if this is what my life too is going to be all about in a couple of months/years! 

    Meanwhile, I'm slowly learning the art of sleeping while keeping my eyes wide open. Fauji ishtyle ;)

    What Makes Us Special


    We are one of those rare couples who manage to meet with an accident on the first day of their honeymoon and spend rest of the holiday nursing their injuries.


    I'm not yet sure to laugh or to cry.

    On getting married

    Two days before:

    Mehendi wala waiting outside in the living room for me.

    Me, inside the toilet "Fuck, I'm getting married for real!"

    3 days to go


    Three days to go. It's 3.45 am and I'm wide awake. I'm still not sure what am I thinking. My mind is blank. I dreamt of my bachelorette party. I had one last night. It was super fun. I had tequila :P 2 days to go. I'm still not sure how am I feeling.

    10 days to go!!


    The reverse countdown has begin!! I'm not sure how I feel though..I'm neither nervous, not crazy excited, nor ecstatic.. of course I'm looking forward to the day. But life right now is all about checklists and incessant rounds to different tailors. Hmmph.. And it's raining here. Lovely weather :) Hope all goes well. I wonder how life will change once I'm married.

    Happiness is ...

    ... stolen moments of courtship! :)

    The Best Feeling in the World...

    ...is when he's coming home!

    Our First House!

    Just received the pictures of our first house!! Gosh, I'm so excited !!!

    Can't wait to turn it into our home :D
    Oh and the plaster is coming out today's an awesome day :)

    Us Vs Them

    Today I had my first fight on Army vs Civilian topic.

    A colleague told me that Army 'people' do not do any work, enjoy three months leave on taxpayer's money and get everything in half price!!

    How my blood boiled!

    It's suddenly become us vs them. It's like suddenly a thin veil has been drawn between the  'others' and me, just because now I am affiliated to the Armed Forces.

    Or may be it's in my mind. I hope I am not becoming arrogant. But I just get defensive when someone speaks ill of the Army now. Because I take it personally. Because I am personally experiencing the separation, the once a day phone calls, which I am grateful for as the soldier is in peace station. God knows how would've I managed was he posted in the field.


    Professional Life of an Army Wife

    While discussing my career options after marriage:

    Me: I'm so excited to be moving to J&K! I've always wanted to work there!!

    Soldier: I hope you understand that it's not safe for you to travel to the villages. Being from the Army makes you extra vulnerable.

    Me: Me (sharp mind at work): Well, I won't tell them I'm your wife! I'll pretend I'm a civilian.

    Soldier (probably rolling his eyes): Like they won't know! 

    Me: So what else am I supposed to do? 

    Soldier: You know, if you want to, you can continue to work in you current job there.

    Me: What's the point in getting married if we are anyway going to stay separately?" Then sarcastically, "May be, like other army wives,  I'll also ultimately have to become a school teacher."

    Soldier (sincerely): But you need to have a B.Ed degree for that.

    Me wondering: ??@@!!##

    One of those moments in a relationship, when you don't know whether to be mad at your partner or to dote on his sweetness.
     

    Knowing


    You know you're with the right person when you wonder - why didn't you meet me earlier?

    Now

    I'm engaged

    I have a fractured foot

    I'm excited

    I'm confused

    I'm worried

    I'm hopeful

    More than anything, I'm blessed. And I feel so grateful. Every moment.