By Deepika Divekar-Panicker
A couple of weeks back, I had started writing a post on power women and their gospel secrets. But then the writing plans, like so many others, got derailed with a terrible episode of dengue fever that landed me in hospital. And while I wouldn’t wish for such a menace on my worst enemies (not to say I have many), these two weeks have been a
In our last post, co-blogger and fellow army wife Sashwati has succinctly and eloquently summed up the lives and times of the powerhouses that are army wives. But what happens when every once in a while these powerhouses falter and need some urgent fixing? With the husband being away, often in areas where a phone call is a luxury and
the nearest airport is a day’s journey, being alone in illnesses and festivities alike is an exercise in misery.
While I was lying on the hospital bed running high fever, the husband was on a post hundreds of miles away, in a place where I couldn’t even get hold of him over the phone. Parents stayed up beside me night after night and family and friends diligently took turns in hospital duties. I am sure most of us have faced a scenario like this, more often than we have liked. The story of every army wife surviving through long distance – you really want to be strong and take care of yourself and your people but you are human after all and there is only so much you can do.
At times like this, when being an army wife living away from your spouse seems like the hardest thing to be in the world, there is another army quietly but resolutely rallies behind you. This army is your family, the relationships that you were blessed with and those that you have built over the years. Parents and in-laws, friends, and siblings and of course the army family, rises up to the occasion and while nothing can ever fill the void of him(or her) being far away, these incredible people try their best to get you through the difficult times.
“It takes a village to raise a baby” goes a famous African proverb. Well, to raise an fauji’s baby, I can well imagine, it takes more than a village! A dear friend was reminiscing a few days ago about how she has gone through a major part of her pregnancy and her baby’s initial months, with her husband being posted in the remote North-East, secure
in the knowledge that her mother and younger sister had her back all through those lonely months.
A wonderfully strong senior lady once told me that when her husband was posted in Kashmir and her son was a few months old, her parents locked up their house in their native place and moved lock, stock and barrel to hers to help her with the baby, all for a period of a couple of years. After those couple of years, she would, of course, join her husband in the next peace station, while they would have to go back to the house they had so selflessly locked up and try to resume their old lives, all along remembering their grandchild’s dinner timings and first words.
I have attended birthday parties of fauji brats where Papa is away but grandparents, uncles and aunts have helped Mummy make it a memorable day for the kid.
(C) Sashwati Bora
Why, I have had siblings and childhood friends going out of their way to make birthdays and occasions special for me, particularly because the husband has been away and as they say they can’t stand the thought of me moping about on these days.
There are truly inspirational stories of mothers-in-law standing like rocks by their daughters-in-law through the martyrdom and the immeasurable pain of the loss of the man who was their world, forgetting their own grief and helping the daughter-in-law get back on her feet.
What do you say about these silent heroes then? People who hardly ever get to experience the charm of the army life but still have to deal with the challenges it comes with. Parents who can never really retire because daughters or daughters in law might need them as support systems on call. Siblings and friends who must put their own things aside because they need to be there for the army wife in their family. Theirs is a heroism that does not claim glory. Often, it’s not even the one that gets its due. But it is certainly the one that lets a soldier sleep a little more peacefully in his border outpost, knowing that while his wife is valiantly raising their family and keeping their life in order, there is a squad that stands by her, rising to the occasion when he can feature in only as a reassuring voice heard over a thready STD line.
Of course, there is no thanking this incredible squad of yours (in all probability you will get shouted at for being stupid and formal) but there is always a special place in the heart for each of them. When a long painful separation from your man in uniform finally comes to an end and a move to the next town when you can be together is the only thing you can think of, you still get a lump in your throat at the thought of leaving behind home and all those wonderful people who have stood by you through thick and thin. Until next time, you say to them, knowing that the next time is going to come all too soon!