They say being an integral part of the army is not everyone’s cup of tea, which is true to its very bit. But when it comes to soldiers’ wives these equations turn the tables. Distance plays a crucial role when it comes to donning the hats of an army wife. From living in long lost locations to managing home and jobs these women rise up to the occasion with grace and poise.
Family outside family
Who says relationships are always about bloodline, sometimes we become a family just over a cup of tea! Staying in the army means finding the remotest corner of the planet and calling it a home. With each new home comes new surroundings, people, anecdotes and chuckle buddies. The interpretation of one big happy family is what army is all about.
From looking after the kids to bringing in hot food after a hard long day of work, these families make every moment special, says Bhavna Bisht. Bhavna is new to the concept of staying alone, but is finding happiness in work-life balance. Elaborating her idea about an extended family she says, “We are not always fortunate enough to find a posting that is closer to home, which is when this extended family makes us feel at home. All it needs is a warm hello and a cup of coffee to break the ice, and next thing you know, you become the best of buddies. This is my first time staying away from my better half, and it has been one hell of a ride, but with good people around it has been a little easy to settle down. Calling and creating a home away from home is only possible when you have people who, without an ounce of thought, will run for you even in the middle of the night.”
A teacher by profession, Bhavna finds her calm through her work and enjoying special moments with her daughter, Nayesha. A bunch of new neighbours who bring in their stories of struggles and happiness makes the staying apart a little easy, too.
“What people witness as a spectator is the party life, fun, moving around in military vehicles, but what they don’t see are the sacrifices we put in as wives. For someone who has always been brought up in the warmth of parents, maintaining a long distance relationship is like walking on a thin thread. This life has its own share of ups and downs, but this adventure is definitely not for the weak-hearted,” feels Prajakta Limaye, who juggles her life between balancing a house, kid (son Shlok) and working towards her passion for singing.
Looking through the glass is easy, but accepting the ground reality is where the fun commences and it aptly defines the kind of life army wives have to endure. It involves a lot of planning and coordination to ensure a smooth running personal and professional relationship. “The first time staying away from your husband totally knocks you off the ground. But gradually you start accepting it by setting up the home, looking after the kids, understanding commitments, and so on. As a couple, we both have our share of sacrifices, but we eventually look on the brighter side and enjoy little moments together,” Prajakta says.
This too shall pass
Every moment is a turnover not just for a soldier, but also his family — one might be walking across golden beaches, and the very next moment they got to don the hat of a warrior while she has to hold her ground on home front. Along with this hustle comes a truckload of emotional baggage, which stays wrapped up in hearts because bidding goodbyes with teary eyes is tough feels an aviator’s wife Sumitra Chaudhary.
“Honestly speaking, being apart for long periods of time is tough but what is tougher is to deal with the emotional ups and downs. Not all days are sunny, and we, too, are bogged down by the changing scenario. From unable to see him for months to communication gaps, it indeed breaks your heart,” says Sumitra.
A novel change comes with it’s own entity but then life is all about finding happiness and umpteen moments of gratitude. While some are fortunate, a few others might be facing immense struggles believe Sumitra. “I feel fortunate enough that I had my family and acquaintances with whom I could share fear, happiness, sadness... everything. But there are families who, without a support system, are still sailing through. ‘This too shall pass’ is what I believe in, and that is what has helped me walk through tough times,” says Sumitra.
Working on self-improvement
Talk about making the most out of an opportunity, these army wives have gone an extra mile to get over their separation anxiety. Many of them have worked towards improvising their skills by enrolling for courses and indulging in other activities.
One such lady who believes in the power of good times and vibes is Shikha Jain, who put her solitude to good use. “It is all about how you channelise your loneliness. Instead of squirming with irritation you can turn such moments into things that actually make you happy,” she says.
Shikha opines that engaging in activities that help build knowledge has improved communication between her and her better half. “Being away from your partner takes a toll on both parties, and hence the best way to deal with this longing is to work on self-improvisation. To break free from the hullabaloo, I enrolled for numerous small courses. The new learning experience also helped us in discussing things, and in turn he, too, tried those courses. So it is more like a collateral improvement,” Shikha signs off.
Time has been a witness to the hardships army wives have experienced and stood tall in the face of adversity. From being their kids cheerleaders to standing by their husbands, army wives are an inspiration for many. They are not bogged down by any situation, and instead make way through the toughest maze.