Every time I revisit my thoughts of being a child, my memories go back to soldiers marching and changing their turns at the main gate, with complete ceremonial uniform, with red feathers on the cap and studded ‘DM’ boots, making that lovely sound every time the walk.
Being a Military Brat has always been a special for me. Doing my schooling at 10000 feet above sea level, climbing slopes from the school to reach home, the only scenery being of mountains, and finding beauty in that, finding shapes, searching for pine flowers, finding shortcut trails in the race to Officers’ Mess with other kids, sleeping with the sound of rifle rounds during night firing practice, were some of the instances of vivid memories.
Thanks to my father, I have travelled and lived in places people can just go for a holiday, but can not live. I feel privileged, proud and fortunate.
But this life has made me what I am today.
Change was one thing which was always constant. My friends, my schools, my teachers, my home, changed every 3 years. As sad and tearful it used to be, adaptiveness grew in me. Liking new place, home, friends, teachers, neighbors became part of the life. And slowly, I learnt the ease in adapting to new situations, which I am thankful today.
Looking at father giving and taking orders in attention and executing it (no questions asked) infused a sense of wish for discipline in me. Getting up early with the parade drum sound became a morning alarm and the aggressive shoe stamping salutes became the soothing spectacle. I became veteran in finding the ‘adm day’ by looking at the open bonnets of the vehicles for inspection at ‘MT’, I could figure out what is cooked in the ‘langar‘ by the fragrance of ‘tandoor’ from the barrack mess. ‘meat days’ were obvious.
Military Brat-ness has taught me ‘jugaad’: In case life give you lemons, get a tequila, squeeze, suck and throw that lemon away.
‘Jugaad’ is a colloquial Hindi-Urdu word denoting innovative fix or a simple work-around.
The cons I have seen are not less, I have seen my parents not able to attend a family emergency when he was posted in Kashmir. All snow. Roads blocked. No flights. And this is the plight of many soldiers, daily.
Going back to the days of lighting a ‘Bukhari‘ (a heat setup Indian Military forces use in cold places), walking down steep declines just to get the school bus, figuring out some new plants and flowers on the way, which I missed the day before that, are such a nostalgia.
Weekend meant meeting friends, exploring the wild military campus, hanging on the ropes and bars of the obstacle training areas, finding new trails, which I can share with my friends later and get the credit of finding it.
Though I have enjoyed all these years, I am blessed that I was born in that era, away from the cellular palm gripping time of today, enjoying whatever the nature threw at us, and whatever I noticed in nature. There was always a curiosity to see what you going to find out the next day. Today, I stand in my life, with the experiences I have gathered in these years, trying to bring only the good ones in my life and mind.
I also have learnt to complain less and do what can be done. At least my life problem will be lesser than a frostbite or a bullet passing through the eye.
I find myself lucky to live my childhood this way, there could not have been a better life for me.
Military looks so good from outside, glamorous, you get smart uniforms, homes, discounts, travel, facilities, roaming in a 4×4 engaged Maruti Gypsy, and more. What people miss that they stay away from their families whenever asked. Every area is not a ‘free ration’ area, so they pay for their food too.
Being a soldier was their choice, their choice to remain at 14000 ft. and represent us, while we are away, busy in our WiFi homes and offices.
For all those soldiers who are there in those difficult times and terrains, without creature comforts. The nation is thankful that you chose to work in this situation, with your grit and courage is admirable and inspirational to all others. Who are not you.
Keep your love going with Aish-Adi
– Aditya Singh