Do you know the most boring time in a Fauji wife’s life? It is when she decides to stay back in the cantonment with her two kids during summer vacation, and the husband is out on duty for the entire period. And I am presently in such a situation.
Life inside a cantonment
It is a different world all-together. Neatly laid out roads, clean and peaceful environs, auditoriums, sports complexes, schools within, sometimes our own golf course, and of course the Officers Institute to spend time with friends in the evenings. Cantonments with their ambience form the basis of our support system, when husbands are away for long durations. And if you are posted in a remote destination in India, the cantonment becomes all the more important to help you in your day-to-day living. It becomes an integral part of every fauji’s life.
I live in one such cantonment in India. Away from the noise and population of the bigger cities, amidst lush green forests and mountains, the scenic beauty of the place is splendid indeed. I can wake up to the sound of peacocks, Koels and parrots. I can go for long peaceful walks. I can lead an active social life- friends, movies and food. The cantonment and the vibrant people within, has become my home away from home.
Except when it is vacation time…and silence envelopes all over
Come summer vacation and most families head homewards. It is that time of the year, and the parks start to wear a desolate look. The winding roads of the cantonment are sans mothers, and their babies in prams. Garden benches, the meeting point of ladies to chit-chat, stay empty. No squealing children and no youngsters racing down slopes on their bicycles. The Officers Institute too, begins to witness minimal population in the evenings. It is that time when the whole vibrancy of the cantonment seems to have disappeared, all together.
Boredom- Tough to manage
We fauji wives belong to a special breed. We can manage it all- from taking care of home, work, kid’s school, finances, loans, to cooking up a full course meal for a group of hungry bachelors. But the toughest thing to manage at this point of time seems to be the boredom and quietness all around me. I am dependent on the cantonment I live in.
As I try figuring out how to get past these quiet days, I walk down the road hoping to find a face to smile at, searching for that one person to strike a conversation with. I pray that the weeks would pass by soon, and the cantonment would be its true self again, bursting with effervescence.