Cantonment life!

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.

Further Reads

The Story of Col DPK Pillay

The Awe-Inspiring Story of Major DP Singh

Parenting alone, a Fauji wife’s saga

I do wear his stripes

Salute to you Sepoy Rachpal Singh

Life in a dozen odd boxes

13 comments

  1. Awww, that must be such a sad situation for you, and so lonely! Hugs to you, Ramya!
    I have many a fauji wives in my family who will all relate with you so well. I always wondered how they survived without their husbands, far away from their extended families and old friends and the world, in general!
    I hope your friends return to your cantonment soon and fill your days with laughter and good cheer all over again!

  2. My Uncle was in the CRPF and my sister and me holidayed with their family in the campus in May. It was exactly how you described it, lonely and silent. We were so bored we returned home in 5 days , instead of teh 15 we had planned to stay :))

  3. I guess it’s easier to manage when there are other connections around but with no one else, it would get tough. I’ve never known any one in the army so I can’t say I know much but it’s interesting to learn about what it’s like.

  4. My sister is a fauji wife and there are anniversaries and birthdays when her husband is out on duty.You all sacrifice a lot for the country and we salute you!

  5. You did a great job articulating exactly what makes the cantonment feel like home: not the infrastructure but the people, no matter how well and thoughtfully laid-out it is. It’s the silences that test us.

  6. Not just fauji campus, it is the same about any campus, since I had a private practise, I would drop my kids to my mother, who would take them out for their holiday and it was boredom for me. 🙂

  7. My close friend’s husband is a major in the army and she does share stories about the campus..It was exactly as u described bored and silent..They were in Kashmir for some time and she could not even step out of the house too

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  8. hmmm… you can go on a holiday arranging for a jeep for you somewhere near… or do some reading, exploring somewhere… its a challenge to beat boredom, I guess we must to productive things. You can do something with your kids. Learn about trees in your area, take photographs, check out history of the place and such things. There must be a library… you should do some exploring out of the contonment too, it would be fun and you would learn something new.

  9. I have lived the campus life while I worked for CEERI, Pilani. Its so calm and serene. We used to ride bicycles. I can get the feel when you said wake up with Peacock sounds. But there were days when I felt so bored. You army guys truly deserves respect.

  10. I remember my school being in cantonment area and how I used to love the lush green trees on either side of the wide and clean roads. You can’t find this anywhere else in the city… Now that I have moved out of my little hometown, I find it even more difficult to have such peaceful place to be!

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