He would be gone this time for a hundred days. It wasn’t the first time he was doing this; however, I sure was an emotional wreck. Was it because I had to manage two hyper-active toddlers on my own, in a mad city such as Delhi- getting them to school and tending to all their needs? Or was it because he wouldn’t be around to celebrate our tenth anniversary together? And why was there a strange anxiousness about his safety?
I had no answers …. I bid him a tearful farewell as my two little girls clung to me like kangaroos.
It’s not all pomp and show for a soldier’s wife, unlike what’s depicted in movies. Behind all the parties and glamour -of women draped in delicate chiffons, is the real life the wives lead. Change becomes a constant companion. And as constant as this change is the long spells of separation. Husbands are often sent on duties to remotely accessible areas for long durations. For months together we run the show at home, being a mother, father, a teacher and a friend to our children, with no traces of worry or stress on our brows, ‘lest our kids sense it. Birthdays and anniversaries quite often become mere dates on the calendar. If I am lucky, the divine almighty may just make his mobile signals work for a day, and wishes could be exchanged on the occasion.
On the morning of our tenth anniversary, I sat flipping through the pages of a glossy magazine, sulking on the loneliness that had enveloped my heart. He wasn’t around and there would be no celebrations. My thoughts were disturbed by the sound of the calling bell. I opened the door to an unexpected sweet surprise. There were flowers at the door- a lovely bouquet with blue orchids and white dahlias. It didn’t take me long to guess who would have sent it, ‘cause the choice of flowers were my favorite. Thanks to the internet revolution, and of course to his mobile signals.
I pulled out the little card attached to the bouquet and read the lines that were on it. It wasn’t a lengthy one; in fact, I would have been surprised if it was. He seldom expressed himself in an elaborate way. The words brought tears to my eyes.
“The flowers may soon wither away losing their fragrance. Our relationship won’t….”
I was overwhelmed with emotions yet again. All of a sudden the loneliness in my heart did a disappearing act. I felt his presence around and his laughter rang in my ears. The bouquet had given me the strength to be courageous and have nerves of steel. I seemed to fear nothing and my anxiousness had died an instant death. “He would be fine and would be home soon”, I said to myself. I smiled, my heart felt positive; as I got up to get on with my life, adorning the different caps I do for my tiny tots.
The flowers had showered me with a fragrance of a different kind.