Saturday, April 2, 2016

Army Bride – “Fauji Memsahib” – Then and Now

Are you thinking of marrying an Army Officer

Do you feel you will be happy marrying a Military Man – or will you regret your decision later? 

Here is a story of Four Quintessential Army Brides (aka “Fauji Memsahibs”)

Do read the story.

I will appreciate if you could please comment – and let us know your views.

Story of 4 Quintessential Army Wives aka “Fauji Memsahibs
A Spoof

Story of Four “Fauji Memsahibs” – A Spoof by Vikram Karve 

Circa 1948   Army Bride


“There is a marriage proposal for you,” her parents say  the moment she returns home from college.

“I don’t want to get married,” she says.

“Do you want to remain a spinster all your life?” her mother asks.

“No. But let me finish my graduation. Then I’ll see,” she says.

“She has a point. Let her finish her graduation. It’s just a question of one year,” her father says.

“Yes  let me finish my graduation,” the girl says.

“What graduation? Your whole aim is to get married  isn’t it? The boy and his parents are not insisting on graduation. They saw you at the club last evening, they have liked you, the boy has liked you, and the proposal has come. And let me tell you one thing – you won’t find a more eligible bachelor than him. It will be top status match. He is an Army Officer and you know that Army Officers are in highest demand – he can get any girl he wants  and you will be very lucky to get a husband like him. We will all regret it if we let go an opportunity like this,” the mother says.

“Please don’t hurry me up. Let me meet the boy. I will talk to him. Maybe he will wait for one year till I finish my B.A. – maybe we can get engaged now  and marry later,” the girl says.

“No. The boy cannot wait for one year. He has been selected to go abroad for a long training course in England. He is leaving next month and they want to get him married before he leaves so that he can take his wife along with him to England,” the mother says.

Her father interjects: “I have found out everything about the boy from my army friends. The boy is a fine officer and has a very bright future in the army. The family is very respectable and decent too. I think you should consider this proposal.”

Seeing the daughter confused  the mother says firmly: “Listen carefully. They want our answer by tonight – YES or NO. There is bevy of girls lined up for him  yes – he is an Army Officer – a Prize Catch – there are so many girls are desperate to get married to him  I am telling you – if you let this boy go – you will regret it all you life.”

The girl nodded her acceptance.

He mother rang up the boy’s mother.

Next day  the boy and his parents came over to “see” the girl.

Notionally  the boy’s side still had the prerogative to “reject” the girl  but then they had already seen the girl and liked her.

The girl got married to the Army Officer the next week. 

They went on a whirlwind honeymoon to Darjeeling  then to the army cantonment where the boy was posted  where there was a flurry of parties for the newlyweds.

Then  the newly wedded Army Wife set sail for England along with her Army Officer Husband.

The girl did not complete her graduation. 

There was no need for so much education – because she was going to be a full-time army wife – a “memsahib”.

The girl did not regret her decision. 

Even many years later  she realised that marrying an army officer was the best thing that had happened to her.

Where else would she get the high status in society  top quality lifestyle  and the comforts that she enjoyed as the wife of a General...?

Yes  her husband had become a General  and she was the “first lady” – and she was proud to have contributed to his success as a perfect army wife.

She felt absolutely no regret that she had married an army officer.

In fact  marrying an Army Officer was the best decision of her life.

20 Years Later…

Circa 1968   Army Bride


The young girl was a budding lawyer with a lot of promise.

After her LL.B. she had begun her practice under the tutelage of a top-notch lawyer.

One day  she submitted her resignation to her boss  and she told him that she was giving up her law practice.

Her boss was aghast  and he demanded to know the reason for her inexplicable decision.

“Sir  I am getting married to an army officer,” she said.

“But why resign and give up your practice? You can continue to practice law even after marriage. You are so talented – you have a very bright future ahead of you – I am sure you will become a very successful lawyer  and  who knows  you even may get the opportunity of being elevated as a judge,” he said.

“Sir  my husband will be posted all over as an army officer  and I don’t want to live separately from him – in fact  the boy has made it quite clear that he wants me to accompany him wherever he goes,” she said  and  she quit her law career and became a full-time housewife.

She enjoyed being an army wife  supporting her husband in his career  taking part in various social duties  the nomadic way of life  and cozy existence of cantonment life.

Many years later  she saw the professional achievements of some of her classmates and erstwhile lawyer colleagues.

Some of them  who were much less accomplished than her had become successful lawyers  and  a few had even become judges.

She felt a tinge of regret – because she had no identity of her own  except that of being the wife of an army officer.

Yes  she did feel a bit of regret that she had married an Army Officer  because of which  she had to sacrifice her own career ambitions.

20 Years Later… 

Circa 1988   Army Bride


The girl was a qualified engineer who had specialized in computer and software engineering.

From Campus Placement – she had got a job in the top pioneer software company  and she had settled down quickly in her career.

She got married to an Army Officer.

She had two choices:


1. She could give up her career as a “Techie” – and join her husband in the remote place where he was posted  and then accompany him wherever he was posted. 
She realized that if she wanted to always live together with her husband  as an army wife  she would have to be either a homemaker  or a teacher  the only feasible two careers in a military cantonment.


2. She could continue her professional career as a Techie”   but have a “long distance marriage” with her army husband – as he got posted all over.
She chose the second option. 
Yes  the girl chose Option 2 – she decided to pursue her career as a “Techie” and have a “long distance marriage”.

She did extremely well in her career.

Soon  she was way ahead of her “fauji” husband  who was plodding along in the Army with moderate salary and modest career prospects.

In their entire married life  they spent just 3 years together  when her husband managed a posting to her place of work.

Often  the army wife felt lonely  as she missed her husband.

When she saw her fellow “techie couples” enjoy the bliss of married life  she was filled with regret that she was married to the army officer only on paper” – and she had spent most of her married life living alone – away from her husband.

Yes  she was married only on paper – in practice  her life was as if she was not married.

Loneliness proved corrosive for her army officer husband too  who took solace in alcohol.

Worse  the army officer husband developed an inferiority complex  because his wife had done much better than him in life  career-success wise and money wise  as the prospects in the army were limited as compared to the software industry.

All this – the conjugal separation  her work pressures  compounded by her husband’s increasing melancholic attitude  all these factors took their toll on her mental and physical health too.

She regretted marrying an Army Officer.

20 Years Later… 

Circa 2008   Not-to-be Army Bride                                                          


The girl was the ambitious daughter of an army officer – she was an “army brat”.

She studied economics from a premier college  and then followed it up with an MBA from a top Business School  topping in both courses.

She had got a top-notch placement as an investment banker.

The girl was taken aback when her classmate from school suddenly proposed to her.

He was also an “army brat” – who had joined the NDA as a cadet after school  and was now an Army Officer.

The Army Officer told the Investment Banker that he was secretly in love with her since their school-days.

Her Army Officer classmate told her that he was waiting for her to finish her studies before he proposed marriage to her.

“But  I treated you as a friend...” she said.

“But  for me you are much more than a friend – tell me  what’s wrong if we get married – we know each other since school...” he said.

“Are you crazy...?” she said.

“Crazy...? Why...? Why do you think I am crazy...?” he asked.

“Why don’t you understand? You are just an Army Officer and I am an Investment Banker. I am out of your league now. Do you know the package I have been offered? In the Army  I doubt you get even one-tenth of the salary and perks I get. See  don’t feel bad  but I have my dreams  my ambitions of making it real big – now I am heading for Hong Kong  after that I don’t know where I will go – so  marrying an Army Officer just does not fit into my career plans – I hope you understand what I am saying. Well  let me make it clear – I do not want to regret later by marrying an Army Officer....” she said to him.

The Investment Banker Girl looked at the dejected Army Officer and she said to him: “Will you mind if I give you some advice?”

“Go ahead,” the army officer said.

“If you want to be happy  you better find a wife within the Army...” she said.

“What do you mean?” the army officer asked.

You should marry a Lady Army Officer. There are so many Girls joining the Army nowadays. So  why don’t you find a “Bride in Uniform – some suitable Woman Army Officer colleague – it will best for both of you.”

With these words  the Investment Banker Girl walked out of the Army Officer’s life.

So  the investment banker  the ambitious daughter of an army officer  the “army brat” – she did not marry the Army Officer  because  she did not want to sacrifice her personal goals and career ambitions by marrying an Army Officer  and then regret later.

Yes – she did not want to regret marrying an Army Officer.

Copyright © Vikram Karve 
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© vikram karve., all rights reserved.

1. This story is a spoof, satire, pure fiction, just for fun and humor, no offence is meant to anyone, so take it with a pinch of salt and have a laugh.
2. All stories in this blog are a work of fiction. Events, Places, Settings and Incidents narrated in the stories are a figment of my imagination. The characters do not exist and are purely imaginary. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

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No part of this Blog may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical including photocopying or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the Blog Author Vikram Karve who holds the copyright.

Copyright © Vikram Karve (all rights reserved)

Updated and Revised Version of my Article “THE CHANGING FACE OF THE ARMY WIFE” posted in my blog on 22 Jan 2014

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