Monday, May 30, 2016

“Sleeping Beauty” – An Unforgettable “Faujan”

Among my list of “girlfriends” – online and offline – I have many “Faujans” (Military Wives) – but – none can surpass “Sleeping Beauty”... 

A Spoof


There are Two Types of Military Wives (“Faujans”):

1. “CLUED-UP”  Faujans

2.  “CLUELESS” Faujans

The first category comprises “Clued-Up” Military Wives:

1. Ladies who are aware of Life in the Military 

These are girls who come from a military background.

These include daughters of military officers (SODA)  or girls who have seen the life of a military wife from close quarters as they have a relative or friend in the military or they know someone married to a military man  or because they have lived in the proximity of a military cantonment and are acquainted with the “Fauji” lifestyle. 

Nowadays  with the increasing number of “marriages in uniform”  you even have military wives who are serving military officers  who are “know-it-all” on matters military.

There is a second category of “Clueless” newly married Military Wives:

2. Ladies who have had absolutely no exposure to Military Life 

And hence – these young naive and innocent girls are completely oblivious of the unique military culture and are totally unaware of the kind of social life a military wife has to lead.

“Sleeping Beauty” belonged to the second category – she was a newly married “clueless” army wife.


Yes  “Sleeping Beauty” belonged to the second category of military wives – she was a newly married “clueless” Army Wife

“Sleeping Beauty” did not have a clue about Army life.

She was born in a family of academicians  and brought up in the tranquil environment of a university campus in a small town.

Since it was not a military town  the only persons she saw in uniform were the odd NCC officers on the university campus.

Of intellectual bent of mind and possessing an academic nature herself  she was pursuing her Ph.D. – when there was a marriage proposal for her from an army officer Captain “X”.

Things moved fast  and suddenly she found herself married to Captain “X” – and she arrived with her newly wedded husband at the SP Marg Officers Mess in New Delhi.

In fact  it was in the same week that I arrived with my newly wedded wife at the same SP Marg Officers Mess in New Delhi  where we  Captain “X” and Me  were living as happy bachelors for around one year  before we got married  in the same month  almost on the same day.

In those good-old “pre-jointmanship” days  the SP Marg Officers Mess was an inter-service combined Army-Navy Officers Mess  like Kota House.

But this happy situation  of bonhomie and camaraderie  did not last forever  since a few years later  in an act of “jointmanship”  the Army evicted Naval Officers from the SP Marg Officers Mess  and  in a retaliatory gesture of “jointmanship”  the Navy evicted all Army Officers from the Kota House Officers Mess.

Even today  as I hark back  I fondly cherish my glorious days at SP Marg Officers Mess  the atmosphere of bonhomie in the evenings when we all sat together on the lawns or in the bar enjoying our drinks.

During my SP Marg days  I made friends with a number of Army Officers – and one of my good friends from the Army was Captain “X”.

On New Year’s Eve  we sat at the DSOI in Dhaula Kuan  downing peg after peg of rum  and suddenly we decided that we both had endured enough of bachelorhood  and it was time to get married.

Within 6 months  we  Captain “X” and Me  were sitting together with our newly-wedded wives on the lawns of SP Marg Officers Mess.

Soon  we shifted to Curzon Road Apartments  where we were next door neighbours.

Our erstwhile mess-mates from SP Marg would invariably “bounce” us  whenever they were in the vicinity at Connaught Place or India Gate.

These bachelor officers would suddenly land up unannounced any time of the day and night  demanding food and drink – sometimes even at the oddest of hours  like on their way back from a late night movie show.

These impromptu food and booze sessions  which lasted till the wee hours of the morning  came as a big surprise for “Sleeping Beauty” – who was used to the placid social life of a small town university campus  where “early to bed and early to rise”  was the norm.

Having never seen even a drop of alcohol in her parents’ home  these unrestrained drinking binges  where everyone consumed enormous amounts of alcohol  and many officers got high and behaved with wild abandon  caused her even greater cultural shock.

However  she adapted herself to her new life  and to compensate for the sleep deprivation due to the late nights – she spent most of her time sleeping during the day – hence I gave her the nickname: “Sleeping Beauty”.

One evening  around 7 PM  on my way to my flat  I saw “Sleeping Beauty” eating her dinner.

Those of you who have lived in Curzon Road Apartments will know that the Kitchenette of the one room flat was located at the entrance  which opened into the corridor – and we mostly kept the door open for cross-ventilation.

So  as I walked down the corridor to my flat  I saw “Sleeping Beauty” standing before the gas stove with a plate in her hand.

The plate was filled with generous amounts of a variety of dishes  and she was merrily eating away to glory.

“Having dinner so early?” I asked her.

“No. No. I am just tasting the food to see it is okay,” she said.

“Tasting? So much?” I asked, pointing towards her filled plate.

“Sleeping Beauty” laughed  and she said to me: “Okay. I will tell you. My husband has invited his boss and all the officers in his office and their wives for dinner. By the time they finish their drinks and have dinner  it will be past midnight  and I will feel very hungry by then. So  I am having my dinner now itself.”

“You are eating your dinner now itself  even before the guests arrive?” I asked her, flabbergasted.

“Yes. I am going to have my full meal – even the sweet dish. Then  it does not matter how long they keep drinking  and whatever time they eat their food. I will have a second round of food with them just to keep up appearances  or maybe I will actually be a bit hungry by then,” she said.

I marveled at the earthy wisdom of the young bride – it was so breathtaking in its simplicity – a useful mantra for all hostesses  especially for military wives who have to entertain a lot.

I will always thank “Sleeping Beauty” for this pointer for hostesses  which I suggested to my wife and many ladies.

In fact  I started following Sleeping Beauty’s mantra myself  after I joined the ranks of sober teetotallers  who anxiously wait for dinner to be served  while the boozers keep endlessly downing drink after drink.

So  if you are “fauji” wife  whenever you invite people for dinner  you know what to do.

Happy Wining and Dining in Uniform !!! 

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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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