Saturday, December 10, 2016

Humor in Uniform – The Army Officer and His “Corporate” Wife

This evening I heard a lady complain: “I am feeling so tired – I want to just be at home and spend some time with my children  but I have to go to that boring office party...

“Don’t go...” I said. 

“What do you mean by “Don’t go”...? I will be sacked if I don’t go...” she said.

“Well – we too had plenty of parties in the Navy – many official parties where attendance was compulsory”. If you were absent your boss did get angry if you did not attend an official party  but no one was sacked from the Navy for skipping a party...

“The Corporate Sector is different from the Navy...” she said.

This reminded me of a story I had written a few years ago on a Military Officer and his Corporate Wife.

Dear Reader: Here is the story...

A Fictional Spoof on Military Matrimony


A few years ago – I heard that a girl had turned down a marriage proposal from an Army Officer.

Everyone said that the boy was good.

“Yes, the boy is good – I like him – but I do not want to marry an army officer and get stuck throughout my life roaming around all over in small cantonments. I want to pursue my career as a Software Engineer in the IT Industry – in fact  I am thinking of going abroad to the US for better career prospects and settling down there in America. Will all this be possible if I marry an army officer...?” she said.

Last month  I attended the girl’s wedding.

The girl had done exactly what she had wanted – she got married to a NRI boy from the US and she too has migrated and joined her husband in America where both are pursuing their careers in the Computer Industry.

This would not have been possible had she married a “fauji” officer.

If the girl had married a military officer (“fauji”) – as a “fauji” wife (“faujan”) – she would either be languishing in some remote cantonment after quitting her job – or – if she had decided to keep working – she and her “fauji” husband would be enduring a long-distance marriage. 

And – with a “fauji” husband  in all probability – her “American Dream” would have remained unrealised. 

This real life episode reminded me of a story (a playlet) I had written more than 3 years ago  in June 2013  on modern military marriage titled THE NEW AGE FAUJI WIFE

I am posting this story  once more  for you read and mull over  especially if you are an military wife  or – if you are thinking of marrying a military officer: 

THE NEW AGE “FAUJI” COUPLE  a playlet by Vikram Karve 

Cast of Characters

H – Husband [An Army Officer – a Major (33)]

W – Wife (The Army Officer’s “Corporate” Wife (30) – an MBA from a leading B-School  she is a career woman working for a top FMCG MNC in the Corporate Sector)

[Scene  Major H and his wife W are at home sitting on the dining table, having dinner] 

H: How was the day?

W: Hectic. Very Hectic. We are running against the clock preparing for this sudden top level meeting. And how about you? How was your day?

H: Terrible. My day was terrible. We are just wasting time preparing for the Raising Day celebrations. The Old Man is all hyper – he is sweating for his ACR and is driving us crazy with his micromanagement. He wants Officers to do the job of NCOs. Today he made me stand all day to supervise the placing of flower pots in the officers’ mess garden – and he personally came there ten times to shout at me. It’s bloody humiliating. This peacetime soldiering gets on my nerves – it’s much better to be fighting in the field.

W: Anyway  keep your Saturday evening free.

H: Saturday evening?

W: Yes. We are having a big office party at the Taj. The Head Honcho and all the big shots are coming over from our Head Office and overseas branches. My boss has told me to bring you along – the Head Honcho wants to meet all the spouses. So get your best suit ready.

H: Are you crazy?

W: Why? What happened?

H: Our Raising Day Party is on Saturday evening. It is the main function of the raising day celebrations and all the top brass is coming. I told you that long back  didn’t I...?

W: Yes  you did tell me. But now  this has suddenly come up. As far as I am concerned  this office party at the Taj is an official function – you can say that it is a working dinner  an essential part of my work – and I have to attend. And you better come too.

H: How can I come...? I have to be present at the Raising Day party. Attendance is compulsory for all officers – it is like being on duty. And remember  as an army wife  you are expected to accompany me to unit functions and social occasions. The CO has ordered that all wives are to be present for the Raising Day function. As it is  the CO’s wife is annoyed at your absence from the rehearsals.

W: The CO has ordered...? The bloody cheek...! Who the hell is your CO to order me around...? You are in the army. Not me. Do you understand...? I am not in the army. I am free to do as I please. You just tell your CO that. And as far as rehearsals are concerned  please make it clear to his wife  that so-called “First Lady” of yours  that I have better things to do than parading myself on the stage displaying my physical assets  and – I am not interested in prancing around on stage – in front of everyone  lip-syncing those vulgar Bollywood numbers.

H: Okay. Okay. Don’t take part in the entertainment show. But you have to be there as a hostess.

W: Hostess?

H: Well  all lady wives are required to stand at the entrance to welcome the guests. And then  you have to usher and look after the senior ladies. I think you have been especially allocated to look after the wife of the GOC. The 2 I/C said that you were the most polished and smart lady wife in the unit.

W: Hey  I think you are missing the point. I am not coming for your party. You are coming for my party. 

H: No. You will have to come for the Raising Day Party. It is your duty as an ‘Army Wife.

W: Well  when I married you  I made it clear that my career was important to me. Maybe other army wives like being “eye candy” appendages of their husbands  but I do not intend playing “second fiddle” to you. I am an independent career woman – not your “arm candy” army wife.

H: Please understand. The CO will spoil my ACR if you don’t come. He specifically told me that you are to be present for the Raising Day function. As it is – the CO is angry that you don’t take part in AWWA and Ladies Club activities.

W: So how does it matter if he spoils your ACR. In any case  your army promotions are by time scale and seniority – you just have to pass time and wait patiently in the queue for your turn  and when your time comes  you will be promoted in due course. For me  in the corporate world – I have to slog hard against cutthroat competition and deliver results to earn every promotion. That is why I am a Senior Manager today at such a young age  because of sheer performance and merit. And  that is the reason why I earn more than double the salary than what you get in the army. And  I have much better career prospects than you. My boss says that they consider me a high-flyer.

H: I know all that. There is no need to boast. If you do not want to come for the Raising Day Party  you don’t come. I will make up some excuse and say that you are not feeling well or something.

W: I am not coming for your Raising Day Party – that is sure. But – you just tell me one thing – suppose you don’t attend your Raising Day Party – what will happen to you...?

H: Are you crazy? They will take action against me. They are sure to give me an adverse ACR.

W: They can spoil your ACR – but they can’t throw you out of the army  can they? Can they throw you out of the army  just for not attending a party?

H: No. I don’t think they can.

W: In my case they can – my boss will fire me if I am missing when the Head Honcho wants to meet me. And  if I make a good impression – then  the sky is the limit. There is a position open in Singapore  and I have been short-listed. There are three others  but I stand a good chance. That is why my boss wants you to come for the party – so that the Head Honcho can size you up.

H: Size me up...? Why does your Head Honcho’ want to size me up...?

W: I told my boss about you – that you were a highly qualified and talented Engineer  an M. Tech. from an IIT  and that you were frustrated in the army doing mundane jobs.

H: Frustrated...? Who told you that I was frustrated in the army...?

W: Didn’t you tell me how humiliated you felt when you were told to stand all day and supervise the placing of flower pots in the officers’ mess garden? And  don’t they make you run the canteen? And – aren’t you fed up doing all sorts of odd jobs in the unit? Are these run-of-the-mill jobs worthy of an M. Tech. from an IIT...? A brilliant guy like you is just wasting his time and withering away his life in the army  and your talent is unappreciated and unrewarded.

H: But what can I do?

W: You come with me for my office party on Saturday and meet the Head Honcho. Maybe he has something in mind for you. They may even make you a good job offer.



Let me give you 3 apocryphal endings to this story. 


Like a dutiful “fauji wife”  skipped her office party  and accompanied her army husband H to the Raising Day Party.

Her gesture was much appreciated by her husband H

With her poise and polish  succeeded in impressing the top brass and their wives  and the CO was delighted with H.

In Woffice  her boss was furious with W for being absent from the office party   which – for her boss  was a most important event.

The Head Honcho expressed his disappointment at not meeting W.

Though the boss did not fire her from her job  was sidelined for the lucrative and coveted Singapore assignment  and soon  W was passed over for promotion.

Frustrated at being marginalized  quit her job and took up a new one  but now as far as her career was concerned  W decided to play second-fiddle to her husband’s army career – and she put in all her best efforts as a typical ambitious “fauji wife” to boost her husband’s career.

When her husband H was posted out of Delhi to a new station in a small town  W quit her job  and she gave up her career to become a full-time homemaker.

now accompanies her husband wherever he is posted.

As an ideal “fauji wife”  is playing a great role in bolstering and promoting her husband’s army career by her stellar participation in AWWA, Ladies Clubs and other social activities.

H and W live happily ever after.


did not attend the Raising Day Party.

H accompanied his wife W to her office event at the Taj.

The CO was livid at H – for his un-officer-like conduct of being wilfully absent from the Raising Day Party (an official social function).

H was admonished by his CO who vowed to finish him off and ruin his career.

At the corporate office party  W introduced her husband to the Head Honcho.

Everyone was impressed by H.

There was a sudden announcement – W was promoted and she given the coveted Singapore assignment.

And then  there was even more surprise – the Head Honcho offered a very lucrative position  also in Singapore  so that W and H could live together.

W would be head of marketing  and H would be head of technology.

H quit the army (helped by the adverse ACR his CO had given him).

H took up the job offer  and joined W in Singapore.

W and H live happily ever after.

ENDING 3 (Suggested by a reader - a fellow “fauji” officer)

W goes for her office party  and H goes for his ‘Raising Day Party. 

Wcivilian boss understands the circumstances in which Whusband H could not attend the crucial office party. 

 Hs CO gets furious because Hwife W did not attend the units raising day party

Hs CO duly spoils Hs ACR (Annual Confidential Report)  and – to teach H a lesson  HCO gets H posted out to an insignificant appointment in a hardship non-family station in the field.

W moves to a house in a civilian area in the city  and with her husband H away  she struggles all alone to manage her home, the kids' schools and her career in the office.

After some time  H gets frustrated at having to live all alone without his wife and children.

H also knows that his career prospects in the army are now quite bleak  due to the adverse ACR.

So  H wants to leave the army  but his request is turned down  and H is told to wait for a few years till he is finally superseded for promotion.

So both H and W live miserably ever after.

Dear Reader: Tell us – What do you think happened...?

Ending 1 or Ending 2 or Ending 3 – which one do you think is more likely...?

Most of my “Fauji” friends think that Ending 3 is most likely.

Which ending do you think is most likely...? 


(Like a dutiful “fauji wife”  skips her office party  and accompanies her Army husband Major H to the Raising Day Party) 

When her husband Major H is posted out of Delhi to a new station in a small town  W quits her job  and she gives up her career to become a full-time homemaker

now accompanies her husband wherever he is posted. 

As an ideal “fauji wife”  is playing a great role in bolstering and promoting her husband’s Army career by her stellar participation in AWWA, Ladies Clubs and other social activities. 

H and W live happily ever after. 


(Major does not attend the Raising Day Party. Instead – Major H accompanies his wife W to her office event at the Taj) 

Major H quits the Army – takes up the job offer in his wife’s company  and joins his wife W in Singapore.

And – W and H live happily ever after. 


(W goes for her office party  and Major H goes for his ‘Raising Day Party) 

Major H wants to quit the Army  but his request is turned down  and H is told to wait for a few years till he is finally superseded for promotion – so – H has to continue to serve in the Army.

S– H and W live miserably ever after (at least for the next few years). 

Tell me Dear Reader  Which ending do you think is most likely...? 



I once heard a senior officer say that  if a Girl marries a Military Officer  she has only two choices  Homemaker or Teacher.

Yes  a “fauji” wife can either be a Homemaker or a Teacher.

A traditional “fauji” wife carries the identity of husband  and her status depends on his rank.

A modern working woman pursues her own career  she has her own distinct identity  and she is no longer content to be her husband’s arm-candy.

I told you the story of the girl right at the beginning – the girl who turned down the marriage proposal from the army officer because she wanted to pursue her own career ambitions abroad  which would not have been possible had she become a “fauji” wife.

Should a “Corporate” Career Woman marry an Army Officer...? 

We all know the answer to this moot question strictly from the career compatibility point of view.

Of course  if they fall in love – then – it is a different story...

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

1. This playlet is a fictional 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. This story is a work of fiction, not a substitute for self-help advice, so please do your own due diligence in your own life, relationships, marriage and career.
3. 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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