He opened the door and led me inside our new home. The journey of 4 days across the length and breadth of this beautiful country finally came to an end.”says Indira Vijay Kumar who fondly remembers her very first trip outside of her city, which ended in Jammu and Kashmir. “I was a typical village girl, so I found it difficult in the early days to accept that he was constantly on the move and sometimes wouldn’t return home for days together.
Back then, we didn’t have the communication systems like today and I used to spend hours writing letters to him when he’d be away from home. In his responses, he’d console me and explain to me what it is to be an army wife. Those days, we had made sure that we’d send letters to each other at least once in a week.
In the years that followed, he had many field postings – Jammu, Srinagar, border areas in Punjab, etc. were some of the high alert zones to be in. The pattern of his absence owing to duty continued and on such days, I’d play the role of both father and mother to our kid. When the Kargil war started in 1998, he was posted in one of the high risk areas, Uri sector, and my son and I moved to our hometown in Kerala.
I can never forget those days as hopelessness stretched on and fear of bad news hovered over me. But there wasn’t much I could do for him other than spending hours in the prayer room. I knew deep inside, for an army man, his nation comes first and family a close second.
He got a peace posting in 2001 and we reunited. Our son did his schooling mostly in Army Schools across the country as we moved from place to place in every 3 years or so.
All I can say is, the life of an Army Wife is not so easy, especially if your husband is in infantry or artillery. You’ve got to hold it together when your man in olive green uniform goes on dangerous missions for days or even months. You’ve got to be okay with your man missing out on special occasions like birthdays, anniversaries, vacations, etc. You might have to be okay even with quitting your job forever as maintaining a career while moving all over the place is quite difficult.”