Should a Career Woman Marry a Defence Officer…?

A “FAUJI” and a “FAUJAN”

Link to my original post in my Blog Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve:
http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2016/06/a-fauji-and-faujan.html

THE NEW AGE “FAUJI” COUPLE
A Spoof on Military Matrimony
By
VIKRAM KARVE

EPILOGUE

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 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 “Fauji” Wife (30) – an MBA from a leading B-School – she is a career woman working for a top FMCG MNC)

[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 an offer.

EPILOGUE

THIS STORY CAN HAVE THREE POSSIBLE ENDINGS

Let me give you 3 apocryphal endings to this story.

ENDING 1

Like a dutiful “fauji wife” – W skipped her office party – and W accompanied her Army husband H to the unit ‘Raising Day’ Party.

Her gesture was much appreciated by her husband H

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

In W’s office – 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 – W was sidelined for the lucrative and coveted Singapore assignment – and soon – W was passed over for promotion.

Frustrated at being marginalized – W 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’.

W now accompanies her husband wherever he is posted.

As an ideal “fauji wife” – W 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.

ENDING 2

H 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 H 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 H 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.

W’s civilian boss understands the circumstances in which W’s husband H could not attend the crucial office party.

But – H’s CO gets furious because H’s wife W did not attend the unit’s raising day party

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

Since H has been posted to a field non-family station – W realises that she will not be able to manage the children all alone in Singapore – so she turns down the Singapore assignment.

Then – W moves to a house in a civilian area in the city – and with her husband H away in the field – she struggles all alone to manage her home, the children’s school 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.

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.

Yes – H and W live separated and miserable – at least for the next few years – till H is finally superseded for promotion – and he is able to quit the Army.

But – by then – H has missed out on the Singapore job opportunity offered to him a few years earlier.

Now – with the stigma of supersession – H is not able to get a good job.

W too missed out on the Singapore opportunity since she stayed back in India to look after the kids when H was posted to the field – but W does well at work and gets promoted to Higher Management – since – unlike in the Military where you are “written off” permanently – the corporate sector gives you enough opportunity to “bounce back” and make a success of your career.

Meanwhile – after having quit the Army – and unable to get a good job – H becomes increasingly frustrated while watching his wife W achieve great success in her corporate career – while H himself has fallen by the wayside.

H is unable to cope with his wife’s success (and his own failure) – and H keeps blaming his wife W for not quitting her job and helping him in his Army career.

Soon – their marriage is on the rocks.

 

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?

Which ending do you think is most likely…?

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

You tell me Dear Reader: – Which ending do you think is most likely…?

VIKRAM KARVE
Copyright © Vikram Karve
1. If you share this post, please give due credit to the author Vikram Karve
2. Please DO NOT PLAGIARIZE. Please DO NOT Cut/Copy/Paste this post
© vikram karve., all rights reserved.

Disclaimer:
1. This playlet 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. 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.
Copyright Notice:
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)
Link to my original post in my Blog Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve:
http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2016/06/a-fauji-and-faujan.html

5 Comments »

  1. 1
    Tania Says:

    Very meaningful artical.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. 2

    You have come up with a very practical issue in your article. I think Army works by conventional ways those were established since long time. I think Ending 1 or 3 is possible 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. 3

    True Manisha – but I like Ending 2 🙂

    Like

    • 4

      Ending 2 is indeed excellent, but pracically less possible because it needs various involved as well as powerful people to compromise their egos and look at the whole issue broad-mindedly. It also needs changes in the beaten workstyle paths the Army follows. In my view, unless the powerful people do not see junior’s capabilities positively and do not do justice to them when he/she is worthy of it, Ending 2 is sadly going to be a dream of the portrayed couple.

      Liked by 1 person

      • 5

        Yes Manisha – you are absolutely right.
        I am sure things are changing for the better and army will become more egalitarian – as we have more and more military wives who are career women who are independent achievers in their own right and do not need the “crutches” of husband’s rank.
        I have seen this happening in the Navy which has a large number of career wives.

        Liked by 1 person


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