“A house is made of bricks and beams…a home is made of hopes and dreams.”
New Chapters, new beginnings….new places with new surroundings, every two years; this is how we live our life and we adore it. Travelling and changing stations is a way of life for those in the forces, and their families. It is almost like a natural instinct. It’s not only packing comb to cupboards of linen and crockery, it’s about moving places into new houses, new neighbourhood, new environment…where someone else has lived earlier…now becomes ours. Wherever you live, your home becomes an embodiment of your memories and warmth. As a famous Hindi quote says….har ghar kuch kehta hai, meaning every home has a story of its own or simply is a reflection of its inhabitants. When we set up our house we do it our way…every corner every wall resonating our likes and interests.
Setting up homes sometimes in unseen and unheard places and at times in big metros can be really challenging yet an experience in itself and gradually you become a master at lodging and dislodging enjoying every bit of it. At every posting, we have to start de-novo right from finding a salon to grocery to daily needs. Quaint Army Cantonments with their beautiful surroundings, appealing verdancy and exclusiveness is a safe haven for its residents with facilities for a healthy lifestyle…lush golf courses, parks, walking plazas offer a quality life… something that one can only dream of in this era of concrete jungles. Sometimes the rare opportunities of having our nest next to a gushing stream flowing through the Himalayas or amidst the tea gardens of the Nilgiris in the south or of the stunning mountains of the North East…is what we gain in the bargain. The searing summer heat of towns on western frontier and sometimes braving the never ending rainfalls of the East…slowly prepares us to face any challenge in life by teaching us to adapt and enjoy.
For a newly married couple, setting up their first home is very special…even the small little things add up to memories for lifetime. As a young officer’s wife we made two rooms as our first home; happy and contented with a makeshift kitchen and two small rooms to ourselves …all in all our home sweet home, where, each and every thing we bought was so thoughtfully placed by us that the remembrance of which still occupies a special place in my heart. We started our life with two suitcases and three boxes and as life progressed, the size of our house and our paraphernalia both increased. From two bedroom house to three and then graduating to bungalows…but, the feeling remains the same each time we step into a new home. Changing houses and transforming them into beautiful homes, remains an inevitable yet fascinating part of being in the olive green family. Sometimes waiting to get an accommodation and sometimes moving to separated family houses, the whole rigmarole of getting into a house is painstaking yet intriguing…packing trunks and moving trucks can sometimes give you panic attacks, but you’ll do it…there are no two ways about it, and will gradually love it. Within a few years you become a connoisseur of this nomadic life. You qualify as a perfect army wife, only, when you learn to stuff your belongings in wooden boxes, cartons and crates skilfully, with their ever increasing number in every move containing the most unique handpicked items from different parts of the subcontinent, and then unpacking carefully to tastefully decorate her new home. The transition is always stressful…I cried like a baby at the time of bidding adieu during our first few relocations…whether it involves larger distances or small, it requires breaking attachments, leaving friends and moving out of our comfort zone created.
Today as I sit with a hot cup of tea in a perfectly manicured green, seeing the feathery visitors with wings, playing around us feeding on the grains and flapping their wings, cleaning their plumage in the shallow puddle of the birdbath, a bunch of parrots dancing on the white marble of the Buddha statue, and a rustling sound emerging from the gentle breeze flowing through the tall trees, makes me feel blessed to be in another beautiful place far away from the din of the cities. The story of past so many years flash through my mind, recounting every little thing that made, that place so extra special. My new abode is in a small and scenic town surrounded by mountains and year round greenery; our second posting to the same place after 22 long years…where we had spent some remarkable period of time with our newly borns….now we start afresh yet again…painting it in our very own colours, in the process of making new bonds and creating our own sweet world once again.