Thursday, October 9, 2008

My Dad is a Soldier

My five year old daughter Aayet has taken her father’s departure after a month’s long leave very badly. It’s been four days and she refuses to eat her dinner. She says she’ll have it only when Abba comes back. I have been trying and trying really hard to keep things as normal for her and for my son as I can. But at times I feel nothing seems to work, especially when she is really missing her Abba.
Yesterday she was sitting with one of his socks and crying. I guess being an army officer’s daughter it is just one of the sacrifices she would be making while Dad is away on field postings. I very strongly feel that we army families are some what a silent species. Most of the people just don’t comprehend the circumstances we exist in. Here, is a beautiful poem I came across and would like to share with you all.

My Dad Is A Soldier
My dad is a soldier. I can not lie
When he went it made me cry
It made me feel angry, alone, and afraid.
I find myself wishing that he could have stayed.
Im not sure I understand just why he had to go.
But I do understand that he could not say no.
I am so proud of my dad, for he's loyal, brave and true.
People say he's protecting my freedom and your freedom too.
The comforts of home, he must terribly miss.
He must feel so alone, with no one to hug and to kiss.
I want to hear the voice of my dad and feel the warmth of his arms.
When he wraps them around me, I feel protected from harm.
My dad is a soldier, I can not lie.When he returns home, it will make me cry.
by Michele
In countries like US they have full fledged inspirational programs for the children of deployed parents. There are numerous books for children as well as the mothers on how to cope with seperation. They even have a concept of Daddy Dolls. These dolls are the brainchild of two moms who are married to deployed marines. They wanted to make the separation easier for their children while "keeping their fathers close to their heart." The idea has been very well received and now you can get your own Daddy doll. All you have to do is to give them a three megapixel photo of dad in his uniform and they turn it into a cuddly 12- or 18-inch cotton doll.
I hope we Indians as a nation also wake up to the sacrifices made by our soldiers and take some meaningful action to make lives of our soldiers a bit better. Amen.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Best of the Brats

I must confess I simply love them!! And who doesn’t? Their style, mannerisms, and that little wild streak is something to die for. Ever been to 9 different states, 11 different schools, moved umpteen times, and seen some of the greatest things in the country before you even turned 18? Well, pick any army kid and I am sure you would have a mini encyclopedia in your hands.

Although one feels that this continuous moving around would make them a little unstable but it actually makes them more flexible and determined. I know some of my friend’s children who do have trouble adjusting in a new environment but most of them sailed through these phases comfortably. They generally move with their parents to the stations which already have other kids like them and friendships are formed very quickly. Social evenings and swimming pool sessions do play a large part in these bonds. Kids going through the same transitions tend to gravitate towards each other anyway. And some of the best friendships are formed during those years. With daddy gone most of the time our kids actually bond with each other beautifully. Right across my home some 7-8 kids use a garage for their music sessions. They have formed a rock band which is in fact quite soulful. They say they want be this century’s Beatles. Wow! I must say.

I feel their rich traveling experiences make them flexible, stronger, well read, well traveled, more thoughtful and most importantly smarter and mature adults, raring to go. How many kids do you think know of a place called Bumla which actually is the meeting point of Indo China border or Tawang which has few of the best monasteries in the world or for that matter Palchan, the most beautiful part of Himachal. Our kids do…..
A young girl I met the other day said, “Auntie am struggling to find a place to call home. When people ask me where I am from? I ask them "Do you want to know where I was born, where I went to high school, or where I went to college? I really don’t have one place I belong to. This makes a little sad, I want some stability in my life, some anchor.” These words actually set me thinking. This feeling does come in once in a while, I wanted to know whether this feeling is common A few days later I bumped into my best friend’s teenage son so I popped up the question whether he likes life as an army kid? And I must tell you his reply put me completely at ease, Auntie! Only we are able to do such exciting things! Moving from one place to another and saying, hey, I have a friend that lives there. I wouldn't trade my experiences for the anything. Plus I am so proud of my Dad. I look up to him, and know that he has done the right thing. My parents have raised me to be a strong individual and I wouldn't change my life for anything.” Good going son!!!
But one thing I am sure is that when our super duper dapper kids stand to honour the flag they stand in honour of all soldiers and most of all their daddies and uncles who are serving the country from far off fields.