Wednesday, 10 October 2012

A Daughter and a Wife...Memories rekindled

The Indian Air Force celebrated its 80th Anniversary two days ago! A classmates memories of a posting we all cherish reminded me of an article I had written about 5 years back...

Life they say goes a full circle! For me it certainly has, pleasantly, besides. Oh yes it has, in getting me to Staff College (Wellington, Tamil Nadu) twice with twenty-three years gone between! Many wives have been at DSSC twice or even a more number of times so how, you may ask is my double stint here unique and what am I so animated about? Not very difficult to figure it out if you really tried; or as Sherlock Holmes would have put it “Elementary, my dear Watson”, (not that too many Watsons would be reading this though). So, how come twice with such an interval gone by? As a daughter first and then a wife of course! Isn’t that exciting though?

The salubrious climes of Wellington have not changed much; or have they? I wouldn’t really know for a girl of some 10 odd years - during my first time here - would be concerned more with the excitement of making new friends and exploring an entirely new way of life that the sprawling College complex offers rather than making humdrum observations of the weather or its effects on people’s health. Whether I noticed or not, the climate was lovely and continues to be so.

Looking back in time I remember my kid brother and I going to the KV School where the Army School now is, scrambling for the special seat in the coach that took us there from Gorkha Hills; the pony rides; the movies at the College and at Kilimanjaro and our never to be forgotten German neighbours; hamaara Bajaj scooter that gave us the frights every time we had to climb or go down the first steep slope of Gorkha Hills; the collecting of rain water to bathe as the piped water system had broken down , days on end.

There are some places which always retain a special place in your heart and Wellington was and is one such place. How can I ever forget the clouds that would surround us in our classroom while we were trying to make sense of what our teachers were talking about; or the race between my brother and me immediately after we got back from school to reach the ponies - it was exciting with us galloping, the ponies trotting; and even the School Sports Day my parents made me miss because it was the day of races at the Pykara lake; and then who can ever get over the German neighbour’s “visiting-India sister” who sunbathed almost daily in a pure white bikini to the delight of workers (and I might add officers…wink wink) at the higher levels of under-construction houses of Gorkha Hills. By Heaven’s Angels, there’s enough material right here for therapy!!!!

It is only now as a wife that I understand what Staff College is all about. The 10 month course, the classes, the war games, the FAT, the IDT, the FSPs, Ladies’ Clubs, the numerous courses for ladies and children offering unique opportunities for their growth, the WGC, the problems with the maids, the scrambling to get wrought iron furniture made, the dresses stitched and so much more my Mom and Dad must have experienced when they were here. Of course we have it much easier. We all have cars now and computers. They didn’t. My Mom had to walk down all the way from Gorkha Hills each time we needed to buy anything from vegetables to groceries or even to get to the bakery or canteen was a herculean task, accomplished with a smile.

The Bulchand’s and Jograj’s of this world haven’t changed, the houses and roads haven’t changed, and the schools haven’t. Most of all Staff College hasn’t changed. What has changed is the person who looks at them with first a father and now a husband beside her.

Oh yes life has come a full circle for me; I am back in Wellington.