Amruta Mahajan writes about the nomadic life as an army kid and the numerous adventures.
Life as an army kid is nothing short of nomadic! We change places after a span of every two years, attend new schools, starting over, some times in a middle of the school session when everyone else is pretty much settled down. Life is constantly dynamic, always in a constant flow of events. At times, you end up meeting your old friends in different cities.
Usually, one would look forward to going to new places, however, it wasn’t the same when your parents were posted in field areas.
As a 5-year-old, you never really understood the need for your parents to be away; but as you grew older, there was a feeling of pride and understanding associated with your father’s profession.
It is difficult for us to imagine how people manage to spend their entire lives in one place. Most army kids have this wanderlust. The general questions that we are asked is how do we manage to shift base and start all over again. Honestly, it’s mostly because we are brought up in the same environment with like-minded people who have also seen a similar life. It’s not new for us! After your father retires and settles at one place, it becomes difficult to settle down in one particular place!
So in an average army tenure, we manage to change around five to seven schools, or even more! Till very recently, as we were posted in small cities we never really had the luxury of going to a mall or any other kind of “big city entertainment.” Such kind of outings were only available when we came visiting our extended family during vacation!
An army kid is usually well-aware of the current happenings but is pretty insulated from the outside.
It is only after entering different schools that are “civil” or a college (not the army variety) do we realise the “different” thought process existing outside. It was always assumed that people outside would share a similar world view, but it isn’t always so.
While growing up, our heroes were not the Marvel comics and DC universe character but rather the people whose names we grew up hearing; for instance, Capt Vikram Batra and Lt. Thapar and so on. In fact, in our schools the names of our house systems reflected the names of various Generals and Field Marshals, be it – Manekshaw or Cariappa.
We have had the good fortune of seeing many different cities and explore the entire length of the country, going to places that not many people have even heard of.
There is a small story about a teacher who asks a class to give her an example of a galaxy. A little kid replies “shoulder of my dad.” The surprised teacher asks ‘how?’ to which the little girl, filled with pride, replies “because this is where he wears his stars. His uniforms.”
That is the life of an army kid!
(Written by Amruta Mahajan)