Have you ever fired a rocket launcher or sat in an army tank? No? Don’t be amazed, neither have we. We’re not as wild as others think of us to be. Even we fauji brats have normal lives and childhood like any other normal kid, just with a teaspoon of adventure and a sack full of travelling.
Imagine being stopped by a traffic police. He’ll check your Driving License, few IDs and that’s it. No, not for us. My Driving license is from Mumbai, PAN card from Goa, Aadhar card from Kochi, and voter ID card from Bengaluru. The first words out of that traffic police have always been “Ai, Terrorist hai kya?” (Are you a terrorist). It has always been our Defense Dependent pass that saves us.
Your stories start with “It was Christmas of 2016…” or “Remember that Diwali of 2013”. But for a fauji brat, our openings are “It was when I was in Lonavala……Remember that time in Kavaratti”. For all those who don’t know Kavaratti, it’s one of the Islands of Lakshadweep. Yes, even though I’m a Science student but as a fauji brat my Indian geography has been the strongest and It is all thanks to my civilian friends who keep asking “So where do you live?” No Annabelle doll or nun nor any Monster under my bed can be as scary as these lines. How should I answer, should I say where I live currently, or where I was born or where I am actually from.
The answer of this question will always be longer than your Resume. Right from where I was conceived to where I might want to be buried. I could do a one hour PPT session on this topic, with animations.
I have friends from the Ivy League but I lost all respect for them when they asked me “So your father’s in the Navy, does he drive a ship?” DRIVE A SHIP? DRIVE? A SHIP? Let me clear that he does none of that. Firstly, you sail a ship. Secondly, a ship is not sailed by one person, it is not Pirates of the Caribbean. I have also encountered species who have asked me “How come you don’t know how to swim. Your father is in the Navy right?” Oh, then I should be thankful that my father is not in the army, or else they would’ve taught me how to shoot bullets from my mouth.
But it has not always been amusing and fun. I remember my friend telling me about the time when his Father was sent to J&K after the 2016 Pathankot Attack, he was told to sleep in his uniform for if anything happens anytime, they would be able to identify the body if you know what I’m trying to say. My father would be deployed in International water for weeks with no form of communication with anyone outside. I am an atheist but I prayed every day when my father went sailing. But this thrill and adventure is what makes us slightly special to others. An Army Lieutenant General once said and I quote-
“I was 13th rank in JEE Advance. I left IIT Chennai and joined the Indian Army. It has been 30years since, I have been shot and wounded but I have lived it all. Any College or University will give you a job and money, But Fauj gives you a life.”
And I couldn’t agree with him more. I might not know every street of a place by touch or might not have 10 year long friendships. But I can say “I don’t speak your language” in 10 different dialects.