As a military brat, you are sure to have led a life full of adventure. Military brats have (literally) a garage full of memories. If you are a military brat, or are a friend of one, you will relate to these attributes. Their escapades and experiences are unique and fascinating. Travelling with their fathers all over the country throughout their life, military brats encounter distinct opportunities as well as tribulations. At the end of the day, they are all part of one big family.
There are certain characteristics, situations and rituals which only a military brat will understand-
As a military brat, you are accustomed to living for not more than two or three years in any town at a stretch. Even before you have settled down properly, the posting order arrives in the pink/green file. You have probably spent half your life following the ritual of packing and unpacking in black steel boxes with your father’s name on it in white paint. All you can hope for is a peace posting instead of a field posting. Moreover, as a military brat, you know the difference between the two.
WHERE AM I FROM?
Military brats understand the panic that clutches the heart when they are asked where they belong to. The answer is simple- None. Having lived in countless cities with strange names like Yol, Bibina, Tawang, and Kupwara, who can possibly be certain about his/her home town? Apart from this, you always hope and pray that no one asks you your permanent address.
TALK TO ME IN MILITARY LINGO
How do you spell milk? M- I- L- K. How does a military brat spell milk? Mike- India- Lima- Kilo. Yes, you know the military equivalents for all the alphabets, and you can swiftly converse in military time. You will reach on time if asked to be there by 2100 hours; no confusion. Apart from this, only you can understand terms like AWWA, MH, Base hospital, T.D., DSOI, Arty, or civvies.
THE PERKS OF THE MILITARY LIFE
You feel no less than the son/daughter of a Tata or Ambani as you saunter proudly into the Defence club of the town to enjoy swimming, basketball, horse-riding, and even golf. Clubs and parties were never a big deal for you as you attended DJ nights on Saturdays, and May Queen Balls every summer. Apart from this, Ray- Bans were your only choice for a pair of sunglasses, and the first game you learnt to play was ‘Tambola’ in DSOI.
THE WORLD IS A SMALL PLACE FOR YOU
In the ‘military brat world’, everyone knows everyone. Accept it; you haven’t met any other military brat, with whom you did not have mutual friends. It was always fun to find out that the person you had just met for the very first time, already had a connection with your life. Being in a military social circle, you were also proud to have friends whom you had known since you were probably five years old.
THE MILITARY WAY OF LIFE
Any military brat will associate with the monthly trips to the CSD canteens. You visited supermarkets or hypermarkets of your own, way before it became trendy. You associate with the familiar smells of Santoor soap, boot polish, and Brasso. The garage was a sacred place for you and your staple form of travel included Gypsys and giant roaring machines called ‘1 tons’ (Shaktimaan) and ‘Dhai tons’. Even when you went for vacations, the military ways never left you. You would travel on ‘Form D’ and stay not in any hotel or resort, but Singh uncle’s Arty Mess.
A MOST COLOURFUL CHILDHOOD
As a military brat, you couldn’t have asked for a more exciting and fun childhood. During parties, potato wafers and salted peanuts (with onion, green chilli, and tomato pieces) were the best snacks in the Mess’ TV room. It was fascinating to travel the country with your parents. What was more fascinating, was to watch your mother get dressed every week in her best clothes and leave for her ‘Ladies Meet’. You were exposed to all sorts of people and all types of landscapes as you shifted schools every few years; they coloured your childhood in all shades of happy.
Your years as a military brat were (and remain to this date) the best years of your life. They shaped you into the individual you are today and no matter how many times you revisit those memories, they leave you enchanted with a bittersweet longing.