We are so busy with our lives and our daily chaos that we do not even realize that there are different people out there who lead a totally different life altogether. My dad works in a public sector undertaking. So we keep moving to different places.
But I never realized that the life that we led was so very different from the life that the defence personnel led.
Last year I had gone to Lucknow to attend my friend’s wedding. I met a few ‘faujis’ and even a ‘fauji’ officer there. (‘Fauji’ is a Hindi word for ‘soldier.’)
Until then, I was clueless about the kind of life a soldier led. But when I associated with them, I learnt many things that inspired and motivated me.
I realized that every fauji has faced a unique set of struggles. Like us, they too had their own goals and dreams in life. But they chose to join the defense force because they loved their country. One of them had even got an offer from Infosys. He could have easily spent his time inside AC rooms and earned a fat salary every month.
But he opted to lead the life of a soldier.
These people and the families of these people lead a life which is very different from the life that civilians lead. We get up at a routine time every day but are too lazy to go to the gym. We don’t take care of our own health and physique. But these people are very disciplined in such matters.
We always complain that we don’t get enough time to spend with our family. Imagine the plight of these people. They are barely able to meet their families. And even when they apply for leave, it is not always sanctioned. Often their leave gets postponed or canceled when the situation is tense. We can also learn time management when we are with such people. They tactfully manage to spend time with all their loved ones even when they come home for a short break.
We crib about not getting enough sleep. But we spend so much time on social media. But there are times when these faujis are not able to sleep at all. They have to be vigilant when they are deployed on a mission because anyone can attack them by surprise at any moment.
Yet they never complain.
Only strong people have the ability to sacrifice their sleep or the time that they get to spend with their loved ones. I feel we really need to appreciate these facts.
We live in the digital era where we can make video calls and connect with anyone around the world immediately. We, civilians, are glued to our phones all the time and can send endless messages to all our loved ones. We take such things for granted. But these people have limited access to such things because they live in remote areas where such facilities do not exist. They live far away from their loved ones for long periods of time. They are unable to connect to them over the phone too.
Yet they never complain.
Their families may not receive calls or messages from them on a daily basis but when they do call – even if it is only for 5 minutes – it becomes special because it is so full of positive vibes. We, civilians, on the other hand, will talk endlessly about our problems or about other people.
Their mantra is, ‘Work hard, party hard and live life to the fullest because you never know what is in store for you tomorrow.’ They are flexible in their approach to people.
They learn this trait because they are posted to different places and are always exposed to new people and places.
Most of us think that the army people get things for free. Well, this is a misconception. Sometimes they don’t even get to spend time by themselves. They crave for things like personal space. They earn the respect that they get. They deserve the respect that they earn because they face a lot of hardships.
They never get to spend time with their friends or roam around or watch the movies that are released every weekend like all of us. They don’t even have the time to go shopping.
They manage with just two pairs of clothes and never complain about it.
We can identify them by their olive green uniforms. They can add pink or blue to their clothes only once in a year when they get the time to shop for themselves. They are used to eating the food that is served in the mess. They are so flexible that they will not even complain when the food that is served is not good. They are happy with whatever they get.
We feel a little patriotic whenever the national anthem is being played or if we are celebrating our Independence Day or Republic Day. But for them patriotism means sacrifice. They dedicate their lives to our country. But we civilians just read the news and forget about it.
We don’t even bother to think deeply about the emotions that his family members experience when they are fighting on a war front.
They believe in brotherhood. It is as if they know one another so well that they think of themselves as real brothers. They have the same character traits and habits and we can predict their behavior. They share a close bond with their peers and will always address their colleagues’ wives with respect. They will address a lady by calling her ‘Ma’am.’ This is something that we really need to appreciate. They respect every individual and are truly men of their word. I somehow had a very wrong perception about these defense guys. But only when I saw things for myself did I believe it.
They manage to keep themselves so grounded. They are mature beyond their years.
But we civilians are clueless about what we want to do with our lives even at the age of 25.
I was impressed by their gentlemanly gestures. They will ask us for our consent if they want to hold our hands. They will respect the personal space of a person. They think ‘time’ is very important and crucial.
I truly respect all the fauji people and their families for all the sacrifices that they have been making for us. Their families must be missing them. I admire their patience and loyalty. They don't get to connect with their family members daily.
Yet they never complain.
If you are looking for constant attention, then I would suggest that you never associate yourself with a fauji. They are constantly moving and their family members – be it their girlfriends or wives – learn to become independent. They learn many new things and know how to keep themselves busy with their work. I met my friend’s mother and she was an amazing woman. She was so confident and knowledgeable. She knew how to conduct herself when she hosted the wedding and had a specialized set of skills.
Such women have worked on themselves to become independent. They are very good at what they were doing. They are strong women indeed.
I somehow had this notion that defense guys were flirts. But they were truly gentlemanly and had been trained to behave like this. I apologize for my faulty perception and have realized that every individual is different. We should never brand all the people by looking at just one person’s character.
These guys were loyal to the women that they had given their hearts to and despite the long distance that separated them, they never cheated on their wives.
They know when and how to protect and safeguard a woman. They know how to respect people. They look tough from outside and know how to act in a mature manner when the situation gets tough. They stand by their word and commitments.
I always thought that they had a low IQ and EQ because they were so aggressive. But again I was proved wrong. These people are very knowledgeable about many things. Obviously, they have expert knowledge about their war fronts.
But they also have amazing people management skills and leadership skills too. Their presence of mind is admirable.
They can teach you how to use a map properly and tell you about the world war dates. There are many other things too where you can never hope to beat them. These guys lead a very different and difficult life. I am really so happy that I got the opportunity of associating with all of you and I want to thank you all for sharing the details of your lives with me. I learned so much from all of you.
I salute all the brave hearts!