May 21, 2006

I submitted this one to the RSI monthly-club-newsletter...will print prolly by july or august. It had to be an Army theme naturally since its an army-club. zogger!

Army Fairy Tales

I’m an Army-Brat. I’ve grown up in Army-stations, and, as with most army-kids, I spent the early parts of my childhood in remote stations…read lots of wildlife, jungle, and plenty of places to go exploring. In other words, every fauji-mother’s worst nightmare.

These were situations that few civilians would face. They were unique to the Defence-janta...and they prompted unique solutions from the maternal care-giver.

What resulted from this innate tendency of mine to disappear in to the nearest patch of shrubbery and my mother’s innate tendency to prevent me from doing so, was a particularly humorous version of reality that my mother wove for me. The warp of fairy-tales and the weft of parental caution were skillfully meshed to create a fabric that was draped around my malleable mind. Protect and steer me it did, and it was very successful too, at keeping my tireless feet from carrying me off in the direction of trouble.

These stories took firm root in my dreamy mind and I considered them gospel truth.

So, the small mud path on the way home from school, that lead towards the jungle, suddenly became the home of a grumpy wolf who hated children. And naturally there was a teensy little shark who lived in the pond beyond the colony. Of course, after the monsoons, snakes used to secretly meet each other behind the big Banyan tree and didn’t want anyone to know of their headquarters. And I knew perfectly well that the monkeys that used to visit our bungalow had a king far away in the jungle who turned little boys into monkeys.

It wasn’t all bogeymen and monsters either. For when the power would go, hundreds of little soldiers would come out of the nooks to guard my room. And if brushed my teeth at night the Tooth-fairy would give me a small gift when the time came for the teeth to fall off.

As time passed, I outgrew these home-spun fairy-tales. I recognized them as cock-and-bull stories; traded them for Enid Blytons and Hardy Boys, and then even forgot quite a few. But I don’t regret them one bit. I still look back on the few that I do remember and have a good laugh. To a fauji-mother, they brought peace of mind and a few extra moments of rest. To a wee-sized brat, they brought hours and hours of wonder and amazement. And they continue to figure in my adult life- bringing humor and laughter.

I’m sure anyone who grew up in wild-cantonnments will have similar stories to tell. They say, Necessity is the mother of Invention. If that be the case, then I owe the Army for living a fairy-tale in my childhood

Corny will get printed...ask Jackie Collins. :)

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