Being married to a naval officer is like going for a ride on the conveyor belt at the airport. The families are like pieces of luggage which keep on going round and round in circles until the lord and master picks them up and hauls them to their new temporary abode. I say temporary because I have yet to get a permanent home. Most of my naval life has been spent in 'B-Type', 'C- Type' or 'Emergency Accommodations'.
My husband belongs to the most widely circulated and shunted around group, Naval Aviation. He has never stayed in a place for more man two years in a row. We have never stayed in a permanent accommodation because the minimum waiting period for getting the 'A' type accommodation is two years. Every time we get to the number one on the waiting list for the house, he gets' transferred out to some other place and we are once again at the bottom most rung of the "house ladder".
I have seen seven transfers in 14 years of married life; mind you I am not counting a couple of them as they were within the same command. With each transfer I have grown as an individual and have acquired more friends and broadened my horizon. Each place has played a significant role in my life and has enriched it with its many treasures.
My diary is full of telephone numbers of numerous friends and also of various gas agencies of Mumbai, Goa and Kochi and I sometimes ring up Colaba Gas Agency to replace my gas cylinder in Kochi. It’s a crazy, confusing, exciting and fun way of life.
One fine Valentine's Day my husband had bought me a Sunny Zip scooter. I remember feeling a trickle of tears in my eyes, now I know better. He has washed his hands off all his responsibilities of winding up during transfers. His standard comment always is "You have a scooter, go and pay the bills, close the bank account, get NOC (no objection certificate) from administrative office and get Transfer Certificates from the children's school". He dedicates himself fully to the more serious task of packing the household goods for the transfer.
I have a confession to make at this juncture. I love moving from one station to another. The travel bug has bitten me big time and I eagerly wait for the transfer orders at the end of my second year in a place. I love meeting new people and making friends. My children too, look forward to a new destination every two years. They invariably meet old friends in new places. We had a great adventure during our last posting to Mumbai, we shifted house five times in one year and, enjoyed each and every move as I chose to make the best of each and every place and situation.
Each place has something new to offer. All we need to do is keep our eyes and our minds open to new experiences and ideas. I learnt ball room dancing in Goa, Bharatnatyam in Kochi and Garbha in Mumbai. Same is the case with languages. I can speak Marathi, Gujarati, Punjabi, Malayalam, Bengali and French.
Life in the navy has taught me that home is where the heart is and in my case it is where my bigger (if not better) half is. A few broken pieces of china, a couple of dents in the car or washing machine are negligible compared to the richness of experience we gain each time we move to a new place. Like someone once said "if life gives you a lemon, don't settle for making plain lemonade, but be innovative and enjoy shots of Tequila with it".
Lucks aka Sulekha