So Today’s Daily Prompt is: Childhood.

I had a relatively happy one. Maybe not a very easy one. But a happy one.

As children of an Indian Army officer, my brother & I were raised to be tough. We did our chores, we were always on time thanks to our strict father. We minded our P’s & Qs, we led a very simple life.

I am not sure how many of you would know how life in an Indian Cantonment is like. Indian Cantonments are self-sufficient. We have our own schools, houses, libraries, offices, markets etc. Most of us used to do a 2 year ‘stint’ in a place, before moving on to another place. The army is not as lucky as the Navy: My dad got a lot of small towns and cities, but since we had Army Schools at most of these places, it was fine.

Our houses were often not in the best of condition. Yep, I have lived in a house where the roof used to leak when it used to rain (this was when my father was commanding a regiment: even a high rank didn’t matter much), to a house where a python used to crawl in the drain outside our house every morning and afternoon to house which was a beautiful, old British bungalow on a hill.

Our schools were mostly old military houses/barracks converted into make shift classrooms, with very poor sanitation facilities. We used to go to school either on our cycles, braving the 45 degrees+ Indian summer or in Military trucks, where we were herded together like sheep.

Most of the teachers were wives of army officers. Some were amazing, others were pretty bad: 7 schools in 12 years. :)

I used to cry every time I had to bid farewell to my friends, but I always managed to make new ones wherever I went. That was one of the best things of being an army kid. You have a friend from every part of the county: Punjab, Assam, Kerela, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Orissa….the list can go on.

My father’s generation of Army Officers’ were a class apart. You know, there is a tagline: an officer and a gentleman. Yes, most officers back then were thorough gentlemen. We grew up in another world I feel. A world where people had class. People had manners and values, honor and valor. I wish I could say the same thing for my generation that has now entered the forces, but I cannot. It’s a pity.

My dad used to drive us to the city once a month for a dinner at a nice restaurant. I remember how we used to look forward to such outings. And once a year, my mom used to take me to the best shop in town to buy a frock for my birthday. I went through a girly phase when I was small, so it usually used to be one of the frilliest frocks available but boy, did I feel like a princess or not!

From army parties, to so-called ‘DJ nights’ at the Officer’s Mess…one of my fondest memories was watching my mother get ready. My mother is a beauty. I’m not saying this because she is my mom.

Like I mentioned, we led a simple life. We never had any fancy toys, or expensive clothes. We worked our way up and appreciated the value of money. We were taught how to share. How to be kind and considerate.

I believe that your childhood shapes the way you behave as an adult. I hope I turned out well. I think I did. :)





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