How “Army Wives” Are Seen As Free Labour.

The Indian Army is one of those untouchable bastions that cannot be criticized because, “Siachen me humare jawaan ladh rahe hai, but it has a long history of treating women like they’re entitled to our labour. AWWA, an NGO that officially is to have no bearing on the functioning of the army is used to pressure women into participating in norms and traditions like they’re law. How long as we expected to bear that with silence?

Written by Aarushi Ahluwalia

When I married an officer of the Indian Army, I thought nothing of it. The way I saw it, I met a man I really liked, we had twelve beers together and promptly fell in love. A few months later, he told me that he would soon be posted out of Delhi, and would have to move to another part of the country. Given that my job involved a lot of travel and a lot of working from home/trains, and very little office time, I decided to move with him and just travel to Delhi a couple of times each month. We were not married at the time, so we rented an apartment outside the cantonement, got a cat and resolved to live happily ever after. I didn’t envision that we would ever need to get married, since we already had a lease, joint expenses, pets and even a child (his son from a previous marriage). Marriage seemed redundant at that point, nor was it something I had ever planned on doing in my life, but three years after we moved in together, we did get married.

We married for a purely administrative reason. My husband is employed by the Indian Armed Forces, and he was going to get a field-posting, which meant that if I were to reside with him inside a cantonement, I had to be his wife. Notwithstanding the staggering amount of control the government can exert upon a person’s decision to marry, I was okay with doing it. I do love my partner dearly, and signing some papers didn’t really mean anything to me; it had no bearing on my life whatsoever, nothing was going to change. In some ways, I was right, nothing really changed in my relationship with my family, nor was my identity influenced by the fact that I took out an ad in two papers and went to court one day (and then again one month later because the Special Marriage Act will not be denied its theatre). In some other ways, though, I was wrong. Marriage may not have changed who I am to myself, and my people, but unbeknownst to me I became, overnight, an army wife.

That term in itself is so problematic, and I refuse to use it to refer to any women who are married to army officers, at least until my husband is also referred to a “journalist husband”, but people call me that all the time, and no matter how often I check them, they see it as a childish tantrum that I will grow out of eventually. It’s not a tantrum, and there is nothing childish about it, the army denies that it has a culture of sexism and sexual harassment, but it exists, and it begins with erasure.

The first thing I noticed in the social environment of the army is that I have no name. I’m either “ma’am” or Mrs. “Insert Husband’s Name”. I’m supposed to think this is not a big deal, but let me tell you what happened at a Father’s Day celebration that I helped the neighborhood kids to put on one March. The children had just finished their performance and one of their fathers came to thank me for helping them. He called me Mrs. “My Husband’s Name”. I corrected him, I hadn’t changed my name after I got married, nor is my first name expected to be my husband’s name. I explained as much.

“It doesn’t matter what you say,” he said, laughing, “I’ve been in this organisation for 25-years, this is our tradition.”

“Be that as it may,” I told him because I talk like a textbook, “It is my name and your traditions don’t get to decide my name.”

Past this point in the conversation, he only addressed my husband, explaining to him that “young wives” take time to learn the ways of the organisation, and soon I would understand that my name is just Ma’am. By that point, I had already been dubbed a “problematic” woman, and I was used to this kind of discourse. The attempts to bring me in line started almost as soon as we married and I was presented with a saree, some sindoor and red bangles as a present (with no concern to the fact that I am not Hindu nor am I comfortable with gendered marital symbols), and the advice to read a manual called “Married To The Olive Greens” that contains within it “guidelines” on how to behave as an army wife. Unfortunately for them, I actually read it (and they could have used a proof-reader), and then proceeded to do as much research as I could about AWWA.

AWWA, or the Army Wives Welfare Organisation, is often called “the invisible hand” of the army, a fitting moniker, given that women are invisible to the army unless employed by it, but it is not a part of the structure of the Indian Army. In fact, in 2009, the CIC (Central Information Commission) ruled that AWWA is an NGO, and has no bearing on the running, nor is any way a part of the Indian Army. Their headquarters were shifted out of the army headquarters in Delhi, and moved to an AWWA hostel, and they clarified that they function only at the Corps level, and at lower levels, an offshoot, the Family Welfare Organisation (FWO) takes rein. Participation in AWWA or welfare activities is, on paper, purely voluntary and also on paper, has no bearing on your partner’s career. When in doubt, I believe the papers over what human beings tell me any day.

Because in reality, I was told that participation in welfare activities was mandatory, and if I didn’t do it “it would impact my husband’s career”. Welfare is a charitable word to describe the actual ongoings, because in the past three years, in the name of welfare, all I have seen is women forced to dress up in sarees, perform dances and songs, play tambola, make jewellery out of vegetables as “skill building,” conduct various festival-themed prayers and one bizarre fashion-show-meets-presentation about panchtatva from which I am still recovering. To me, this is a very accurate portrait of what the army thinks women are — creatures that like to play dress up, drink tea over gossip and engage themselves with “womanly” subjects like god, jewellery, children and housework. Not to mention that the women this “welfare” is done for are easily as qualified as any of the officers’ wives, and are just as uninterested in this theatre as the rest of us. They just cannot say it. Hell, we are not supposed to say it either. Knuckle under and pretend the social environment of the army is amazing, that’s the order of the day.

But I cannot.

When I first got married, I was asked to participate in one of these meets. They asked if there was a specific topic I would be interested in teaching, and being the eager community-builder that I am, I was happy to have a talk on women’s rights and raising children in a violent, misogynistic world. The day of the presentation I came straight from a meeting, I was wearing a suit (as in trousers, a coat and a shirt), I thought nothing of it since the invitation said “formals” and I don’t own clothes more formal than that. I made my presentation, and it went well. The next day my husband was called into a meeting to discuss why I wasn’t in a saree. Let that sink in for a moment. The conclusion from a women’s rights seminar was that the presenter should have worn a specific garment that has been normatively-mandated for women. So severe is this need to dress women as they should be dressed, that once when approached to teach yoga (because I have a long-standing practice), the question they felt really needed to be asked was: “But how will women do yoga in sarees?” That was the big concern, and the reason they decided they shouldn’t do this. They couldn’t fathom what else a woman could possibly wear.

The social backlash and conditioning is intense. Women aren’t supposed to go to the bar and ask for a drink, lest they be judged by the “senior” ladies. If they must drink, it must be brought to them by a man, and it best be wine because that is the only lady-approved drink. Men and women must socialize in separate circles, even when at the same party, and a woman engaging in conversation with a man immediately gets the reputation of being loose (and that will later be used in a case against her character should she raise complaints about someone else’s behaviour). I have personally been asked by a man twice my age who has no business in my social life, why I went out alone at night and came back at 2 AM and how my husband was okay with it. He then asked my husband when I told him his question was inappropriate.

Even if I ignore all of the social aspects of this, and chalk them up to “tradition” gone bad, there are two things I cannot ignore. Part of the worst of it is still the expectation of free labour on part of the women married to army officers and jawans. You are expected to participate in and arrange activities mandated by AWWA, and refusal to do so is met with orders being sent to you through your husband as if you are an employee of both, your partner, and the Indian Army. I am being asked to teach English lessons, and while I am perfectly capable of doing so and fairly-inclined towards social service, I cannot do it for a photo-op nor can I do it for an organisation that makes a habit of soliciting free labour from women. This is not about me as a person, it is about the fact that if you have the money to build fountains, buy plaques six times a year, have regular fashion shows, you also have the money to hire actual teachers. The exploitation of women in the form of free labour is rampant across fields from domestic work to agriculture to labour, and yes, to the Indian Army. The idea that I must possess a kindness and generosity that is lacking in men, that makes me more amenable to social work, that I must have the time to do because women don’t actually have jobs, is at its heart, a sinister notion perpetuated by people who on Facebook celebrate the strength and power of their daughters on Women’s Day. They just aren’t prepared for women to whom feminism and women’s liberty is not as much hobby or hashtag as it is a daily reality. They aren’t prepared for women who have jobs or other priorities, and cannot be available to them as dolls who play dress-up in fluent English.

I suffer for it, and that’s okay, because when I decided to fight for my rights, I knew it was war and in war, you get hurt, but you don’t back down. So, I’m used to the idea that I am “modern” which means immoral, the idea that I am “problematic” which means I will call a spade a spade out loud, I’m used to the idea that I am “weird” which means that I refuse to let go of my childish ideas of equality and just while away my time on social media calling women goddesses. I’m used to all that, but the other thing I won’t get used to, is men in the army sexually harassing women. Of course the army would never agree with this, after all they are bastion of chivalry and respecting women, and they would rather draw attention to my drinking, my smoking, my friendships with men, my bisexuality and my low-cut dresses. I have no problem admitting I do all of those things, that doesn’t change the fact that in three years I have accumulated a dozen stories of sexual harassment, and the bulk of them are about “senior” officers in the organisation. In fact, I only have two stories involving a jawan, and usually the argument they make for keeping women out of the troops is that the jawans cannot handle it. I call bullshit, it’s them, the men in ranks, who cannot handle a woman who takes charge so they use every tool available to them to keep us behaving in a way that is amenable to the organisation.

Well, no. I won’t. I won’t do it, and if I have to be the one to suffer backlash and only gain silent support from other women who are scared to speak out loud, I accept that condition. It’s not their fault, you cannot survive speaking out against the army because “Siachen me humare jawan khade hain” and while I have nothing but respect for the martyrdom and work of our soldiers that cannot be a reason to hold others in silence. I will not rest in silence. I have no traditions, but what I do have, is an iron-clad armour of principles, and an understanding that in the wars you do not win, you die. I am fine with that. I know the intensity of the beast I am fighting, the army is just one part of the patriarchy. The army is a battle I am fighting, the war is much bigger than them.


If you are interested in constructive solutions, I have written a follow-up post based on the immense feedback I got on this one here.

199 thoughts on “How “Army Wives” Are Seen As Free Labour.

  1. She is absolutely right. Why it is mandatory to a woman who has 1 year old child, why it is mandatory to a woman who has periods and his Man can’t tell the organisation that my wife has periods so she can’t can’t come and he can’t tell because the sick mentality of people will mock him throughout the service, why it is so mandatory?
    Is it mandatory to attend a welfare or lecturer with a 2 or 3 years old child at 3 PM when Sun challenging you?
    It happens only in Army. Yeah I love my Army but here are some people who have Yes Sir symptoms and because of them we also suffered. It is clear that AWWA is a NGO so why it mandatory in NGO to force anyone to come and dance or sing?
    Why Why Why…???
    I’m fully agreed with journalist and this reality. AWWA is doing good job but it is a NGO. We are slave but why in the name of AWWA you are making women too?
    This is the reality she described but nobody can question this bastion.


  2. Hii Arushi.
    very well written and thought provoking
    I can so much empathize with you. Being an army wife and a working professional I can understand how hard it is to attend to these functions. And whatever you have mentioned is 100% true. There is no respect for a woman’s identity, her job, her professional or family commitments or her personal choice in front of these events! I am not against these organizations or the functions as such. They may be good avenues for many wives to enjoy and bond with each other and so on. But they shouldn’t serve as a compulsion or form a basis for your spouse’s ACR .
    Way to go girl
    Hope you come out with such good content in future


  3. Very aptly said.
    I’d like to add, it’s not just the wives, even the army (all ranks) are used by AWWA as free labour.
    I am an EX-NDA, permanent commission, who quit army voluntarily, after 12 years, foregoing all benefits of retirement.
    In my service, I have been marched up to the CO only once. Not related to my professional competence or duties.
    I was a company commander with 10+ yrs. The reason, I refused the 2IC (second in command) and questioned his order to go and stand at the officers Institute where the ladies meet was happening- to be attended by the GOC’s wife, & the hierarchy below. This was on a working day, before noon. I was tasked to be in charge of the drinks part and oversee the entire arrangements. In addition, a couple of youngsters were tasked for few other duties. You can only imagine how many mnn (jawans) were tasked and deployed for the event.
    Firstly, the army doesn’t pay anyone for such jobs, and they shouldn’t be employed. They should be doing other professional/operation tasks.

    Anyways, in the spirit of organization I did accept the task. The day before, after dinner at officers mess, I checked the preparation, everything was in order, all things have been procured.. . . The day of the event, after breakfast I again checked at the venue. All good, all people, material in place, bar ready to serve drinks, kitchen all set, all other things in order.. I left the place, to do my job as company commander, which I’m paid for.

    After maybe an hour, about time fir the ladies meet to begin…. I get summoned to the 2IC office, yelled upon for not being at the Institute, and ordered to go there immediately. Two young officers and an army of jawans is already deployed there.

    Me: What do you expect me to do there?
    2IC: Be there till the event is over, all ladies leave.
    Me: what do I do?
    2IC: oversee
    Me: I’ve already done that.
    … . … . .
    About 5 mins later.. .
    2IC: Are you going there or not?
    Me: I m not required. Everything is in order. There’s nothing more for me to do, unless you want me to serve drinks to the GOC’s wife.
    2IC: So you are refusing to go?
    Me: I don’t see any need.
    2IC: If something goes wrong?
    Me: It won’t. If it does, you can hold me responsible.
    2IC: So you won’t go.
    This ensued for a while, he repeatedly ordering me to go and do nothing there, just stay till it’s over.

    I got back to doing my work. I learnt later, he himself went there, lurked in the shadows for he shouldn’t be seen publicly in the ladies meet.

    The same day, he complained to the commanding officer and the next day, I was summoned to CO office, for disobedience of orders.

    Nothing happened. But the sad part is, officers and men are also used as free labor by AWWA, and the army, for a whole lot of things which isn’t their charter. The worst part, senior officers think it’s their right to use them as they please, and the subordinates must blindly obey as if their lives are owned by seniors.

    It’s been a long time I left. I hear a lot has changed. For the worse.

    I found my way out. Not everyone can. The frustration can mount to dangerous limits. I am afraid, one day it might explode badly. Unless army introspects and changes for good.

    Jai Hind.


  4. The way you opined and demystified certain issues lurking around the corner to gobble this beautiful organisation is worth reading and adequate. Yes indeed, you garnered tremendous support. There is always two sides of the story.

    (a) The system is a well knit fabric. To break a system you need to chisel it piece by piece. Say for example, the government is a system which evolved through monarchy, autocracy, theocracy then republic. It took time for nations to over through a tyrant through *revolution* and establish democracy. Now the existing democracy is a misnomer. So it takes different approach to absolve it. To create a robust system needs that you spread your tentacles to grassroot level to deconstruct the building blocks of this strong system. To execute this you have to be part of the system. It’s like a guerilla campaign, you have asymmetry but that assymetry can be utilised once u evolve a strategy. You commit for a just cause, envisage a vision.

    (b) Now the system survives irrespective of minor backlash it faces. Nevertheless to limit this prolific growth (disillusioned) one has to relentlessly address the inbuilt fault lines of the system to drive a deep wedge .

    (c) The system is hierarchical. To fight such an proteas, we should mobilise the populace. The populace needs a purpose to commit itself for the greater purpose.

    (d) Customs and etiquettes are in corridor of uncertainty. It is neither perfect /absolute nor it is disenchanting. The need of the hour is to address the maladies .

    (e) Destructive system is like a death economy. It will bring harm to itself someday or the other. But we can’t wait it will happen on its own timeframe.

    Whatever I quoted is to seek a cogent solutions for the problems you have brought out.

    If you are committed for the outcome. Please come up with a road map plan to overthrow the regime. Thank you and warm regards Arushi.


  5. Wah wah wah aag laga denge.

    Long time ago I wanted to walk NAKED completely NAKED on the street but was told not to do so, as it is a civilised society. My personal choice was crushed, I was hurt. Then one day I was having an urge to pee and wanted to do it but I was forced to do it in toilet only. I was not allowed to do it in open. Oh man my independence was restricted. My basic biology was questioned. I felt crushed. I wanted a free world where I can do what I wanted. My biology, the truth of me is not questioned.
    Now I have to live in this society. I felt imprisoned. Army Areas are even worse. They want me to behave in a gentleman order. They are more strict in implementation. I feel devastated in army cantonment. They keep army areas so clean and do every bit to maintain it.
    Once my child was ill and I happen to be out of city, a senior lady in AWWA got to know and you know they misused the government transport and took my son to Military Hospital. They do it often. They even get CSD groceries to door step for families living in Separated Family Accn so that they are worry free. Certainly, they misuse resources.
    One day I wanted to go to mess in chappals and boxers and they didn’t offer me food as I was not dressed properly. I don’t know what dress has to do with food.

    If all publicity is over, then mudde ki baat karein. Every organisation/institution can be improved. Similarly, there can be improvement in functioning of AWWA. The article is more of destructive rather than constructive criticism.

    To all the readers, there is something known as Psychological Warfare. Journalist knows it well. You never know the author is being funded by ISI or any other anti-national element. The best method to destroy a perfect organisation is not to bang head on, but to weaken it like termites. “Khokhala kar do system, uski buniyaad par hi sawal uthane lag jao”.
    Someone who is elated by one day of leave given by her boss can never understand the organisation where this, in many circumstances, will be the last priority as
    Honor and safety of Country comes first,
    The welfare of men comes next,
    And own ease and comfort comes last.
    Aur kuchh srimaan officer log bhi hain, ye wahi hain jinhone ladai kabhi dekhi nahi par gyaan pura bantana hai.
    Many of the commenters on the subject seem to be so inexperienced and immature that either they don’t know what they are doing and how they should do it or they have just got verbal diarrhoea.
    There are checks and balances at each level, and in army, nothing goes unheard.

    I think better halves are not always better


    1. Loved your reply ..truly loved every part of it …it’s a tight slap to the ‘journalist ‘ …arey koi pucho in so called logo se ki …journalism ke naam par ‘shit’ krna bnd kre …. and I want to ask the so called officers from Indian Air force ( as they are claiming to be ) Indian Army,Indian Navy and Indian Airforce ko alag alag tarazoo pe taulna bnd Karein..Because you all come under one ‘INDIAN ARMED FORCES ‘ by belittling other arm you are only show casing your low mentality ….my only request is …don’t let a third person come in between…


    2. Amazing and thoughtful reply….one only know the truth when suffering approaches….till then everyone wants freedom of no responsibility


    3. Great reply. I being an army wife just could not relate to her article. She seems to be a disgruntled lady who somehow is not happy with the organisation the army is and just want to bad mouth it. We as ‘Army Wives’ are proud of each and everything the army is.


    4. Penned it beautifully. The part about Psy warfare and let the system be eaten by termites is actually what is happening. But than we have people like you and of course our Indian Army that will not let any harm come to the nation’s Honour


  6. Hey Aarushi I can relate to every word that you have written.As a newly wed I had similar thoughts and I still have and did oppose to many things that didn’t make any sense to me and got outcast and labelled as I’ll mannered . Also took a stand for those ladies who used to crib in front of me about AWWA and ladies meet activities but instead of support I got backstabbed by those ladies . I feel there is a bizarre competition amongst ladies to prove themselves in front of the senior officers wives . So I decided not to waste my precious life and time and moved to my own apartment along with my son so that he can get a good education and I can follow my passion and my husband is serving the nation peacefully 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Ms Arushi,
    1. Having served in the wonderful organisation known as Army for more than 3 decades, and a veteran now, I feel saddened to see your article, written with very little experience and more of vindictiveness, for reasons known to you. I also feel sadden by the “thumbs ups” you are getting by some disgruntled people, who do not represent the organisation as a whole, and are supporting you for some exceptional personal bitter experience. In doing so you get an inflated ego and a false appreciation. But, most importantly, the organisation gets maligned.
    2. Who are you and what are your credentials to malign my organisation? Let me highlight your credentials. Firstly, before writing plethora of complaints, wish you had brought out that you are married to an Army Dental Corps Officer, so that your followers could gauge what is the weight of ammo behind your firing. Any sane and experienced Army officer or lady knows how much AWWA is done in the Dental Corps, how many events happen and how much pressure is given to the lady for any organisational requirement. Secondly, someone who doesn’t believe much in the institution of marriage, and got married purely for administrative reasons (other word for convenience), is lecturing on behalf of married women who take pride in being the wives of their husbands, and get equal respect from husbands in return.
    3. Coming to your, mostly invalid, points. You don’t want to be referred as Army Wife, fine. But don’t speak on behalf of thousands who love to be referred as. It is because, unlike journalism, Army is an organisation, a family. That’s why your hubby will not be called as journalist husband, but the wives in the army will be referred so. And it’s not a derogatory word, the way you are referring to it.
    4. Someone called you by your husband’s name, that is Mrs…, because he is not your pal. He will refer you as Ma’am (equivalent of Sir) out of respect, as Sir is. You don’t want respect, that’s different but a gentleman will not stop being courteous.
    5. AWWA, or the Army Wives Welfare Organisation, is “the invisible hand”. Someone who has not seen field conditions, never stayed in separated family quarters will never understand the bonding it creates. Only then you realise that army is a family, unlike journalism which is just a profession. Your definition of formal dress does not match with the organisation doesn’t mean you curse it. Search in Google what is the national dress? What is the traditional dress of India? You will not find trousers, a coat and a shirt. That’s why we prefer Sari as it’s the most common attire giving the national feeling and bonding. Here women from all the parts of country are under one roof. They come from all strata of society. We make an attempt to be part of them, hence the dressing is such. When they see you in Sari, they find you more approachable.
    6. My wife has always enjoyed a glass of wine, cocktails and even Rum, in winters. No, you are fabricating that no one asks ladies for drinks. In all messes and Officers’ institutes, ladies pick up whatever drink they prefer. This is one organisation where men and women socialise together, talk and laugh together. Since childhood girls and boys play together. And you are claiming that people brand you loose if you talk to men? What makes you say so? Unless you’ve some intention to malign the organisation, or by writing sensational you want to make your blog more popular.
    7. Someone who has not seen the organisation, haven’t experienced life there has no right to malign it. Just because you want a professional boost through your blog, do not use this organisation as a stepping stone. If you have capability to express well, which is visible in the blog, utilise to bring out contemporary and real topics. Fictional stories will have no takers.
    Warm Regards

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dear Mr. Veteran,
      While a country is grateful to your service spanning 3 decades, one can’t help but postulate that it’s extremely likely that you were part of the problem seeming that your entire post reeks of the entitlement and the toxic mindset that the author has penned down.
      1. Who are you to call the author’s experience inadequate? Unless you have been secretly attending said meetings and activities draped in sarees and heels, as a man, you have absolutely no business commenting on the experience of a woman. You “feel saddened” at the numerous “thumbs up” this post has gotten (from current wives of defence officers no less, a detail that your self absorbed hubris saturated ego chose to overlook) but from your high steeple, did you not consider that where there’s smoke, there could be a fire? Tsk tsk. So much for having a bird’s eye view of any situation, which I’m sure was inculcated in you in your numerous courses that were mandated. What you call maligning the institution, is your insecurity. A critical appraisal (which is what I believe the author has achieved here) is an opportunity for improvement in a system that doesn’t really encourage honest feedback, which I’m sure, is something you know very well from multiple attempts made by you to your superiors and your shutdown of your subordinates for the same (purely going by your attitude on blatant display here).

      2. Your act of revealing more details of the author’s life and that of her husband’s, without their consent leads me to believe that you are indeed known to the happy couple and are, again, blatantly exercising your over inflated sense of entitlement and privilege over aspects of their life without revealing any detail of yours which could permit a face to face discuss with more openness and honesty. Instead of hiding behind a pen name, wouldn’t it be braver to reveal your name too? Considering that it’s extremely likely you were reemployed after your retirement which would be the only way you and the couple interacted. 30 years of “bravery” should have more to show for itself isn’t it? Or is it more likely that, like an officer earlier stated in the preceding comments, the bravery is merely a conceptual construct thus leaving real displays of bravery to showcase themselves from alternate sources like the author for example. Additionally, know much of the Army Dental Corps and their inner workings or are you basing this on the numerous meets attended by you yourself as a part of the Dental Corps? If the answer is neither, then don’t you see how you’re being a part of the salicious rumour mill yourself? I doubt a highly “senior” officer like yourself would like to be caught in a mire of gossip, unless that’s what you missed in civvie streets because no-one really has the time to indulge in it even during an 18 hole round of golf. Also, respect between genders is not subject to marriage or the lack of it thereof. Is that how you function in your household? Are you privy to the situation that surrounded the author’s life that you so confidently pass judgement over it? Zip up sir, your entitlement is showing and it’s nothing to talk about to be honest. The author’s statements aren’t made on “behalf of married women”, it’s the author’s perspective which has found resonance in women who’ve had similar experiences (across rank, file, arm and uniform I’m sure), perhaps your reading comprehension is in need of a touch up.

      3. Again, if you could pull your head out of your tightest sphincter and read comprehensively, the author doesn’t speak on behalf of all wives, she merely stated her problem with the term and how it’s reductive of her identity and why she has a problem with it and why she asserts her need for reciprocity of her identity just like she does. Your parallel between journalist and organisations is, well, stupid. Does a soldier make an organisation? And if your answer is “yes” then you may please thrust your head back where the sun dont shine and enjoy your echo chamber of self indulgence. Journalist work for news outlets which are organisations, the army is an organisation, you, my dear “sir”, aren’t. Besides, weren’t you taught that if the wife of a brother officer insists on being addressed a certain way then it’s the obligation of the officer (or gentleman, because of course lady officers aren’t officers) to comply? Unless that teaching ended with “but you call them ma’am irrespective because let’s face it, these wives couldn’t know better about what they want till we tell them so.” No? It didn’t? Shocking! So, yes, zip up please. The over compensatory posturing is unbecoming. Everything ok at home?

      4. “He’s not your pal”. Why not? Are you painfully unfriendly to people you meet for the first few times? Or does courtesy extend to only those who’ve earned your tick mark as your friends? Or perhaps only to individuals you indulge in sycophancy with? Get over yourself good sir, just because you’re obviously oblivious to being accommodating and sensitive as opposed to your own notion of “manners” doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.

      5. Your selective short sightedness cannot discount the first hand experience of many women who commented here. I will say this though, the army is a profession as well. Ever wonder where the term “professional army” came into existence? It’s not because you sign the a letter in triplicate after rejection 5 drafts of it. It entails that the defence forces, just like every other profession, be held up to the same standards and practices as are others and adapt to newer standards as and when they come up. Having dinner nights, with an English menu and the bagpipes playing in the background didn’t originate in India did they? So then why does the definition for formal attire be vehemently Indian? What do you wear to the mess when the cards say formal? It isn’t a sherwani or bandgala or silk dhoti and kurta or even khaadi for that matter is it? Zip up. It’s becoming pathetic at this point. You want to talk about national bonding? How about you start by insisting that every man and woman under your (for the sake of argument, let’s assume it’s able) command learn an Indian language that’s not their mother tongue? Maybe then individuals from south India will stop being referred to as “thambis” by many like yourself? Or you insist that all South Indians refer North Indians as “paajis”. And please, don’t even get me started on the term used to denote our fine people from the eastern part of this country, yes, even in the army. Do your homework better.

      6. You talk of socialise together at parties etc but it’s been my experience that more often than not, there is a gulf of a divide between the male officers group and their wives at such gatherings. Walking up to them when you enter the premises and saying hello does not constitute socialising. And again, let’s not even be blind to the way lady officers are treated. Going by your tirade, it’s painfully obvious what your belief about them would be. Also with regards to your opinion about what the author wrote about her experience with male officers, who the actual hell do you think you are to be discounting another person’s experience? Put it away, it’s starting to grow mould now.

      7. The army isn’t a stepping stone to success? Tell me then, what did you put on your resume when you finished your mandated tenure in the uniformed services? Bet that 3 decades in the army was front and centre in it wasn’t it? Or did you choose the stupid high road and list just your academic qualifications to bring yourself on even keel with the rest of the competition? Can’t stomach the thought can you? People in glass houses shouldn’t be casting stones on others. Zipped up? Good boy, now walk away and don’t come back till you’ve grown some perspective or have had your first period that would lend your credibility to comment on another woman’s life experience.

      – A Spade.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. AWWA was created with a good purpose. I am myself from the Armed forces. It is a society registered under the Societies Registration Act 1961 at Delhi. Over a period of time, it has become a parallel organisation in the army hierarchy. If it is a society, why the offices are in Government buildings. Why serving officers are appointed as Staff Officers. Have you ever asked the sources of its funding? It is all manipulated and has encouraged only corruption in the Armed Forces. Rest all is written in my previous emails. You are proud of your organisation same and I too. But can you explain the reason for having a private society as a part of the Government organisation? It seems that you have never lifted the veil from your eyes. AWWA, AEPTA ( Army Environmental Park and Training AREA), SEPTA are all big frauds on the Indian Army. I have fought these cases up to Supreme Court and there is no concrete answer and were a big embarrassment to the Indian Army.


      2. Thank you. I was so tired of responding to these people, and this one especially since he believes he can intimidate me by revealing he knows who I am. I put my name right on the top there, yet he thinks he did something brilliant to silence me. And if he does, in fact, know me, and it is likely that he does, then he knows I say the same things out of my mouth in person, but he does not have the gall to respond in person, so this is his opportunity. Also thank you for bringing out the sheer amount of problematic behaviours that exist in the social environment of the armed forces, they’ll fling mud at one who discusses anything out in the open, but I do not believe that they are blind to the fact that this, what I talked about here, is a morsel.

        Liked by 1 person

    2. Sirji,
      Kahan Bhains ke aage been Baja rahe ho. Jab kabhi bore ho rahe ho to yahan aakar thoda tamasha dekh liya karo. Ek ke nange naach par bahut log taliyan bajate hain yahan.


  8. Frankly, what is the Contention?

    Is it the Army?

    Is it the Way the Functions are conducted in the Messes?

    Or is it purely AWWA and it’s functioning?

    If it is the Army then most of the Army Units Pre Date independence and Their History itself can not be Reset to independence. Can the Army Disown its Victoria Cross Winners just because they weren’t fighting for India?

    Hence it is basically not a Great Idea to Drag in the Army as an Organisation.
    Can we change the Parade Training, the Physical Training etc because these were inherited from the British?

    If the Grudge is AWWA, then it is an Organisation for the Women. They are not Army but likely to be Associated with the Army because of the Spouse/ Children/ Parents or some other relatives.

    There’s no organisation that can meet everyone’s Whims and Fancies.

    Some people are happy to be Involved and there are obviously plenty of people who are not interested.

    Mrs. Surname is again more or less used Universally.

    In the Army Even for the Officers First Name is Rarely used. How many of us know the First name of the COAS or any of the Army Cdrs.

    The first Name is used only with people in informal environments and when Formalities have been Dispensed.

    It is unfortunately clear from the Article that the Author has great ability to Write but is Unable to see beyond own Nose. Marriage as an institution had no Relevance till Self interest of Accomodation did not Force to go through the Rituals of Signing some useless Papers.

    At the same time there’s nothing known as a Prefect Institution and AWWA is no Exception.

    Just like Democracy is the Worst form of Governance but it is still better than others.


  9. Really appreciate this article of yours. This should be posted on the bulletin board of AWWA HQs (if there are any). Your article made me believe that I stand for the right thing. Being a full time working professional it is already difficult to manage a married life but the added stress these Fauji norms put is just too much. I am so tired to casual sexism being passed off as tradition in defence, I think it is about time we give back to them. My husband has been told on multiple occasions by his seniors to groom me better to fit in the “Fauji wife culture “. Fists of what is this stupid culture which cannot accept change and secondly, am I a street dog who needs grooming? What the f**k does grooming even mean? I am a working professional with a good enough job I know how to carry myself and how to talk to people, that’s more than enough. And the stupid things Ladies do in the name of welfare..! I have been asked to write articles about “how to prepare home made face packs to keep skin healthy and glowing” like…is this welfare?? They can hold so many seminars on so many new and amazing things happening around world so that ladies learn new things but no, they need to hold seminars on how to maintain shape during pandemic at home.


    1. I know what you mean. It’s so frustrating. Yesterday someone was telling me about their houses being inspected by a committee as part of a competition organised for a “senior ladies” visit that culminated in a ladies meet, and I just, I can’t. I cannot believe they will ask a man to groom his woman and then pretend that by objecting to it we are somehow the problem, or we don’t respect fauji culture, or the latest one I got, that I am demeaning to women who don’t work (like how? Work, don’t work, it’s your life! That’s the whole point!). I mean I’m so tired of explaining calling me Mrs. MY husband’s last name may not be a big deal, but refusing to change the system of address when I explain that I haven’t changed my name post marriage because that’s your tradition IS A BIG DEAL BECAUSE YOU THINK YOUR TRADITIONS ARE MORE IMPORTANT THAN MY AGENCY, IDENTITY AND CHOICES. God. Is that really so hard to grasp? Am i losing my mind?

      Thank you so much for sharing, and I am sorry you’ve been through similar experiences.


      1. So nicely penned Arushi.. I have seen that how ladies help their husbands getting promoted to higher ranks just by showing their pseudo dedication towards WWA.. no matter how professionally incapable their husbands are..
        WWA causes immense frustration and friction between husband and wife and among ladies..
        These all dramas are being continued to make senior’s wife feel powerful..
        WWA along with ladies meets should be churned and dissolved in such a way that it shouldn’t bud again.. AMEN 🙏🙏


  10. Hi Aarushi I have just read the first few para of ur write up …I read that you were offended when some officer addressed you as Mrs. …. I just wanted to know whether you r comfortable if all the soldiers of your hubbiez buddy and other soldiers calling you Aarushi …Mrs. Mukta Gaurav


      1. Read only the first few paragraphs dear ….when I read this para I wanted to be know whether you were having some identity issue by being called Mrs …. and your hubbie not being known as journalists Ayushiz hubbie ….as far as I know the first lady PM of our nation was addressed as Mrs Indira Gandhi after marriage and this never changed her personality or identity as a person its just that after marriage your surname changes that too if you want to …..Moreover its a formal way of addressing a person not only in army where you will obviously will be seen as an army officer’s wife first then as a journalist though in your workplace people will know ur hubbie as Ayushiz hubbie ….its just which lens you r using to look at things ….Am sure Ayushi u must have brought up lot of valid points to light …will read the full article some other time and surely won’t shy away from clearing my queries if I come across any while reading ur write up 🙂


  11. Super duper post ! I totally agree with you. Those who don’t are ones with an ‘identity crisis’ ! That’ because they are delusional. For them marrying an army man at the age of 21-22 yrs was the best thing that could happen to them. With no personal achievements in their pocket, their pride comes with the husband’ rank, by yielding their power as the first lady of their formation, by performing the irrelevant and outdated ladies meet and AWWA activities. By showing their importance in threatening the other ladies that the key to the officer’ promotion is in their hands, and that they can make jawan wives dance to their tunes. It happens when barely educated women with degrees from god forsaken colleges are suddenly placed on a pedestal. They live in a bubble where they are the self made messiahs of other army wives welfare. Where tiffin n prize distribution by them would change the world. Hence they use titles such as Ms and Mrs, first and last name and ranks inappropriately!! They live on a cloud of ironies. They wear the most outrageous of clothes in parties but the photographer cannot be a male at the AWWA function !! The waiters are male but the photographer is a lady !! They are terrible at math but calculate the numbers our husbands should get in their ACR reports. They have barely scraped through their graduation but bother about STAFF COLLEGE and HC and HDMC courses. I knew one who used the word ‘juveniles’instead of ‘juliennes’ , could solve the silly paper games but thought it was her prerogative to solve the problems of all the army wives. Yes it’s these women with the greatest national interest who will solve all the problems of this country with ‘Thali decoration’ and ‘Rangoli’ competitions!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. ” For them marrying an army man at the age of 21-22 yrs was the best thing that could happen to them. With no personal achievements in their pocket, their pride comes with the husband’ rank, by yielding their power as the first lady of their formation, by performing the irrelevant and outdated ladies meet and AWWA activities.”
      -comes across as extremely misogynistic and insensitive. This is what they think is good for them. Its a choice.

      “when barely educated women with degrees from god forsaken colleges are suddenly placed on a pedestal. ”

      “They have barely scraped through their graduation but bother about STAFF COLLEGE and HC and HDMC courses.”
      -too funny. Putting all women of the organization under the umbrella of your experiences can be unfair.

      these women with the greatest national interest who will solve all the problems of this country with ‘Thali decoration’ and ‘Rangoli’ competitions!!
      -can be a source of recreation and good for mental health. Very arrogant to comment like this.


  12. 🙏🙏I feel that all policies /rules with respect to any organization are made, keeping in mind the existing demands of that org,bt more importantly, they are created wrt the existing scenarios in the society at that point of time.

    Bt,eventually,all rules n regulations are exploited to meet the whims n fancies of the leaders, meeting their vested interests and Indian army is no exception.

    Indian army is the only organization where an officer’s wife is looked upon with utmost respect by the subordinate jawans.
    We have so much personal affiliation involved between officer n jawan family.

    Equality for a women in the society is more of a virtual concept in India than reality for its own reasons.

    The hierarchical structure amongst ladies is also very true in my experience. We often defy it in the name of giving respect to elders bt respecting elders is applicable to any other org as well where a junior ‘s wife is not answerable to senior’s wife for missing a party.

    I have felt pressure of answering a senior’s wife in case of missing a party due to illness of my child.

    Ladies routine is 100% dictated by the ongoing activities in the org (army specifically)which is an undue stress for max ladies.

    Most of the activities related to Awwa is torture for officers n jawans wives rather than something adding value to anyone.

    Making jwellery out of vegetables n fruits is very common thing in most of the station n if u refuse to participate in any of these. You will 100% b pressurized through yr husband.The Acr story,used as a medium of blackmailing ladies to follow these demands is also very true.

    These pains are often realized more by working ladies when u are in acute time shortage.

    Time has changed and so are the officer’s wife and jawan ‘s wife ,so there is 100% need for amendment in these rules n regulations.

    Last bt not the least ,is the issue of calling a lady by maam,calling someone maam is truly a sign of etiquette bt calling u often as Mrs Harsh or Mrs Bhatnagar is very common only in Indian army.The reason behind this wud b surely genuine, as in front of the battalion,you are CO ‘s wife not an individual.

    This whole concept of AWWA is outdated in existing scenarios where all ladies are self sufficient n educated ,be it officer ‘s wife or jawans and nobody wants forced implementation of rules.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Hi Arushi,
    The article was brilliantly satirical, blunt and a stone carved fucking SPADE. You nailed it.
    As with any viral youtube video, I went through the comments before i read the article. And, by the calibre of your opponent’s missiles, I could make out the kind of armour you posted. So i thought I would comment on a couple of them here.

    Most of them were pretty cliche, read & dusted … and long expired to even discuss.

    1. This has always been my favourite “whatever said and done, you dont know the good things that AWWA is doing”?.
    My thought bubble exploded: “yeah you are right, similarly, we should definitely consider the good work and charities done by convicts in courts… even if the case against them is _______, right?” Good point. Sigh sigh sigh!!!
    I will certainly knit cloths for the poor, teach a few children, tweet a few hashtags for the needy on my way to the crime scene. Hope the judge will understand

    2. “Army empowers women. ALLOWS them to _________(fill it with whatever).”
    I Thank Goddess Athena for making our women happy. Wait a minute, flash news on TV. Women in Saudi has just been ALLOWED by her government to drive cars…!!!! cool that can be…

    3. “Naam mein kya rakha hai?” :-
    And then there was a “youngster” who wrote in Shakespearean flair and font about titling people, but could not understand the underlying difference calling someone ElizabethJi …….and Mrs.Elizabeth of the House Windsor built by her Father, Wife of her husband, Womb of the Family, Non-Drinker of Rum, Player of Musical Chairs, Personal Assistant to her husband’s CO’s Wife and Mother of (Toy) Dragons.
    He thinks it is royalty and a privilege to be owned by someone.

    Can you make the difference in this sentence?:- “ohh so cute.. yeh Manu ka doggie hai na?” YA FIR “yeh Brownie ka owner hai na?” (I am Manu btw).

    4. “But there are NUMEROUS POSITIVES about this GREAT ORGANIZATION which OUTNUMBER the areas of concern BY FAR.”… well the areas of concern have certainly outnumbered his IQ score by now. I mean his replies were certainly entertaining, but equally scary. Is this what our species have evolved into? Darwin predicted we would be all brain cells by now.

    To him: Sorry sir, ‘in our tradition’, the more sarcastic means the more we love you. No offence. Like it or Leave it

    The reason why this article was viral is because everyone silently agreed to what you said.
    These DisOrganisations will keep pestering us until they are banned at the highest level. But that wont happen. They will underplay it by saying “this is voluntary” and shit. My wife (she is a serving officer by the way), still gets messages “didnt you see message about cake cutting? I know you did. I got the blue tick. How dare you?” Not that I care. But again….if “siachen me log lad rhe hai” then wives can be tortured, is it?. But since, i am typing this reply at – 20 deg celsius in some Himalayan range, I think no one could now say “you wouldn’t know”

    My wife is living in room temperature, sea level, working for a living (just like me) and struggling to find a reason to skip the next round of musical chair, fashion show, dog show and photo op. She just doesn’t want to be touched mentally or physically. It has nothing do with my job. I will do the job that is assigned to me irrespective of:-
    1. Spoon and fork
    2. Vehicle or no vehicle
    3. Whether or not, i have to make my bed/home
    4. How my wife is addressed
    5. What my wife drinks

    Traditions are mental frictions. Nothing more. The day we understand this, we will grow as a species. Till then, they will cling on to them like some life support system. There are no further solutions to this problem.

    PS: I am an Air Force Officer. I thank my stars that AFWWA is way different than AWWA and all other WWA’s. But still, all WWA’s need the same vaccination. They have the same strand of viruses essentially.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I wont express my opinion on any other issue you raised in this article ( because I do not agree with few of them ) but only about AWWA treating Army ladies as free labour .
    You hit the bulls eye when you said that Army wives are being treated as free labour and it does impact your husband career if you refuse to participate in it.
    Once my husband was given a Show case notice because I had taken a decision to not attend an AWWA meet as I had wanted to prepare the result of kids of the Army school I was teaching in. When my husband told the reason , He was told that it doesn’t matter . They were not bothered about the school or kids but they were more interested in having a tamasha in name of AWWA .
    Though I feel that there is no harm in meeting the ladies ( jawans wives ) over a cup of tea , listening to their stories , sharing your own stories but going to their homes n inspecting them in the name of Competition just irked me .
    My home is not sparkling clean all the time .

    One point that you said , I agree with you so much , when they have so much money for such stupid activities why not hire actual Teachers or why not make this a payable job for officers wives . Many leave their well paying jobs ,highly promising careers , just because they want to stay with their spouse . But No! free labour is available na in the name of Army wives.
    And Yes !
    I would love to read-your opinion about Ladies meet too 😉


  15. Even in corporates, a similar social structure and way of functioning is followed. Within family too, there are ways of doing things, cultures and traditions., which need to be followed. So, society means working the way fellow social beings work and living alone.

    Your article reflects individualism and bit of selfish attitude . I do agree that the system you belonged to may have issues, though – I see a long list of working women (not army wives) who do not take interest in children, household, parents and other social committments. But when it comes to serving their own work or professional area, they would like to follow all rules/ SOPs. The problem lies there.

    The kind of freedom you have in your wish list cannot come if you want to be one willing member of any team. On the other hand, it is difficult to walk alone – we do need society. Today you may not understand all this since you are bubbling with energy, you can do things on your own but tomorrow you will need one – at least the hand of God.

    Life is long, very long ….. so enjoy

    I did not intend to hurt you…. you already faced so much. The above is just another point of view

    Yes, I am a male but believe in following the society. To bring any change, we must first be a willing member…. change, if needed will come, one day

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The culture of corporates, one where I am employed for instance, is admissible because THEY EMPLOY ME. The army does not employ the wives! How is this so hard for you guys to comprehend?

      Also, real classy, attack working women for having no interest in family. Would you ever attack a man for that? You do know, for sure, that the majority of army kids are raised by the buddies right? Whenever I go to a park, it’s just kids and buddies. The dogs are walked by buddies. Most fathers are completely absent from the lives of their children. Yet if a woman has a job, she’s neglecting her family. I mean I understand you guys want to defend your organisation but seriously you cannot be so blind as to not see the things around you. There is a reason why men are fighting me and women are reaching out to me to thank me. That should tell you something.


      1. I have seen,women raising their children themselves, and there is a strict NO ,for buddies walking dogs ,it’s prohibited , the army you are talking about and the army we rest of the ladies are living in is completely different, and about fathers being absent from their children’s lives..have you asked them how they feel about it ?, it pains them equally to be away from their families but when we married a man in olive greens we knew that it’s going to be a huge part of our lives , their duty lies towards the nation, NATION comes first to them,not their family, and we army wives take pride in that …( you will not understand this emotion, because you are completely blind to understand things from other perspective) again I will say yes,the army does not employ us but THE ARMY IS OUR FAMILY, AND NO ONE FORCES US TO DO ANYTHING AGAINST OUR WILL ,and if you have so much problem, please take this to the COAS yourself, and tell him about the things you feel is incorrect rather than bullshitting on social media , its high time that as our husband’s have been asked to remove their account from social media, similarly the ladies should be asked to do the same,because people like you are misleading the new ladies , I pity you …really pity you


      2. I mean sure. In the past three days members of your esteemed fraternity have threatened me, abused me, maligned me, told me I must have been paid to do this, so go ahead, add pity to the mix. I don’t really care at this point.

        But. Do you actually believe that the army should have legal power to order the spouses of army personnel to cease the use of the internet? That seems palatable to you? The idea that an authoritarian move should be afforded to the army that once supported disarmament. That’s horrifying.

        As for your contention about the dog-walking, LOL, I can count on one hand the number of officers per station who walk their own dogs or take their own children to the park. The soldiers that I am being accused of demeaning, I actually know them, I talk to them, I know their families, i attend there weddings. I will never forget an incident that i witnessed a few years ago. An officer and his wife while screaming and fighting with each other (they were my neighbours, their children were in my house, and everyone could hear them), grabbed their buddy by the shoulders and shook him. I found him two hours later crying on the staircase and I asked him what was wrong. This man, who actually stands on the frontlines and fights for our country, cried in front of me because he felt so powerless to resist what was done to him. Later, when he complained, he was punished. I will go to the gallows to defend soldiers, but not lies, never lies.

        As for using the internet to say things, I started using social media only a year ago, and only for purely professional work. All my socials are linked here, go see for yourself if I use them to “bullshit” people. Honestly, throughout this episode, I have kept my composure, and engaged respectfully with all of you, acknowledging everyone’s experience as unique to them, but you accuse me of not being able to see another perspective when that’s exactly what you are doing. I pity the state of discourse in our country, I am ashamed that this is where it is at. When I find things are wrong in my immediate environment, I have always taken action, again, you can find all these things out by asking about me, I don’t let injustice stand. Sharing my experiences online is about making women feel like they are not alone, and seriously, you can see for yourself how many women have shared their stories, you can’t contend at this point that I am the outlier, not if you consider the actual facts. The fact that you guys are not above calling me names, threatening me, threatening the women who have come out in support really just proves my point. So I want to ask, really, what are you doing? Have you lost your humanity? Men in the organisation have literally put their hands on my body, do you realise how traumatic that is for a former rape and abuse survivor? Or just anyone? Instead of asking what you can do to make it better for women facing that, you attack me? And then pity me? You should pity me, I pity myself for having to deal with the likes of you. I am deeply ashamed of my country today. Thank you for contributing to that.

        Liked by 2 people

    2. Sorry Arun, having worked in both army and corporate, the corporate companies are just NOT interested in who is my wife, nor is she expected to attend any corporate event. Also my promotion or growth has nothing to do with my wife in any manner.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Thank you Sunil. Seriously, I don’t know what corporates these guys are talking about. My editor once gave me a week off because I told him and I quote, “I’m in love, I need to spend some time with this guy, it’s serious,” he just laughed and said fine. I mean, sorry I can’t have a shit view of someone who just gave me time off because I said that, and he understood.


  16. Dear Aarushi,

    Bang on !
    It is great to come across someone who has a problem being called an Army wife !
    I keep insisting that I am married to a person who is incidentally working in Army and that is not his sole identity because even Army retires people after 54 years of age.

    Because of remote working being triggered due to COVID restrictions in work place, I am staying with my husband continuously for last 20 days, otherwise I visit him over weekends from Gurgaon or sometimes twice in a week ( total 4.5 -5 hrs journey one side) which even my husband or any mortal in our cantonment dread to think of. Not to forget I am working as Marketing head and by virtue of my educational pedigree ( BTech and MBA – MDI gurgaon) have been working for last 14 years. Yeah we got married quite late and completing our first year of marriage this month!

    That much for setting the context !

    It is disappointing that other wives in the fraternity are sharing videos on what employees do during Work from home, much to my astonishment, none of them have ever have been employed , baring a few who completed few sham correspondence degrees from Open school ( IGNOU) and worked for few months in some Army schools in remote lands.
    Only people working in Corporate can understand that Dec-Jan are the months for finalizing strategies, sales plans and budgeting activities for the next financial years and this is what keeps me occupied from 9 AM to sometimes 8 PM every single day. I have tried hard to explain to few mortals how it is similar to the strategy meets that even Faujis do, but all in vain. At the end of the day, I am expected to step out and help in the upcoming ladies meet. This sounds so illogical to me as I charge for whatever I am good at and for sure I am not issued in public interest.

    Every single interaction with anyone here seems so archaic in approach and worst is … there is lack of intent to keep upbeat and change age old traditions/ customs.

    Sometimes it feels extremely demeaning to think that ” I ” don’t exist and anyone whom my husband would have married would have been termed as Mrs XYZ.
    As rightly pointed out by you, so much focus on attire and not on content / mettle leaves me totally dumfounded every time I try to mingle with others. I may be doing outstandingly well in my professional life but here according to other wives “I am standing out” .

    Last year, I was asked to do the anchoring for a ladies meet and was actually asked to write the script and share the senior ladies and then they made me do dry run almost 6 times before the main event. PS: The gathering comprised only 40 women … I tried to reason out with few that I am used to delivering business updates and marketing sessions for sales meet of 3000 people in the same auditorium but it all fell on dead ears and dumb heads.

    I refuse being treated as a second-citizen…
    It sounds intriguing in webseries ” the girl is nobody”, but in real life, I pity their intellect and manners.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. What utter bullshit you have written…please we all know how women are treated in corporate… so now it’s a battle between women In corporate and women in army ..THERE IS NO BLOODY COMPARISON, please keep your two cents to yourself .


      1. You are clearly missing out on underlying fact that I am also an army wife and a working professional as well.
        Hence clearly the ” Bloody comparison “is not between corporate and women army, rather it one between dimwits like you and other women are aware and have exposure to make their mark.

        Furthermore, here every one is talking about their personal experience, why are you generalizing here by saying ” we all know how women are treated in corporate” .. Be specific and share your anecdote.

        Atleast I have brains to process your thought process unlike you who is discarding other’s opinions and experiences.

        Pity you.
        Clearly you are nobody.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Dear Arushi
        You don’t have to respond to insane people 😉😉.. who don’t even know the meaning of comparison.. corporate and army wife ha haha.. this is the side effect of working in awwa.. their brain stops working.. they can’t see anything beyond that.. in corporate if the ladies are working , are their husbands being told to work there without any salary and bow down in front of the wife’s stupid boss..
        Miss wondered plz get yourself treated and increase your comprehension skills 😂🤣😂


    2. “few sham correspondence degrees from Open school ( IGNOU) and worked for few months in some Army schools in remote lands”
      -aise toh degrade karna accha toh nahi hai.

      “At the end of the day, I am expected to step out and help in the upcoming ladies meet.”- I have a heard a similar instance. If there are other non-working ladies in the station , then they should not expect a lot from you. You could contribute to the organisation on off-days in whatever is your capacity. Empathy and not ego and insecurity should be there in senior ladies.


  17. Sometimes when I read these I feel I am a novice in the Army though ai had put in more than 21 years of service. Not once I had came across or heard even one incident even close to what you had written. Though I don’t deny to what you had written it’s just that I don’t had even one example of what you had faced


    1. Samit ( you’re definitely not an ‘army wife’ I guess) . As a former army wife I relate to most incidents Aarushi has written about . It’s like she spoke to me and penned down my issues with the army. Good solutions in follow up post Aarushi :)) and excellent piece woman 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Look, not taking it and giving it back to them is not possible for everyone. I do it all the time, and my husband ignores anything that is said to him about me by insisting that they stay within their rights, but honestly that’s not possible for everyone, you gotta be able to see that. I mean just look at how they’ve all descended here at the slightest provocation.

      Liked by 1 person

  18. Hi Aarushi, loved every single word that you put out there. My husband was deployed when we got married. He got posted out after a year. It was my first posting with him. Earlier he was deployed, so we weren’t staying together. Here I was happy and elated to join my husband’s parent unit. He briefed me on how senior ladies take care of the young wives. I was told that a unit is a family. However, on joining my husband, I was bullied, harassed and even body- shamed by so called “senior wives”. I was told I am a “junior wife” and that AWWA activities are so much fun that I’ll be compelled to leave my job. I was told working women are “chatak”. I was told “Most of the Army officers come from an affluent background and only the wives of a middle class Army Officer works.” When they could not find topics related to my job, they ended up discussing how I needed to gain some weight and dress up as per my body type. I was told “You must be from a less affluent family” on the premises that I am a working professional.
    I have never been subjected to such kind of a behaviour in 29 years of my existence in the civil world. And then, as per their elitist attitude, civilians are uncultured. And the so called senior women pretend as the flag bearer of fauji values. It’s only been a year in the fauji set and I can not wait for my husband’s retirement.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Bhawna,
      I have been through exact similar scenario in 2009. I was very successful london return girl who was body shamed and called too smart and low class to be in fauji setup. Me and my husband don’t stay together anymore after 10 years of harassment and 2 depressions. We love each other but to be in love going forward too we have stopped staying together because of this tirture by senior wives and officers too. My efforts have been graciously ignored by officers too when I gave my 100% in redecorating officer mess and gym. My dining out had no mention of all the improvement I got in station and family lives. When jawans wives loved me and junior officers wives looked upto me…I was told by senior lady to cut the chords and stay quiet as she thought it was threat to her command. When senior most lady liked me, I was told by senior lady that I should be keeping my profile liw, under perform in hosting fauji functions so the senior lady feels she is better than me. I was told not to give opinion on anything and just keep quiet as that is what they call elegance. I was told to just shut my mouth and dress well.


      1. Absolutely correct. Ladies have become the dominating factors in this organisation. Good officer’s get posted out if his wife is not liked by so called”Senior lady”


  19. i think the issues flagged are quiet pertinent nd relvant. Thank u Arushi for hitting the nail on the head. whether the conditioned and masochistic trend of organization understands it or not is not the point. as is visible quietba few no of us here agree with u. Its a new genr and hence there has to be new ways of life. the so called traditions were made in a time when feminism existed only in Jane austens novels perhaps. but its a new genr now nd we have to be abreast with nd embrace the feminist outlook especially in a time when we are now inducting women in NDA and so many wives ar so profesionally qualified and are walking well matched paces with thier husbands. This or the new genr Offrs can bank on choosing partners who are having no profesional aspiration and identity of thier own. but where will the future of the org head in that case. its a question to ponder

    Liked by 1 person

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