I received Soldier and Spice – An Army Wife’s Life by Aditi Mathur Kumar as a gift from the author for winning the Tornado Giveaway II organized by the Book Club and would like to thank Rubina Ramesh of the Book Club and the author for the book.
A hilarious, heart-warming and one-of-it’s-kind story of a complete-civilian-turned-Army Wife. This story takes you behind the closed and guarded gates of a military station, giving you a fat-piece of the grand and mysterious life of the Indian Army Wifes.
“An Army wife is probably the only woman in the world who knows and readily accepts that she is the mistress, because, let’s face it, the Army is the wife and the wife gets all the damn attention!”
Pia is a regular, civilian girl with no connection to Army whatsoever.
Then she marries Arjun, an Indian Army Officer.
For Pia, regular life is a thing of the past. She is now an Army wife. From ‘just Pia’ to an Aunty, a memsaab and – her favorite words in the whole wide world – Mrs Pia Arjun Mehra.
At twenty six, Pia finds herself having to suddenly be more ‘lady-like’; focus on themed ladies’ meets, high teas and welfare functions; and deal with long (unexpected) separations from her husband, extraordinary challenges, a little heartache, and, well, growing up.
In the mysterious and grand world of Army wives, Pia learns that walking in high heels is okay as long as you don’t trip on combat boots. She learns that ‘civil’ is also a noun, that JCO and GOC are (very!) different, that snacks are ‘shown’ and WTF is better explained as Whiskey Tango Foxtrot. Yes, it really is a new world!
Let this quirky, hilarious story of the first year of Pia’s Army-wife life show you that the spice to a soldier’s life is most definitely his better, very strong, bloody extremely elegant, never-cussing, witty, warm and passionate half, his Army wife.
Pia Arjun Mehra, 26, has married the love of her life Arjun and is travelling to Pathankot with Arjun and stars in her eyes. Only to be faced with reality.
Once there, she is happy to get her husband all to herself after one month of marriage, only to see some people from his unit there to meet and greet. That’s not all, once they leave, Arjun informs her that they have to go to the mess to have dinner with ‘bachelors’. And then there is Ganga bhaiya, Arjun’s shadow. Thus starts her married life.
She meets new people, learns new etiquettes and attends various Ladies’ meets. There she learns that she has to address the wives of senior officers as Mrs This and Mrs That and use first names for junior officers’ wives. She feels important at the welcome party but also feels that there are too many rules that are to be followed, like showing the snacks.
She makes friends with Naina, her next door neighbour and also with Mrs Singh, Mrs Sengupta and Mrs James.
The book has been written well. There is a lot of humour which actually made me laugh aloud many a times. The pair of boots at the end of each scene was very apt for the book. The language is simple and the flow is good. The characters are so true to life that I felt that the author was narrating the story of someone she knew or maybe her own story.
She has described the romance of a newly married couple in the Army setting. The life of an army wife from the time she enters her ‘own’ home, meets new friends, feels the pain of separation when he goes for camps or for postings where family is not allowed and even when there is an accident or an incident.
The book can be re-read because it is different, more like a memoir, also it has been written in first person, making it more interesting. I could actually picturise the scenes.
Highly recommended. A must read.