Many people think that army accommodations are the most chic and well-decorated, beautiful homes you will ever see, as they belong to someone who is disciplined and needs everything to be perfect. Although this is true to some extent, a home is a home and we try to make the best of what we have.
If you have visited more than one or two fauji houses, you will instantly notice many things common everywhere. We may or may not have certain appliances or gadgets; but there are items you will find in absolutely every fauji house.
This is an indispensable part of every officer’s life. They all may have other vehicles, small or big, but this bike will always be associated with them.
We can’t grow roots in one place thanks to a location change every 2-3 years. Needless to say, we move; a lot! Moving means packing and packing means tons of boxes. The typical black trunks with names painted on them are the most versatile item in our house. And we have loads of them.
They are used for packing or storing belongings of course; but they also become makeshift sofas and beds when they are not stacked up in the parking shed.
With cell phones almost stuck to every palm these days, one doesn’t really need a landline anymore. But faujis do. There will be a landline in every house. Something like an intercom, that has a connection in every house of the unit as well as the office. (Not meant for long hours of gossiping!)
And it will ring, at any odd hour- even within the time it takes for the person concerned to reach home after leaving office.
Shoes and shoe racks
Ladies, if you think you have multiple pairs of footwear, you haven’t seen the fauji collection. There are office shoes, combat boots, semi-formal footwear, sports shoes, golf shoes and shoes that go with every set of uniform.
Of course, these pairs need a particular place so we have shoe racks. Most houses might have one shoe rack for the entire family but not us. We have a big one for the fauji shoes alone. Other family members can manage elsewhere.
Not to forget, the shoes have to be polished to a shine!
Amongst the many things that faujis are particular about, one is perfectly ironed clothes- be it uniforms, party wear or casual apparel. You might come across clothes being ironed at any time of the day or night, before stepping out of the house if they don’t seem up to the mark. So of course, an iron and an ironing board are part and parcel of every house.
Shiny shoes- check! Ironed uniforms- check!
Next important ritual is making the accoutrements and epaulettes shine, and for that, every house has a bottle of Brasso metal polish liquid.
Every fauji house definitely has a name plate outside the door, with the name of the occupant along with the name of the battalion. There might often be regimental insignia on it too.
Everybody has paintings and photo frames. But to add to that, we have mementos, trophies, medals and silver salvers. These will proudly be displayed everywhere in the house.
There is a lot of entertaining to be done and many meals to be cooked as well as eaten. So a huge collection of cutlery and cooking utensils can be seen in every house. And we aren’t just talking dinner sets but all the fancy stuff as well- all sorts of cake stands, tongs, whisks, ladles, bowls, cups and glasses.
If there is one thing you can’t miss in a fauji house, it is crystal. Every home will have it in some form or another- table lamps, chandeliers, pen stands, ceiling lamps, water or wine glasses and showpieces. Very often, you may come across the same things in multiple houses too because they probably all come from the same shops.