The Oh-O! Box…

The oh-o! box or the last-minute-dumping box,  is a commonly occurring word in the fauji lingo. It so happens, that most of the times, faujis get the news of being posted out to a new place as a surprise and at a short notice. At such times this box comes into existence.

 Even after packing away the important stuff carefully, some of the related paraphernalia springs up from somewhere. As Mr. Murphy is always active, the surprise item always belongs to the most elaborately planned and packed box. The remote of the TV, shoe shine brushes, clothes hangers, curtain rings, spare stationery, extra locks all get left out during the packing frenzy. So, what does this fauji and his wife do? Oh, they just exclaim “Oh-o! this got left” and then dump all such items in that box and voila! they are packed and ready to leave.

So common are these packing  faux pas that mostly one box is always kept spare. If the posting signal arrives much in advance, let’s say around two months prior to the reporting date, even then this box has to be there. We happen to be so used to this concept that no amount of preparatory time seems enough.

I remember as kids even we used to get posted to different cities within Uttar Pradesh and my parents very elaborately packed away things. I do not remember anything not being in its right place. Basically there wasn’t any such thing as “oh-o box”. 

But, we the people of defense services do not always walk into a readily available house, hence these packers and movers are not much help for us. Moreover those guys pack everything without classifying the items for bedrooms or kitchen or living room etc. and hence the boxes all look like oh-o boxes with little bit of every room in them ! However this classification is very much required for most of us, as we have to sometimes function from a single room and need to open box labeled “kitchen” or “clothes” only.

Even during the availability of such sparse spaces, these oh-o boxes are the ones which need to be opened too. And then it becomes a eureka moment when things start emerging from these boxes. Things which were assumed to have been lost or stolen during packing, suddenly start appearing. A soap case, a soft toy, gas lighter or even a broken candle stand all surface up deriving the expression “Oh-O! here it is!!

All in all, this box is very important for stashing and then rediscovering the precious stuff – it makes life interesting.

And on a serious thought, I realised how our life is one big Oh-o box! We dump all our innocence, selfless love, faith, honesty, truthfulness as we embark on the journey of growing up into a street smart, successful individual but carefully pack the baggage of diplomacy, distrust and cunning to use at the next opportunity. If everyone spares a moment and opens the big oh-o box they will surely find their own good stuff, maybe a little rusted or dusty. But imagine what a pleasurable place this world would be then….