There is a popular saying among the men in armed forces the ‘faujis‘…. “We work hard, we party harder”. What the others might not be aware of is that these men in uniform are big pranksters too!
One such prank not only showed me the lighter side of my husband but also reiterated that he meant the world to me.
Married to an Indian Air Force Officer, I was welcomed in ‘fauji style‘ into the folds of unit posted in Srinagar in 1999. Kargil war was fresh in my ‘civilian’ mind. The terrorist activity was also at a high in Kashmir Valley…. Jhelum flowed with her waters red..
The day I landed in Jammu as a new bride, there had been a fresh attack on the military base in Srinagar and there was a high alert. Men in olive-green army fatigues armed to their teeth could be seen keeping eye on every nook and corner. Deserted roads and closed shopping areas all were reeling under a pall of gloom. The tense atmosphere had already registered in my mind…and I was quite visibly disturbed.
After an overnight stay at the army transit camp, we flew to Srinagar. We were received by two officers who were the part of a prank that awaited me in the Air Force Station. Those two officers appeared very sad and quiet. Later in the evening one of them arrived at the door of the room we were putting up in…The prank was taking up its form. What I did not know was that my dear husband was also a party to the larger prank…!!
We were informed about a terrorist attack and that all hands on deck needed to report back to duty. Aby, my husband played along and psyched me further. He went away leaving me fretting in the room of Officer’s Mess. Late night I sat at the residence of Commanding Officer of the unit still worried. And then one officer walked in ….heavily bandaged, blood on his clothes, dishevelled, limping…. He told us that due to a landmine blast all in the vehicle were seriously injured particularly Aby and he was fighting for his life in the station medical centre.
I was totally shocked…. The other ladies were also a part of prank but they showed a concern causing me to panic. We all rushed to the hospital where the doctors scared me even more… I saw Aby lying on the table with blood over his chest, hands and eyes. As I sat near him shaking like a leaf, the doctor tampered with the wires of ECG machine. Soon enough the machine started showing a flat line denoting that there was no heartbeat !!
I had totally lost my cool and screamed for the doctor. The doctor did come and played the last cards of the prank. He very seriously informed me that I would have to resuscitate my dying husband by administering a mouth-to-mouth respiration!!
Without giving any thought to the doctor’s suggestion and not wanting to waste a single second, I complied though I had no idea how to administer a mouth-to-mouth respiration. No sooner I bent and my lips touched my husband that everyone broke into claps and Aby woke up from his supposed serious condition laughing….he kissed me back right there with everyone shouting “welcome to the Air Force”
With relief flooding me, I too joined in the laughter. With a loud “I love you” he folded me in his arms sealing our love.
I remember the evening as if it happened yesterday though it has been sixteen years now. We still laugh about the whole episode and he teases me no end.
And that moment of love and laughter and the twinkle in his eyes still tugs at my heart.