I was 25 back in the day, when my parents, like any other Indian parents, were ready to get me married. So began the search for Mr. Right! And before we knew, enters ‘Our Hero’- young, dynamic, super fun to be with, well behaved with adults, the kind of guy who makes you weak in the knees and without any second thoughts, we were tied in holy matrimony! Oh wait I forgot to mention, our hero is a Class A Bureaucrat, which is considered as one of the most reputed jobs in the country- Cherry on the cake right?! Well let’s see!
So let’s fast forward to today. It’s been over 2 years of our happily married life and God has been nothing but kind to us! Yes, I do enjoy the luxury of a decent sized house, few staff members to take care of homely chores, but trust me that’s about it. The list of perks finish sooner than you’d expect. Before I moved to Chhattisgarh, I never knew green could have so many shades, never knew people could be so simple and never knew a comfortable life could be so tiring! Yes you read that right. In my 2 year tenure, I have had the opportunity to interact with wives across ages and here’s a small insight into their life!
Case 1: Probationer’s Wife
With a heart full of excitement, she welcomes her new life with a positive zeal, waiting to explore all the adventures life has to offer! She has left her family & friends back in Delhi, and is now in a small town, she never knew existed, so small that it’s difficult to find it even on the map. A place so small where she struggles to find even butter or cheese (forget pizza, burger and the likes), where people around her have never heard of rajma or chole, forget eating it, where multiplex or a mall or a decent eatery are words with no meaning and the only source of entertainment is a slow speed bsnl internet connection (in case you are lucky to be in a town which has all-weather internet phone connectivity).
She is the youngest metro chick in a 300km radius and her best case to have a social life is either to join the horrific ‘ladies club’ or be alone at home- she chooses the latter! It’s been a few months now and she has adjusted better than she expected. Things are awesome between the couple, they play scrabble, poker, watch series and movies on their laptop, take long walks together and sleep with a smile on their faces. She is surely happy, but then the educated, independent girl in her cries at times. Will I never get to work again? Will my life only revolve around cooking and eventually kids? Will I no more grow intellectually? With these and various other questions, she looks at the clock, waiting for her husband to come back home!
Case 2: SDM’s Wife
There’s a good news in the family! A little bundle of joy is about to enter their life and make it complete! The couple cant’ feel happier, they are grateful to the almighty for its blessing. Slowly and steadily they get a grip on dealing with the pregnancy. They want to be prepared, want to know all the to do’s and what not to do, but they don’t really have a book store to go to, and the fancy e-commerce sites don’t deliver in the middle of nowhere! They don’t really have access to the best doctors or medical help either, so once a month they travel to a 5 hour away town which has the nearest decent hospital. The roads aren’t that great, but together, they manage!
Unexpectedly, labour struck her in the middle of the night and the poor girl was in tremendous pain till she reached the hospital, again 5 hours away- what wouldn’t she give up to just have the basics and the semi-literate armed guards around didn’t make her feel all that secure! Nevertheless, she had a successful delivery; her baby was healthy and fit! But the mother’s heart constantly fought her guilt as she saw her baby grow. She wasn’t able to feed the baby with the best possible food, or buy cute clothes and toys for him! There were times when she would empathise with the pain of the poor, but her friends back home never understood her plight. All they saw was that one extra nanny she had, to help her take care of the baby. Once again, nobody understood her hardship!
Case 3: Collector’s Wife
The phone didn’t stop ringing; people were dying to congratulate the couple on becoming the collector! Yes, it’s all everyone had been waiting for ever since he got selected. And to reward him for all his hard work, the government posted him to a district which needed the maximum development. Only very efficient officers had been posted there in the past and collectorship in this district is definitely a star on his resume- Side Note: it is also the worst LWE affected district in the state (or rather the country), 10 hours by road to the nearest railway station or airport, and constant fear of death!
Now this is a place which defines real life danger. It is a place where you won’t see even a single soul walking on the road after sunset, a place where you are terrified talking to strangers, where you can’t even trust the staff in your house and your heart beats 10 times faster every time your husband goes on an official ‘daura’. She just waits for this tenure to get over, but can’t really complain much because this posting is a wonderful learning experience for her husband, and who cares how many bomb blasts he has to outrun in order to learn! After all, he signed up for this, its his ‘JOB’! Right? And for friends back home, they don’t care about any of this, they just blame her for not wishing them on their birthdays or not replying to their ‘ssup’, coz apparently now she has too much attitude, as she is the ‘collector’s wife’!
The journey of a bureaucrat’s wife is equally tough, if not tougher. She stays with him in various nooks and corners of the country, whereas her friends, relatives, siblings, all enjoy the city life! She compromises on her career, doesn’t go on vacations for years at a stretch(coz trust me the concept of weekends don’t apply to their life and going on vacations will either label the husband as professionally incompetent or question his integrity). She is always well behaved in public, doesn’t buy expensive clothes and jewellery (integrity?), has no social life but at the end, all she gets to hear is – how corrupt her husband is (coz that’s apparently obvious), what a comfortable life she enjoys, how the house she lives in is constructed by the public’s hard earned money, how raising a kid is no struggle for her,of course, how lucky she is to travel in a lal batti car (which btw she doesn’t use and also has absolutely no place to go to)! No one ever and I mean ever, appreciates the hard work her husband puts in to develop the country! How they choose to live in places which are unheard of, only to uplift the disadvantaged section of the society.
I have absolutely no complaints from my life! I might have taken a step back in my professional life, but I am sure someday I will once again be financially independent. For now, I have decided to expand my academic knowledge in the development sector and to understand the finest nuances of our society; I teach at a tribal department run school, coz the kind of happiness teaching gives is unparalleled! We both sleep peacefully every night, knowing that we did our bit for the society and even if the world doesn’t appreciate us, we both always have and always will appreciate each other, which for me is being ‘lucky’! 😉