“I like the old-world charm found in military areas. Unlike brand-conscious, ostentatious civilians, defence personnel are generally unpretentious, disciplined. They value traditions, simplicity.” I told my wife, during an evening walk in a military area.

“Yes, I agree. I have lived in military areas across the country.
A military man and a civilian are poles apart. Children of defence personnel have a penchant for outdoor activities. They are much concerned about their physical and mental health.
Most of them want to follow in their fathers’ footsteps – to serve the nation by becoming defence officers.” said my wife, daughter of an Indian Air Force Officer.

As we were beholding the amazingly beautiful, illuminated earthen lamps placed underneath the “Holy Tulsi” plants in the well maintained small gardens, a jogging girl in her teens wished us, “Good evening Uncle, Good evening Aunty.”

We wished her back.

The Sun was setting, evening had become rather chilly.

As I was wearing a T-shirt, I was feeling a bit cold.

“Let’s have a cup of ginger tea.” I suggested.

We headed towards the AFWWA (Air Force Wives Welfare Association) cafeteria, nestled among the majestic Amaltas trees.

“Though time stands still in military areas, I have come a long way. From “didi”, youngsters have now started calling me “aunty”. said my wife, looking somewhat sad.

“You see, every being or thing undergoes transformation with time. Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter!
Instead of worrying unnecessarily, one should find joy in growing older.
The teenager must have caught sight of your grey hair.” I smiled, took a sip of piping hot tea.

“And with your fast receding hairline, you too have earned the honourable title of “uncle”. she chuckled, with a twinkle in her eyes.

~ Sanjay Gargish ~

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