The Man Of The House
It is funny how people often call army brats spoilt, arrogant, even going so far as to say, irresponsible.
But can a child, who is asked to be the ‘Man of the House’ till, if, his father returns from the war, ever be irresponsible?
Oh, what a glorious title it is: Man of the house!
Still couldn’t drive dad’s car though.
Could a child, who slept with a bat next to his bed in order to protect his pregnant mother, really be considered spoilt?
‘Door waala office’- as the battlefield is often known as among us brats, is our worst nightmare, worse still for our parents. Picture the atmosphere – hundreds of families with children and mothers but no men. The men are out to fight. And win.
The women must fight a battle of their own, as they wait for their husband to return, either alive, or in a box.
Some would believe that this might have a negative effect on a child. On the contrary, this is what makes fauji brats exemplary.
Our four-year old ‘Man of the House’, for instance, uses his time as effectively as his father to protect his country.
He does everything, from trying to dig babies out of his lawn for his best friend, to playing war games. From trying to be the father to his baby brother, to lying in his mother’s lap as she reads the letters from her warrior husband. It is all part of his training. You see, he is, after all, the man of the house.
There are days though, when he stands alone in his balcony, listening to the cries of his neighbors. As the war progresses, the intensity of these noises only increase. Maybe it is because of that Green Gypsy, he thinks. The crying only starts when the men from the Green Gypsy enter the house.
“Ma’am, we regret to inform you that your husband was killed in the war.”
That is how it begins.
Or rather, that is how it ends.
Our ‘Man of the House’ had this day too, when the Green Gypsy was parked in front of his house. Only, he was lucky. His father had returned home, with toys for him, and a shiny new medal for the country.
Our ‘Man of the House’ has seen the reality of the world, the reality which has motivated him to earn the uniform, just like his father.
“Let the war call on. I shall march forward with pride; for the brats back home, are just as ready to fight.”
~Lakshya Tyagi | Edited by Indu Arakkal