It’s been ten months since we moved to this small cantonment town; and eight months since we moved into the house that we are living in presently. “Accomodations”, as we call the houses in the army lingo, are limited in number and many times, there is a waiting list for them. We stayed for two months in the guest rooms and then moved into a temporary accommodation. “Temporary”, because it’s a Captain’s accommodation; and my husband being a Lieutenant Colonel, is entitled to a Major’s accommodation. A Major’s accommodation is considerably bigger and hence, more comfortable to live in. Now, I have been lucky enough to have lived only in Major’s accommodations ever since I got married. Though my husband was a Captain when we got married, he was posted in a place where the cantonment had only Major’s accommodations. Also, we have always lived in ground floor houses where I have been able to build and nurture gardens, something that I love doing since childhood. This time too, I am hoping for a ground floor house to be allotted to my husband as I can’t imagine living without a garden in my home.
So, I keep a hawk’s eye on the latest developments regarding the accommodations. We had climbed up to the second position in the waiting list last month, but now have been pushed down to a third as an officer with “field seniority” has been posted to the station recently. ( Whenever an officer gets posted to a “peace station” from a “field posting”, he is given preference for an accommodation since he and his family have already been living apart for that time period ). I am now beginning to get impatient but there is hope yet; because we are in the month of March , and this is the month where a number of houses are vacated as people move when their children’s exams are over. This is a small station and all of us know which house will be vacated soon, which one is being renovated, and so on. When I go for my evening walks, I look at all the “prospective” houses, but there is one particular accommodation that I have set my heart on and have been ogling at for the past two months or so.
This particular house is located in a complex where the blocks of houses are built in such a way that they form a semi circle around a centrally located park. It is a ground floor house and has a leafy compound. The officer who is occupying it at present has been posted out and will be vacating the house by the end of this month. When my husband gave me this news, I actually let out a whoop of joy and did a little shimmy. Since then , I have altered my evening walk routine slightly and walk around in that “ semi- circle complex ” (what I call it) for a good twenty minutes daily. As I walk past this house, I briefly turn into an Indian mother-in-law; critically eyeing a prospective daughter-in-law.
Hmm. There are quite a few trees in the compound.
Ok. There is an electricity pole right outside the block, so the house is well lit.
Fine. There is a park bang opposite the house for the kids.
Good. The entrance is well tiled and spacious.
With the house having passed the dreaded “ Indian daughter-in-law test ” , I reach the last house in the block, and then do an “ about-turn ”. You see, I want to view the house from a different angle now. WAIT ! What is this? I can’t believe what I am seeing! Holy cow, there is a CHANDNI tree inside the house’s compound! I almost choke on the tears of joy threatening to spill over. There is no other inspection needed to be done. I am already dreaming about the delicate and pristine white flowers falling softly on my shoulders while I sit on a chair underneath the tree. Sigh! Dear house, I will plant my favourite frangipani trees in your garden, like I did in my previous home in Jaipur. Nobody else will look after you like I will. I will cherish you like a devotee and adore you like a true friend. Don’t you go falling in someone else’s kitty. Just come to me, will you? Please “ accommodate ” me!
Do you sense a wee bit of desperation here? Well , all of us who have been waiting for an “accommodation”, are a bit desperate by now. Wish us well, will you? Specially me, who has been eyeing “ The House ” like a lovesick puppy!
© March 2017 Sapna Dhyani Devrani