QuirksofArmy

Alice in Wonderland

Hello friends I am back with yet another quirk of army namely the numerous army abbreviations. Just the way you guys must be having abbreviations or peculiar names for things in your work area, similarly army has whole lot of abbreviations for almost everything. Initially I was lost in the sea of abbreviations and the complete fauji ambiance as such. Everything was new for me and I saw things with either wonderment or accha! Ok! It’s like this! I was in a learning mode, so one of the senior officer’s jokingly used to call me ‘Alice in Wonderland’.  

Coming to abbreviations, almost all the appointments are spoken in an abbreviated form in army. When I got married, in our first station, which I had mentioned in my earlier article was Bathinda; there along with me was another newly married lady, who had joined the family (the regiment/unit is like a family) a few months before me. So, just like me she was also in learning mode, just a shade better than me. Being of same age we regularly went for walks in the evening. One day we met a lady while walking, my friend knew her and wished her as Mrs. So and so as is the trend in army, then she introduced me to her, after chatting a while we went our ways. 

My husband was waiting for me at my friend’s place, so mine and her husband, both of them asked us, why we took more time to reach back than usual. Since I was new I just said that we met someone, then the other lady told them that we had met the BHM’s wife. When she said this both the officers ears perked up and they asked her again, who we had met, when she described the lady a lit bit soon they came to know and there was a bout of laughter and I was clueless as a baby. After the wave of laughter subsided both the officers explained us that the lady whom we met was not the BHM’s wife but the BM’s wife. A BM is an officer of the rank of Major or Lt Col and BHM is a battery havaldar major, senior most among the soldiers  

I remained ‘Alice in Wonderland’ for some more days and kept on watching, hearing the various events, parades and abbreviations but refrained myself from publicly commenting or speaking anything confidently fearing a laughter wave, as ‘silence is golden. As, I didn’t know who was a DR and thought he was a driver but actually he was a dispatch rider, who would take the letters and documents from office to other places, even during the war. Then there was the Adjt who was actually an adjutant, who was a young officer of the unit multitasking like a whirlwind. Then there was the RP whom I didn’t understand for a number of days, then one day I saw few tall smart soldiers with very decorative uniform standing near the regiment’s gate and then it struck me they are the regimental police. The JCO saab’s were the Junior Commissioned Officer’s of the unit. They were quite senior in age and service, though they were junior to the officers, but because of age and service they are also respected greatly. 

Then one day I came to know that a young officer of the unit who had gone on leave had got married, and was back with his bride. As was the custom we met her in the mess, this time the officers were also present and she was calling all the officers as uncle or sir and not by their names with ranks before them as they should be called. The CO’s wife called me aside and gave me the task of teaching the new lady the ways of army. It suddenly struck me, that in no time the title of ‘Alice in Wonderland’ had been transferred on the new lady’s dainty head and now I was an old head in army.

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