From managing grief to organic fashion, Army wives soldier on in multiple roles

Even at a time when their husbands remain on duty guarding our borders, many Army wives are contributing to the nation’s cause differently, picking up issues of grave importance and contributing with heart and soul to make their nation better than the best.

While the nationalism remains at peak amongst their husbands, they stand shoulder to shoulder with their spouses committed to their task and hence are speaking of success stories with grit, pride and determination by being entreprenuers, stand-up comedians, authors, writers and bloggers.

Sartaj Lamba is one such Army wife who is a philanthropist and mentor, Founder and CEO of Bd, a start-up which was floated with a vision to empower the vulnerable section of society to live a more fulfilling life.

Speaking to IANS, she says, “My father-in-law was a Parkinson patient and he had to be taken to hospital quite frequently. But he was scared of ambulance so came the idea of bringing our own vehicle where he can have freedom of his own. The ecosystem of this vehicle was quite friendly to senior citizens as there was a caretaker too and it was well equipped with other facilities. The idea was successful and we started getting demand for it by other people too.”

“In fact, now if someone wants to go out of city or country for some time, we provide them a caretaker to care for their elder ones and kids. We are registered with start up India. Recently, we were awarded by Union minister Nitin Gadkari as well as by Governor of Punjab. During Covid, our vehicle was used to transport oxygen and we helped hundreds of people,” she said.

Lamba is known as a visionary and dynamic entrepreneur whose business interests span across travel and tourism industry. “Now, we take people to Badrinath and other such destinations in our vehicle which is suitable for people of all age.”

Next comes the story of renowned author Swapnil Pandey who is garnering fame for her book ‘The Force Behind The Forces’.

When asked what inspired her to write this book, she said, “I wanted that the story of army wives should be known to each Indian.”

“I was inspired by the words of Army officer D.S. Chauhan’s wife who lost her husband after 45 days of her marriage. She was in trauma and told me that she has been Googling out ways to cut down her grief. She asked me if I can write on something which can encourage war widows.”

She said that world talks of bravery of Army personnel but no one talks of women’s grief, these were touching words and hence I decided to write this book, said Pandey.

‘The Force Behind The Forces’ went off shelves like hot cakes and now there can be a Bollywood flick coming soon as discussions are in process, she adds.

Another entrepreneur in this series is Dinaz Raisinghani. She says, “Army wives are more than wives of officials, We are writers, publishers, entrepreneurs, bloggers.”

Dinaz is running her successful blog and a travel firm too. “In 2015, I was pregnant but could not find anything common to mom and child on internet. Then came the day when my child was born and I started travelling with her, I went to Europe with my backpack but I never saw any Indian woman backpacking with kids there.”

When I returned, many women wanted to know how to travel with kids. Hence came my blog page and I formed community of moms, who were pregnant and some also had kids. I started taking them on trips across India, for hiking, tracking and do multiple trips. The idea was to strengthen mom and child bond,” she says.

Prerna Singh Butalia is another woman working to make people aware on sustainable fashion. “When my child was born, we were in Delhi and there was smog all across. People asked me to take my daughter to sun, but there was no sun around. We used air purifiers in room. So that was time when I thought how can I help environment.

“I was a fashion writer and came to know a fact that Panipat called as ‘Textile City, is the cast-off capital of world. Waste clothing from all over the world comes to Panipat and it is recycled into mats and quilts; they recycle 8 lakh kg of textiles in a day. The other surprising fact was that fashion industry acts as largest water polluter of world. So I decided to work on organic fashion and to make people aware of the same.

“I did a course on sustainable fashion from Copenhegan and now have a proper website where we are writing stories to make people aware of organic fashion.”

While these entrepreneurs are speaking stories of courage and pride, another woman of grit and determination is Geetanjali Lidder who is wife of Brigadier L.S. Lidder who was among the 14 people, including former Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat, killed in the IAF helicopter crash in Tamil Nadu’s Nilgiri Hills.

Speaking to IANS, she said, “Army wives learn to cope up with change. There is sorrow behind smiles but we learn the art of turning these smiles into strength, she says.

“Even at times when our husbands serve at borders, we smile, send our kids to schools and engage in daily chores.”

Geetanjali has been working with a school in Gurugram. She says, “Army wives, many people know, are engaged in parties. But not many know that Army wives have to cope with change, take new jobs, shift to new places, look after their families single-handedly but still they remain a strong force behind the soldiers sent to borders who are also learning new skills to speak a story of her own. Rightly said, Force behind Forces is quite strong,” she adds, trying to hide our tears being dropped on her cheeks.

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