Loving a man in uniform. That’s my story. A roll coaster ride of emotions. A journey in which I could never find him beside me physically but I knew he’s with me. I could feel his presence. It’s been 10 months. Ten months of togetherness. Ten months with 10,000 times break ups. Ten months of wait to see him, to just have a glance of him. Ten months of separation. Ten months of the long distance.
There’s a point of time in each one of our lives when we fall for someone so hard that we make them our lives. The cupid of love did not spare me either. And I fell for this man, not an ordinary one. But a man in uniform. A man who’s serving in the Indian Army.
It might sound fascinating. Army personnel – dealing with ammunition, bullets, projectiles, howitzer, mortars. Aren't these sounds thrilling? But actuality is way more complicated than these.
I’m just in my 20's, pursuing my degree in journalism, hail from a defence background. Falling in love wasn’t difficult. We started romantically and became serious for each other. We both didn’t want a lovey-dovey, nutty about each other or a typical nonu-shonu (that’s what he says) kind of relationship. So it all started with mature love. A kind of relationship that was more about loving, not being loved. I used to understand his work. He used to understand my emotions. Different work hours. Different states. Different situations. Still we managed to be together.
Honestly, it sucks! It feels pathetic to wait for a whole day, for him to text once or for just a phone call. It feels very low. And then suddenly the phone rings at midnight. Finally, he calls.
“Just came back to my room, how’re you? How are your studies going on? Bebo can I sleep, have to get up early in the morning. Sorry. Love you.”
His sleepy voice has that magic, that even if I would be boiling in anger, waiting for him, his I LOVE YOU in romantic intonation makes me fall for him all again. He’s a quiet person. His typical ‘Aur Batao’ sometimes used to irritate me a lot. But he always made me smile by saying ‘Meri Kamoshiyon ko nahi samajhti tum.’ It’s a myth that faujis are romantic, at least not in my case. His love always lingered in his silence.
We got into knock-outs, then making up later the following day, only to have the same fight again and again. We both knew that no matter how bad we fight, how many sacrifices we have to make, it’s going to be worth it in the end.
But gradually things changed. Suddenly one day he asked me to maintain distance from him. I didn’t know what happened. It felt like my whole world crashed in that moment. I knew it was his work. His commitment towards the nation. And he didn’t want me to suffer because of him.
Maybe he knew he won’t be able to give me time. He didn’t want me to feel bad. That’s why he simply asked me to maintain distance. I don’t know what I should call this. His love or his prudence. His self-restraint was breaking me down. We hardly talked after that. He wanted me to be with him but he couldn’t make any effort. I used to cry myself to sleep but he never came to wipe off the tears. It felt like he didn't love me anymore. Maybe I was not good enough.
I still remember before we started our relationship, I told him one thing that there might be a time when we won’t be able to talk (because of your work), things will fester, and if our relationship sustains then only it's true love.
I knew the time had come. I was losing all hopes. I was losing all my beliefs. I was losing my peace. I was letting him take me for granted. But I loved him. And I just couldn’t un-love him. No matter how hard I tried. That was the most difficult part, to hold on to him or let him go.
Now I was understanding why people fall out of love nowadays. Maybe they’re not prepared for the sacrifices, for the compromises, for the unconditional love. People just quit. People want everything easy. A single hurdle and everything comes to dust. People do not understand that love is not about feeling like a ton of work and angst. They are not ready to hold on to someone. Maybe letting go is far too easy and convenient.
I have waited for him for eight months. Eight long months. Without any hope, without any commitment, without any promises. I’ve just waited for him to come and hold me. These eight months taught me many things. Love is not about excitement or thrill in life. It’s not about having someone to go for a movie with or party with. It’s not about somebody calling you now and then and saying ‘I love you’.
Love is about someone who doesn't just read your words but understands your deepest silences. The silence has a heartbeat. You need to feel that. It’s about being with someone who even if you can’t see for months, can’t talk for weeks but still can trust each other. Distance gives us reasons to love harder.
It’s about being so madly in love with someone that you can travel for hours just to see him at the airport for 5 mins, even if you're hurting inside because of him. It’s about being with someone without any expectations, praying every day for his well-being, hoping things will be fine.
There’s a saying in fauj: "This too shall pass". It’s not about ‘falling in love’. It isn’t something you fall for, it’s something you rise for.
Nowadays I see a lot of girls going gaga over men in uniform. They are falling for the uniform, the lavish lifestyle of the army, that aura of being around a fauji. But sweethearts, trust me, loving a man in uniform is way beyond what you can imagine. It’s a matter of pride. It’s a matter of sacrifices, unconditional love, and understanding his unapologetic behavior. And the most important thing BELIEF.
We are still together. I believe that despite all his protestation, love will seep into his depths and hue his world with colors. I just believe that someday, things will be better between us because I still believe in us.