Indian army is one of the many things in the country to be proud of. And most important one I guess. They have been a persistent source of afflatus to keep us all going. No matter, what the conditions are, they never cease. The life of their kids is way different than us regular kids. for starters, they are called BRATs. Brat being an acronym for Born, Raised and Transferred. They are that breed of kids who have been moved from one cantonment to another along with their military parents. Their upbringing is of course done in a unique way. The life of an Indian army brat is nothing short of an adventure.
Some fallacies about Indian Army officers and their kids
- The hilarious being, if their office is a battlefield. NO. There aren’t wars every day. They have a perfect air conditioned office, with military colored files all around. And here’s the catch. Their kids get the food they want, the juices they ask for, and get to watch all the movies they want to. What more do you want in life?!
- No, Army Public school doesn’t teach them to fight battles. It is like any other school, though unique because of its high level of discipline and all-round development. This is one of the many schools they have to study in. They change places and schools like we change our WhatsApp display pictures. I bet on that. And yes, they don’t go to school in normal buses like we do, they travel in “shaktiman”.
Perks of growing up as a BRAT
Being able to fire a rifle is a child’s play for them. Those big bulky tanks we get to see in movies- they get a chance to ride that as well! Talk about bucket list- check.check.check.
1. At an age where normal kids like us have our first cycling sessions, these kids learn how to ride a horse and go carting. Playing hide-seek is not their kind of game. They play golf, which is not only a rich man’s game but also an army man’s game, owing to the fact that almost every army cantonment has a pristine golf course. There is surely a lot they end up learning being brats.
2. Army kids have free access to almost everything. Be it- library or gym or sports complex or basketball ground and other 56748 places. No wonder, the all-round grooming they get, makes them stand out in the crowd.
3. For them, holidays mean a remote military post 14,000 feet high in Sikkim , or the sand dunes of Thar desert and what not!
5. They have parties almost every second week, welcoming a new officer into the regiment, or bidding farewell to another, singing “he’s a jolly good fellow”. And their parties aren’t like a discotheque, they are extremely cultured and prim and proper, starting from wishing every uncle and aunty good evening, to table manners, to general manners, and participation.
Seems very rosy doesn’t it? Not really.
Struggles of growing up as a BRAT
1. They have to live away from their father not for weeks, but months and years, except for when he comes for holidays. They spend most of their festivities without him. For a military brat, life teaches them to deal with postings, conflicts, separations, and death as well.
2. The trauma they have to undergo through, and the constant fear of something happening to their dads rob them of their sleep. They watch their mothers waiting anxiously for their husbands to return safely after a fight. And sometimes, those wishes don’t even come true.
YES, it hurts when people casually comment on the free ration, the pension and the so-called perks that army personnel gets. But think about risks they take to protect our country. Many of them die on borders fighting for us, to give us a good night sleep.
There’s a lot more to a brat’s life. There’s nothing in this world, a military brat would trade his life for I hope I could give you a glimpse of it.
In other words-“you have to live it to love it.”