Knots to go before you drop anchor

JUGGLING ACT

Knots to go before you drop anchor

Take a look at her picture and her professional qualifications and you are sure to be impressed. Yet, for such a pretty girl, Swapna Tilve Negi does not sound too happy at this moment. At least, not on Facebook where her status message hints that she has to leave her Bangalore job and is going to miss it. “Yes,” she says, “I still cannot believe I will be leaving Bangalore. It is very difficult for me. I will miss all my friends and most important my sister who is here.”  Though a job at an IT firm and a doting husband wait for her at Pune, it is not easy to make a career move based on what you can do from where your marriage takes you. Swapna, being shy and reserved, finds this even more difficult.

This 27-year-old engineer from Belgaum with light eyes and perfect smile is just one of the many smart, young, qualified girls who have to rethink about life, reprioritise agendas and rework on careers, post-marriage, because they are married to career gypsies – men who change their place of work frequently. Though technically speaking Prashant Negi, Swapna’s husband, is not really a career gypsy, he decided to make the career shift from Bangalore to Pune after two years of their marriage. And she decided to follow. “I feel I would have got better opportunities in Bangalore, but I want to strike a career-marriage balance. Work is important for me, but so is my marriage,” she says.

In the name of love
Supriya Arora Kulhari, 25, is just four months into her marriage (with a true blue career gypsy – an infantry officer who will move every two years for most of his tenure in the Army). An MSc, biotech, from Jaipur, this bright-smiled, friendly, gregarious girl has already awakened to it with a start. “I was working as a Senior Research Executive with Educomp Solutions Limited in Delhi,” she says, “I wanted to become a biotechnologist but had to sacrifice my career aspirations because I decided to marry an Army officer.” When a whirlwind romance swept her off her feet, she was willing to forgo her career ambitions for this dashing young man in uniform who would come visiting his sister at Supriya’s hostel and started wooing her in a show of admirable enterprise. “I was smitten by his smile. I knew there would be frequent moves and I would not be able to do what I wanted to professionally, but I was in love” she grins. So she did her BEd instead. She has recently taken up a job in Bishop Conrad School in Bareilly, where her husband is posted. There she teaches ninth and tenth class students science. It’s been a 180 degree career shift. “When I’m sitting alone at home and he is away on those thousands of things he has to do, sometimes I feel good about my family life and sometimes I miss my earlier job. If given an opportunity I would love to go back to the private sector,” she says, “but the bottom line is that I love being an Army wife. I love calling it a job. It is a way to let others know how hard this life is, and how much we still love it.”

Striking a balance
Anjna Thakur, 32, another drop-dead gorgeous Army wife, got married immediately after her graduation, at 22 years of age. “I had just finished my Bachelors degree in Commerce and my husband was posted in Tenga (Arunachal Pradesh) at that time,” she says. She confesses she had no serious ambitions at the time though gradually she did try to dabble with a career in teaching. “I did my B Ed and am pursuing a master’s degree in English from Himachal Pradesh University,” she says.

“I got married knowing fully what the army had in store for me. There have been absolutely no regrets. In its own way, the Army has taught me a lot, which probably no civil education could have done. I have been to the best of places and have made some great friends. There have been absolutely no regrets,” she says.

Anjna is a home maker with a small daughter who needs her full time. She says she is utilising the time she has by preparing for her MA finals. “If and when it is possible, I will apply for a school job,” she smiles. For girls married to career gypsies, the biggest challenge is to strike a balance between the organisational or family requirements and their own ambitions, she feels, admitting that it is a difficult choice to make. “You can either fulfill your individual aspirations or you can be satisfied with whatever life can offer you. It’s a personal choice!”

There are others like them – bright young girls with degrees and work experiences in biotechnology, medicine, engineering, management, languages – who spend their lives moving from one part of the country to another, opening boxes, setting up homes and then repacking them all over again to restart the cycle. They are professionally qualified and make use of that by taking classes in schools, teaching spoken English to small town folk, giving music lessons to children. It is commendable that they do what they can in the situations life hands out to them every few years. Sometimes they laugh, sometimes they want to scream in frustration, sometimes they sacrifice, sometimes they crib about the man they married and the life he gave them. Yet they have one thing in common, they are content in the knowledge that as long as love prevails, they can take the rest in their stride.

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