In celebration of India’s Independence Day and in tribute to the Indian Armed forces, we chatted with Richa, the daughter of a Colonel in the Indian Army about her memories on the road as an Army kid.
1) Hi! Can you please introduce yourself and tell us a little about your background
My name is Richa. I’m the daughter of a colonel, who is a doctor in the Indian Army, specifically the Army Medical Corps (AMC). My father studied MBBS at Armed Forces Medical College in Pune, and then was commissioned as a Lieutenant in the Indian Army. He has been serving the country ever since and will be retiring at the end of this year.
Soon after I was born, my father was posted to Thimphu, Bhutan, where I started my schooling. Since then, I have changed schools 5 times and lived in many cities across India.
2) Where have you lived in or travelled to due to your Dad’s postings?
My family moved every 2-3 years. Over the course of my life, we’ve stayed in Thimphu, Lucknow, Jalandhar, Pune, Dehradun, Ranikhet, Yol, Ambala, Delhi, Mumbai, Shillong, and Shimla.
We’ve also visited some of the most untouched and beautiful locations in the North and North-East, which I’m pretty sure I would not have been able to visit if I had not been an Army kid.
3) Which has been your favourite destination so far? Why?
It’s a bit difficult to choose just one, since every place I’ve been to was unique in its own way.
But I have to admit that one of the things that struck me regardless of location, were the interesting houses we stayed in; some had serpentine roads leading right up to the front door, others were nestled in the foothills of mountains, and a few even came with wild creatures – leopards in the kitchen garden, scorpions under our beds, and snakes on the ceiling!
We always looked forward to the next “new” house, and the next, and so on. I still remember the scent of the paint of the new houses we would shift to every 2-3 years – such wonderful years.
4) Which places would you recommend people visit?
5) How has travel changed your life?
Meeting new people, new neighbours, new classmates, new ‘sahayak bahiya’ etc. was always so fascinating – and it still is. Travelling at a young age gave me confidence to take up individual journeys today and adjust to new situations in a matter of seconds.
Plus, some cities were phenomenally fun to live in, like Dehradun. We used to attend some fantabulously lavish army parties, with gentlemen cadets asking me and my sister for a dance. It’s really the little joys of life that make for some of the happiest memories.
6) Can you share one of your favourite memories from the road?
Well, once we were staying in a house which had snakes on the ceiling – and once in a while, they’d fall down. One time, a snake fell on my sister. It was the most funniest moment of my life.
Yes, she was okay.
7) Any parting words?
Over and out!
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