30 yrs later, housewife kit put to use

30 yrs later, housewife kit put to use

Rahul Yadav

I found the nail clipper being used in the house a bit difficult to operate, and to my utter dismay, I was made to understand that as nails are rough, one should clip them just after taking a bath. But still, it did not perform to my satisfaction, and I was on the lookout for a perfect nail clipper. The search took me 30 years back.

Once a candidate is selected for training at any defence training academy, anywhere in the country, a variety of items form part of the personal kit. One of them is the housewife kit. As the name suggests, it is to make a person totally independent in carrying out minor repairs on his uniform. It consisted of a few buttons — black, white, olive green, navy blue and khaki, a pack of needles, hooks, safety pins, thread rolls matching the colours of the buttons, small portable scissors, nail clipper, etc. Since this kit could be checked during the surprise inspection of cadet barracks, endeavour was not to use it lest you end up getting punished for the shortfall of items. Repair, if any, was carried out by a tailor at the shopping centre.

After completion of training, and on being commissioned as officers, the extra luggage that had outlived its utility would be dumped at the parents’ house, but it was always ensured that the kit formed part of the items in the box when you moved to your new unit/regiment. The same drill was repeated in the units as any minor repair was done by the unit tailor, as being a bachelor entailed you to this liberty, and the kit was not opened during bachelor days. After marriage, the better half would always carry out emergency in-situ repairs, and again the kit would be left untouched in one corner of the box, only to be rearranged when the officer proceeded on transfer to a new duty station. If the transfer was to a non-family station, again, the services of the unit tailor would be utilised. Slowly and surely, the kit was totally forgotten over a period of time.

The other day I was going through my late father’s suitcase to revive old memories, as it contained old black-and-white photographs of my parents, us as toddlers, grandparents’ photos, cards sent to him and letters that we wrote, besides his medical documents. Tucked in the corner — to my utter surprise — I found my 30-year-old housewife kit, which was assembled by my father for me, since he himself was a second-generation Army officer. It looked brand-new, and being a veteran now, the buttons were of no use to me. I took out the scissors and the nail clipper. I proudly announced to my family that I will now use my old clipper, which was as good as new, as it had never been used before.

The clipper cut the nails as a knife slides through butter. I finally found a clipper that suited my needs.

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