Calling On #AtoZChallenge

When I ask my friends and family on what they hate the most, they say, it is entertaining unexpected guests. My Mom hate it when people drop in unannounced. The home will be a mess, your kitchen will be full of dirty dishes and your mind suddenly ponder over what you have in your pantry for preparing an easy snack or a cocktail.

If not anything else, life in Army has taught me two things. 

To prepare a five course meal in two hours and to be ready for a party in 15 mins- that too in a saree!!

In my early days of marriage, when I wasn’t used to the Fauj customs, we have had young officers (and their wives too!!) banging on our door at one in the morning. And it would be accompanied by the customary anthem, “Mam…….Coffee, please”.

I then put up a bright smile, welcome them in, prepare coffee and their favorite Maggi. In those days, I used to wonder if they do not have any sense of time or privacy. But then I realized, it is fun. It is family. And later, I also joined this celebration.

It is a tradition that the officer will always call up to find out if the Lady will be comfortable in case they come over at a particular time. This often gives us adequate time to prepare dinner, set the house, be presentable to welcome them and also to hear their never-ending Army stories.

But No! My soldier often decides to announce that he has invited a couple of his friends for dinner by about six in the evening. Imagine my plight! I run to the kitchen to check the pantry and make a list of the ingredients needed to cook the often five course meal. If they are his close friends or unit officers, it is reduced to a three course meal.


Menu for the Day!

While I sweat it off in the kitchen, my soldier often lay down the plates and set the dining table. He puts his heart and soul to setting our home, selecting music for the party and the likes. He is quite good at it now. Man, ain’t I lucky! All I need to worry is about the food. And oh yeah, he is always proud to show off the elaborate dishes I lay out for them. He should be luckier, I guess!

It is like getting ready for war!

Like being prepared at short notice, to face the unexpected and to simply, win it!

It is not that we don’t get any help either. Take for instance when we called on his coursemate and family, and a couple of unit officers for celebrating Onam festival with us. I had prepared the entire Onam Sadya – a feast of 24 vegetarian dishes, served in banana leaf.

We are a team, they say!

We are a team, they say!

His coursemate’s wife, my friend had dropped in earlier to lend a hand in the kitchen and the officers were more than happy to help serve.

It is a team- coming together, keeping together and working together!

We often have new officers posted to the station. We have new neighbors too. We always try to help them feel at home, with an invitation to lunch and dinner until they are settled down in their new home. We make friends easily that way. I was fortunate to have looked after their three dogs- a Dalmation, A Beagle and a Golden Retriever when they went for a holiday. 🙂

We are normal too. We fumble on unexpected visits. But, we understand the importance of coming together and being one close-knit group. Especially when your husband is away, guarding the borders, these get togethers bring closeness and affection to our lives. Army……….is family.

So, tell me! How would you react when your husband’s friends with family come banging the door at one? And when they say they need food? Will you be able to train yourself prepare a five course meal in two hours? Will your home be always spick and span, ready to welcome guests at literally any time of the day/night?

I am Married to the Olive Green and I’m writing about the 26 things which I get to do/experience that you as a Civilian wife do not! 


I hope you come back again tomorrow!

Meanwhile, here is an easy Chicken recipe from my Food Blog to try out!

I’m on co-host Pam’s Unconventional Alliance Team along with Parul from Happiness and Food, Rajlakshmi from The Twinkle Eyed Traveler andDestiny’s Child and Claire from A Field Trip Life


  1. 🙂 No wonder you became an even more accomplished cook, T. 😀


  2. I’m glad you both soar on each other’s strength. Personally I would love to do this as I enjoy having people over. 🙂


  3. elixired says:

    Making 24 dishes… I can never do that in one day unless there are less people on the table and more company in the kitchen. You must be having some helpers too. For a person like me, I would rather cook a two course meal in one hour at 1 in the morning because of the fact that Icant let anyone go hungry from my home… Yoy are definitely a hard working courageous lady and must be loved by all. I enjoyed reading the post 🙂


  4. aseemrastogi2 says:

    Wow! 5 course meal in 2 hours.. You are one great lady! 😀 Reading about Onam Sadya with 24 dishes brought a smile to my face. Can totally understand the importance of being a close knit group especially considering when your loved ones are far away guarding the country.


  5. I love reading your posts. Having my brother in Army, I can totally relate to your posts as I keep hearing similar things from my sister-in-law. Keep writing!

    The Nimble Mime


  6. Oh Dear! You are no less than a super woman I tell you! I would have panic attack with such short notice! *Planning to turn up unannounced, after all we are family! 😉 *


  7. I love that you feel a calling to be ready to serve out of love and find it fun and rewarding. 🙂 Thanks for sharing. Checking out your food blog and Poet’s Corner too. I write poetry too:)


  8. I must really appreciate you for being able to make that cup of coffee at one in the night or cooking a five course meal in the span of 2 hours. If it were me I would definitely go crazy and may be go back to sleep 😛


  9. Wow one in the morning?? I dont mind drop in guests but i am not awake at one in the morning. if you stop by at that hour you will be lucky you dont get a knuckle sandwich. lol


  10. Wow! I am impressed by your culinary skill, confidence, and how organized you are! I also like how, once your attitude shifted, you realized that having people drop by for coffee is actually fun.

    Thanks for visiting my blog & Happy A to Z to you! 😀
    Tui Snider
    @TuiSnider on Twitter, & sharing A to Z posts at:
    Tui Snider’s Upbeat, Offbeat & Overlooked
    #StoryDam (a friendly writing community)


  11. I absolutely detest people that show up unannounced. In fact, I have been known to not answer my door if I am not expecting you. I don’t care if you did just drive 5 or more hours… you could have called along the way 🙂

    Twitter: @KnottyMarie
    Literary Gold – Free and Bargain priced books
    Jingle Jangle Jungle


  12. Wow, it helps that you are passionate about cooking. Even then, you seem to have gathered the composure out of experience. I wonder when I would cook a two course meal. I am inspired, I can’t deny! 🙂


  13. tinabasu says:

    we all love the food! Next Onam invite us!


  14. Onam sadya with 24 dishes? Invite me home, woman! 😀

    I love entertaining friends at home as I love cooking, but thankfully they plan days ahead in advance and let me know that they’re dropping in.


  15. I am not yet at a position to say whether I’ll entertain my husband’s friends at the unexpected time. But yes, always had guests coming unannounced esp during weekends and me and mom do prepare food or least we order if there’s no ample time. But we always welcomed them with a smile. I enjoy all these get-togethers esp if it’s close friends.

    P.S. Girl! I am enjoying your posts so much! Keep going. ❤


  16. I have high respect for people in the Army, primarily because they are disciplined – i get up before 6 even on weekends, no matter what!

    And getting ready in 15 mins? Hope i married somebody with the Army background 🙂


  17. wow you are super woman!! I would choke … and have a nervous breakdown. I remember my Dad setting up the table and making arrangements, while Mom would be super busy cooking. Sometimes the unit would provide a cook too. It’s indeed a close knit ‘family’


  18. inquisitivegeet says:

    That was a pretty darn heart-warming post Shalini. It so touched my heart. I usually don’t appreciate guests at odd times, but when these guests are your favorite people, it’s always fun to prepare snacks and tidbits to eat, something to munch and easy to prepare. I love to host for my husbands friends and it brings all of us so close altogether.

    But yeah, preparing a 5-course meal in two hours!!! You are brilliant 🙂



  19. RamyaRao says:

    Brilliantly written, as usual. Heart warming and yet I can chuckle.


  20. I can only imagine your state! Such a great theme, and you’re writing it beautifully. 😀 Keep it coming!


  21. fabulus1710 says:

    Whoa! The army not only trains its soldiers to always be punctual and ready for service anytime, but also teaches their wives too 😀
    I’m really enjoying reading these posts 🙂


  22. Lata Sunil says:

    Oh! It would be a nightmare for me. Because, even with announced guests, i have a tough time. I am terrible at cooking. But, I have always got lot of support in the area from husband and my in-laws. They are ready to help out, always.


  23. Novemberschild says:

    There are essentially two types of guests: expected and unexpected! If sufficient notice has been given a lot of ideas can be worked upon and the goodies prepared in advance. If someone unexpected drops in then it’s a moment of panic! Sometimes it so happens that there aren’t enough provisions or fresh vegetables in the house. This is a realistic situation that calls for creative thinking and prompt action. One can go shopping immediately but it uses precious time. One can order food from an eatery over the phone but these are expenses that can be avoided. One very good suggestion is to have a stocked kitchen so in such moments of despair there is not much stress. A creative cook is able to mix and match pulses and cereals and rustle up a meal that is colourful in spite of being sometimes without vegetables.


  24. An interesting peek into army life and the customs associated with it. A great read for civilians:)


  25. Loved the post 🙂
    Athithi Devo bhava …
    I am inspired by my granny to never let anyone leave home without a filled stomach .
    So yes I can manage it too.

    Well written posts, I am connecting with your posts.
    It’s just like you have played a movie in front of me, and everyday I get to see one take 🙂 of the movie ..
    Keep them coming all…
    I have special love for Army life .

    And you know when I was a kid and NY guests CA.e in home ,I would hide behind curtains tell mommy that tell them to go back else I won’t cone out 😂😂
    Later one day dad scolded me for my rude behaviour and then hugged and told me about hospitality ..
    I loved it

    @dixita011 from
    Cafenined words


  26. ohh I have absolutely loved welcoming people who come unannounced and also playing the part other way round, its total fun and one should feel lucky to have such friends and family.
    This reminds me of one of the scenes of a fuaji movie “Shaurya” where Rahul Bose arrives unannounced at Javed Jaffrey’s house to conduct their marriage as it was getting delayed 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  27. the little princess says:

    though unexpected guests can send one panicking…your description sounds like so much fun! I can imagine the feeling of oneness and happiness. a five course meal in 2 hrs! take a bow lady! Great read!

    Shubhangi @ The Little Princess

    Liked by 1 person

  28. It seems tough intially .. But slowly it becomes so much earier, right?

    Liked by 1 person

  29. Wow, this was a great read Shalini. I have a fascination for the army life and thanks to you I am getting a feel of the way of life! I get jittery when unexpected callers come over for dinner or lunch and react pretty much like you described! Thanks for sharing 🙂
    @KalaRavi16 from

    Liked by 1 person

  30. Unexpected guests did not bother me some years ago, but now, I go into a tizzy. While I used to slog it out in the kitchen (simple dal-chawal would do as well) but now I prefer to take our guests out for a meal or simply order… Benefits of living in a city i guess.. Your post revived some fond memories…
    @yenforblue from
    Spice of Life!

    Liked by 1 person

  31. WOW… a normal surprise at 6 pm itself would be tough but sadya sounds impossible honestly.
    And coffee at 1 am. Damn. Did not realize that at all… honestly would have been annoyed as the spouse 😀

    My entry for the #AtoZChallenge –
    Tv Shows: C – Castle

    Liked by 1 person

  32. Shilpa Garg says:

    Oh yes, there’s nothing like bonding over food and fun. Unexpected guests give me jitters too, but with KG being the master chef at our home, all’s done smoothly and in a jiffy. Like your soldier, I look after arrangements, music, crockery etc while KG creates magic along with a bit of mess in the kitchen. Interesting read! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  33. Five course meal in 2 hours! No way – hats off 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  34. This was a fun read,no unpleasant unexpected calling in ever? That’s a feat.

    Liked by 1 person

  35. Another story that warms the cockles of your heart. I was a Navy brat and married an Army brat so we still have this tradition of unexpected guests for dinner. I love the last minute improvisation and the satisfaction of seeing a happy visitor .

    Liked by 1 person

  36. It must tough to manage on short notices but coming along as a team you sure have learnt a lot. Multi-tasking at its best 😀
    Wow! Loved the way you’ve been helping people and their extended families (their pets) settle in so warmly.
    I can get pretty anxious at the idea of unexpected guests barging in, so next time it happens, I’ll keep you in mind 😀
    My Era from The Era I Lived In

    Liked by 1 person

  37. Hmm, somehow never experienced the out of blue calling in as a CO or Brigadier’s daughter. Though as an army man’s wife , my mom would have a different story to share. Time to know her version and burst the bubble coz I thought army life was all prim and proper while growing up and civilians have no sense of time as they tend to drop by un-announced.
    You are doing so well Shalz.. the theme is coming together brilliantly. almost with a memoir kind of feel to it..

    Liked by 1 person

    • The boost to write this series has come from you, Chandni! Thanks very much! ❤ But I'm surprised that you aren't aware of this 'tradition'. My husband and his 'gang' had always gone banging on doors esp after 2 am and the poor lady of the house had to make Rotis for them. Phew!!!!!!! But it is fun too 😛

      Liked by 1 person

  38. You nailed it!! This is so much fun!! Army loves its food, doesn’t it? 😀

    Liked by 1 person

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