Life, Nation & Beyond

, Reader's Corner

Tanushree Podder’s No Margin For Error takes an incisive look at the patriots who risk it all to stand in the line of fire. She speaks to Airports India

How important is your husband’s role in your books on Army men?

Writing on any subject requires an indepth knowledge of the same, and when it comes to writing on Army men, it is doubly important to know the subject very well. One can’t make mistakes, as far as facts are concerned. It is one of the reasons why outsiders find it difficult to write on Army life. To that extent, as an Army wife, I have an advantage of having had the opportunity to observe the details at a close range for many years.

Ideally only a cadet can tell you about the little things that take place in the academy. This is where my husband played a key role. To be honest, the three books couldn’t have been written without his contribution.

What is special about the book No Margin for Error?

No Margin for Error takes readers through a very different experience of an Army officer’s life, right from his posting at the first unit, to training in the Himalayas, to joining the Special Forces and being assigned to flush out the terrorists during 26/11 Mumbai attack.

Unlike most books written in the genre, No Margin for Error deals with facts as well as human emotions. People tend to think of soldiers as strong and valiant characters, who are forever ready to lay their lives in the line of fire. They forget that they are not robots, but human beings. Like every other person, they also have their fears and insecurities. They have their share of joys, sorrows and heartbreaks. They also have a love life. My books take readers to all those corners of their superhero lives.

What are the challenges that come with being an Army men’s wife?

Army wives are resilient, courageous and multi-tasking individuals. When the husband is posted to far-flung border areas, or he is fighting the unknown enemies in the form of terrorists, the wife performs the duty of a mother as well as the absentee father. She handles the practical day-to-day requirements, often holds a job, brings up the children, more importantly, she covers the anxiety for her husband with a smiling and cheerful front. She goes through living death every single day but she doesn’t have the luxury of wallowing in worry. This requires a lot of mental and emotional strength.

You are a passionate traveller. Where all have you travelled to India?

My father was an enthusiastic traveller, so we travelled through the length and breadth of the country. Then as an Army wife, I have travelled to distant places where my husband was posted. We have been transferred 19 times during his career, often to far-flung places, which allowed me to travel to several places like Hathigor, Tawang, Aizwal, Agartala, Shillong, Bengaluru as well as Bikaner.

Since my husband is also fond of travelling, we drove around the states he was posted to and as a result, we have travelled to many states.

Which are your favourite regional airports in India? And what is the best thing about these airports?

Among the small airports, I like the Devi Ahilya Bai Holkar Airport, Indore, Dabolim Airport at Goa, and Chandigarh Airport. The Indore Airport is one of the cleanest airports, Dabolim airport has a number of check-in counters, so fliers don’t have to queue for a long time for check-in and the Chandigarh Airport has integrated eco-friendly features in its design.


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